Book Club – 2018 Reading Challenge Check-in

At the start of the year, I made a commitment to “shop my bookshelves” and to try to read 25 books that were already on my office shelves (plus two more I was really curious about). The idea was that I wouldn’t buy new books until I’d gotten through a bunch of these. HA! I can’t stop buying books, and I’ve gotten at least three Amazon shipments since I wrote that post, but I’m still committed to reading these books too. So here’s how it’s going:

I’ve completed several books so far, including Pivot, Making Work Visible, How Women Decide, Unlocking Potential, and Design Thinking for the Greater Good. Pivot, Unlocking Potential, and How Women Decide were good reads for personal development, thinking about how I interact with others, who I want to be, and what I want to do in different ways. Making Work Visible, which I reviewed here, is about Kanban, a project management framework that comes out of Lean manufacturing but can also be considered Agile (depending on who you talk to). We used Design Thinking for the Greater Good in my Design Thinking Studio in Social Innovation program a week or so ago to help our students look at ways design and innovation can be done that aren’t necessarily attached to entrepreneurship or business.

I’ve also dipped into several of the other books on the list but haven’t finished them, especially Side Hustle and The New Education. I’ll dig back into those over Spring Break (which starts in two weeks as I type this). I realized that Tim Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors book isn’t something you read all the way through, so I pop in a read a couple of advice sections every once in a while to get some inspiration.

A few things have come off the list as well. I don’t think I’m going to go for my Scrum Product Owner certificate right now, so I removed one of those books as well as Humble Consulting and the Guide to Faculty Development. I’ll  come back to those eventually, but for now, I’m putting them back on the shelf.

After I had written the original challenge post, I decided to join a book club put together by Dan Pink, Adam Grant, Malcolm Gladwell, and Susan Cain called The Next Big Idea Book Club through Heleo. I got my first books last week with Pink’s new book When, Daniel Coyle’s The Culture Code (which was definitely on my wishlist already since it’s about groups and collaboration), and a book on endurance by Alex Hutchinson (I wouldn’t have bought that one for myself, so it will be interesting to see if I like it). Pink’s To Sell Is Human made me really mad (like he invented the idea of persuasive writing and speech…hello? rhetoric?? 2000+ year old art and practice?), but I’ve liked his other work and have already confirmed a few things about when I work best based on the research he’s pulled. I was excited about Coyle, but the intro was all about the marshmallow challenge, which is pretty cliche. And I HATE the marshmallow challenge. But I’m hoping I can get past that and learn some new stuff about teams that aligns with my interests in Agile and Scrum.

So that’s where I am with the reading challenge. I’ll check back in in a couple of month to report on additional progress! What are you reading?

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RPR

I teach Professional Writing and Rhetoric in the Department of English at Elon University. Specifically, I teach courses in professional communication and rhetorical theory, publishing, project management, and workplace research methods. My research interests include collaboration strategies in the classroom and workplace, written artifacts that mediate collaboration, and Agile project management strategies. @RPR_Elon on Twitter

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