John Hendry provides an interesting, easy, and well-rounded introduction to the topic of Management. As he states in the Preface and Acknowledgements,John Hendry provides an interesting, easy, and well-rounded introduction to the topic of Management. As he states in the Preface and Acknowledgements, he writes for three groups of people: those that have studied management but not (yet) practiced it, those that have practiced it but never studied, and those that have neither studied nor practiced it, but are curious about it. It's an ambitious goal to tackle any of these in just over 100 pages. He does a fine job balancing the interests of all three groups of readers to provide something for everyone throughout.
Please note that I never studied management and I've only briefly practiced it, so I don't feel I have a good sense of where this book falls in wide world of organization literature. I have to say it was an interesting read and provided perspective on my experiences with managers, immediate coworkers, professional peers, and organizations as a whole. Of course, different readers will measure this again different experiences, but nonetheless I think there's really something for everyone here. I had this feeling throughout that there was more to be said about this or that topic, but overall I feel he provided a fairly complete account of what management is like today. ...more
There are already more than a dozen good reviews on Goodreads that cover the book's strong and weak points (nothing stood out as way off the mark), soThere are already more than a dozen good reviews on Goodreads that cover the book's strong and weak points (nothing stood out as way off the mark), so I don't feel I really have to sell or defend this one - just check them out for yourself. I came across this roaming the stacks at the library and it was a welcome find.
Patrick Hunt takes ten archaeological discoveries you've heard of, but probably only knew about in outline. For each discovery he gives a little Indiana Jones-style introduction story, a little background to separate the fact from legend (or what is certainly known, from what is speculated, from what might never be proved or disproved), some relatively obscure facts the casual reader will probably find interesting, an explanation for why this discovery remains important today, and finally a summary section (with the occasional anecdote for good measure).
I liked it for being a quick, fun, and easy read. If you're curious about any of these discoveries or about archaeology in general, it's a good place to start. ...more
An easy and interesting read on the cultural regions of North America. Colin Woodard traces the history of the 10 nations occupying the continental UnAn easy and interesting read on the cultural regions of North America. Colin Woodard traces the history of the 10 nations occupying the continental United States, northern Mexico, and southern Canada (First Nation in northern Canada and Greenland is briefly discussed in the epilogue). Perhaps you shared my first thought: three countries with eleven nations, can we check the math on that? On page 3 Woodard anticipates this question and defines the terms state and nation: "A state is a sovereign political entity like the United Kingdom, Kenya, Panama, or New Zealand [...] A nation is a group of people who share - or believe they share - a common culture, ethnic origin, language, historical experience, artifacts, and symbols." This book explores who are the people of these nations, where did they come from, where are their cultural boundaries, what do they they have in common with their neighbors, where do they differ, and how does this all tie together to form, and inform, our familiar ideas of what it means to be American?
Okay, a lot of ground to cover in one book. And plenty of bones to pick along the way.
While my background is in social science, Anthropology is not my discipline and any detailed criticism is beyond my expertise. That said, I'll restate what Woodard offers as the basis for his ideas and share my thoughts on the book itself.
Joel Garreau published The Nine Nations of North America in 1981, and of course it's the obvious starting point for comparison. I've never read it myself, but I heard about it in a sociology class in high school and I found the idea fascinating - that as Americans we're not really just one unified people, but distinct cultural groups with our own ideas, values, etc. Woodard states in the Acknowledgements and Suggested Readings that Garreau was his starting point as well, and this book was his attempt to provide was Garreau was lacking: a historical explanation for how these distinct nations emerged. Furthermore, Woodard notes that a Republican Party campaign strategist, Kevin Phillips (no relation), identified the nations and their boundaries back in 1969. As he concedes in the introduction, other writers might draw different lines, sub-dividing or merging as they see appropriate. But most people will agree on the premise, if not the details.
The pros: The book succeeds in its style, pace, and tone. It's very readable. Each time I finished a chapter I felt drawn right to the next one. That's hard enough to achieve in fiction, so bravo. Woodard provides just enough information to satisfy your curiosity about a given topic or to answer a question you wondered about but weren't quite sure how to ask, without laboring through tedious minutiae. Or at least we have similar tastes.
The cons: While I like the tone of the book in the sense of writing style, I imagine many readers will be put off by the portrayal of the Deep South. One of the unifying themes of the book is the political and social hostility between Yankeedom (the New England-based nation inheriting the Puritan traditions of social equality and enlightenment through government mandates and social conformity) and the Deep South (heirs to the tradition of Caribbean slave lords who formed a rigidly hierarchical society based on the classical slave states of Greece and Rome). Woordard is from Portland, Maine, and it's pretty clear which side he's on.
It was refreshing to read about the tyranny and horror of the colonial period, a subject that in school is usually brushed over in broad strokes. The Deep South definitely gets the worst of it. I'm not complaining. This is a topic that educators at all levels address in generalities because either: 1) they don't really know the material that well, or 2) they don't want to stir the pot. Woodard does on both counts. But while he exposed the mythology of the Deep South, he glosses over other nations, particularly Yankeedom. And on this point, I'm sure he'll find plenty of critics, and they'll be right. I suppose as a fellow "Yankee" from New Hampshire I should stand for the rosy portrayal of my homeland. But I know from experience that the ideological agenda of Yankeedom is not as enlightened or as altruistic as it pretends to be. As the book progresses, and especially in the final two chapters addressing the current political landscape, Woodard seems to shift from analysis of cultural values to summarizing his own. I don't know if this was intentional or a natural blind spot in his writing, but the tone changes. And I do share his values and opinions for the most part, but if I were writing I would have been more careful to maintain an even criticism or to highlight these opinions as my own for the sake of transparency. I really hate recommending an otherwise solid book with the added disclaimer about the author's hidden agenda or biases.
All that said, yes, it is still a excellent book and certainly worth the read. As above, it's readability alone earns it credit by opening up the topic for a wide audience. ...more
A colleague recommended this book to me during a conversion about predicting people's behavior, particularly dangerous behavior in social services. ToA colleague recommended this book to me during a conversion about predicting people's behavior, particularly dangerous behavior in social services. To be honest, I've had so many generic pop psychology books recommended to me over the years that it's made me wary of suggested reading. But this one delivered. It took me a few chapters to get into his writing style - I wasn't sure if he was trying to over dramatize the stories because they had that made-for-tv-movie feel. But after a few chapters I got used to his writing style and his accepted his stories and advice as genuine.
Unlike like the books of the "secret trick" genre (the books that tell you how to read minds and predict the future in 10 easy steps), The Gift of Fear is about recognizing and understanding your own feelings and instincts. De Becker's fundamental point: we live in sustained fear when we don't know how to predict real danger. Fortunately for us, we have a built-in survival skill honed through millions of years of evolution, and even in our complex industrial society it's as valuable as ever. We usually call it "your gut feelings," but it has a dozen names, a dozen signs, a dozen ways to tell us something is wrong. Fears, apprehension, anxiety, suspicions, doubt, nervousness, humor, reluctance, etc. By learning to listen to these signs, de Becker argues, we can learn to trust real signals from false positives, and therefore live fuller and safer lives.
I think the real strength of book lies in the presentation. De Becker weaves together anecdotes with analysis. He offers advice and perspective without smugness or judgment.
I'm sure that the main audience for this book is people who have already suffered a traumatic experience, or loved ones close to them, or professionals working with them. However, I think anyone will benefit from reading it. Whether you seriously believe you'll never find yourself in a dangerous situation or you're a trained professional in predicting violence, the material is worth covering and de Becker's style is very accessible. ...more
Fans of Durant's magnum opus series The Story of Civilization will recognize his light style to cover heavy topics. However, be advised that this bookFans of Durant's magnum opus series The Story of Civilization will recognize his light style to cover heavy topics. However, be advised that this book, unlike Civilization is very brief, general, and abstract. His prose has the familiar richness and smoothness of his other works, but his purpose is different. This looks like it was not written to tell the stories of another age, but instead to prompt philosophical discussion on philosophic topics.
I still think it's an interesting read and a good introduction to Will Durant, but I think most fans of his other writing will be left wanting more. ...more
A short and accessible introduction to the City. Other users with far more experience on the topic have already posted excellent reviews, and I have nA short and accessible introduction to the City. Other users with far more experience on the topic have already posted excellent reviews, and I have nothing technical or critical to add for this one. I'll just say it was a pleasure and it left me wanting more. ...more
I came across this book when by friend Alyssa offered me something to read on a long bus ride we shared from Boston to New York. At the time I thoughtI came across this book when by friend Alyssa offered me something to read on a long bus ride we shared from Boston to New York. At the time I thought it had a funny name and was obviously ironical, so I decided to give it a shot, an easy way to kill several hours. I liked what he had to say about Kurt Cobain and David Koresh, I was a little amused (and secretly flattered!) by the obscure Bill Hicks quote I recognized on pages 46-47. I thought his questions put to filmmaker Errol Morris were both witty and poignant. While I only covered about 50 pages during that trip (I am, and always have been a rather slow reader, which has helped to better understand everything I've read over the years at the expense of amount of material read), overall I felt it was a fun and enriching experience of thoughtfully dissecting the idioms of popular American culture at the turn of the 21st century.
So... if you're at all interested in the above paragraph, then this book might be just the thing for you. Or exactly the wrong thing. Excusing my poor parody of Chuck Klosterman's writing style, that's basically what to expect from Eating the Dinosaur. I remember coming across his book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and dismissing as just more of the shallow, pretending-to-be-kinda-cute-and-kinda-hip drivel that's been taking up a lot of of prime shelf space at Borders for the last 10 or so years. I don't know how much writing like this (although I'm not exactly sure what I mean by that) that's out there right now, so I don't really have a sense of how unique Klosterman is with either his ideas or his presentation. To be on the safe side, I'll make a note about that first.
Eating the Dinosaur is a collection of 15 essays, I assume mostly written in the last couple years. Within each chapter there are several subchapters(?) numbered 1, 2, 3, 1a, 1b, 3a, etc. I got the impression he took a basic essay outline, organized by topic, and moved sections around to give each chapter better flow. Yeah, nothing new, but it was a bit odd to see the actual topic numbers there, and it really threw me off until I caught on to what was happening. Klosterman used to interview people as a reporter, so perhaps this organization scheme reflects that. And that makes sense, but I still feel the need to make note of that.
As for the writing, well, Klosterman is not only intelligent and well-read, he's also insightful, articulate, and on point. He seems to have a good sense of what he really knows, from what he only somewhat knows, from what he doesn't know at all. Right there - big points in my book. With that in mind, I'll say this book is loaded with tangents and sidebars, meandering all over the map, but always interesting and always somehow relevant to the main topic for the chapter. Much like de Zengotita's Mediated, he communicates a lot with the style and pace that he introduces his ideas and arguments. (Note: I hesitate to use the term "arguments" because the overall tone of the book is exploratory and analytical, not argumentative, but sometimes he does push a certain perspective). He uses a lot of tongue-in-cheek, but it's not syrupy-sweet and obnoxious like any newspaper gossip column or hip party banter (again, see the first paragraph above). I personally liked his writing more and more as I went along.
So what is this book really about? Popular culture. That answer would have put me off 10 years ago, and totally alienated me as a potential consumer 5 years ago. But that's basically it. And it's that very attitude - itself a product of popular culture, and the culturally-relative self-identity that it's based on - that this book is really about. How deep does "popular culture" run? Not just in terms of work chitchat or television shows, but how much of our lives are influenced or even wholly defined by popular culture? I wouldn't say this book seeks to answer that, but it does an excellent job of illustrating it. So many of our attitudes, thoughts, ideas, concerns, are truly products of popular culture. One key difference between this book and Mediated is that de Zengotita was trying to illustrate the pervasive effects mass media collectively have on us, and how totally unaware we are of those effects on a day to day level. However, Klosterman isn't out to make any kind of ultimate point: it really is a collection of separate essays. I think any common thread is more a matter of Klosterman's writing style and outlook on life, not some mysterious thread for the reader to find.
So what is Eating the Dinosaur? Apparently it's the only good and novel use of a time machine. And I'm okay with that. ...more
It's always refreshing to read a book that promises and delivers. It's all the better when it's written in clear, accessible language, meaningful orgaIt's always refreshing to read a book that promises and delivers. It's all the better when it's written in clear, accessible language, meaningful organization, and consistent terms.
Marie Jahoda wrote the original text in 1958 to review, of course, current concepts of positive mental health. In a nutshell, she argues that there currently is not unified, consist definition of what "mental health" really means, and that all the major literature on in relies on either vague terms or various convenient (perhaps arbitrary) definitions. Then is it a moot point, meaningless to argue over semantics? She argues in the Introduction that the concept of positive mental health needs to be taken seriously and examined because "Whether we like it or not, the term mental health, or mental hygiene, is firmly established in the thought and actions of several groups": voluntary and government agencies; specialists helping (counseling) professions; and finally scientists themselves, namely psychiatrists, psychologist, sociologists, and anthropologists (pp. 5-6). She quickly argues her points and moves onto the bulk of the book - what is mental health?
In Section II she presents the three major conceptions (popular and scientific) of mental health, and why each one is insufficient. First, the most popular, is Absence of Mental Illness. Jahoda argues that besides simply defining defining health in terms of its literal opposite, this creates problems because it "often depends largely on accepted social conventions" (p. 13), meaning relative and lacking the kind of grounding she's looking for. Second is Normality, whatever is statistically most common or frequent. This can't work because a given definition of normality is inherently based on some prior or assumed understanding of positive mental health, or otherwise factors to measure are entirely arbitrary. Furthermore, "Psychological health may, but need not be, the status of the majority of the people," (p. 16). More so, this definition cannot define or account for behavior without a defined context - "in deciding a reference population, one is at least tacitly considering the determinant, contexts consequences and/or meanings of behavior relevant to it's evalaution from the viewpoint of mental health," (p. 17). Translate that to plain English: it order to make sense of whatever you're studying to see what's "normal," you have to start with some idea of what's normal and use that as the reference point. Point taken. Finally, Jahoda explores mental health as various states of well-being, in the sense of feeling good mentally and emotionally. But how would we define and determine what that actually means, to feel good? And from there, she questions, "what if social acceptability and personal satisfaction are incompatible?" Schadenfreude? It would be a hard sell to argue cruelty, narcissism and selfishness are signs of mental health. In fact, their generally taken to be the obvious signs of ill-being, if not true mental illness. And if mental health is tied to well-being, she asks, we would need to somehow distinguish between an unhappy disposition and unhappiness from circumstance.
I went into such detail above to illustrate the clarity of her thinking and the quality of her work. Writer on this topic, mental health or even mental illness, usually settle for vague descriptions and loose arguments to pitch their theories or perspectives. Usually I end up being disappointed that the writer has failed to deliver anything new, challenging, or interesting and had settle for rehashing the same story with new binding. Jahoda, however, delivers magnificently.
To sum up the remainder of the book, she analyzes in detail some of the major proposals for positive mental health in the early 20th century. To do this, she uses 6 categories: 1. Attitudes of an individual toward his own self 2. Growth, development or self-actualization 3. Integration (of 1 and 2) 4. Autonomy 5. Perception of reality 6. Environmental mastery She discusses each in detail with examples to illustrate. Her effort is not to provide an exhaustive overview of the field, but to show how most descriptions of mental health fall into at least one of these categories with however much overlap.
Jahoda proposes her first original contribution in the book on page 70: The Multiple Criterion. She argues that mental health is likely not based on one single factor. I thought this was off-base, as it seemed to be rephrasing the very issue in question - what constitutes mental health? I thought the whole purpose of the book was to shed new light onto this old issue, not to reframe it with statistical language. She then follows through well with some discussion of understanding mental health in terms of physical health (I think fair, if take metaphorically), issues regarding values (perspective and culture), and a final word about putting these things in scope - that studying mental health will not bring solutions to all the world's woes, nor should it claim to. Jahoda argues for systematic, rigorous research to replace speculation and vacuous truisms. The Afterword is written by the physician Walter E. Barton, but it's worth skipping; it seems it was only included to provide some "balance" from the medical profession, whatever that means.
So is it for you and why? Jahoda's style can be a little dry, a little to the point (a little German? well, Austrian technically...). I read through it really quickly as it's a short book (110 pages), it's in my field, and the language is fairly accessible. It is certainly not a self-help book and won't lend any understanding on how to deal with specific issues or to improve your own mental health. It's a technical review of the state of the field in 1958, written most likely with scientists, government officials, and other professionals in mind, not anyone with a passing interest. I think that for the topic her writing is as clear, coherent and organized as anything you'll ever find. She maintains a clear sense of what she's saying and stays on topic throughout the book. Honestly, I'm not surprised that more hasn't been done to study "positive mental health" in the 50 odd years since she wrote this, considering how funding for research goes. But I am surprised that this book is so good and totally escape my radar until a few months ago. I'm also surprised that nothing this good has been written on topic in those 50 years, or hasn't been given it's do either. I'll say that for mental health clinicians and researchers, this should be required reading until something comparable comes along. ...more
The Human Animal is an ambitious work by Weston La Barre to explain in a single volume everything that makes us distinctly human. Well, that seems toThe Human Animal is an ambitious work by Weston La Barre to explain in a single volume everything that makes us distinctly human. Well, that seems to be what he had in mind when he started. The book can be neatly divided in two parts First is Science: our evolution from single cells to animals, our development as primates, our separation from the other apes, the development of material and social culture, the development of the family and social order, conceptions and misconceptions of race and ethnicity, and the diversity of different languages (chapters 1-11, pp.1-207). The the second part, Nonsense: understanding homosexuality as a social and evolutionary perversion, how primitive people are comparable to the mentally ill, how religion is a widespread superstition founded on a cult of fear and ignorance, and how the politics of the modern world cannot evolve us into golden age society because nations cannot resolve their Oedipal conflicts and come to terms with their motives and responsibilities (chapters 12-15, pp. 208-334). I wish I was joking.
I have three main issues with this book, and their all in that last part. First, this book totally lost its way. It began as a scientific book on the topic of human evolution written for the general public. Then, without any notice or explanation, it flipped into a disorganized rant about the ills of modern society and the foolishness of people who against against scientifically sanctioned ideas. Where did that come from?
Second, La Barre seems to have undergone some Freudian conversion somewhere between chapters 11 and 12. The remainder of the book frames everything in terms of Oedipal conflicts, with no real sense of scope, boundary, or measure. I could never tell when he was being literal or metaphorical when using the Oedipus conflict for... just about anything. Maybe he lost sense of it himself. I guess this book was first published around the time psychoanalysis and Freudianism had reached its peak in academia, so it's no surprise to find references in here, but these aren't passing references. They're the recurring theme of a disorganized rant. One thing that keeps coming up is the riddle of the Sphinx, which I couldn't for the life of me understand what he meant. Fortunately, while reading this I happened to come across a reference to a book called Riddle of the Sphinx by Géza Róheim, 1934) mentioned in Rethinking Psychological Anthropology (by Philip K. Bock), which explained it as an outmoded explanation of human sexuality, routed in psychoanalysis. Probably already outdated by the time La Barre wrote this book, but that's speculation so let's set it aside. What really matters is that La Barre is waaaaaay out on a limb with this one. I can't imagine he reached (or impressed!) his contemporary readers, his fellow anbthropologists, or even his fellow Freudians. It pays to get your point across. Which brings me to three.
Finally the writing. The first part was so well written: solid examples, clear line of thought, no obvious bias or personal opinions, plain language with light humor - everything you could expect from an introductory science book! The writing in the second part is just terrible. No chapter has any clear thesis, or traceable line of thought. Chapter 8 - People are Different - begins with this: "Genetically, the human species is 'polytypical.' The implications of this biological fact are most remarkable - and even now are only becoming more fully understood." He goes on to explain that this means there is no single type or norm of 'proper' human, from which we all depart. That is, no person or group displays any fundamental, normal attributes but instead all races are really different arrangements of genetic traits, but none are any closer than any other to some abstract norm. In other words, there are different types of people. Okay, maybe science isn't your thing, but you probably got that he's talking about genetics, the species, and what we're learning about they're related. He then goes on to give perhaps the best 17 pages I've read yet debunking any scientific basis for racial prejudice. Was this controversial to the American public in 1954? Maybe so, maybe not. It was certainly in line with the ideas of professionally anthropology, at least since Franz Boas. In other words, excellent writing to convey well-established professional ideas. Compare this with the introduction to chapter 14, Superstition and the Soul: "The durability of a belief and its dignity as 'culture' (as opposed to 'psychosis') have to do with the number of its cultural adherents, geographically and historically. It's viability is largely related to it emotional attractiveness and efficacy in providing a current equilibrium and peace of mind; its persistence in time has nothing to do with the cosmic truth of the belief." Where's he going with this? Well, obviously he's not the religious type, but other than that, who knows? He spends 37 more pages loosely discussing how religion and superstition are obviously(!) based on "irrational" beliefs that contradict the mighty and righteous cult of Science. I couldn't find any clear argument anywhere in the remaining chapters. The final chapter is a loose discussion of local, national, and international politics, Hegel's dialect of history, Marx's vision of a proletariat uprising, every man's basic Oedipal conflict (which is never really discussed in terms of being "resolved" vs. "unresolved," even as a matter of degree; and in which mention of women is totally absent), war, industry, intellectualism, and a vision of the potential future, all of which somehow bears relationship to our genetic heritage. Yeah. So there you have it. All in one book.
What's really crazy about all this is La Barre clearly had some talent for writing, even if you're not into his style or humor. But all that got totally lost in the end. It's almost like he went on some spirit journey and came back as a bitter psychopath (which he equates, see p. 286). Or his contempt for the "irrational," as when he rails against dreaming of all thing: "Dreaming is an indiscipline of the mind, a temporary psychosis that unfetters the organism from reality, social and cultural as well as physical" (p. 278). He puts psychotics and poets in the same boat as minorities of thought (talk about stretching a point), and at one point talks about intellectuals as the culture heroes of the new era. He even decries all of Western Philosophy as a product of "bad grammar," the unfortunate consequence of misunderstands due to the nature of ancient Greek (pp. 299-301). Tongue in cheek? Again, I wish I was joking. All the humor from the first half of the book was drained away, and only bitterness remained.
Why 2 stars? Because what was good was really good. He even included a good list of further reading reference, something I'm big fan of. But he really went off the deep end. Maybe those first chapters are still worth reading, but you'd probably do just as well with couple modern books and a few good conversations. ...more
This is an interesting book that, well, tells the truth about burnout. For those of you who don't know, "burnout" is basically what happens to workersThis is an interesting book that, well, tells the truth about burnout. For those of you who don't know, "burnout" is basically what happens to workers who lose passion for their work and accordingly both they and their work suffer for it. Maslach and Leiter do a good job to explain burnout in simple terms with some helpful examples. They also separate burnout from clinical issues, such as depression, and personality issues. Over and over again they emphasize the crucial role of a good fit between worker and job, and moreso the organization forces that affect it (that is, such issues the worker experiences cannot rightly be blamed on the worker). They highlight six major causes of burnout: work overload, lack of control, insufficient reward, breakdown in community absence of fairness, and conflicting values.
What I liked: The authors take a balanced tone throughout the book. They don't attack management as evil-doers trying to wring every drop of joy and effort out of helpless clock-punchers. Instead they do a thorough job explaining the common misconceptions about burnout and why "It's a problem of the individual [worker:]," is both wrong and counter-productive. Furthermore, they explain the many effects that burnout has through departments and entire organizations. Basically, when people become disengaged from their jobs, quality decreases, people job contributing any more than they must, suspicion and hostility increases, medical and mental health expenses increase, sick days increase, cynicism sets it, and monetary reward more and more becomes the main reason to work. The authors provide several examples to illustrate cases. I liked information in the appendix about the burnout measure that Maslach developed, but I would have like more detail and explanation (at it seems central to the whole book).
What I didn't like: Déjà vu. At first this book was really interesting, but after the first, say, 30 pages I got the feeling they were repeating themselves. By the end it felt like I was force-feeding myself the same leftovers I'd been eating for the past week. Do they explain what burnout is, show why it matters, and illustrate how it all ties together in clear examples? Yes. But they took 169 pages to do a job that could have taken about 30. By the end it just felt like the same stale mush you find in any standard school giant text book. No flavor, no spice, no urge to turn the page except to make sure you didn't miss anything. This book could have used more focus. They should cut down all the tedious redundant passages, I think put in there for emphasis. It only takes one paragraph and one clear cut example to make the case for a good fit between worker and role, or for fairness in the workplace, of for conflicting office values, or for work overload, etc.
Furthermore, the examples they use do make the point, but they are so stale and watered down with soft language that it takes the bite out of the experience. For example, on page 54 they use the example of Jane the researcher at a university who gets screwed out of her guaranteed research space for her lab; she later finds out that her space was cut to entice a new professor to the program, and furthermore that, contrary to assurances by the dean, among the researchers she was the only one to have a space reduction. The dean approved this because "he had assumed that Jane, being such a nice person, would not be as upset as some of the other professors might have been about losing lab space. Quite the contrary, Jane was furious about the unfairness of it all. Her expectation of fair treatment had been violated, she had not been treated with the same respect as the other professors, and she had been lied to by her superiors." Well, where I come from "quite the contrary" is not the first thing that comes to mind - more like seething rage. I feel like the authors didn't want to come across with too strong a stance in case the offend someone or, God forbid, come across like socialist reformers. Understandably so, but this spiritless and appeasing approach doesn't work either.
So in sum, less talk more rock. For the second edition I hope they whittle this down to about 30 pages, take a stronger and still balanced position, use more lively examples and more interesting language, illustrate cases where people failed to manage burnout (largely neglected in this book), and give more of a background in terms of labor and worker relationships. I think the book would lose it's focus if it wander off into issues with labor unions, advocacy, and the labor movement, but the issues are so closely and importantly related it would be nice to see them tied neatly together. ...more
I bought this book for 48 cents, and it's been worth every penny. Like most anthologies this is a fairly straightforward overview of the time period (I bought this book for 48 cents, and it's been worth every penny. Like most anthologies this is a fairly straightforward overview of the time period (1787-1848), covering, well, major problems in the early republic. In general, the focus is on social problems, especially categorized and presented in terms of the concerns and viewpoints of sociology in 1992; I'm not particularly for or against that, but it's fairly standard material in that sense.
The exposition and summaries by the editors are easy to read and to the point, providing good orientation to the documents. The best part of this anthology, as with any good anthology, is that the primary documents take the center stage. It's always interesting to hear (I guess, read) people in their own words with their own tone and style. It gives you a much better sense of not only what they thought on a given topic, but what their opinions were based upon and what were their deeper concerns or priorities. At 568 pages there is a lot to chew on, but just about everything is brief and concise enough to give you a good taste. ...more