Reading and Becoming

Doug Johnson started yesterday’s blog in typical Blue Skunk fashion.

Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog – Blue Skunk Blog – Are Your Ideas Sticky?:

I’ll admit that it was the duct tape on the cover that drew my attention to this book. Like all good Minnesotans, I use this silver miracle to fix almost everything. (If it moves and shouldn’t…) Happily, the content lived up to the cover of book…

The Blue SkunkThe book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, (ISBN 978-1400064281) by Chip and Dan Heath, explores some of the characteristics of sticky ideas.  It’s a theme that David Jakes (Strength of Weak Ties) discusses and presents on frequently, and I’m not going to push it any further than that, because I’ve not read the book. 

Please do read Doug’s detailed report.

What’s got my head itching is the reading that we are doing — we, being educators.  Of course I’m talking about a small sub-genre of educator who is unsatisfied with today’s short sighted education system, is reform conscious, mostly smart, mostly tech savvy, and is almost giddy about the possibilities and the demands of an emerging information landscape.

Admittedly, my long-term memory has been somewhat set aside for a lifestyle that is just trying to be ready for the next presentation, to fix a current stubborn programming bug, or to finish up what ever writing I’ve set for myself.  So I don’t clearly remember, the kind of reading I was doing when I was more directly seated in some educational institution.  I know that I’ve read most of the edu-rati that Gary Stager mentions, and although I can’t quote them, they are a part of my prevailing education philosophy.

But what are we reading now?  Are they business books?  Are they philosophy books? Are they lifestyle books?  Daniel Pink admitted the other day that, that A Whole New Mind (ISBN 978-1594481710) was intended to be a business book — that he was somewhat surprised at how the education community has taken it up.

Some of the books that have driven me lately are The Search, Wikinomics, The Long Tail, and I’ve been bouncing in and out of David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous.  If it is true that educators are increasingly going outside traditional education literature for inspiration and technique, that this is indeed a phenomenon, what does it mean?  What’s changed?

Is it that effective and compelling communication, as a critical everyday working skill, has become more essential to a much larger part of an economy that increasingly generates wealth from conceptualizing rather than industrializing?


Is it that we find ourselves in classrooms that are no longer limited to textbooks and book shelves, but opening up to almost unlimited content and opportunities to work the content?  Are we acting on a desperate need to reach beyond the pedagogy of information scarcity — looking for ways to provoke learning in an environment of information abundance?

What do you think?

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.