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Reading Maketh a Full Man...

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Currently reading

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls Learn Differently!: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Michael Gurian, Terry Trueman, Patricia Henley
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
Christian Wiman
Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burris
Daring, Trusting Spirit
John De Gruchy
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
John Thavis
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Orlando Figes

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan  Cain I watched a TED talk with Susan Cain and decided to check out her book from the library. One story she told from her family intrigued and fascinated me. She said that her family enjoyed reading so much that they might all be in the same room, but no one was speaking and no distracting TV or radio was blaring. They were all just sitting together as a family, each one reading a book in total contentment. That reminded me a great deal of one of my favorite Christmas memories, when each person in my family retreated to a chair or couch to sit and read one of the wonderful books that we'd gotten for Christmas. No TV, no conversation, no distractions, just merely being together and reading together! One of my happiest memories, and how wonderful to find out that someone else had had that also!Cain does a wonderful job in her book of teaching introverts (and extroverts also), the power of contemplation and of silence. In the western world extroversion has been held up as the norm for success. But is extroversion really successful? Not really as much as you would think!One fascinating item -- face-to-face brainstorming in large groups has been studied for over 40 years and found to be totally ineffective in producing good solutions. The failure of group brainstorming to provide better solutions has been documented, but it still persists in being used as an effective way! Schools have adopted the "group learning" as the norm, in spite of the evidence again that students to not learn better in groups. The "Coding War Games" (see http://dwp.bigplanet.com/pdkconsulting/nss-folder/pdfdownloads1/Why_Measure%20_DeMarco3.20.01.pdf ) show that work environments that supply the most privacy and the best protection from interruptions produce the best solutions and learning environments!Yes, teach people how to work in groups, but also teach them how to work alone. Steve Wozniak, creator of the Apple I computer and co-founder of the Apple company with Steve Jobs, even mentions in his biography that his recommendation is to work alone and to reduce distractions so that you can concentrate. A thought that I had about this was wondering if perhaps much of the homeschool movement was to allow students the flexibility to be alone to think and learn, to reduce distractions and allow that privacy and freedom to think that seems to be lost in our "group think" public schools?Interesting topics for further reading include Brian Little and his work on personality (see http://www.brianrlittle.com/ ). Also see Jerome Kagan and his work on understanding temperament (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome_Kagan ). See also the Orchid Hypothesis by David Dobbs (see http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/12/the-science-of-success/7761/ ).Overall a really excellent book. I recommend it highly.