E-books: does @page99 approach still work?

21 Apr

I have borrowed several e-books from the local library. It just occurred to me that @Page99 here depends on reader choices. It is thus dependent on such vagaries as:
– size of screen on the device used for reading
– screen orientation: portrait vs landscape
– font size chosen.

My choice is the book I am currently enjoying

“How we invented freedom & why it matters”

by Daniel Hannan.

It has won Paddy Power’s Political Book Awards Polemic of the Year in March 2014 so my views are clearly shared wider. I hasten to add that I do not share Mr Hannan’s political views but I am impressed with his well argued case.

First, finding a page number at all is difficult. In OverDrive (Adobe software used by our lending library) I can see in the summary how many pages I have seen. Every look at a page is counted- thus ‘pages viewed’ counter is of little use. Pages are numbered at the bottom starting with 1 for each chapter. So that counter is not accurate either.

Then it occurred to me to look at the back of the book into the Index. Sure enough I found there a name on p.99.

Page 99 deals with the Norman Conquest battles of 1066. It contains a story of King Harold and his brothers who fought Norman invaders lead by William, later King William I. This page captures the battle that led to crucial changes in England – it was not just that one King was replaced by another but a whole ruling aristocratic layer was also replaced by the knights loyal to new Norman king. What is more, and it is the heart of this book, the next section in this Chapter being THE ROOTS OF OUR RIGHTS.

This page thus depicts one of the crucial events in English history. It could not be more symbolic. The page is at the beginning of the section Yet it introduces what became the turning point in English history and the central tenet of the book as depicted on the book sleeve, which states

This book tells the story of freedom and explains how it is a uniquely ‘British’, rather than ‘Western’ invention.

Reviews reboot

7 Apr

I came across a really interesting site called The Page 99 Test with the subtitle “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” –Ford Madox Ford Definitely sounds intriguing and I will try it out in my reviews.

Above is a quote from my second post here. A good idea I am putting in place now. Subject is

Scaling up Excellence by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao

Published by Random House Business Books

Page 99 title is CUT COGNITIVE LOAD. There are three paragraphs. Here is most of it:

scaling entails subjecting people to an onslaught of unfamiliar, difficult, and upsetting changes and chores. The sheer volume and complexity often overwhelms the “working memory” of individuals who do it, which produces blind spots and bad decisions and saps (individual’s) willpower.

Researchers call this condition “cognitive overload”, and it’s unfortunate effects are well documented.. An experiment is recounted claiming that extra mental effort required induces people to take the easy way out and gobble down the less healthy cake.

Seven is the “magic number” for memory researchers. In 1956 , psychologist George Miller showed that people could hold “seven, plus or minus two” numbers in short-term memory. Yet organizational designers rarely head the implications of Miller’s Law or thousands of subsequent studies on the hazards of overtaxing our brains. As organizations expand and mature, rather than rationing or subtracting load, leaders and teams often pile on so many metrics, procedures, and chores that people lose the capacity and willpower to do the right things. There follows example of Office Depot where the new president faced clashing facts: “mystery shoppers” evaluations were at all time high, yet store sales were falling. After many visits to stores Peters found that clerks and managers felt so pressured to do tasks like sweeping floors and stocking shelves that they routinely ignored customers’ questions and needs

Summary.. Too much information is bad for you and those who depend on your decisions. Designing systems in organizations to deal with complexity is essential but almost never done. It is no wonder people make choices that turn out to have effects opposite of the intended ones.

Summary – Corporate Storytelling and KM session 1st Feb.2011 -Summary

2 Feb

KMers 0102 Corporate Storytelling and KM -Summary

This may appear to be out of context here but do check the document.  You will see how much useful material an hour’s crowdsourcing session on Twitter with one hashtag (#KMers) can generate.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

From Present to Future Orientation or Seeking Balance

31 Oct

It is sometimes unbelievable to discover how quickly time goes. For instance, last time I posted here was almost nine months ago! Long enough to have a baby- and yet no book reviews.

Instead, I will post some points from the webcast I was listening to with Prof Philip Zimbardo, Stanford University social psychologist who was broadly talking about the themes covered in his new book The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life (Paperback). Instead of this specific webcast I recommend Prof Zimbardo’s talk on this topic at Commonwealth Club available on FORA.tv

Perhaps the best recommendation for the learning opportunity that his talk offered is my return to this blog just a few hours after hearing what Prof Zimbardo had to say. He has developed a scale which looks into past, resent and future orientation which can be found at his website along with some reading resources. It is instructive to take it and reflect on the results in conjunction to the optimum.

I was impressed by his generosity to share with the us, his unseen audience. Lovely and alive person though he is 76y old!

what is slowing down the progress

5 Feb

This is a long overdue post. Motivation where are you? Even a 10 day holiday in sunny Madeira has not got the batteries fully recharged. So, another tack is required.

First, looking for other options. I see at least two polarities at play:

time vs added value: where I limit the time to be spent at reading the chosen book to that necessary to produce a good review that adds value to the readers. If it is true that Bill Clinton reads 1,200 words per minute, I should have no problems at less than half that rate. Then again, it could all just be made up like the myth created by John F. Kennedy in an interview with Time Magazine, who quoted the same figure, only later to admit it privately that this was a pure invention. Perhaps the real ‘value-added’ would be in such nuggets being made available to wider public.

laboratory vs theory: where rather than trying to be ‘perfect’ I go ahead with using the initially found template. The only addition will be with academic texts, where I will add also some of the points from academic reviews.

Perhaps these simple steps will remove the feeling of pressure that sits over me as I finally get the FIRST REVIEW on the site!

OK, where are you?

Books and Music

31 Dec

It is late at night and I am listening to Leonard Cohen sing his songs (lots of them). His music and words are wonderful- the concert earlier this year in London was sublime! All those baby boomers singing and clapping. I do not believe I paid much attention to his music until I heard Margaret Attwood describe the song she would leave to her children on BBC R4 program – it was Leonard Cohen ‘Dance me to the end of time’. I have been catching up ever since. Now even the general UK public is fully on the act with his Hallelujah song being first ever Top 1 and 2 song, though his version (best for me) was around 30’s.

Latest comment in the Independent by Howard Jacobson Few can do love and loss like the Old Testament – except Leonard Cohen shows why this poem is almost like a book. After all, it took Leonard Cohen 2 years to write the lyrics for it. In an earlier piece about him after being at his concert along with 50,000 others, Howard Jacobson reminds us that Thanks to Leonard Cohen, I can see the light that slips through the crack by refering to the lyrics of Cohen’s poem “Anthem”

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Questions for housekeeping

30 Dec

Reviewing books I own looks a simple organisational task. It is until I started to put it into practice.

I have now come up with a logistic issue. Namely, our/my books are spread on bookshelves, tables, surfaces all around the house. Where will I put the books that I have reviewed?

Easiest would be to allocate a shelf for that purpose. Well, that would presuppose mixing different books together- something that is not the case at present. And, I would need to empty a shelf for this- none are free now.

Another option would be to put the books that have been reviewed into a box and keep on updating the list of them placing it on the top. This could be a good way to keep track of the location of books and their list- I would have the same list on the computer too. Boxes would need to have a unique ID as would the shelves later.

Well, may be a simple boxing solution will work.

NB. I have later noticed that the white bookshelf on upper landing has very few books and is strategically placed! So, that is a second option.


Five and a half years on we are in the new house. The first addition to our home has been to build a full wall double depth bookshelf. Thus the books are now mostly in two places: sitting room and my husband’s study. So, no more excuse that I do not know where to start.