Currently Reading: Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky



I began reading Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age this morning, and the video above definitely made me even more excited about finishing the book.

Shirky says that “cognitive surplus” occurred in America after the war when our country had an abundance of extra free time as well as additional energy and intellect.  Unfortunately, most people waste all of their free time watching television.  Shirky says three questions really address cognitive surplus: 1) where do people find the time, 2) why do people find the time, and 3) what should we do with these resources and how should we best use these tools?  Find out Shirky’s answers to these questions in his amazing video (above) and by reading his book.


Currently Reading…


Okay, Week of February 6 through 10… What is going on?  On Monday, there was The Attack of the Worst Presentations Ever.  On Wednesday, there was the hour-long talk with my students about Monday’s Attack of the Worst Presentations Ever.  Wednesday also included giving grades back, none of which were pretty.  Overall, this week has been exhausting and mentally draining.

Luckily, this morning, a bundle of library books arrived on my doorstep.  I gathered them all up while on my way to work.  Early.  On a day I am to hold virtual office hours from 1 to 9 PM.  On a day I don’t have to be in the office at all.

Because I’ve most recently watched his informative, passionate TED Talk on SOPA and PIPA, I wanted to learn more about Clay Shirky and picked up his Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age first.  I haven’t even opened it yet (it’s that kind of morning!), but I am looking forward to his insights.  Pick up your copy of Shirky’s book here.

Also on my reading list are two books from John C. Maxwell.  I have some very exciting leadership news to share with you; unfortunately, I cannot give the big reveal until the end of February.  Since I am going to be “stepping up to leadership” (as they say… hint hint) in late 2012, I am working to cultivate my leadership abilities.  It’s very important to me to be a strong leader, so I find Maxwell’s insight valuable and helpful on my quest to improve.  The two books I received this morning are The Maxwell Daily Reader: 365 Days of Insight to Develop the Leader Within You and Influence Those Around You (which I will certainly breeze through in less than 365 days) and Maxwell’s March 2010 release: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What The Most Effective People Do Differently.  Look for my exciting leadership announcement later this month!  I am so excited to share with you…

I’ll be honest: I was very disappointed by Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point.  My dad once gave me an amazing piece of advice.  He says it’s important to read books at the right time in our lives.  A book may not connect with me today, but I may find that same book fascinating two months, two years, or two decades from now.  Since Tipping Point was not for me, I am trying Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.  Blink is about decision-making; how choices are made instantly; and how some people make wise choices while others fail in this area.  If I don’t like Blink, I’ll have to stick to Gladwell’s TED Talks for now.

I also had a bad experience with trying to read Daniel Pink: his books were never at my old library.  Since purchasing our new house, my husband and I now live in a county with a much larger library, so I was excited to read not only A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future but also Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.  While I know a little about Pink’s philosophy of motivation from his TED Talk and from my research on A Whole New Mind, I definitely want to know more.

Where are you on your 2012 reading list?