May’s Top Reads

In partnership with getAbstract, Training brings you May’s top three business books recommended to our readers.

More than 11,000 business books are published every year—an overwhelming choice for busy professionals. Therefore, in partnership with getAbstract, Training brings you May’s top three business books recommended to our readers.

“The First 20 Hours. How to Learn Anything…Fast!” by Josh Kaufman (Portfolio, 2013, 288 Pages, ISBN: 978-1591845553; $17.04)

This is a wonderful—if flawed—book. Readers will benefit from the first three chapters, wherein author Josh Kaufman explains his logical, effective “rapid skill-acquisition system.” The “Afterword” and the “Note to the Reader” are also helpful. However, unless the specific skills intrigue you, the chapters in which the author goes through teaching himself yoga, the game of Go, computer programming, windsurfing, touch typing, and the ukulele are not as useful, though the author intends them as positive demonstrations. In these case history chapters, any clear sense of Kaufman’s program—and how a reader might apply it—disappears beneath an unnecessary welter of terminology and jargon specific to each endeavor covered. Rather than looking to this manual as an aid in learning those particular skills, savor Kaufman’s journey to discover how you can quickly develop competency in new areas. His first principle is to focus on something you always wanted to learn. The author does not discuss how his techniques work in a corporate setting, but training professionals immediately will see the value of applying his system. getAbstract recommends Kaufman’s effective rapid skill-acquisition process to anyone who wants to gain a new skill quickly and to those who teach skills to others.

Rating (out of 10): 8

Applicability: 8

Innovation: 8

Style: 8

“The Gamification of Learning and Instruction. Game-Based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education” by Karl M. Kapp (Pfeiffer, 2012, 336 Pages, ISBN: 978-1118096345; $48.70)

In this comprehensive manual, instructional technology professor Karl M. Kapp delves into gamification in all its varied applications. Kapp heeds his own advice: He offers not just the “how” but also the “why,” giving readers procedural knowledge and creative wisdom. The book is repetitive and even awkward, but well informed and thorough. You’ll learn how to build a gamification team, inspire players to follow the game and learn, and develop the gamified education package that best fits your teaching goals. getAbstract recommends this utilitarian, forward-thinking guide to learning professionals who want a doorway into game-based teaching.

Rating (out of 10): 7

Applicability: 7

Innovation: 9

Style: 4

“Raising Global IQ. Preparing Our Students for a Shrinking Planet” by Carl F. Hobert  (Beacon Press, 2013, 232 Pages, ISBN: 978-0807032886; $19.80)

As national economies become increasingly interwoven, intercultural awareness grows ever more important. Educator Carl F. Hobert explains the necessity of raising students’ “global IQ” and shares several clear, straightforward ideas. Though most of his ideas are fresh, much of what he says about learning languages will be old news to Europeans: No one has to suggest to, for example, the French school system, that it should teach more than one language. The helpful “what we can do now” bullet lists ending each chapter almost balance out the strain of dealing with the book’s hard-to-read visual design. getAbstract recommends Hobert’s philosophy and pragmatic, workable suggestions primarily to educators and parents, as well as to trainers in the business of preparing employees for international assignments. These insights and proposals also will intrigue anyone concerned with nurturing and guiding better-informed global citizens.

Rating (out of 10): 7

Applicability: 7

Innovation: 7

Style: 6

For five-page summaries of these and more than 10,000 other titles, visit


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