Home Education News Books Reviewed in 2021

Books Reviewed in 2021

‘The Amateur Hour’ and the History and Future of Teaching and Learning: Will things be different after the pandemic?

The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America by Jonathan Zimmerman, Published in October 2020

Scott Galloway’s ‘Post-Corona’ Vision for Higher Ed: Provocative, passionate, smart, and wrong.

Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by Scott Galloway, Published in November 2020

Reading Thelin’s ‘A History of American Higher Education’ as an Amateur Futurist: Why those of us who think about the future of the university don’t know enough about its past.

A History of American Higher Education by John R. Thelin, Published in April 2019 (third edition)

Reading ‘Beginners’ With College Teaching and Learning Ears: Why Tom Vanderbilt’s terrific new book is an educator development resource in disguise.

Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning by Tom Vanderbilt, published in January 2021

Applying Adam Grant’s ‘Think Again’ to the Post-Pandemic University: What aspects of academia should we rethink?

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant, Published in February 2021


‘Failure to Disrupt,’ Learning at Scale and Higher Ed After COVID-19: Why you should read Justin Reich’s essential new book before planning your school’s next big educational technology-related initiative.

Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education by Justin Reich, Published in September 2020

Reading ‘The Data Detective’ to Help Us Make Evidence-Based Decisions About the Post-Pandemic University: Tim Harford on how to think about statistics.

The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics by Tim Harford, Published in February 2021

Yes, Higher Ed Needs to Talk About ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster’: The surprisingly excellent new book from Bill Gates.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates, Published in February 2021

Thinking About A Shift to Low-Cost Online Degree Programs Through the Lens of ‘Change’: Can a book on complex contagions and network theory help us build a movement towards a new set of norms for master’s degrees?

Change: How to Make Big Things Happen by Damon Centola, Published in January of 2021

Yes, ‘A World Without Email’ Is Totally Worth Reading: Can academia move beyond the hyperactive hive mind?

A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload by Cal Newport, Published in March 2021

Why During a Pandemic Is the Best Time to Read ‘A Good Time to Be Born’: The marvelous story of the decline of childhood mortality.

A Good Time to Be Born: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future by Perri Klass, Published in October 2020

How ‘First Steps’ Makes the Best Possible Case for a Liberal Arts Education: Untangling the mystery of upright walking.

First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human by Jeremy DeSilva, Published in April 2021

Reading ‘Futureproof’ and Thinking About the Ways That Technology Has Made Academic Work Worse: Understaffing and the post-pandemic university.

Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose, Published in March 2021

Why ‘How Humans Learn’ Is the Book I’ve Been Waiting For: Connecting learning science to teaching practices.

How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective College Teaching by Joshua R. Eyler, Published in March 2018


‘Grasp’ and the Post-Pandemic University: An intellectual history of learning science integrated into the story of educational experimentation and innovation at MIT.

Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn by Sanjay Sarma and Luke Yoquinto, Published in August 2020

A Complex Reaction to Michael Lewis’s New Book, ‘The Premonition: A Pandemic Story’: Reading from a place of uncertainty.

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis, Published in May 2021

‘The Agile College’ and the Adaptive University: Winter is coming.

The Agile College: How Institutions Successfully Navigate Demographic Changes by Nathan D. Grawe, Published in January 2021

‘The Bomber Mafia,’ Original Audiobooks and Teaching as a Team Sport: An unrelated higher education riff on the new Malcolm Gladwell production.

The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell, Published in April 2021

Recommending ‘For the Common Good’ to All Students of Higher Education: Wrapping our minds around what came before in order to imagine what might come next.

For the Common Good: A New History of Higher Education in America by Charles Dorn

Cornell University Press, Published in June 2017

Thinking About ‘Higher Education’s Road to Relevance’: Another addition to our students of higher ed book club.

Higher Education’s Road to Relevance: Navigating Complexity by Susan A. Ambrose and Laura A. Wankel, Published in January 2020

An Arresting ‘Tangled Up in Blue’: When a professor becomes a cop.

Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City by Rosa Brooks, Published in February 2021

Pondering ‘Extra Life’ During the Age of COVID: Steven Johnson’s timely new book on why life expectancy has doubled over the past 100 years, and what this story tells us as we try to emerge from a global pandemic.

Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer by Steven Johnson, Published in May 2021

‘Ages of American Capitalism’ and the New Era of For-Profit/Nonprofit Higher Ed: How reading this superb single-volume economic history of the U.S. helped me place the 2U/edX deal within its historical context.

Ages of American Capitalism: A History of the United States by Jonathan Levy, Published in April 2021

Our Complicity in ‘Amazon Unbound’: A book that should spark a critical conversation on our campuses about the dangers of Amazon’s growing market power, but probably won’t.

Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by Brad Stone, Published in May 2021

Thoughts on ‘American Higher Education in the 21st Century’: Why there is no longer any excuse for students of higher education not to read and discuss this essential edited collection.

American Higher Education in the 21st Century: Social, Political, and Economic Challenges by Michael N. Bastedo (editor), Philip G. Altbach (editor) and Patricia J. Gumport (editor)

Johns Hopkins University Press, fourth edition, published in March 2016

Our Hidden Universities and ‘The 99% Invisible City’: Infrastructure nerds.

The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt, Published in October 2020

How Might We Design Our Universities Around ‘How We Learn’?: Four learning science pillars to support institutional change.

How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine … for Now by Stanislas Dehaene, Published in January 2020

Why Fans of Pollan and Schlosser Should Add ‘The Secret Life of Groceries’ to Their Reading List: Food worries.

The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket by Benjamin Lorr, Published in September 2020

Why ‘Everything Now’ Will Inspire IHE Readers to Learn More about L.A.: A city-state of extremes.

Everything Now: Lessons from the City-State of Los Angeles by Rosecrans Baldwin, Published in June of 2021

A Fresh Take on Concentrated Privilege From ‘Jackpot’: Maybe you don’t really want that liquidity event.

Jackpot: How the Super-Rich Really Live—and How Their Wealth Harms Us All by Michael Mechanic. Published in April of 2021

‘The Next Shift’: From Manufacturing to Meds (and Eds): How Pittsburgh went from a steel town to a health-care mecca.

The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America by Gabriel Winant, Harvard University Press, Published in March 2021

Tesla, ‘Power Play’ and the Future of Online Learning: What a book about the history of electric cars and autonomous driving tells us about the future of low-cost/high-quality online scaled degree programs.

Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century by Tim Higgins, Published in August 2021

Lateral Thinking and ‘A Brief History of Motion’: Why learning about the history of wheeled transportation may help us think about the future of higher education.

A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next by Tom Standage, Published in August 2021

Reading ‘Always On’ and Thinking About Tech During the Pandemic: A BBC journalist’s perspective on the impact of COVID-19 on technology and society.

Always On: Hope and Fear in the Social Smartphone Era by Rory Cellan-Jones, Published in July 2021

AI, Jobs and ‘Rule of the Robots’: Martin Ford’s artificial intelligence centered follow-up to his 2015 book arguing that robots were poised to take all our jobs.

Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything by Martin Ford, Published in September 2021

Tempting You With ‘The Secret History of Food’: And a list of some other food and restaurant-related books.

The Secret History of Food: Strange but True Stories About the Origins of Everything We Eat by Matt Siegel, Published in August 2021

Career Navigation and ‘The Scout Mindset’: Why understanding our blind spots and biases is the key to professional (and academic?) success.

The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef, Published in April 2021

An Argument for the ‘Survival of the City’: Urban life, small college towns and the pandemic.

Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation by Edward L. Glaeser and David Cutler, Published in September 2021

The Wisdom of ‘Staying Online’: Bob Ubell’s terrific new book on navigating a post-pandemic digital higher education.

Staying Online: How to Navigate Digital Higher Education by Robert Ubell, Published in September 2021

‘The Debt Trap’ as Motivation to Invest in Low-Cost/High-Quality Scaled Online Degree Programs: Our student debt crisis.

The Debt Trap: How Student Loans Became a National Catastrophe by Josh Mitchell, Published in August 2021

Reading ‘The State Must Provide’ Through a DE&I Lens: Why every educator should read this excellent new book about the history and impact of America’s HBCUs.

The State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal — and How to Set Them Right by Adam Harris, Published in August 2021

Elite Education and ‘The Privileged Poor’: From access to inclusion.

The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students by Anthony Abraham Jack, Published in March 2019

Elite Education and ‘The Inequality Machine’: Has college become an accelerant of privilege instead of an engine of opportunity?

The Inequality Machine: How College Divides Us by Paul Tough, Published in September 2019


‘AI 2041’ as a Model of Curricular Integration: A reading and higher ed conversation with UM’s James DeVaney.

AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan, Published in September 2021

Is Rising Inequality the Fault of ‘The 9.9 Percent’?: An argument that well-paid professionals benefit from and serve to perpetuate our increasingly stratified society.

The 9.9 Percent: The New Aristocracy That Is Entrenching Inequality and Warping Our Culture by Matthew Stewart, Published in October 2021

Luxury Private Residence Halls and ‘Only the Rich Can Play’: Opportunity Zones, wealth and inequality.

Only the Rich Can Play: How Washington Works in the New Gilded Age by David Wessel, Published in October 2021

‘The Exponential Age’ and Online Learning in 2030: A framework for future higher ed planning.

The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology Is Transforming Business, Politics and Society by Azeem Azhar, Published in September 2021

Our Academic Libraries and ‘The Library: A Fragile History’, Resilience and adaptation.

The Library: A Fragile History by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen, Published in November 2021

‘Workhorse’ and the Extreme Career Parallels of the Restaurant and Higher Ed Industries: Are you working too much?

Workhorse: My Sublime and Absurd Years in New York City’s Restaurant Scene by Kim Reed, Published in November 2021

The Global Supply Chain and ‘Arriving Today’: How our stuff gets to us.

Arriving Today: From Factory to Front Door—Why Everything Has Changed About How and What We Buy by Christopher Mims, Published in September 2021

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