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Showing posts from January, 2010

Boook Review: Drive by Daniel Pink

Pop Quiz:

If you want to encourage students to complete a project or assignment with creativity, innovation, and passion, what's the best tool to motivate them?

a. offer a high grade
b. threaten a low grade
c. make it a competition
d. offer a gift certificate to GameStop
e. chocolate covered iPod
f. none of the above

According to Daniel Pink's latest book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, the answer is f, as in fail. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that all of the above carrots and sticks actually reduce performance and undermine motivation. When it comes to tasks that require problem solving or other right brain activities, people perform best when they are given autonomy over their tasks, opportunity for mastery in their field, and a sense that the task has a clear and meaningful purpose.

Those who have read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, Carol Dweck's Mindset, and Levitt and Dubner's Freakonomics will find much familiar, but Pink packages …

Book Review: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

"The Hardest Part of a Zombie Apocalypse Will be Pretending I'm Not Excited," says an old friend of mine on Facebook. I tend to agree. What's up with this fascination so many of us hold for zombies? I'll leave that to the psych department of my school, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that our Id can indulge its hunger for inflicting violence without that pestering Super Ego telling us that such behavior is inappropriate. There's nothing inappropriate with unloading a twelve gauge in the face of the undead. The morality is delightfully simple. I would argue that this is the device behind the success of Tarrantino's Inglourious Basterds--Nazis being the closest thing we've seen to people we can kill with a free conscious. This device is why I picked up World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. However, it has nothing to do with why I liked the book so much.


Sure, there's some good zombie killing satisfaction to …