Official Book Selection Poll
2nd Quarter 2006 NONFICTION book POLL!
Please read these directions BEFORE you vote!
How many nonfiction books will we be reading?
We will only be reading 1 nonfiction book in 2nd quarter of 2006. In time, as our membership grows, we will tackle several nonfiction books concurrently.How long will the poll stay open?
This poll is opening on Tuesday, March 7th, 2006, and will be closing on Thursday, March 16th. This is a total of 10 full days.Who can vote?
All active members are invited and encouraged to vote and participate in our book selection process, but please follow the following simple rules:
Only cast a vote if you have 10 or more posts on our forums. If you don't have at least 10 you should have no problem jumping into some discussion threads and meeting this rather relaxed criterion.
Don't vote if you don't plan on reading and discussing the winning book. And please understand that only one nonfiction book can win, but we are counting on you to actively participate independent of which book wins the poll. You matter and we need every member to participate.How do I vote?
If you are an active member with 10 or more total posts AND you plan on participating in the Q2, 2006 discussion THEN you are permitted to cast a total of 3 votes. You can use your three votes however you see fit, which could mean assigning all three votes to just one of the book choices, or distributing the three points over the book choices according to your own interest level for each book. You should make a brief post to this thread telling everyone how you wish to distribute your three votes. Nothing further needs to be said, but you're welcome to be as verbose as you like. Just make it crystal clear how you are voting.
It is inevitable that some people will either forget to cast all three votes or will not have read this entire post. They will simply vote on one book. If this happens I will be assigning all three of their votes to the one book they selected.
You are permitted to change your vote during the voting period, but not after I close the poll. The poll is closed on the last day of the polling period as stated above.
This thread can be used as an open discussion of the books on the poll. You're welcome to try to sell people on a particular book, or dissuade them from another. NOTE:
As always, we will need a discussion leader that is willing to be very active in the reading and discussion of the winning book. If you are up to the task please let us all know in this forum by making a post and stating your interest in the position.
Please don't nominate yourself if you will not be active. Being active means checking the forum just about every day and making posts regularly. Regularly means a few times each week at the minimum.
Being a discussion leader does not entail being an authority on the subject matter or defending the author's position. You simply need to attempt to stimulate discussion.
And here are our NONFICTION book choices for 2nd Quarter 2006 (april, May, & June). Please read about all books before casting your votes. Think hard about which book will be the most educational, entertaining, and worthy of discussion. May the best book win!
Drum roll please...
Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century
by Howard GardnerAmazon.com
How would a musical genius like Mozart have performed on the SAT or GRE? Well enough to go to an Ivy League? Difficult to say, of course, but thank goodness Howard Gardner thought to ask the question: Can every sort of intelligence be measured with the tools we've been using for the past century and more? In his 1983 book, Frames of Mind, Gardner laid out the foundation for the theory of multiple intelligences (MI). In Intelligence Reframed, a revisitation and elaboration of MI theory, he details the modern history of intelligence and the development of MI, responds to the myths about multiple intelligences, and handles FAQs about the theory and its application. He also restates his ideal educational plan, which would emphasize deep understanding of iconic subjects following from a variety of instructional approaches. (His book The Disciplined Mind discusses this plan in more detail.) Most excitingly, Gardner discusses the possibility for three more intelligences. Of these, he endorses only one, the naturalist intelligence--a person's ability to identify plants and animals in the surrounding environment. He writes, "My recognition that such individuals could not readily be classified in terms of the seven antecedent intelligences led me to consider this additional form of intelligence and to construe the scope of the naturalist's abilities more broadly."
An absorbing read from cover to cover, Intelligence Reframed should be studied and discussed by teachers, administrators, policy makers, and all those eager to serve children and prepare them to lead fulfilling lives.From Publishers Weekly
In Frames of Mind (1983), Gardner first set forth his influential theory of Multiple Intelligences, contending that each of us is equipped with eight or more separate types of intelligence (including linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal varieties). In this combative update, geared mainly to educators, psychologists and other professionals, Harvard education professor Gardner adds to the list a new naturalist intelligence, which involves attunement to the environment, its flora and fauna. He further proposes that there may be a spiritual or existential intelligence (knowledge of transcendental and cosmic matters), but adds that this awaits scientific verification. Critics will undoubtedly pounce on his ideas, but Gardner has his ammunition ready: he argues that accumulating neurological evidence supports MI theory, and cites a study by Harvard Project Zero (of which he is codirector) reporting that schools across the U.S. applying MI theory boast improved student performance and parent participation. Gardner also outlines two of his new educational approaches: "individually configured education," tailored to individual differences, and "Teaching for Understanding," designed to assess students' comprehension at each step. He also throws down a gauntlet: "If we ignore the differences [in how people acquire and represent knowledge], we are destined to perpetuate a system that caters to an eliteAtypically those who learn best in a... linguistic or logical-mathematical manner." His book is certain to fuel debate. (Nov..--, we are destined to perpetuate a system that caters to an eliteAtypically those who learn best in a... linguistic or logical-mathematical manner." His book is certain to fuel debate. From Library Journal
In his seminal work, Frames of Mind, Harvard psychologist Gardner argued that intelligence comprises more than one or two properties. Since translated into seven languages, the book proceeded to spawn debate. Besides language and math, Gardner posits five other types of intelligence: musical, kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Here he considers three new possibilities: naturalistic, spiritual, and existential. Three chapters take up issues and misunderstandings commonly found in applying multiple intelligence theory in education, business, and the arts. A chapter on creators and leaders shows the breadth of Gardner's knowledge and interests, and one on achieving understanding through performance proves his pragmatic orientation as a teacher. Besides references, appendixes include schools and other contacts. This valuable book by a leading psychologist and educator is essential for most libraries.
The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
by Thomas L. FriedmanAmazon.com
Thomas L. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim, in his new book, The World Is Flat, as in his earlier, influential Lexus and the Olive Tree, is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here. The world isn't going to be flat, it is flat, which gives Friedman's breathless narrative much of its urgency, and which also saves it from the Epcot-style polyester sheen that futurists--the optimistic ones at least--are inevitably prey to.
What Friedman means by "flat" is "connected": the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. This in itself should not be news to anyone. But the news that Friedman has to deliver is that just when we stopped paying attention to these developments--when the dot-com bust turned interest away from the business and technology pages and when 9/11 and the Iraq War turned all eyes toward the Middle East--is when they actually began to accelerate. Globalization 3.0, as he calls it, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations like the World Bank, but by individuals: desktop freelancers and innovative startups all over the world (but especially in India and China) who can compete--and win--not just for low-wage manufacturing and information labor but, increasingly, for the highest-end research and design work as well. (He doesn't forget the "mutant supply chains" like Al-Qaeda that let the small act big in more destructive ways.) Friedman tells his eye-opening story with the catchy slogans and globe-hopping anecdotes that readers of his earlier books and his New York Times columns will know well, and also with a stern sort of optimism. He wants to tell you how exciting this new world is, but he also wants you to know you're going to be trampled if you don't keep up with it. His book is an excellent place to begin. From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Before 9/11, New York Times columnist Friedman was best known as the author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, one of the major popular accounts of globalization and its discontents. Having devoted most of the last four years of his column to the latter as embodied by the Middle East, Friedman picks up where he left off, saving al-Qaeda et al. for the close. For Friedman, cheap, ubiquitous telecommunications have finally obliterated all impediments to international competition, and the dawning "flat world" is a jungle pitting "lions" and "gazelles," where "economic stability is not going to be a feature" and "the weak will fall farther behind." Rugged, adaptable entrepreneurs, by contrast, will be empowered. The service sector (telemarketing, accounting, computer programming, engineering and scientific research, etc.), will be further outsourced to the English-spoken abroad; manufacturing, meanwhile, will continue to be off-shored to China. As anyone who reads his column knows, Friedman agrees with the transnational business executives who are his main sources that these developments are desirable and unstoppable, and that American workers should be preparing to "create value through leadership" and "sell personality." This is all familiar stuff by now, but the last 100 pages on the economic and political roots of global Islamism are filled with the kind of close reporting and intimate yet accessible analysis that have been hard to come by. Add in Friedman's winning first-person interjections and masterful use of strategic wonksterisms, and this book should end up on the front seats of quite a few Lexuses and SUVs of all stripes.From Booklist
*Starred Review* Although it may be catchy, the title of New York Times columnist Friedman's latest book needs explaining. "Flat" here means "level," as in the level playing field on which virtually any nation can now compete, thanks to the explosion of global telecommunications, including the Internet as well as the transfer of information from First World to Third--and back. There's also a leveling of hierarchies within organizations, thanks to the increasing democratization of information from sources such as the Web. Friedman cites 10 forces that have caused this "flattening," including the fall of the Berlin Wall ("We could not think globally about the world when the Berlin Wall was there," said one economist), the emergence of Netscape as an Internet platform, workflow software, open sourcing, outsourcing, the streamlining of the supply chain (witness Wal-Mart), the organization of information on the Internet (Google, Yahoo), and the ubiquity of powerful personal telecommunications devices. Friedman is very thorough at projecting the consequences of these changes, noting the benefits we all share from this hyper-globalization, while realistically addressing, for example, the challenges American workers will face in the coming decades from talented, highly motivated workforces in such countries as India and China. A little more humor might have offset the author's trademark earnestness; still, as he has with other global issues, Friedman brings coherence and a workable plan of action to the fundamental changes our world is experiencing.
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
by Sam HarrisAmazon.com
Sam Harris cranks out blunt, hard-hitting chapters to make his case for why faith itself is the most dangerous element of modern life. And if the devil's in the details, then you'll find Satan waiting at the back of the book in the very substantial notes section where Harris saves his more esoteric discussions to avoid sidetracking the urgency of his message.
Interestingly, Harris is not just focused on debunking religious faith, though he makes his compelling arguments with verve and intellectual clarity. The End of Faith is also a bit of a philosophical Swiss Army knife. Once he has presented his arguments on why, in an age of Weapons of Mass Destruction, belief is now a hazard of great proportions, he focuses on proposing alternate approaches to the mysteries of life. Harris recognizes the truth of the human condition, that we fear death, and we often crave "something more" we cannot easily define, and which is not met by accumulating more material possessions. But by attempting to provide the cure for the ills it defines, the book bites off a bit more than it can comfortably chew in its modest page count (however the rich Bibliography provides more than enough background for an intrigued reader to follow up for months on any particular strand of the author' musings.)
Harris' heart is not as much in the latter chapters, though, but in presenting his main premise. Simply stated, any belief system that speaks with assurance about the hereafter has the potential to place far less value on the here and now. And thus the corollary -- when death is simply a door translating us from one existence to another, it loses its sting and finality. Harris pointedly asks us to consider that those who do not fear death for themselves, and who also revere ancient scriptures instructing them to mete it out generously to others, may soon have these weapons in their own hands. If thoughts along the same line haunt you, this is your book.From Publishers Weekly
In this sometimes simplistic and misguided book, Harris calls for the end of religious faith in the modern world. Not only does such faith lack a rational base, he argues, but even the urge for religious toleration allows a too-easy acceptance of the motives of religious fundamentalists. Religious faith, according to Harris, requires its adherents to cling irrationally to mythic stories of ideal paradisiacal worlds (heaven and hell) that provide alternatives to their own everyday worlds. Moreover, innumerable acts of violence, he argues, can be attributed to a religious faith that clings uncritically to one set of dogmas or another. Very simply, religion is a form of terrorism for Harris. Predictably, he argues that a rational and scientific view