Books you should read before you finish college
One thing we don’t get much time to do in our class is explore readings that examine new technologies, and how those change the way we think and operate on a day-to-day basis. As you know by now, delivering presentations isn’t just face-to-face anymore. Those are still vital skills to develop– we have enough time to cover those concepts, moving beyond basic speaking and towards things that interest you, developing your persona as a speaker. We have time to talk about the ‘translation’ of those presentations to digital formats– but we really do not have the time to do many readings outside of our main text and the posts you see on this blog. So, I thought I’d share recommendations that I believe you would all benefit from that are relevant to our class and well beyond the completion of your degrees.
These are all very inexpensive, and if you have a reading app (You can download the Kindle app for your computer, even if you don’t own the device), you can typically find samples from the books for free.
- Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell is an essential read.
- Brain rules: 12 Principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school by John Medina.
- Deeper: Adventures on the Net by John Seabrook. This book should probably be on the list below, but it’s just a fun, interesting and at times fascinating read.
If you have any interest in developing a better understanding of communication technologies, how they came to be, and why they work in the way that they do, I highly recommend reading the following:
- The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier by Howard Rheingold. Incidentally, Rheingold is regarded as one of the, if not the first individual to frame virtual/online communities as a term.
- Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of the American Community by Robert Putnam. A controversial text, and people have told me that this text was outdated the day it came out– but I think this is an excellent read that will make you think about the society we live in.
- Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Approach to Web Usability by Steven Krug. Perfectly applies to our web portfolio project, and Krug’s principles apply to much of what we’ve discussed about our presentations as well.
Other books that are good to read:
If you’re interested in the way things work, the legitimacy of such spaces, etc., read The World and Wikipedia. Actually, maybe we can see if Brian has any additional recommendations on good readings. Much of his research is centered around the computational side of networks through the use of command line and software like P*NET (he crosses over between the Communication department and Statistics department, if that’s any indication).
And finally, our textbook. Simple to read, good, clear principles outlined, easy examples. I have used a variety of texts on presentational speaking. Many are very expensive, very big books, and take a lot of time describing what they want to say. Gallo’s text gets to the point, which is exactly what we need in such an applied setting.
What books do you recommend?