Monday, October 26, 2009

A Reader for Life


I have never really acquired the habit of what had become for me a very interesting pursuit of reading not until the second half of the year 1981.I remember it well. I am 13 years old and was then in my second year of high school. It's still so clear to me the first time I saw that book. A book that was supposed to be for elementary pupils.I still remember, it was a tattered book, worn out from many years of use.

Sitting on the doorway of my auntie's little house, the door leading to a three-steps wooden stairs with my feet resting on the last upper step - I began to read that book. It was a book of Filipino legends. I remember reading about " Mariang Makiling," a story of an enchanted lady who are said to be inhabiting a mountain that's named after her in a province we call, Laguna. There was also the story of " Bernardo Carpio," a Filipino version of Hercules. Another is "Biag ni Lam-ang," an epic tale that has its origin in the northern parts of Luzon particularly the Ilocos region. So goes a seemingly endless stream of stories and legends that had also fascinated many an elementary pupils before me. I was hook!

Reminiscing, I have no recollection of reading before that. Reading that is now become a habit, an interest, and something that you do,not because others tell you to like the teachers to their pupils. That you read because you truly desire it, that you truly want it. An interest that is now become an integral part of your life. Something you loved.

And so began my love affair with books. From that very first book i never look back except to give thanks about that time that I began to see the infinite value a habit of reading could actually do to ones life. History books not few, detective stories, science fiction, fantasy books, health books, literature and anything that could satiate my desire to know things and be informed. And what more with the advent of the internet. Now literary thousands upon thousands of books and information made available with just a click of the mouse. Reading materials one could readily access like this one now being written. There is one book that is top of my list. The Bible, which I call the manual of life although it's more than that. Of all the books I have read, this is the only book I have already read for about six times. And still my seventh is undergoing. What a wealth of truth we could received from this book. Wealth that is not just for this present life but most significant, for that one that is to come.

This is now the story that had began with just that one book. One story that is still ongoing, for I would truthfully say, that whether it be the books that had been said above, or the unimaginable vastness of the internet, or the saving truths of the Bible..I had become one - a reader for life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This Weeks Reads:

OK, strange as it may seem, I read three novels this week. Not much good on broadcast TV.....haha! They are: "The Shimmer" by David Morrell. A sci-fi type of mystery based on actual occurances in West Texas, as mysterious lights and a government cover up holds one's attention.

"Worst Nightmares" by Shane Briant. A really creepy story about an author who commits plagiarism with a strange diary left in his mailbox as his next "break through" novel about a sick & graphic serial killer. Many twists and a great climax keep you hanging on by your fingernails!

"The Lovers" by John Connolly. Another novel about PI Charlie Parker and his interesting, if not slightly supernatural life. I enjoyed it and have read about 2-3 others.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Critical Thinking Essay

The first graduate course I was enrolled in was "Adult Education", at age 40. In the text book, the last chapter was devoted to "Critical Thinking". I thought that quite odd then and still to this day. Not only would it make more sense as the "First" chapter, it would be a logical separate course for both undergraduate as well as graduate programs, even high school. What better way to insure success in intellectual or scientific pursuits, than critical thinking skills?

Critical thinking and decision making is the process to find the truth. An important aspect of thinking is the process that relies on the ability to coordinate and structure our ideas so that they make sense. Training our mind to use the critical thinking process gives people a better understanding of the information. This paper will discuss the three different thinking styles. It will also compare and contrast logical style, persuasive style, and creative style. Critical thinking will be applied to the decision making process by using work environment examples.

The logical style of thinking is a complex process in which reasoning is used to come to a conclusion. This style involves a sequence of steps or thoughts

used to solve a problem. According to Kirby and Goodpaster (2007), along with creative thought, inductive and deductive logic comprise the bedrock and substance of all our thinking. Using the two major elements of logical thinking, deductive and inductive reasoning, solutions can be tested with tried and true methods. This style is very distinct and follows a more structured and analytical path using proven methods in order to reach the conclusions.

When comparing logical thinking to the creative and persuasive styles of thinking, all three require detailed processes to reach conclusions. With the creative style, the conclusions are inspired by the ideas that can be gathered using metaphors, brainstorming and starbursting. While the persuasive style of thinking can incorporate biases, emotion, motivation and even manipulation, it usually requires some sort of credibility to be successful.

Logical thinking affects the critical thinking process because it uses Deductive thinking which “is the kind of reasoning that begins with two or more premises and derives a conclusion that must follow from those premises, a conclusion” (Kirby and Goodpaster, 2007) and inductive reasoning which “usually begins with a set of evidence or observations” (Kirby and Goodpaster, 2007). All three thinking styles are required in the critical thinking process in order reach a valid and sound conclusion.

In real estate, all three of these styles of thinking must be incorporated. For example, when taking on a new listing, a detailed step-by-step process must be followed. This series of paperwork is very straight forward and completed in sequential order. If this order is not followed correctly, company rules, association bylaws and even board ethics could be violated.

During the marketing phase, creativity is a must in today’s world. The listing agent must ask many questions of the seller in order to present the property to the right audience and in the right manner.

When the time comes to show homes to a perspective buyer, the art of persuasion comes to play. The agent must make sure that the properties being shown appeal to the buyer’s needs, wants, values and sometimes even egos.

The persuasive thinking style involves getting your audience to believe, go along, or act in accordance with what you want. With this style of thinking, if a person is an effective persuader you can basically get anyone to agree with just about anything. Persuasion and manipulation have a thin line between the two of them. Persuasion is the act of getting someone or a group of people to agree with your views, and beliefs basing your information on facts and truths. For example; getting people to drink more water because it’s healthier for their kidneys than sodas or fruit drinks is the act of persuasion. On the other hand attempting to have people drink more water because soda and fruit juices cause cancer is an act of manipulation, especially if the presenter is receiving some type of benefit for this fictional information.

Using critical thinking in the decision making process in the workplace is significant. For example, if a bakery is considering getting a new oven for efficiency then all thinking styles can come into play. First, the creative style can be used to brainstorm the different types of oven, performance, efficiency and effectiveness. Second, the logical process comes into play narrowing the field of ovens down to a few which can be decided on. Third, the persuasion process can then be used to narrow the selection of ovens to either the most efficient, quickest, or least expensive.

No individual has a lock on creativity, and that allows individuals to think about unlocking the creativity each possesses (Kirby, Goodpaster, 2007). When one creates a new idea, that individual is taking an old idea and mixing it, moving it, or building it into a new idea (Kirby, Goodpaster, 2007). Therefore, creative thinking can be used by anyone, to a certain extent. Personal barriers such as an individuals brain and the language it contains, limit the amount of creativity one may possess. On the other hand, traits such as humor, laughter, courage, and calm help individuals be more creative by breaking out of structured thoughts and making new combinations by reorganizing these thoughts (Kirby, Goodpaster, 2007).

In the workplace, brainstorming and starbursting during the critical thinking process allows for many creative ideas to be generated. Brainstorming should have no boundaries, so the mind can move from one thought to the next, allowing for the creation of ideas. These creative ideas can be evaluated, picked apart, and restructured at a later time to help meet the needs of the organization. Starbursting is an important tactic to use because the central topic of any problem is already established, allowing for questions and ideas to be created around that topic.

Creative thinking encourages an individual to think outside the box to generate innovative ideas. At Centocor, associates are encouraged to participate on teams that are put in place to improve processes. Creative thinking plays an extensive role in critical thinking because the team must think differently from the normal process that has been used for the past 10 years. At Centocor there are staff members working with a team that is restructuring the training process of new employees. The current process has been in place since 1997, but the process lacks the structure needed to train an individual properly.

A brainstorming session was used to generate over 600 aspects of training that needed to be considered for the improvement to be effective. These topics were evaluated and analyzed for relevance and used as a guide for the formation of important steps in the training process. Because the team already knew the main point was training, questions were generated to help identify where the most improvement was needed. This project is still ongoing, and because of the tactics of brainstorming and starbursting, the project has an ample amount of ideas to continue to move it forward.

In conclusion, each thinking style has its advantages and disadvantages. Logical thinking, persuasive thinking and creative thinking styles have been compared and contrasted. Learning how to use each thinking style correctly will help you to apply the accurate style in different circumstances. Learning each style and applying it correctly will help you to achieve the best results. When these multiple thinking styles are properly combined, solutions to problems are more easily accepted and resolved. “Thinking styles is ideal for use in situations at work where strong relationships are critical for success.” (Flinstone, 2001)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How to Keep Your Writing Short

Concise writing is important. I often observe folks writing 1000+ word emails! Several courses in Graduate School required a maximum of two pages in an essay exam. Why be "wordy" when you can make the point in a paragraph or less.

by Jane Sumerset

The writing economy is crucial for many applications. In emails, for instance, would you really read anything that went over three paragraphs on a busy day? Most likely, you'll file it somewhere for later reading -- sometimes, eventually forgetting all about it.

With most types of emails, memos and blog posts, keeping your writing short is often key to holding the reader's attention. If you pay enough attention, you might be surprised by how much information you can convey without putting down so many lines.

If you'd like to write shorter and tighter, here's what you should be doing:

1. Write down your core message before beginning to put down the piece. State it in four to eight words as concisely as you can. Chances are, this will be your ideal title for the material.

2. Meet the reader's needs. Even when you're trying to minimize the length of your writing, you'll need to ensure that you're providing exactly what the readers need. Some folks can go overboard with the writing economy, ending up with content that barely touches on all the information that the readers need to learn.

3. Skip the small talk. Naturally, you'll have to skip the small talk and the inconsequential fodder. Even a witty line here and there should all tie into the readers' understanding of the piece, instead of just being random entertainment. Get the point early, stay on course and conclude it.

4. Edit with a good writing software. Writing software not only corrects mistakes in grammar, but often manages to identify words and phrases that you can eliminate without consequences. Use it ruthlessly and get great results.

Watch how innovative Writing Software instantly can improve your writing on a daily basis and learn how advanced NLP technology can help you to write perfect emails, essays, letters or reports. Read more

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Latest Read..."The Last Testament"

My latest read, another religious fiction novel called, "The Last Testament" by Sam Bourne. It concerns a mediator called to help broker the final peace deal between Palestine and Israel. various interests including rouge US Government employees are against the peace and partitioning of Israel.

Throw into the mix an ancient table, stolen from the National Museum in Baghdad, which happens to be the last will and testament of the Patriarch Abraham, to his two sons!

It drags out in many places, during the almost 600 pages, but has several good twists in the plot, that more than makes up for the brief listless action encountered.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Writer, But Not a Reader?

My neighbor, an aspiring writer interested in the genre, memoirs, tells me she doesn't read. She doesn't even have a library card! I was taken aback to say the least. How can one write, if they have no idea what good or great writers have written?

What started this conversation was a statement I made about good speakers need to be good listeners. She claimed she was one...not quite. She likes to talk, but never pauses to listen for comments or clarifications in her rambling 20 minute "stories". That's talking, not listening! I know at least three folks who tell this convoluted long narrations describing the clothes, what they had for dinner, etc. of someone who you will never meet (or care about) and is totally irrelevant to the story's point!

All this bodes well for my point of reading to understand good writing. Your comments appreciated.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Latest Read, "The Mercedes Coffin"

Just finished "The Mercedes Coffin" by Faye Kellerman. I have read all the books by her husband, Johnathan Kellerman and even a few by their son Jesse Kellerman. This was the first by Faye.

Wrong I have another author to read several dozen "new" books from. My reluctance to read female authors is slowly dissolving. Hey, I don't know why, I was just reluctant after reading a few that all the characters were women! My bad.

I like the main character "Decker" because he was not that into rules! I can identify with that. OK, so now I can recommend this book and author. Available through Amazon and other fine book stores. See my Amazon link on the sidebar.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recent Read, "Blood and Ice" by Robert Masello

My recent read, "Blood and Ice" by Robert Masello kept my attention with a setting I have seen on many a documentary. It starts out with an adventure for a contemporary outdoor photographer going to Antarctica for a three month assignment, and flashbacks in history to England of the mid 1800's with the advent of the Crimean War.

Flashbacks usually annoy me, but each segment was of sufficient length that interest was maintained. It proved necessary as the novel evolved.

The twist in the book occurs when past meets present. The photographer, during a dive under the ice, finds a woman frozen in the ice. Upon breaking the block free, the scientists return with the "corpse" to thaw at their base. Events after this point get interesting. As a fan of the "Thriller" genre, I would recommend it.