Thinking Strategies of Proficient Readers

What are the thinking strategies that all proficient readers use as they read?

  • Determining What is Important – Identifying themes and diminishing focus on less important ideas or pieces of information
  • Drawing Inferences – Combining background knowledge and textual information to draw conclusions and interpret facts
  • Using Prior Knowledge – Building on previous knowledge and experiences to aid in comprehension of the text
  • Asking Questions – Wondering and inquiring about the book before, during, and after reading
  • Monitoring Comprehension and Meaning – Using an inner voice to think about if the text makes sense or not
  • Creating Mental Images – Implementing the five senses to build images in the mind that enhance the experience of reading

I would add one more. If it is serious reading, identify a list of major concepts and draw a concept map. Keep this as your notes for a future reference.

Sharpening the Saw

Some good advice at Remember To Rest.

It is vital for you to step back regularly; to look at your work, to evaluate it, to strategise and only then, to continue with it. All great artists step back from their work, look at it, sum it up and only then do they continue with their artwork.

Stephen Covey has a chapter on Sharpening the Saw in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

The seventh habit that makes all the other six last is Sharpening the Saw. This powerful idea can really only be described by Covey’s word-picture:

Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.

“What are you doing?” you ask.

“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”

“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”

“Well why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”

“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”

Sharpening the saw is about renewing yourself – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

I am yet to learn to do this well.

ZDNet: Web 2.0 Drives Venture Capitalists Crazy

If it is really true, this is good news.

“Web 2.0 is devilling venture capitalists — they can’t invest in these companies because they were profitable from day one. VCs want to give them capital, but the companies don’t need it,” said Basta.

Not sure whether Web2.0 companies are profitable from day one. But it is true that they do not need much money to launch a product and get initial customers.

A Tool Building Philosophy

I looked at WikiCalc a couple of months ago. A friend of mine mentioned it recently and I decided to take a look again. I read Dan Bricklin’s page on WikiCalc. I like his philosophy for developing software.

I do not have a business model that makes me want to force people through servers I control, so it gives me freedom in system architecture. I just try to make available a variety of architectures to choose from so you can use what best suits you, not just me.

There was a mention of ListGarden in the article, so I went to look for it in Dan’s home page and found this blog entry.

The basic idea is that the value of the Long Tail isn’t just that you make money selling an awful lot of unpopular things. The value comes from the fact that the long tail is the reason many people will choose one tool or system over another.

According to Dan, WikiCalc does the following (I reformatted the original paragraph into bullets for emphasis):

  • The program can do many common spreadsheet operations while authoring, including numeric calculation and sums across ranges, formatting, and copy/paste/insert/fill (though it is not meant for heavy duty spreadsheeting or serious calculations).
  • It handles freeform text in a wiki-like manner and works well with large blocks of text.
  • It publishes through a template much like many blogging systems so you can easily create pages with a common graphic design and boilerplate.

You can see the combination of rich functionality, wikiness and blogness in his thinking. It is something to learn from.

Financial Glossary Wiki

Another instance of Wiki usage by an Financial Enterprise. This one is from Reuters.

The Reuters Financial Glossary has been developed to give you quick and easy access to definitions of terms and concepts related to the financial markets. It is a community-created collaborative project, based upon a published book written and edited by Reuters Editorial staff. Now anyone can edit, build upon and add entries to the glossary to create a helpful source of information.

The Reuters Financial Glossary covers foreign exchange, treasury, money and capital markets, mortgage-based assets, equities, commodities, sovereign and corporate debt, technical analysis, and macro-economic terms. Also included are a number of IT related references that will help the transition into the new digital business world. It has a simple alphabetical format and is fully cross-referenced.

Thanks to Vinny’s Linkblog and WordPress Next feature (through which I found Vinny).

Blogging Communities are Incubators

I tend to agree with Dave. Lots of ideas are born, shared, discussed and improved in the blogosphere. Ideas are like chain reactions. One idea spawns other ideas. This multiplier effect, result in mind bombs. Even if there is commercial benefit, it is good to engage – discuss, argue, shout, be shouted at.

From Dave Winer’s Blogging is part of life:

Blogs are where new businesses will spring from. Think of blogs as being like dorm rooms, and remember that’s where Dell Computer came from. Blogging communities are incubators.

Intent with Content

Curt Cagle has a nice post on Pragmatics. He puts in perspective the REST vs SOAP debate. To me the essentially part of his post is this statement:

The difference between a message-centric approach and a resource-centric approach is simply that in the first case you provide intent with the contents, while in the second you don’t (the intent is implied by the target). They both contain a formulation of state.

This post is a good read. He sums up with this:

SOAP and REST are not equivalent strategies, nor do they represent the “skilled” vs. the “unskilled” approach. Each has a specific domain where it has its strengths and should be used in that domain, just as each has its domain where it is weakest and should be carefully evaluated before being used in that other space.

Here is the original post and discussion by Don Box.

Mashups should be as easy as EXCEL Macros

In this post on WEb 2.0 and the Enterprise discussion, Jeff Clavier describes the impact of Web 2.0 on Enterprise. I like the way he articulates the relevant characteristics of Web 2.0.

  • Rich User Interface and User Experience, where simplicity and appealing design are definitely prominent
  • Architecture of participation, where users get involve in producing, commenting, rating, reviewing,…
  • Vertical applications and mash-ups, where functionality is segmented into specific applications that serve a limited purpose, is made available to other applications through web services, and can be remixed into mashups

We need to make building mashups as easy as scripting EXCEL macros. This will allow wider adoption, a bottom-up movement of useful applications in the enterprise.