5.08.2012

Read this book!

So you have an extra 23 dollars and a few hours to fill? My recommendation: change your life and read this book.

Steven Gaines recommended "Escape from the Ivory Tower" (by Nancy Baron) to me and it has made me a better communicator, a better writer, and probably a better researcher.

Baron is a scientist-turned-science-writer and puts together a quick read that helps us awkward and detail-oriented scientists pretend that we are smooth operators doing research that everyone should care about.

The book basically has two components. First, she helps you understand how journalists, policy-makers and normal humans see the world and, more importantly, how they think about scientific research. This alone helped me dramatically improve how I frame my work.

Second, she then lays out a whole bunch of practical tools to help you think through how you should present your research, from how to structure a paper summary to how to handle telephone/TV interviews and what to expect when talking with policy-types.

And since Baron is a pro on writing, the book is an unsurprisingly snappy and entertaining read full of excellent quotes.

I can't recommend this book enough. If I ever get the chance to teach a class on research methodology, I swear that I will require that everyone read this book.

Other books in the make-yourself-a-better-communicator series: graphics and climate.

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