Lies My Teacher Told Me talks generally about how the American history textbook industry is messed up, focusing specifically on certain topics. It was...moreLies My Teacher Told Me talks generally about how the American history textbook industry is messed up, focusing specifically on certain topics. It was interesting, a "What the hell?!?" look at those textbooks, but I liked Lies Across America: What American Historic Sites Get Wrong better, probably because it covered more topics. (less)
When I bought this book, I expected it to be anecdotal: funny stories about a professor acting as a college student, trying to fit in, having fun with...moreWhen I bought this book, I expected it to be anecdotal: funny stories about a professor acting as a college student, trying to fit in, having fun with classmates, trying to figure out the college life, etc. However, the book is instead an anthropological study of college life and college students, with very little retelling of actual interactions or funny moments.
While this book wasn't the kind of entertaining I thought it would be, it's very informative, and oftentimes amusing. Nathan analyzes the college culture around her, searching for explanations for why college students do the things they do and act the ways they do (For example, why they tend not to speak in class, or why dorm-wide activities were often ignored). The back cover of the book says that it is "essential reading for students, parents, and faculty alike," but I think it goes deeper than that. Many of her observations are really more about how Americans are, not just college students. While "college students" are the focus of the book, I think her observations can easily be applied to the overall American culture.
One drawback of the book, though, is that it doesn't represent everyone (obviously). At times, she makes a point of this, saying that "One reason is..." or some other caution, but other times, it seems that she's making generalizations that shouldn't be made. While a good portion of students may do a certain thing for one selfish reason, I'm sure many of the others do the same thing, but for a non-selfish reason, and yet (either for space, or because not a large enough segment was represented) she doesn't include that. As a former college student, I found myself taking offense to some of the conclusions she drew about the typical student. Still, though, it's an interesting study of the dynamics of university life.(less)
This book is a good critique of how colleges are failing, or at least how they can better serve students. S...moreWhy Colleges Suck or Why College Is Broken.
This book is a good critique of how colleges are failing, or at least how they can better serve students. Some of Bok's ideas are reasonable, but some just seem overly idyllic. Still, even if his ideas aren't 100% feasible, the book is an interesting analysis of the college system, from the need to give students better communication skills (especially writing) to the idea of the college environment as a lesson in multicultural awareness.
The book also made me think about my college education, and what I got out of it and what I wish I'd gotten out of it. Many times I found myself thinking, "Yeah, none of my classes taught me anything like that!" or "I wish classes I took were structured that way. It would have made the subject sink in more, or made me more willing to participate." The ideas Bok brings up are definitely things to keep in mind when one is in school in order to make the best out of the time in college. (less)
I saw him on The Colbert Report and what he said totally kicked ass.
So, Golden has good (and really infuriating) id...moreI saw him on The Colbert Report and what he said totally kicked ass.
So, Golden has good (and really infuriating) ideas, I just think he beat a dead horse sometimes. It almost reminded me of something I'd do when writing a paper in school -- I found all of this good evidence, and all of these great quotes, and I wanted to use THEM ALL. Edit, edit, edit. I realize that all of his evidence and statistics were used to drive home the point, but it got repetitive at times. I get it: Rich get an upper-hand, legacy students get preference, alumni children get admitted almost without questions, students whose parents *might* donate get preference.
Still, it's a really ... informative book. I won't say "good" just because of how much the topic made me angry: the unfairness of college admissions. But the chapter on CalTech, Berea, and Cooper Union was REALLY interesting. Those three schools seems extremely fair in their admissions/tuition, and seem to really understand universities' responsibilities to pick students who deserve to go to school, and who have the most potential.(less)