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Query for a blog piece

Query for a blog piece

Greetings from Seoul! I have a query for a blog piece.

STEM professionals here posed a question:

What three texts should working professionals read to improve their writing, communication, and capacity for creative thinking? And after these three? Suggestions?

As I cast about trying to answer this question myself, I thought I'd write a blog piece with suggestions if anyone wants to participate and be quoted with a short list and, if you like, a sentence or two of explanation.

If you're interested and wish to be quoted, please drop a line! Thanks!



I am not sure Stanley Fish's How to Write a Sentence (and How to Read One)  is always correct but he has great taste in great sentences and I like the way he tells you what makes them great.  Super interesting.  Especially for non-native speakers of English.


I love a huge book by Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow, and then a short and witty book that comes from the same behavioral economics premises (that show we know far less than we think we know), Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational.     This approach helps us to see our own attention blindness.


And I really love Margaret Atwood's book ostensibly about science fiction, In Other Worlds but that is really about how we imagine alternative universes and why.   Very wise and witty. 




You are as intrepid and innovative as ever! Not only are these terrific suggestions, they are the ONLY ones I've received in public. Here are some offline responses, as well as my own initial thoughts, which were vetoed immediately by my children who tell me they are "boring, western and have already been forced on us by high school"--not interesting for a post-college international audience.


Here is the tally offline I've received so far

Why I Write by George Orwell 16
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury 11
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott 10
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation 10
by Lynne Truss
Demon-Haunted World : Science as a Candle in the Dark Paperback by Carl Sagan 1
The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy by Sir Isaac Newton 1
Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking 1
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie 1
Macbeth by William Shakespeare 1
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett 1
Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James 1



My instantly vetoed list, which I now need to revise:

1. The Aeneid 2. Shakespeare's Sonnets 3. Letter from the Birmingham Jail



And the classics-- Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison , Mythologies by Roland Barthes, and Touching Feeling by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.   And so many contemporary books of critical/cultural theory I could not begin to name them without leaving out so many others I love equally well.



  • Hi Ruth, I reblogged your question on Facebook and here are the terrific responses, anonymized of course.   Because I asked the question, you will see very sweet, kind, generous answers directed towards me.   But there are other more objective choices as well!  Best wishes, Cathy
    Despite the (many) problems, Lehrer's book Imagine: How Creativity Works might be worth reading (or skimming) as it champions interdisciplinary collaboration as key to the most successful creative innovation. And your own book, Cathy Davidson, Now You See It really must be on the list!

     And, come to think of it, your upcoming MOOC would really open minds!


    *  *   *   *

    Next to the nuclear industry, the largest producer of contaminants in the air, land, and water is the electronics industry. Silicon Valley hosts the highest density of Superfund sites anywhere in the nation and leads the country in the number of temporary workers per capita and in workforce gende...



    *   *   *  *

    I love the anthology Asian Biotech, edited by Aiwa Ong and with work on Korea by Charis Thompson:

    Providing the first overview of Asia’s emerging biosciences landscape, this time...See More
  • *   *  *  *  *
     & about writing specifically perhaps Kenneth Koch 'Making Your Own Days: The pleasure of reading and writing poetry,' Anne Lamott Bird by Bird, and on education/critical/creative thinking I agree your book 'Now You See It,' especially the conclusion chapter inspired by Daejeon and Seoul!


     Also, Samuel Delany's "About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, & Five Interviews." It's very exciting to think about Korean STEM Professionals engaging with Delany and Davidson! I was recently at an emerging technologies workshop at UCSB and got to meet a STS scholar from Seoul National University whose work traces nanotechnology and academic development in Korea. From higher education in the U.S. to R & D jobs in Korea and exciting to think there will be continued engagement and conversation with these particular texts! I think my top three recs would be: Asian Biotech, Now Your See It, and Bird by Bird. I feel the chapter Project Makeover would be very useful and inspiring for Korean STEM professionals in particular, and of course the conclusion!! And if there is other interest, Delaney's and Koch's more specifically tailored work on writing poetry, science fiction, fiction etc may be fun too. The best part about making recs is that I get a moment to rethink and reread these books together! Thanks so much Cathy for passing it on and hope the recs may help!