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The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World's Most Important Company
The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World's Most Important Company
by Michael S. Malone
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $25.49
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5.0 out of 5 stars How a crucible of leadership created Intel, "the world's most important company", July 29, 2014
What we have in this volume is a biography of a great organization rather than a history of it. Moreover, Michael Malone focuses on three quite different leaders - Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andrew Grove - who overcame their several and significant differences in order to build what became, and remained for decades, "the world's most important company."

According to Malone, "Anyone who attempts the history of a giant corporation that is half a century old faces the inevitable problem of weighing eras and subjects." I agree and it's obvious that he explored just about all the essential sources when assembling the historical material he needed to do full justice to Noyce, Moore, and Grove as well as to Intel, the company they led for several decades. That was a significant challenge and there were others. "It becomes even more complex when you try to tell the story through not one or two founders, but three -- all of them very different in personality and not even necessarily liking one another. Finally, there is the challenge of writing about a technology company. How deep do you go into the arcana of bits and bytes, silicon and software, transistors and teraFLOPS, without losing the average reader or insulting the tech-savvy reader?"

These are among the subjects of greatest interest to me that Malone examines with rigor and eloquence:

o When and why Intel was founded in 1968
o The defining characteristics of each of the "trinity": Noyce, Moore, and Grove
o The extent to which the differences between and among them help to explain how and why Intel became "the world's most important company"
o The nature and extent of that importance
o The most valuable business lessons to be learned from Intel's "darkest moments"
o The significance of "Moore' Law" and its relevance to today's global marketplace
o The significance of Intel 4004 in 1971
o Why Intel abandoned the memory business and focused on microprocessors in 1985
o The "legacy" of each of the three: Noyce, Moore, and Grove

Here in Dallas near the downtown area, there is a Farmer's Market at which several merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples of their wares. In that spirit, I now offer a representative selection of brief excerpts from the narrative that suggest the thrust and flavor of Malone' style:

o "To understand Intel and the three men who led it, you must first understand the Silicon Valley and its beginnings. To do that, you need to know the stories of Shockley Transistor, the Traitorous Eight, and Fairchild Semiconductor. Without that understanding, Intel Corporation will remain -- as it does to most people -- an enigma." (Page 3)

o "With Grove, Intel beat or destroyed them all...but might well have destroyed itself in the process had not Gordon Moore been there to temper Andy's ferocity and round his sharp corners. Gordon was Bob's foundation and Andy's conscience: a remarkable feat of partnership and adaptation, given that he was dealing with two of the biggest personalities of the age. He was the insulator between these two charged characters -- and perhaps most remarkable of all, he filled that role (and dealt with growing fame and wealth) while remaining true to himself." (116)

o "Was Bob Graham's firing good for Intel? History says that indeed it was. The company was heading into a difficult era, one that threatened to tear it in two. And as much as it needed a talented marketer to sell its revolutionary new products, it needed even more a numbers-oriented marketer who could convince the equally number-oriented engineers and scientists inside Intel to follow his lead. And in Gelbach, Intel found exactly the right man." (183)

o "At the heart of this story about Intel is the message that the company succeeded and reached the pinnacle of the modern economy not because its leadership was so brilliant (although it was) nor because its employees were so bright (though they were), nor that it had the best products (sometimes yes, most times no), nor that it made fewer mistakes than its competitors (completely wrong), but because Intel, more than any company America has ever known, had the ability to [begin italics] learn [end italics] -- from its successes and even more from its failures." (371)

o Grove on a shared epiphany in the middle of 1985: "I looked out the window at the Ferris Wheel of the Great America amusement park revolving in the distance, then I turned back to Gordon and asked, 'If we got kicked out and brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?' Gordon answered without hesitation, 'He would get us out of memories.' I stared at him, numb, and then said, 'Why shouldn't you and I walk out the door, then come back and do it ourselves?'" (390)

o "Most of all for the three men of Intel's Trinity, even in the worst times, working at Intel was [begin italics] exciting [end italics]. It was the most engrossing thing in their already remarkable lives. And that excitement -- of competition, of advancing technology, of transforming the world, and most of all being part of the Intel family -- made it worthwhile to come to work each day even if they were already living legends and billionaires." (487)

o Grove's most revealing reflections: "Gordon did impress me at the beginning but more than that, he always stood by me. Bob impressed me, too, but there was so much that I didn't like about him. His charisma put me off. His management style put me off. His inability to make decisions put me off. So did his unwillingness to actually learn the business. I didn't like those things in him that the world most admired him for." But then there was the time when Noyce crawled under Grove's car as snow began to fall and attached chains to the tires "while me and my wife and our daughters just stood there, watching helplessly. That was the best of him. So was his risk taking, his impressive physical courage, and his intellectual clarity. That was the part of him I loved, not all the famous stuff." Grove's rigid face could no longer betray his emotions but in his eyes, tears begin to swell. "After all these years, I miss Bob the most." (498)

In my opinion, Michael Malone not only met but indeed prevailed when taking on various challenges noted earlier. I think his approach is best described as that of a cultural anthropologist whose primary interest is in the "Trinity": Noyce the charismatic father, Grove the truculent son, and Moore, the holy spirit of high tech. Their collaboration was, as I characterize it, a "crucible of leadership," one that accomplished so much, at least for a significant period of time. Intel powered the global Internet economy while reconciling its endless need to drive chip technology forward at the exponential pace of Moore's law with its retrograde pull of its glorious past. Paraphrasing a line from Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, this is a tale well-told, full of sound and fury, much that may never occur again.

Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World (Belfer Center Studies in International Security)
Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World (Belfer Center Studies in International Security)
by Robert D. Blackwill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.90
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and invaluable perspectives on global developments that are certain to become even more challenging...and promising, July 28, 2014
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Graham Allison and Robert D. Blackwill, with Ali Wyne, examine the global perspectives of Lee Kuan Yew. Never heard of him? Allow Henry Kissinger to introduce him: "I have had the privilege of meeting many world leaders over the past half century; none, however, has taught me more than Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first premier and its guiding spirit ever since." What we have here is an extended Q&A format during which Yew responds to a series of questions that address eight major subjects:
A separate chapter is devoted to each.

1. The Future of China
2. The Future of the United States
3. The Future of U.S.-China Relations
4. The Future of India
5. The Future of Islamic Extremism
6. The Future of National Economic Growth
7. The Future of Geopolitics
8. The Future of Democracy

Then in Chapter 9, "How Lee Kuan Yew Thinks," his answers to the questions posed "reveal much about the principles and worldview that have shaped his political choices." These are among Yew's observations of greatest interest and value to me:

* * *

o Straight-line extrapolations from such a remarkable record [i.e. China's rapidly growing consumer market] are not realistic. China has more handicaps going forward and more obstacles to overcome than most observers recognize.

o China is not going to become a liberal democracy; if it did, it would collapse.

o I understood Deng Xiaoping when he said: if 200,000 students have to be shot, shoot them, because the alternative is China in chaos for another 100 years.

o The U.S. is going through a bumpy patch with its debt and deficits, but I have no doubt that America will not be reduced to second-rate status.

o Presidents do not get reelected if they give a hard dose of medicine to their people.

o The baiting of China by American human rights groups, and the threatening of loss of most-favored-nation status and other sanctions by the U.S. Congress and the administration for violations of human rights and missile technology transfers...ignore differences of culture, values, and history, and subordinate the strategic considerations of China-U.S. relations to an American agenda.

o Americans seem to think that Asia is like a movie and that you can freeze developments out whenever the U.S. becomes intensely involved elsewhere in the world. It does not work like that...The U.S. cannot come and go as it pleases.

o Islam has not been a problem. However, contemporary radical Islamism is a very serious problem.

o The Russian population is declining. It is not clear why, but alcoholism plays a role; so do pessimism, a declining fertility rate, and declining life expectancy.

o There is no viable alternative to global integration...Globalism is the only answer that is fair, acceptable, and will uphold world peace.

o They [the BRICS, the emerging economies in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] are different countries on different continents that happen to be growing faster than other combinations of countries, so somebody said: why not bring them all together and make them into a global force?...The Chinese and Indians do not share the same dreams.

o I do not want to be remembered as a statesman...Anybody who thinks he is a statesman needs to see a psychiatrist.

* * *

According to the co-authors, "The purpose of this slim volume is not to look back on the past 50 years, remarkable as Lee's contributions to them have been. Rather, our focus is the future and the specific challenges that the United Stated will face during the next quarter century."

Here are complementary observations by Kissinger: "Lee's analyses shed light on the most important challenge that the United States confronts over the long term: how to build a fundamental and organic relationship with Asia, including China. There is nobody who can teach us more about the scope of this effort than Lee Kuan Yew."

I am grateful to Graham Allison, Robert D. Blackwill, and Ali Wyne for the skill with which they prepared for, conducted, and then prepared for publication a unique and timely an interaction with one of the world's most influential thought leaders, Lee Kuan Yew. I also appreciate Henry Kissinger's contributions. This book is a "must read" for anyone interested in and (hopefully) concerned about global challenges that await all of us in months and years to come.

American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America
American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America
by Edmund S. Morgan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.86
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5.0 out of 5 stars No one else in our own time has "known so well the materials of New England history during the period that he covered.", July 28, 2014
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What we have in this volume are sixteen essays that share information and insights that Edmund Morgan accumulated during more than four decades of teaching and research. I am hard-pressed to think of a better classroom teacher who produced more scholarly books and essays of higher quality. I cherish the two graduate courses I took from him at Yale. This was the latest of his 25 books, published two years before his death at age 97. It is a "scholarly" work, to be sure, but as is also true of Morgan's other works and indeed of his classroom style, it is by no means formal in an academic, sometimes pedantic sense. He loved sharing stories that entertained as well as informed but that had to be historically accurate and authentic as well as relevant to the given point made.

For example, here is a story he includes in the Preface:

* * *

There were the two Boston carters, my personal favorites, who stood down the royal governor of Massachusetts on a wintry day in 1705. They were carrying a heavy load of wood on a narrow road, drifted with snow, when they encountered the governor coming from the opposite direction. Since they did not turn off the road to let the governor's coach pass, he leapt out and bade them give way. One of them then, according to the governor's own testimony," answered boldly, without any other words, 'I am as good flesh and blood as you; I will not give way, you may goe out of the way.'" When the governor then drew his sword and advanced to teach the man a lesson, the carter "layd hold on the governor and broke the sword in his hand," a supreme gesture of contempt for authority and its might. This is an excellent example of the heroism that Morgan examines throughout his lively as well as eloquent narrative, focusing on dozens of others who also had the courage of their convictions and acted upon them when in harm's way.

* * *

Morgan wryly notes that the people he selected, "whether public heroes or simply my own favorites, have all surprised me in one way of another. Something about them has sent me looking at the records they left behind, often looking for a second time, having second thoughts. Many of these pieces are the result of second thought about what I said earlier in biographies or biographical sketches."

Morgan recalls Benjamin Franklin's assertion (in 1748, writing as Poor Richard) that Hero "when he comes, takes life and goods together; his business and glory it is, to destroy man and the works of man...Hero, therefore, is the worst of the three [destroyers]," the others being Plague and Famine. Morgan then observes, "Only one hero in my gallery comes close to fitting Franklin's unflattering description: Christopher Columbus, subject of the first selection. Except in his daring to go where others feared to go, he does not meet my criteria for a hero. But how could I leave him out?"

Columbus is among the Conqueror" discussed in the first chapter, and Morgan then shifts his attention Puritans, witches, and Quakers in the next eleven Chapters, taking the narrative to profiles of Ezra Stiles and Timothy Dwight in Chapter Twelve. He concludes with five essays that discuss the leaders of the American Revolution. "Franklin is truly my hero, and so is Washington, two men for whom my admiration never stops growing." There are also others who also demonstrate heroism in one form or another. In the Epilogue, Morgan has this to say about the "genius" of Perry Miller, one of Morgan's professors at Harvard:

"Miler's distinction lay in an extraordinary ability to discover order where others saw chaos, and to express his deepest insights without uttering the, by tracing unsuspected patterns in the raw materials of the past. Only one who has examined the raw materials for himself can fully appreciate the beauty of those patterns in [Miller's classic work] The New England Mind or how faithfully they encompass the materials. No one but Miller, in fact, has in our time known so well the materials of New England history during the period that he covered."

Channeling Bernard of Chartres, a 12th century French monk, he would insist that he was a dwarf standing atop Miller's shoulders. I am among those who believe that no one but Edmund Morgan has in our own time "known so well the materials of New England history during the period that he covered." Those who question that need only read this book.

How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching
How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching
by Marie K. Norman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $37.14
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5.0 out of 5 stars At least in higher education in the United States, how learning can work...and why, sometimes, it doesn't, July 26, 2014
At the outset, having read and then re-read this book, I wish to share a few introductory observations. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of ways that informal as well as formal education works. Also, how learning occurs in public schools tends to differ significantly from how it occurs in public suburban and private (day or boarding) schools. Moreover, how learning occurs in colleges and universities differs significantly from how it occurs in corporate education programs, be they formal or informal.
In the Introduction, Richard Mayer suggests that this book "is the latest advancement in the continuing task of applying the science of learning to education -- particularly, college teaching." That is a key point.

Here's another. Whenever I read a book or article about the "learning environment" in inner-city schools in the United States, I am again reminded of an incident one evening in Concord (MA) long ago, after Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered a lecture on the principles of transcendentalism. He agreed to answer a few questions. And elderly farmer in bib overalls stood up and removed his cap. "Yes sir? You have a question?" Long pause. "How do you transcend an empty stomach?" The context, the culture within which education is offered usually is a major factor in terms of how receptive students are. Most of the material in this book is, as Mayer suggests, relevant to higher education.

The co-authors -- Susan Ambrose, Michael Bridges, Michelle DiPietro, Marsha Lovell, and Marie Norman -- introduce and focus on seven research-based principles for smart teaching. Here they are, accompanied by a comment of mine.

1. Students prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.
Comment: The same can be said of those who teach them.

2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know.
Comment: Few students in school learn how to study, learn, obtain and manage information, etc.

3. Students' motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do learn.
Comment: I agree. All learning worthy of the name must be self-motivated, even when supervised.

4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when [and how] to apply what they have learned.
Comments: Decades of research by K. Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University have determined that practice must be "deep" and "deliberate," conducted under strict supervision by an expert in the given field, to achieve peak performance. Also, what is generally referred to as the "10,000 Rule" applies. Otherwise, repetitive practice -- insofar as achieving peak performance is concerned -- is worthless...or worse. Why? Because it reinforces, indeed strengthens bad habits, techniques, etc.

5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students' learning.
Comment: See my response to #4.

6. Students' current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning.
Comment: I am among those who are convinced that much (most?) of the most valuable learning occurs outside of an academic (i.e. classroom) environment. That said, what happens within that environment can help to guide, inform, and nourish learning elsewhere.

7. To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning.
Comment: Again, I agree, while adding that (a) self-directed learning presupposes self-motivated learning and (b) evaluation skills can, indeed must be mastered under expert superstition.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of co-authors' coverage.

o Methods to Gauge the Extent and Nature of Students' Prior Knowledge (Pages 27-31)
o Methods to Activate Prior Knowledge (31-35)
o Methods to Help Students Recognize Inappropriate Prior Behavior (35-37)
O Methods to Correct Inaccurate Knowledge (37-38)

Note: I am reminded of the fact that, years ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed that people are entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts.

o What Does Research Tell Us About Knowledge Organization? (46-58)
o Strategies That Help Students Build Positive Expectancies (85-88)
o Strategies That Address Values and Expectancies (89)
o Integration of Component Skills (103-107)
o What Does Practice Tell Us About Practice (127-130)

To repeat: Decades of research by K. Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University have determined that practice must be "deep" and "deliberate," conducted under strict supervision by an expert in the given field, to achieve peak performance. Also, what is generally referred to as the "10,000 Rule" applies. Otherwise, repetitive practice -- insofar as achieving peak performance is concerned -- is worthless...or worse. Why? Because it reinforces, indeed strengthens bad habits, techniques, etc.

o The Chickering Model of Human Development, and, Intellectual Development (160-166)
o Students' Beliefs About Intelligence and Learning (180-186)
o Beliefs About Intelligence and Learning (200-202)
o Evaluating One's Own Strengths and Weaknesses (206-210)
o Applying the Seven Principles to Ourselves (217-224)

Obviously, no brief commentary such as this can do full justice to the scope and depth of the material that Susan Ambrose, Michael Bridges, Michelle DiPietro, Marsha Lovell, and Marie Norman provide. However, I hope this review helps those who read it to decide whether or not this volume is of interest and can of value to them.

How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination
How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination
by Sally Hogshead
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.33
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5.0 out of 5 stars How and why this volume can serve both as a mirror and as a window to one's humanity, for better or worse, July 25, 2014
In this book, Sally Hogshead develops several of the concepts and insights she provided in a previously published book, Fascinate, that she characterizes as "the science of fascination." However, there is more - much more - in this later book as she continues to share all that she has learned (thus far) about three separate but related, indeed interdependent dimensions of human interaction: how we may think others see us, how in fact they do, and - if there is a significant difference -- what is needed to achieve the desired perceptions. She is convinced - and I agreed with her - that people can improve and enhance their impact on others, especially in terms of appearance/presence as well as body language and tone of voice.

The key is to identify one's highest value. That is, "The pinnacle of who you already are; what makes you exceptional. How you are different: Your specialized ability to deliver above and beyond what's expected."

The Japanese term "kaizen" usually refers to an organization's continuous improvement but it can also refer to an individual's. Once you identify your highest value (whatever it is, however high it is), you can then focus on increasing it because, Hogshead observes, "When you live according to your highest distinct value, you become your most fascinating -- and most valuable self."

She makes an excellent point about the power of focus: "Ever watch a 3-D movie without 3-D glasses? It's a distorted jumble of information. You're more likely to feel confused than impressed. But then, when you put on those plastic 3-D glasses, your vision whips into focus. Suddenly, the confusing jumble becomes clear. The scene has depth and meaning. You can grasp the information in front of you, and understanding everything that is happening."

Hogshead identifies and examines the Seven Advantages:

1. Power: lead with command and communicate with authority and confidence
2. Passion: connect with emotion (empathy) and build connections with your warmth and enthusiasm
3. Mystique: communicate with substance and impress with your analytical skills and thoughtful communication
4. Prestige: earn respect by setting and meeting higher standards
5. Alert: prevent problems and keep people and projects on track by managing the details
6. Innovation: "change the game" by pushing a company to innovate with creative ideas
7. Trust: build and sustain loyalty with a consistent and familiar presence

Think of each as a primary advantage, a defining advantage. Also, keep in mind that there is always room for improvement of each. Hogshead also identifies 49 Archetypes; seven per Advantage. For example, for Trust: Evolutionary (curious, adaptable, open-minded), Authentic (approachable, dependable, trustworthy), Gravitas (dignified, stable, hardworking), Diplomat (levelheaded, subtle, capable), Old Guard (predictable, safe, unmovable), Anchor (protective, purposeful, analytical), and Good Citizen (principle, prepared, conscientious). These are Hogshead's terms and descriptives. There is an appropriate synonym for each. The point is, that each of us has a primary, defining Advantage and the challenge is to increase its value, to bring it into sharper focus.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues in Part I ("How Does the World See You?") that were/are of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Hogshead's coverage.

o The Art and Science of Fascination (Pages 7-9)
o The Threat of Distraction (25-29)
o The Threat of Competition (29-33)
o The Threat of Commoditization (33-37)
o Your Dimensional Personality (41-44)
o The Fascination Flow, and, The Science of Fascination (48-53)
o Stand Out, or Don't Bother (67-70)
o The Seven Fascination Advantages (81-91)
o The Power Advantage: Leading Through Authority (93-116)

Hogshead does an especially skillful job of framing key material with crisp but informative mini-introductions and then, later, with brief but inclusive "reviews" of key points. I also commend her on a formula she devised when discussing the 49 Archetypes within the seven categories of Advantages in Chapter 4, Pages 117-339. For example, "How the World Sees the Change Agent," "The Change Agent's Top 5 Adjectives," "'Highest and Best Value' of the Change Agent," "What Is Not the 'Highest and Best Value' of the Change Agent?" "How to Work with a Change Agent," "Archetypes That Can Optimize the Change Agent," "A Lesson That Everyone Can learn from the Change Agent," "One Minute Coaching to My Change Agents," "Famous Change Agents," "Example of an Anthem for the Change Agent," and "How the Change Agent Might Apply This Anthem."

With regard to the anthem, "It is a short phrase that describes how you are different, and what you do best. This makes it easy for people to understand why they should work with you. They can quickly 'get you, because they immediately grasp what you do best." Hogshead devotes Chapter 7 to explaining with which her readers can formulate a high-impact anthem for themselves. While reading this chapter, an interesting exercise occurred to me: Supervisors formulate an anthem for each of their direct reports before completing one for themselves. Hmmm.....

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and depth as well as the quality of the information, insights, and counsel that Sally Hogshead provides. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of it.

One final point: I think it is ridiculous that a volume of 428 pages (including appendices) has no index. It is imperative that one be added if and when there is a second edition.

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education
The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education
by Karl M. Kapp
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $51.50
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How and why the real value of the game-based mechanics "is to create meaningful learning experiences", July 24, 2014
There are two key words in the title of my review, "how" and "why." Karl Kapp thoroughly explores both in this first of two books that examine "game-based methods and strategies for training and education." The second is a companion Fieldbook (published in 2014) in which Kapp and his co-authors, Lucas Blair and Rich Mesch, offer brilliant explanations of (a) why it is so important to focus on gaming, (b) "Basic Elements," and (c) "Design Considerations" that must be addressed. They also provide worksheets, examples, samples, tables, and instructions that can help readers create their own ILEs (i.e. interactive learning experience). "This book can be used as a primer or introductory text to introduce the topic of designing instructional games, gamification, and simulation, but it is primarily designed as a practical fieldbook to help teams in the midst of creating games, gamification, and simulation projects." The Fieldbook ("Ideas into Practice") devotes more attention to "how" and less to "why." Together, both books provide just about as much anyone needs to know in order to make a significance contribution to a rapidly expanding field of game-based training and education.

With regard to the earlier volume, I commend Kapp on brilliant use of 33 Figures (e.g. "Flow, the State Between Boredom and Anxiety") and six Tables (e.g. "Meta-Analysis Studies of Game-Based Learning") as well as three reader-friendly devices: "Chapter Questions" (heads up) at beginning of all chapters, "Implications and Importance to the Future of Learning and Instruction" (Chapters 1 and 2, only), and "Key Takeaways" at conclusion of all chapters. These devices help to facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.

As in the Fieldbook, this book features several special contributors; four of them provide a chapter (10-13) on a subject most relevant to their background, talents, and experience in game-based training and education. They and three other special contributors are certainly a diverse group and this is a key point: It correctly suggests that the limits to what can be accomplished with game-based training and education will probably be -- as in almost all other human enterprises -- self-imposed.

Kapp asks his reader to "think of the engaging elements of why people play games -- it's not just for the points -- its sense of engagement, immediate feedback, feeling of accomplishment, and success of striving against a challenge and overcoming it."

A personal note: These comments really hit home with me and my participation in scramble competition in golf for several decades. Four players comprise a team that competes against other teams. In terms of individual ability, each team has an A, B, C and D player. This is a game within a game with strict rules that are self-regulated. (There are reasons why FLOG spells GOLF backwards.) Lots of laughs amidst struggles to get a low score for the team. The "winners" play their best (such as it is) and have a great time.

Kapp explains, "This book has a heavy emphasis on creating games for learning and not incentivizing people through external rewards. The real value of the game-based mechanics is to create meaningful learning experiences." They are:

o System (architecture of the game)
o Players
o Abstract (context of reality or "game space")
o Challenge (achieve goals and outcomes)
o Rules (do's and don'ts)
o Interactivity (between/among teammates and with opponent/s)
o Feedback (measurements of success, failure, and progress)
o Quantifiable Outcome (final "score" or result that is definitive)
o Emotional Reaction ("the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat," etc.)

As Kapp points out, "Together these disparate elements combine to make an event [i.e. an interactive learning experience] that is larger than the individual elements. A player gets caught up in playing a game because the instant feedback and constant interaction are related to the challenge of the game, which is defined by the rules, which all work within the system to provoke an emotional reaction and, finally, result in a quantifiable outcome within an abstract version of a larger system [or reality]."

If I understand the meaning and significance of this paragraph (and I may not), Kapp is suggesting that a game can be a simulation of a reality or combination of realities, and, simultaneously, also be a reality or combination of realities. Playing Monopoly, for example, resembles trying to complete as series of transactions in real estate and enables competition that takes on a life of its own. Valuable lessons can be learned in either dimension.

To ways and an extent that a commentary such as mine cannot suggest, Karl Kapp provides just about all the information, insights, and counsel anyone needs in order to proceed to effective application of whatever material in this book is most relevant to the needs, interests, goals, resources, concerns, and strategic objectives of the given enterprise. I presume to add that applying any of the material in this book must (repeat MUST) be a collaborative effort that involves an organization's best and brightest.

Massively Open:: How Massive Open Online Courses Changed the World
Massively Open:: How Massive Open Online Courses Changed the World
by Mohammed Alshammari
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.49
27 used & new from $17.24

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why MOOCs could "completely revolutionize what it means to be an educator and what it means to be a student", July 24, 2014
This book's subtitle is premature. However, I am convinced that, in time, Massive Open Online courses (MOOCs) will indeed change the world in ways and to an extent that cannot be determined now. The same was true of the printing press, the Internet, and then the World Wide Web. That said, there is a great need now to begin the difficult process of identifying potentialities, to be sure, but also identify at least fundamental terms and conditions to consider as well as concerns to be addressed. This book makes a modest but valuable contribution to that process as does Michael Nanfito's MOOCs: Opportunities, Impacts, and Challenges: Massive Open Online Courses in Colleges and Universities.

As explained in the Introduction, "By the time the first MOOC appeared, online education had been evolving slowly for nearly two decades." It is important to keep in mind that in 1993, Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist then associated with CERN (the European Particle Physics Laboratory), introduced the World Wide Web. The Introduction then points out that "MOOCs were first introduced through a University of Manitoba course called 'Connectivism and Connective Knowledge' and the term was coined by Canadian University of Prince Edward Island's Dave Cormier. Widespread international interest in MOOCs began in 2011 when Stanford's Professor Sebastian Thrun's course 'Introduction to Artificial Intelligence' was offered in MOOC format through Stanford University. Anyone could take the class as long as they had an internet connection. Over 160,000 people enrolled in the free online class."

The co-authors are Jonan Donaldson, Eliane Agra, Mohammed Alshammari, Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bowdoin, Meghan Kendle, Lauren Nixon, and Lisa Wressel. They acknowledge their debt to Mary Bucy for her leadership, executive support, and fostering of information. The adjective "massively" is somewhat ironic when we take into full account what the nature and extent of potential increases of growth and enrollments in them worldwide during the next two decades. What is "massive" today will probably seem puny then.

I commend the collaborators on this book because, like all of the great explorers through history, they are attempting to give at least some definition to "territory" that was previously unexplored. Moreover, and this is an even greater challenge, they share their thoughts about possibilities and even probabilities in months and years to come. For obvious reasons, they suggest more questions than answers. These are among the issues that intrigue me.

What will be the nature and extent of MOOCs' impact on

o Secondary schools
o Community colleges
o Four-year colleges and universities
o Trade and professional schools
o Formal training (e.g. corporate sector)
o Self-directed learning
o Content development
o Performance assessment
o Incentives and rewards
o Recognition and authentication (i.e. diploma, degree, certification)
o Funding of education in various dimensions and sectors

It will also be especially interesting, indeed exciting to observe the impact of game-based learning and instruction within the MOOC landscape.

I wholly agree with the concluding remarks: "Anyone with an interest in education would do well to continue following the developments in this exciting area. It may turn out to be the innovation that allows education to become universally available to everyone regardless of location or financial situation. And if it does, it will completely revolutionize what it means to be an educator and what it means to be a student."

Stay tuned....

The Consummate Leader: A Holistic Guide to Inspiring Growth in Others . . . and in Yourself
The Consummate Leader: A Holistic Guide to Inspiring Growth in Others . . . and in Yourself
by Patricia Thompson PhD
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.19
4 used & new from $14.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant explanation of how to accelerate your personal growth and professional development and then help others to do so, July 23, 2014
The last time I checked, Amazon US offers 113,746 books for sale in the general category of "leadership" and 45,153 books in the "business leadership" category. Why another? Albert Einstein provided the best answer years ago when chided by a Princeton colleague that he always asked the same questions on his final examinations. "Quite true. Each year, the answers are different."

What Patricia Thompson offers in her book is a cohesive, comprehensive, and resource-effective program by which to achieve two critically important strategic objectives, whatever the size and nature of the given organization may be: helping aspiring leaders to accelerate their personal growth and professional development, and, to prepare those leaders to help others to do so, including but by no means limited to their direct reports.

What is a consummate leader? Its etymology dates to the classic Latin word, "consummatus," meaning "perfected, complete." Back to Einstein's observation, for a moment: The nature and extent of consummate leadership in ancient Greece or Rome are quite different from what they have become since Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th president of the United States. So, in Thompson's opinion, what are the defining characteristics of a consummate leader today? She suggests seven:

o Self-Awareness
o Spirituality
o Self-Management
o Positivity
o Authenticity
o Effective Relationship Building
o Skillful Coaching and Developing

All of these are essential to what I characterize as "leadership for all seasons." Throughout history, all great leaders can be viewed as "gardeners" with a "green thumb" who "grew" other people. This perspective is also compatible with Thompson's covey of characteristics. She devotes a separate chapter to each. I should add, all that she says is wholly consistent with "perfected, complete" but as she would be the first to point out, those two terms are the destination of a never-ending process of development. The men and women almost universally regarded as consummate leaders (from Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great to Winston Churchill and Mohandas Gandhi) were seriously flawed human beings. To cherish them is not to deify them.

No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that Patricia Thompson provides but I hope that I have at least indicated why I think so highly of this book. I strongly recommend it, especially to those now preparing for a career in business or who have only recently embarked on one and who aspire to become a leader. Also, to middle managers who need her help to understand and appreciate the fact that all organizations must have effective (consummate) leadership, not only in the C-Suite but at all levels and in all areas throughout the given enterprise.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Price: $9.95

4.0 out of 5 stars How to manage consumers' habits to your advantage, July 23, 2014
Since the bazaars in antiquity, marketing's objective has remained the same: create or increase demand for whatever is offered. What Nir Eyal offers in this book, with assistance by Ryan Hoover, is a four-phase process by which to design habit-forming products that will attract and then sustain a tight relationship with customers.

1. A Trigger attracts consumer attention and creates initial interest such as the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee.

2. Consumer takes Action to learn more about what is offered, often by clicking on a website link or calling a toll-free number.

3. The Variable Reward offers several possibilities to attract as many different people as possible (e.g. a state lottery).

4. The last phase, Investment, illustrates that people who assemble furniture (e.g. IKEA) attach greater value to it than they would if it were already assembled.

As in residential real estate and the chestnut that suggests "for every house there's a buyer," I am convinced that, for those in need of forming and then sustaining tight customer relationships, "for every book there's a reader." Who knows? For some who read this review, the "Hook Model" may be exactly what they need.

TaoTronics® Elune TT-DL01 Dimmable LED Desk Lamp (Piano Black, 4 Lighting Modes: Reading/Studying/Relaxation/Bedtime, 5-Level Dimmer, Touch-Sensitive Control Panel, 1-Hour Auto Timer, 5V/1A USB Charging Port)
TaoTronics® Elune TT-DL01 Dimmable LED Desk Lamp (Piano Black, 4 Lighting Modes: Reading/Studying/Relaxation/Bedtime, 5-Level Dimmer, Touch-Sensitive Control Panel, 1-Hour Auto Timer, 5V/1A USB Charging Port)
Offered by Sunvalleytek
Price: $99.99
2 used & new from $65.09

5.0 out of 5 stars An enlightening companion of superior quality at a reasonable price, July 23, 2014
After composing a DRAFT of this review, I checked out others' comments and found that almost everything that can be said about this desk lamp has already been said, including the fact that it is remarkably sturdy and will probably work well for decades. What to add to these comments?

I finally decided to suggest those who will probably find it most useful:

o Students: This would be a great gift, especially for those heading off to college for the first time or those returning to continue their studies.
o Also school and college students living at home who study at dining room table (as I did when in school) and need great reading light
o Those with an office-in-the-home who complete all/most/some of their work at a desk
o Those with a small business and limited office space who need great reading/working light at their desk
o Avid readers who, when visiting family members and friends, have mediocre/poor (if any) bedside reading lamps.
o Also avid readers who require much better reading light when staying in hotel/motel rooms that lack it

(Note: The last two points suggest the appeal of various versions of the Kindle Paperwhite Built-in Light feature.)

It is important to keep in mind that the TaoTronics® Elune TT-DL01 sets up and down easily and quickly. It is remarkably portable.

GIven the current price of this product if purchased from Amazon, it is not a bargain: it's a steal.

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