Monthly Archives: April 2016

Relatively Undisciplined

      No Comments on Relatively Undisciplined

The world works in funny ways. I sent out a number of e-mails to friends in the past week, letting them know of the birth of the book, and have subsequently received dozens of lovely notes that remind me of why they’re my friends. But none among them was more… Read more »

Unseen Allies

      No Comments on Unseen Allies

Years ago, I read an interview with John Updike in which he talked about the joy of receiving a fresh box of his new books. He smelled them. He held them in his hands, admiring their covers, turning them gently so they’d catch the light like a jewel. He opened… Read more »

The Alluring Lie of Balance

      No Comments on The Alluring Lie of Balance

When I first went to grad school, we had a half-day orientation for new TAs. And the first diagram on the whiteboard explained how to balance our time. That speaker posited that we needed to use 50% of our time for our own coursework, 50% of our time for our… Read more »

Holy Cow!

      No Comments on Holy Cow!

A couple of early reviews of The PhDictionary have come in, and it’s gratifying to see that the response has thus far been welcoming. But just yesterday, Inside Higher Ed ran a review and a long interview that I did with their correspondent Colleen Flaherty. They really gave the book… Read more »

Yes, but…

      No Comments on Yes, but…

Why are faculty meetings so miserable? I think it’s because, as scholars, we’ve trained ourselves in ways that make it almost inevitable. Think about the basic moves of a scholar’s career. To paraphrase Birkenstein & Graff’s work on academic templates, the origin of almost every piece of research can be… Read more »

Unseen Work

      No Comments on Unseen Work

I tend to mistrust “how-to” books. I think they’re too sanitized to be trustworthy, reducing complex and contextual circumstances to linear recipes. Much more interesting are the “how-it-happened” books, in which some person talks about how their amazing life got to be so amazing. Filled with stories and accidents and roads… Read more »

The Ramifications of Not Considering Luck

      No Comments on The Ramifications of Not Considering Luck

The Atlantic Monthly has become one of those clubby, patrician magazines that the comfortable read to reassure themselves of their comfort. Every so often, though, they surprise me. One of those surprises is in this month’s issue, an article by Robert H. Frank called “Why Luck Matters More than You… Read more »

Bookshelf—Becoming an Ex

      No Comments on Bookshelf—Becoming an Ex

Occasionally, I’d like to highlight a book that I think that you’ll benefit from, whether you’re a prospective or current grad student, a prospective or current faculty member, or an advisor of either of those two communities. Today’s book, a recommendation of a kind and smart friend, is Helen Rose… Read more »

The Nested Bell Curves

      No Comments on The Nested Bell Curves

I grew up a huge fan of the Detroit Tigers, and thus learned to love baseball above all other team sports. Because of that, I used to read Bill James’ Baseball Abstracts, the annual geek’s guides to baseball statistics that were the precursor to the Moneyball era. In one of those… Read more »

Yet again, in the anteroom…

      No Comments on Yet again, in the anteroom…

I went up to Middlebury College last night to watch a marvelous movie, Mr. Turner, about the English painter JMW Turner. It’s absolutely a marvel, with Timothy Spall giving a fully embodied performance of a deeply talented and deeply unlikeable man. But for our purposes, I’d like us to consider this… Read more »