Book Review: An American Family by Khizr Khan

‘An American Family’ is literally one of the few Advanced Reader Copies or ARCs that I finished reading within days of receiving it via NetGalley.

I was curious to read the story of Khizr Khan. He is the Pakistani-American man who stood proudly at the Democratic National Convention in 2016 to take Donald Trump to task for his criticism of John McCain and Muslims during the U.S. Presidential Campaign.

Not only does Khizr describe his own struggle to achieve ‘the American Dream’, from sleeping on park benches to working multiple jobs, he also manages to become a voice of the 2nd or 3rd wave of original Pakistani men who had to leave the newly-minted nation to find work and stability in the Arabian Gulf countries and beyond. This entire generation or two, both men and women born in the early 1950’s to late 1960’s, all chased a better standard of life for their families and themselves, often by being exploited as skilled and unskilled labor in the Middle Eastern nations like the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia.

I highly recommend this book for millennial Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans to read to understand life from the perspective of our parents, aunts, uncles and mentors.

 “I wasn’t leaving so much as I was going forward”

“The billionaire’s playground that Dubai would become was light years away, but it was obvious even then that the emirate was making a frantic leap forward.”

Read my book review on Goodreads.

 

Book Review: Generations by Flavia Bondi

Flavia’s simply-drawn characters leave room for the momentous topics being discussed in her graphic novel ‘Generations’. She skilfully tackles familial estrangement, conservative attitudes towards homosexuality, and even the main protagonist’s quarter-life crisis – all while enveloping the reader into the folds of Matteo’s family.

Read this for one reason, if nothing else: the remixing of the classic analogy of the apple & the tree.

Beyond Customer Experience, Mapping the Customer’s Journey (notes)

Data, like milk, is best consumed fresh; the longer we take to analyze it, the more likely we are to lose the thread that connects it to its original meaning.

If you aren’t the geek who took notes in every.single.class, this post will bore you. I am reading on up on a couple of topics these days and thought to share as I go.  You’ll find excerpts from Jan Chipchase’s book “Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers” above and below this paragraph.  Have yet to get the book, getting by on this article posted on Co.Design until I do.

If there’s such a thing as a default framework in corporate research, it’s the customer journey map, which provides detailed information about each event in a customer’s typical day, diagrams how she moves from one event to another, and identifies all the touchpoints where she may use the product or service we’re designing.

Going in deeper…

There are numerous alternatives to the customer journey map, but there is one in particular, less commonly used but phenomenally useful when applied skillfully, that can bring the diffuse spectrum of almost any human behavior into focus: the threshold map.

Threshold mapping allows us to map out “default” conditions—the normal state a person experiences a majority of the time (for example, most people feel clean enough throughout the day that they won’t drop whatever they’re doing and hop in the shower if it’s available)—and then understand what happens when a person crosses the line into an alternative condition. Often, the feelings that people experience as they approach or cross a threshold lead them to think and act differently.

This example from Chipchases’s book on Hannah Hatkin’s blog  mentions the need for a shower and a cleanliness threshold:

Many people feel clean for about a day and therefore do not have the urge to shower more than every 24 hours. In this case, a day would be the threshold. If this person, with a threshold of a day, goes three days without showering, she has crossed her cleanliness threshold and will most likely think and act differently until she gets back into her normal state by taking a shower.

Thoughts: So what does this have to do with user experience design? Good question! Understanding user thresholds provide a significant window into user decision-making. When a user researcher understands why and how someone performs an action, she can create better experiences based on those decision patterns.

Love is in the Air! Love for Books!

happy20books
Freshly Printed Books + Flowers = Springtime 

All the books listed below are on my wishlist for Spring 2016. Seriously.

Education & Leadership 

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brene Brown

Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times– Eric C. Sheninger

Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator  – Dave Burgess

Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools – Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

best-management-and-productivity-booksEducation & Technology

The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning – Tom D. Whitby, Steven W. Anderson

The Tech-Savvy Administrator: How do I use technology to be a better school leader? – Steven W. Anderson

Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom – Sylvia Libow Martinez, Gary S. Stager

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Education & Psychology 

Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day – Jonathan Bergmann, Aaron Sams

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning – Peter C. Brown

The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-being in Teachers & Students – Daniel Rechtschaffen

 

 

 

 

 

Selections from Aya de Leon’s”On Pandering, White Women as Scapegoats, and the Literary Industry as a Hand-me-down”

“I don’t disagree with James about the phenomena he observes: a literary industry with white women in gatekeeping roles and with white women set up as the archetypal consumer to be pandered to.

I do, however, disagree with the implied notion that white women are the powerful and designing force behind the institution.

In reality, the literary industry has been forged by a patriarchal system that decides what would be in its own interest for women to want, tells women that they want it and then sells it to us.”

“For many years, people have been asking, “are books dead?” The answer is no, they have just been passed to women like a hand-me-down. The infrastructure and implicit values in the literary establishment guarantee the reproduction of patriarchal values, as Vaye Watkins so clearly identifies. The women in the industry have all grown up in this society, have all been schooled in what makes a “big” and “important” book. Women’s concerns are consistently belittled.

We have a canon of “great literature” that dates back for several hundred years and is etched in stone. So the addition of a Toni Morrison and a Junot Diaz and a Maxine Hong Kingston and a Sherman Alexie can be grafted on as branches of the tree, or perhaps more like leaves. Branches? Leaves? Whatever. The industry’s roots are grounded firmly in Europe and White America and men’s voices. Vaye Watkins said, “I have built a working miniature replica of the patriarchy in my mind.” The literary industry is the same: fully imprinted with the values and preoccupations of the patriarchy. Once that’s firmly entrenched, it’s safe to leave the girls in charge.”

Read the entire blog post by the effortlessly brilliant  Aya de Leon on her blog:  On Pandering, White Women as Scapegoats, and the Literary Industry as a Hand-Me-Down  .