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Book Reviews

Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education

Just before traditional campuses sent all of their faculty and students home and transitioned courses to some form of online instruction for the rest of the spring semester, I finished reading Joshua Kim’s and Edward Maloney’s new book, Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education. The authors teach and work at traditional universities (Dartmouth and Georgetown) and wrote the book to discuss ways that colleges and universities can better align teaching practices with the science of learning, given the rising cost of education for students and the financial pressures on colleges. Given the acceleration of financial pressures on colleges and their temporary migration to online courses, I have a feeling that the authors have been too busy for a road show to promote their book.

The College Stress Test

My first review of one of Bob Zemsky’s books was in 2008 with Remaking of the American University: Market Smart and Mission Centered, that he co-authored with Greg Wegman and Bill Massy. While Zemsky has written more books post-2008, he’s continued to write about change in higher education and the higher education market.

The Uncertain Future of American Public Higher Education by Daniel M. Johnson

Former University of Toledo President Daniel Johnson’s career, spanning many years and roles at multiple institutions, provides him with an insider’s perspective on higher education. In his introduction, while he acknowledges defending the system for the last 25 years of his career, he also notes that assessing it from the outside gives him a new point of view.

According to Dr. Johnson, paradigms can change and “the paradigm that provides the conceptual, pedagogical, legal, regulatory and financial structures for advanced learning and certification has multiple cracks – some large and some small – all seriously weakening the infrastructure, the very framework, and foundation upon which our public colleges and universities currently rest.” The failure of the higher education paradigm to meet the challenges of today’s education environment brings substantial pressure for change. He maintains that the current manners and modes in which higher education functions are costly and ineffectual and have been for years. Our future success depends on how we prepare our students to find meaningful roles in an economy driven by artificial intelligence, robotics, and an explosion of digitally-based enterprises and industries.

The Value and Virtue of a Book List

Warren Buffet has noted that the key to innovation and success is the voracious consumption of information. Amid today’s unceasing push of content and media to your mobile device, it might surprise some that many luminaries ranging from investors to leading technology companies undertake their information gathering the old-fashioned way: through books.

A Review of Machine Platform Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future

When I read that Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, co-authors of The Second Machine Age, were releasing another book, I ordered it. While the topic of how technology will change our lives is no longer as fresh a concept as it was when they released The Second Machine Age in January 2014, their latest tome focuses more on the economic impact of technology today and in the future.

Platform Revolution – Part III

Some books are difficult to summarize. Platform Revolution is one such book because its descriptive content requires more. To follow up on my initial overview, I’ll provide a more detailed summary and wrap-up in this commentary of the key platform attributes described by authors Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary.

Platform Revolution – Part II

Some books are difficult to summarize. Platform Revolution is one such book because its descriptive content requires more. To follow up on my initial overview, I’ll provide a more detailed summary in this commentary and part III of the key platform attributes described by authors Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary.

Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You

Most people have heard of Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and PayPal. The growth and success of these companies and others stem from a technology-based business model that connects people and resources in an interactive ecosystem that creates and exchanges value while disrupting traditional businesses. That model is a platform and successful companies that utilize its power are transforming business, the economy and society.

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future

In Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future, Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, and Jeff Howe, assistant professor and founding director of the Media Innovation program at Northeastern University, accurately describe the state-of-the-art in technology through nine organizing principles whereby adaptive individuals and organizations can respond to ever-accelerating technology advancements.  In the introduction, the authors write, “our technologies have outpaced our ability as a society to understand them [and] now we need to catch up.”