I can’t remember how many books and essays I have read over the past two decades that forecasted major changes and disruption to higher education. Some were better than others, but none of them were as notable as Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt’s recently published "The Great Upheaval: Higher Education's Past, Present, and Uncertain Future."
In his cover jacket intro of Alec MacGillis’ "Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America," Craigslist founder Craig Newmark refers to the 1937 Upton Sinclair novel, "The Flivver King: A Story of Ford-America." Newmark contrasts the $30 billion market capitalization of Ford with the $1.5 trillion market capitalization of Amazon. In "The Flivver King," Sinclair blasted Ford for underpaying its workers while forcing them to engage in repetitive and dangerous assembly-line work.
As someone with years of experience working with technology and observing its impact on jobs, I read many new books that shed various perspectives on the changing dynamics of work, now and in the future. Jeff Schwartz, founding partner of Deloitte Consulting’s U.S. Future of Work practice, did not necessarily present anything new to me about the future of work in his book, "Work Disrupted: Opportunity, Resilience, and Growth in the Accelerated Future of Work." However, the organization of the book into three parts with the themes of “Finding Opportunity,” “Building Long-Term Resilience,” and “Playbooks for Growth” make it an excellent resource for many managers, executives, and policymakers as they plan for the future of work.
When I heard about Josh Mitchell’s soon-to-be-published book about college student debt, "The Debt Trap: How Student Loans Became a National Catastrophe," I pre-ordered a copy. Recently, I read an excerpt from the book in The Atlantic and wrote about it. His book arrived yesterday and like the excerpt, I could not put it down until I had finished reading it.
I read about behavioral scientist and Wharton professor Dr. Katy Milkman in the University of Pennsylvania’s alumni magazine, The Pennsylvania Gazette. The article written by Joann Greco piqued my interest about Milkman’s book, "How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be" so much that I read it as soon as it arrived.
As a keen observer of the advance of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and the impact of those technologies on jobs, I looked forward to receiving "The Great Skills Gap: Optimizing Talent for the Future of Work." Its advanced billing indicated that editors Jason Wingard and Christine Farrugia organized the book to examine how colleges and universities should be preparing students for their future careers and assembled a highly qualified group of educators, executives, and thought leaders to write about the topics.
For years, my typical method for finding a book to read has been to read a review or see it listed as a source in a paper or other publication. While that’s my typical method, it’s not my favorite. My favorite is to wander through a bookstore, peruse the latest releases shelf and one or two specialized areas, and find a book that looks interesting enough to purchase. The recent pandemic minimized my frequency of finding books through perusal. With an hour to kill on Saturday before meeting one of my daughters for lunch, I opted for a short visit to a college town bookstore. In the new releases section, I stumbled across the book Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World by Cade Metz.
Given Dr. Weise’s background as an English professor, it is not a surprise that the title of her book, Long Life Learning, is a clever play on the more familiar term, Life-Long Learning.
Peter Felten and Leo Lambert have worked together for years at Elon University. Dr. Felten is a professor of history at Elon and also serves as the assistant provost for teaching and learning. Dr. Lambert is a professor of education at Elon and is also president emeritus, having served as president from 1999 through 2018. Their beliefs in the value of relationships as part of the undergraduate experience led them to interview nearly 400 students, faculty, and staff at 29 colleges and universities across America to evaluate best practices in building relationships through formal and informal programs. This research eventually led to the creation of the book Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College.
I follow NYU business school professor and serial entrepreneur Scott Galloway on Twitter and through his blog, No Mercy/No Malice. When he posted that he had written a new book, ‘Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity,’ I ordered it, just in time to read over the Thanksgiving holiday.