7 books on my desk

I was tidying up my desk and I made a stack of the books I need to either re-shelve in my office or take back to the library. Most of these are from the library.

1. Tricks of the Trade, by Howard Becker
I enjoyed Becker’s “Writing for Social Scientists” so much that I borrowed this one. It’s far more academic than WfSS but is still written in Becker’s simple style. The best thing I remember is the tip to stop asking “why” some phenomena occurs but rather “how” it occurs.
2. Understanding Computers and Cognition, by Terry Winograd and Fernando Flores
First, tear out the 3rd part of the book. Then, read and re-read the first two parts. My copy is fuzzed on the edges from my repeated thumbing my way to a specific page and is encrusted with post-it notes with my comments on the text. We have this in the library at work, but this one is my personal copy.
3. Mental Models, edited by Gentner and Stevens
I borrowed this for the introductory chapter by Don Norman where he outlines some interesting properties of mental models which makes them much fuzzier in application and far less dogmatic than I have come to understand them to be. The way that Mental Models are described in this book is much closer to what I understand the concept of “frames” to convey.
4. The Goffman Reader, edited by Lemert and Branaman
I associate the concept of “frames” most strongly with the sociologist Erving Goffman. The essay where he first introduced the concept of “frames” is in this book. It seems that “frame” is a simple shortening of “framework”.
5. Resources, Co-evolution and Artifacts, edited by Ackerman, Halverson, Erickson and Kellog
This book is part of the “Theory in CSCW” series. I borrowed it for the chapter “Using Technology and Constituting Structures: A Practice Lens for Studying Technology in Organisations” by Wanda J Orlikowski. It’s heavy going, reading new theory. I’m going to have to read it for a third time before I can say anything about it.
6. Reassembling the Social, by Bruno Latour
This is the (new-ish) Actor-Network Theory book. I’m working my way through it. (see some reviews at Space and Culture)
7. Card Sorting by Donna Spencer
After years of reading Donna’s blog and her articles about card sorting, I may finally have a project where I can put it to use. Like all the Rosenfeld Media books, this one is beautifully produced and very practical.

And, bonus eighth book that I found when I moved some papers:

Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson
I would buy this for all of my PhD students if I could. And get the university to buy several copies for the library for the undergrads. For me, it’s the essential story-telling presentation book. There are other sorts of presentations you might give, but if what you need to say is in any way a narrative, you need this book. There are now three editions of this book. I have the first and the second. There’s a lot more information in the second edition about the theory behind the structure the book walks you through and there’s a bit more that’s specifically about the version of PowerPoint that the book is written for. All three editions are published by Microsoft, so don’t expect any references to Keynote, but don’t let that put you off. If anything, the approach works better in Keynote.

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