Category Archives: book

Book: Unconditional Parenting

Updated 2018-07-29: Added note about doing to / working with.

For (Text)book Thursday, I actually managed to make a sketchnote! Hooray! Hooray! It’s been so long, I’m not even sure what my process for posting these things was…

2018-07-26a Unconditional Parenting – Alfie Kohn #book #sketchnote #parenting

Anyway. On with the book notes.

Unconditional Parenting (Atria Books, 2005) resonates a lot with the kind of parenting we seem to be doing, and it challenges me to go even further. I’m looking for alternatives to timeouts and reward charts mostly out of curiosity, not because I judge people who use them or that I’d judge myself if those techniques end up being what we feel we need. It’s good to explore possibilities and learn from experiences.

I remember reading a parenting article that inspired me to try moving away from evaluative statements like “Good job!” towards you-focused statements (“You did it!”), or better yet, more specific, descriptive statements (“You put the wooden block on top of the other block!”). A- is almost two and a half years old now, so it might be interesting to see what we can do with more questions. (“I see you made two blue handprints on the pink paper. Can you tell me about your painting?”)

I have so much fun observing A- and acknowledging all the cool things she’s doing. I need to be careful not to crowd her, though, or to make her feel that she’s only interesting when she’s doing new things. She’s good at telling me when she wants me to do something different (“Mama dance different dance!”) or when she wants me to do the same thing she’s doing. (“Play playdough together!”) I’ve been working on toning down the running commentary for words she already knows, giving her more quiet time, and waiting until she prompts me by looking at me or talking to me. It can be hard to sit there, though. I also catch myself thinking in terms of positive reinforcement of behaviour, so that’s something to watch out for.

So far, we have the flexibility to invite A- to make lots of decisions with us and to accommodate many of her preferences. For example, she’s not keen on babysitters at the moment, and that’s okay with me. She’s getting better at telling me how she feels and what she wants, and she’s even starting to propose ways to solve problems. For my part, I’m getting better at turning things into games, which has been handy for brushing her teeth.

I like focusing on A-, not just on what she says or does. Today, for example, she was suddenly a teenager: “I hate this fish. I hate beansprouts. I hate everything.” Instead of telling her not to use the word “hate,” getting offended, or getting frustrated, I tried different things and found out that she actually wanted her own portion of fish from the fridge, not off my plate. She’s experimenting with big emotions, boundaries, language, and will, and I’m glad I have the space to support her through that.

The book has a few details on helping kids develop perspective-taking skills, which was one of the skills in the ELECT framework that I wanted to focus on. I’m looking forward to modeling perspective-taking through conversation, and practising taking her perspective too. I like how it can turn even unpleasant encounters into opportunities for reflection, which reminds me a lot of Stoic philosophy.

Unconditional Parenting is quite different from most of the parenting books I’ve come across, and it probably isn’t a good fit for everyone. It’s a little heavy on the negative side, and would probably get lots of people’s hackles up. I would have liked to read more about the challenges of applying the approach and how to figure things out together. That’s often the challenge with parenting books – the anecdotes sound so smooth, but I’m more curious about the figuring-out parts and the repairs and the let’s-try-agains. I guess I’m looking for something less sales-y, more open source support forum-y, if they makes sense? Anyway, I think we have a good opportunity to try out a few of the ideas from it, though, so it might be fun to explore while we can. It’s been a while since it was published, so I wonder what more recent recommendations say.

I do like the book’s distinction between “doing to” parenting and “working with” parenting. It reminds me of the way pedagogical documentation reframes the grown-up’s role from the dispenser of wisdom to a co-learner supporting the kid’s growth.

The book reminds me of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves and How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen, both of which feel like books I can recommend a bit more generally. Janet Lansbury’s stuff, too.

As always, it’s all a grand experiment, so if something different works for your family, great, good for you! Goodness knows different things work for us at different times, too. It’s good to have things to think about and try out, though!

Reading while fuzzy

Still fuzzy-brained yesterday, so I took a break from sleeping and playing video games in order to read through the stack of books I’d checked out of the library. Hooray for the library. If I had to make the buying decision for each book, I would have nowhere near this number and diversity.

Reading while fuzzy works surprisingly well. With a sharp brain, sometimes I get impatient with books that cover the same ground as other books I’ve read, or books that aren’t particularly relevant to me, or books that don’t have quite the right feel in their writing. I think: I could be coding or writing or figuring things out myself. With a fuzzy brain, I can take things more slowly.

2015-04-29a Reading while fuzzy -- index card #reading #fuzzy

2015-04-29a Reading while fuzzy – index card #reading #fuzzy

Anyway, here are the three books I got through.

2015-04-29e Raw book notes - The Great Work of Your Life - Stephen Cope -- index card #book

2015-04-29e Raw book notes – The Great Work of Your Life – Stephen Cope – index card #book

2015-04-29d Raw book notes - Makers - Chris Anderson -- index card #book

2015-04-29d Raw book notes – Makers – Chris Anderson – index card #book

2015-04-29c Raw book notes - Self-help, Inc -- index card #book

2015-04-29c Raw book notes – Self-help, Inc – index card #book

While filing them in my outline, I noticed that I had a bunch of other raw book notes: not pretty ones with doodles and colours, just index cards crammed with writing. I figured I’d post those too, since I often search my blog for things I remember.

2015-01-22 Book – Leading the Life You Want – Friedman 2014 – index card #book

2015-01-15 Think Better - Tim Hurson -- index card #book #raw #thinking #creativity

2015-01-15 Think Better – Tim Hurson – index card #book #raw #thinking #creativity

2015-01-15 How to Read and Why - Harold Bloom -- index card #book #raw #reading

2015-01-15 How to Read and Why – Harold Bloom – index card #book #raw #reading

2015-01-23 Book - Leaving a Trace - Alexandra Johnson -- index card #writing #book

2015-01-23 Book – Leaving a Trace – Alexandra Johnson – index card #writing #book

2015-01-18 The Sense of Style -- index card #book #writing

2015-01-18 The Sense of Style – index card #book #writing

2015-01-14 On Desire - Why We Want What We Want - William Irvine -- index cards #book

2015-01-14 On Desire – Why We Want What We Want – William Irvine – index cards #book

2015-01-26 Book - How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci -- index card #raw #book

2015-01-26 Book – How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci – index card #raw #book

2015-01-15 Writing on Both Sides of Your Brain - Henriette Anne Klauser -- index card #book #raw

2015-01-15 Writing on Both Sides of Your Brain – Henriette Anne Klauser – index card #book #raw

Might as well get the thoughts out there. Who knows how they’ll ripple and come back?

A No Excuses Guide to Blogging (PDF, EPUB, MOBI – free!); also, notes on publishing

This entry is part 1 of 19 in the series A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging

First, a quick announcement: A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging is now available as a free/pay-what-you-want e-book so that you can work your way through your excuses without having to click through lots of blog posts. =)

Mock-up by Ramon Williamson


Mock-up by Ramon Williamson

The cover I made for Amazon

The cover I made for Amazon

The PDF looks prettiest if you’re reading it on your computer or tablet, and the EPUB/MOBI version is handy for other e-readers. You get all three (and any future updates) if you grab it from http://sachachua.com/no-excuses-blogging, or you can get the MOBI version from the Kindle store (currently $0.99, but eventually they’ll price-match it to $0). The book is under Creative Commons Attribution, so feel free to share it with other people. =)

UPDATE 2014-02-13: Here’s a one-page summary!

2014-02-13 A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging - Summary of 10 blogging excuses and how to work around them

2014-02-13 A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging – Summary of 10 blogging excuses and how to work around them

 

– Behind the scenes stuff! – 

So this was about 8 hours of packaging after I’d identified the topics and asked an assistant to compile all the blog posts in a Word document. I edited the text to make it fit better in a collection, fiddled with the graphics, added more sketches, tweaked the layout some more, fought with section headers, and eventually created a PDF that I was reasonably happy with. I contacted a bunch of people on Fiverr about converting the DOCX into EPUB and MOBI. While waiting for a response, I decided to try doing it myself. It took me some time to clean up the messy HTML, but I’m reasonably happy with how the EPUB worked out. I had to tweak the EPUB table of contents in order to get it to pass the validator used by Lulu, but eventually I got it worked out with Calibre and Sigil. The MOBI was a straight conversion from the EPUB, although I wonder if I can get the background colour to be white…

2014-02-05 Notes on publishing

2014-02-05 Notes on publishing

So that was interesting and useful, and it would be good to do more. Here are some ideas for other “No Excuses”-type guides I might put together. Maybe self-directed learning and delegation, actually, since other people are covering the sketchnoting bit quite well.

2014-02-06 What other excuses can I collect and work around

2014-02-06 What other excuses can I collect and work around

There’s also this list of other book ideas, Thinking with Emacs, Tracking Your Time, Accelerating Your Learning with Sketchnotes, and this big outline. Lots to do. Looking forward to figuring out how I can get more of these out the door. =)

In the meantime… tada! http://sach.ac/no-excuses-blogging

Visual book review: Help Your Kids Get Better Grades

I received a review copy of Gary E. Howard’s Help Your Kids Get Better Grades at just the right time. Yesterday was J’s first day of high school. Exciting times! We’ve been talking to her about the need for taking notes, and we’re looking forward to helping her make the most of homework and study for tests. We hope we’ll be able to help her learn those super-useful study skills. Here are my notes. Enjoy!

Book - Help Your Kids Get Better Grades

Click on the image for a larger version.

The book has many more tips for people helping high-school students improve their study skills.

Help Your Kids Get Better Grades (Gary E. Howard; Cambridge Learning Skills, 2010) – affiliate link

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book, but would probably have written the same review if I’d checked this out from a library. =) The Amazon links above are also affiliate links.

Sketchnotes: The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

Chris Guillebeau’s new book The $100 Startup was released just yesterday. Here are my notes! Click on the image to view a larger version.

20120509-sketchnotes-100-dollar-startup

The book is packed with clear, practical advice and backed by concrete, diverse stories from successful microbusinesses around the world. It’s not a very deep book (don’t look here for step-by-step instructions, thorough analyses of case studies, or hand-holding through the business startup process), but it’s an enjoyable read. I’ll probably find myself referring to it a lot for inspiration and ideas. If you like this book, you’ll probably also like The Lean Startup (see my notes). Enjoy!

Check out more sketchnotes or read about my ongoing experiments in business. I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s the text from the image to make it easier to search for: THE $100 STARTUP Chris Guillebeau What you love to do What people will pay for passion + skill + usefulness = success benefits features Ex: happiness widgets Expand your opportunities by reusing your skills in different ares. Most people want simplicity. Don’t give them unneeded details. Some businesses are easier to start. consulting information products You don’t have to be an expert yet! Action Planning Don’t wait for perfection. Start and learn along the way. Invest time into growing your business. Learn how to offer, hustle, launch… “Franchise yourself” -partner -outsource -spin off a different biz scale up You don’t have to build a huge business. Make one that’s the right size for you. Where to find opportunities -marketplace inefficiency -new tech or opportunity -changing space -spin-off or side projects Decision-making matrix Impact Effort Profit Vision Idea Idea Market before manufacturing Test your idea Failsafe: offer refunds FAQ: objection-squasher 25 cents Make your first sale ASAP. Great confidence builder. Other useful parts: 1-page business plan 39-step launch checklist 1-page promotion plan + web resources Like this? Check out my other notes @ LivingAnAwesomeLife.com! – Sacha Chua Twitter: @sachac

Visual book review: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion

20120321-book-thank-you-for-arguing

Jay Heinrichs’ Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion is one of my favourite books. You know how we walk around thinking that rhetoric is evil and arguments are to be avoided? He shows how knowing about persuasive techniques – and using them well – can make life better, and how kids who know how to argue correctly are adorable. Well, he doesn’t explicitly make that last point, but it’s entertaining seeing him get bested by his 5-year-old daughter.

Read this book so that you can get better at detecting and dealing with invisible arguments that surround you. Learn how to combine the elements of ethos, logos, and pathos to argue persuasively. Don’t get stuck in blame games or stereotyping fights; stay focused on the future and help people move forward. Use wordplay to be wittier.

The book is packed with tips, and well worth keeping on your reference shelf. I liked it so much that I bought a paperback copy and a Kindle e-book (which was more expensive than the paperback, pff!)

Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion
Jay Heinrichs
2007: Three Rivers Press
ISBN: 978-0307341440

For more detailed notes, see my 2010 review of Thank You for Arguing.

See other visual book notes!

Here’s the text from the image to improve people’s ability to search for it:

Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion
Jay Heinrichs 2007

We are surrounded by
INVISIBLE ARGUMENTS
FIGHTS (Goal: Win)
Learn the difference between
ARGUMENT (Goal: change mind)

Types of argument (can combine!)
Ethos (character, who you are)
Show that you are similar & have shared values
Use strategic reluctance (“I normally hate speaking, but…”)
sense/medium

a b c
Logos (logic, reasoning)
“is”
Make your option the reasonable middle
Control the definitions of terms

Pathos (Emotions)
You can guide people’s emotions by overreacting on their behalf.
“That must have been awful!”

Use the right tense:
PAST
Blaming
“You did it!”
“Did not”
“Did too!”
PRESENT
Stereotyping
“You always…”
“You never…”
FUTURE
Moving forward
“Next time, can we…”

DEFENCE
The book has many tips on how to detect and deal with persuasion.

…and tips for being witty, too!

Notes: SachaChua.com
@sachac 2012