I’ve started a new series of blog posts on Applied Sentience: “Teach To The Future”.
Through these posts, I cover subjects like teaching people (especially kids) to write for an online audience:
Or teaching people to see through the eyes of other people, in a rigorous and practical way:
I care a lot about education, especially since I’ve just received 17 straight years of the stuff. But I think we spend too much time on some subjects and not enough on… well, the subjects I cover in these posts. I don’t know much about pedagogy, but I try to stick to skills I do know. As always, let me know if you have thoughts on how to develop these ideas further.
Bonus: If you teach children and want help figuring out a curriculum based on any of the subjects or lesson plans I describe, I’m happy to help!
In which I steal an idea from Venkatesh Rao and publish a series of thoughts that are too short, and perhaps not logical enough, to be full posts.
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Reading time: 7 minutes
I’ve written a lot of book reviews, but I recently realized that I have a model in my head of what a “book review” should be, and that the model doesn’t make much sense.
I’m a fan of fancy book reviews that are more about life in general (or the reviewer’s ideas) than the book itself. David Foster Wallace and Zadie Smith do those very well.
But most people seem to read book reviews to answer some of the following questions:
- Should I read this entire book?
- What is this book about?
- If this book isn’t worth reading, which bits are worth knowing anyway?
- If the author has an opinion, why might they be wrong?
- Where can I find out more about the book’s ideas?
These questions provide helpful structure, and structure means I can review more books! Huzzah!
This particular review is about the book Making Minds Less Well-Educated Than Our Own, by Roger Schank. Awful title aside, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. (If it weren’t, this review would be much shorter, or bundled with other reviews.)
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I composed this recently for a writing class I’ve been teaching (ages 13-16), and it came out surprisingly cogent. Posting with slight modifications, in case it comes in handy. If any writer who is better than me tells you something different, listen to them.
This list would not exist had I never encountered Anne Fadiman, Verlyn Klinkenborg, or William Zinsser. Buy Zinsser’s book and you don’t have to read any of this.
Oh, and also, I’m trying to make the blog easier on the eyes by embedding giant essays in PDFs. Click below for the thing I’ve been talking about!
Some Thoughts on Writing