Hey Einstein, what the heck are you doing?! Why is that 1048-page behemoth sitting in front of you? Put down that highlighter, I’m talking to you! Yes, you! Ah, I see, trying to convince yourself you are having a good time . . . but you aren’t fooling me.
Hey look, I’m all for reading the hard stuff, don’t get me wrong, don’t misunderstand me here. If you haven’t spent 2-6 years reading ONLY hard stuff, then by all means, go out and buy something with the “Incredibly dense and rewardingly slow!” sticker on the front cover and pat yourself on the back.
But for the silent minority of you with graduate withdrawal out there, I’m telling you, reading books in today’s world is done (by most people) for pure enjoyment! I know you’ve probably forgotten that. To you, reading is work . . . and I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but . . . that’s over now. It’s over.
Your professors have moved on, your “BFF” that still has two years left is sickly jealous of you (that’s why she hasn’t returned your calls), and the folks at the office have invited you to join their book club, not a conference workshop. It’s time for you to either man or woman up and just shake off the past.
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Embrace it, enjoy it, the past is going to come in handy . . . but don’t wallow in it. If I’m getting through to you, but you feel just as lost as when you started reading this paragraph, here are some suggestions that may be of some use.
THE SOCIOLOGIST MAJOR WITH A CERTIFICATE IN INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGY
You couldn’t do the math required for the computer science program, but that didn’t stop you! Unfortunately, while your freshman roommate is now a big name at Google, you are scanning the wanted ads for a job that requires two Ph.D.s and a working knowledge of something called MATLAB. You learned how the fetishization of technology turned us all into a mass of automatons, now it’s time you learned how technology made a couple of drop-outs insanely rich. I promise it’s cathartic (assuming you are a masochist)!
What you had to read:
How We Became Posthuman by N. Katherine Hailes; Social Computing, Behavioral Modeling, and Prediction edited by Liu, Salerno, and Young; The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing by Martin Davis.
What you can read now:
Winner: Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine (Bonus: TNT’s original movie Pirates of Silicon Valley is based on this epic yarn).
Runners Up: The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver (better title: How You Too Can Make Big Money Come Election Season); Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (admit it, his computers were much prettier than Turing’s).
RIFers and recent grads! How do you balance reading for school or work with reading for pleasure? Tell us in a comment!
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