Presenting Joshua Kim's list of reviewed books of 2018

Which books did you read in 2018 that you recommend to the IHE community?

How do you discover and then decide which books to invest your time in reading?

What format do you prefer your books: paper, e-book, or audiobook?

Where do you get your books: the library (academic or public), a bookstore, or online?

Do we have any 2018 book overlaps?

Below is a list of the books that I reviewed in this space in 2018.  In looking through this list, Dr. Joshua Kim have five thoughts about his year of book reading:

  1. Books are how I try to make sense of the world, including our higher ed world.
  2. Books, for me, are a substitute for other information platforms - particularly social media.  Time spent reading books is time not spent on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.
  3. Books are the best entry points for conversations about the future of higher education.
  4. Book reading and book platforms/technologies can’t be separated.  Every book that I reviewed in the list below I read as an audiobook or an e-book, and often as both.
  5. Book people, us higher ed people of the book, should be much more worried about the dominance of Amazon in the digital book space than we are.  (Almost every book below was purchased at Amazon or the Amazon-owned Audible).


Challenging Our Thinking in 2018 With 'Doughnut Economics’

The value of reading books that clash with what we think we know.

'Fire and Fury' As Object

Parsing the meaning of a book as a book.

'Capitalism without Capital' and Why Universities Are Valuable

Thinking about the intangible economy through the lens of higher education.

'Dual Transformation' Will Drive Higher Ed People Crazy

We should read it anyway.

Listening to 'Hillbilly Elegy' on the Google iOS Play Books App

Experimenting with Google audiobooks as a competitor to Audible / Amazon, and why any of this should matter to academic librarians.


Should We Really Follow Daniel Pink's Career Advice in 'When'?

Thinking about our academic careers and 'The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing’.

Angus Dealy's Timely 2013 'The Great Escape’

Staying positive in the age of Trump.

EdTech and "The Innovation Illusion"

Do we need more creative destruction in educational technology?

History as Networks in Ferguson's 'The Square and the Tower'

A recommendation that I’ll be interested if you take up.

'The Wizard and the Prophet' and our EdTech Conversation

How an early candidate for the best book of 2018 made me reconsider how I think about technology in education.


We Need To Tell Our Students That 'It's Better Than It Looks’

Teaching critical optimism.

Reading 'Behemoth' and Thinking about Factories, My Kids, and Our Students

The manufacturing of our modern world.


Situating Steven Pinker's Splendid 'Enlightenment Now' Within the Progress Genre

Calling all pessimists.

Unlocking 'The Longevity Economy’

Companies and institutions in the age of the vibrant old.

Two Ways to Read 'Microtrends Squared'

Ignore the political explanations, but do use this book to help in campus small talk.

Hans Rosling's 'Factfulness' and Other Books on Progress

Prog Lit.

'Meltdown: Why Our [Higher Ed Tech] Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It’

Why I added “Higher Ed Tech” to the title of this book.

Mlodinow's 'Elastic' and What a Liberal Arts Education Does to Your Brain

A book on the cognitive science behind flexible thinking.


The Alternative 'Human + Machine' Narrative on the Future of Work

Why AI will not eliminate all the good jobs, but disinvestment from public higher education will.

Reading 'New Power' Through Old Power Higher Ed Eyes

Wondering about other books that are not at all about higher ed, but that teach us surprising and valuable lessons.

11 Hours of Pure Enjoyment with Lawrence Wright's 'God Save Texas’

A political, social, historical, and travel memoir.

'A Thirsty Land' Is a Great Book for Campus Water Scarcity Nerds

What academics should really be worried about.

'The Signals Are Talking' and the Future of Higher Ed

Will today’s postsecondary fringe be tomorrow’s mainstream?

Kurlansky's 'Milk!' and the Food Biography Genre

Food history books that teach us everything about the world.

'The Happiness Curve' Explains Why Academics in Their 40s Are So Miserable

Along with everybody else.

Research Universities, Community Colleges, and 'Our Towns’

How higher education fits in to a new book about America’s small city renaissance.

On Searching for Campus Novels and Disliking "Lucky Jim”

With a list of other academic novels, and a request for your recommendations.


The Believably Bleak Future of ’Theory of Bastards'

Dystopia, science, and bonobos done right.

The Precision of Simon Winchester's 'The Perfectionists'

A wonderful book about the history of technological progress.

3 Depressing Conclusions from Reading 'Energy and Civilization' and 'Energy: A Human History’

2 indispensable books on the past, present, and future of energy.



Auletta's Excellent 'Frenemies' and the World of Higher Ed Advertising

After Don Draper.

MOOC Lessons from a $9.56 'An Economic History of the World since 1400'

What open online learning can learn from The Great Courses.

How 'The Efficiency Paradox' Gets EdTech Right

Why education is expensive, and why technology will not be the solution.

How 'The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs' Makes Academic Life Look Awesome

Why reading about paleontology will make you want to go to grad school.

Why Higher Ed People Should Read 'The Billionaire Raj'

And why the future of higher ed is Indian.


'The Fifth Discipline' and Universities as Learning Organizations

Leading higher ed change.

'The Nix' As a Chronicle of the Campus Brutalist Architectural Fad

Do you have giant concrete buildings on your campus?

'The Shakespeare Requirement' Is the Academic Satire We've Been Wishing For

The funniest book of 2018.


Mixed Feelings About the Audible Only 'The Coming Storm’

Michael Lewis, the medium, and the message.

A Thoroughly Depressing 'Sugar, The World Corrupted’

A book for those who love historical food biographies and micro-histories.

'Temp' and the Lean University

A superb history of the growth of the contingent workforce.

Applying 'Winners Take All' To Higher Ed

Grappling with some uncomfortable ideas from a provocative book.

Are OKC Academics Reading 'Boom Town'?

Books about cities.

5 Surprising Conclusions from Woodward's ‘Fear'

All of them worrying.

Adding 'The World in a Grain' to Our Microhistory Bookshelf

The history and future of sand.

Can 'Farsighted' Help Academics Make Better Decisions?

Bringing decision science to campus deliberations.


'The Mirage Factory' that Is Los Angeles

Reading books about big cities from small college towns.

Glimpsing Our Future in 'Korea: The Impossible Country'

Universal higher education, few babies, and lots of old people.

'Autonomy' and the Slow Electric / Self-Driving Car Revolution

Why this future is not coming quickly enough.

Watching the NFL While Listening to 'Big Game’

A very funny book about pro football, money, brain damage, and us.

Discovering 'The Next American City'

Why even higher ed people living outside of the Sooner State should read two new books about Oklahoma City.

'Saudi America' and Our Campus Energy Discussion

Fracking, renewables, and us.

Waiting for 'The Fourth Age' to Arrive

How we think about genocidal AI and job-stealing robots.

The Case Against 'The Case Against Education'

Why this excellent book gets higher education completely wrong.

A Friendly Critique of 'Palaces for the People’

What happens when three IHE bloggers recommend the same book?

Please Take the 'Prius or Pickup?’ Quiz

A book that made me wonder if IHE is a good place to have conversations across worldviews, and which also made me more worried about November 2020.

4 Reasons to Read 'Capitalism in America’

Why academics seem to be skeptical of an economic history co-authored by Alan Greenspan.


'These Truths' for History Majors

Is this how we should teach history?

How China and the U.S. Are Competing to Be the Next 'AI Superpowers'

A good book with a terrible title.

Will America's Future Resemble the California Described In 'State of Resistance’?

Or should we look to Texas?

Worrying About 'The Fifth Risk’

A whole new set of reasons to worry about Trump.

From 'These Truths' to 'Heirs of the Founders’

Filling in a post-Revolution / pre-Civil War blindspot.

Academic Libraries and 'The Library Book’

Public libraries, books, and us.

A Calm, Reasonable, and Wise 'On the Future’

Humanity's prospects.


A Book-Length Argument for a Pop Culture 'Digital Renaissance’

But why ignore audiobooks?

What Will Happen When There Is 'No One at the Wheel’?

An argument for a holistic approach to transportation as we prepare for a future of driverless cars.

A Fantastic 'Breaking News' Filtered Through Higher Ed Anxieties

What the best book I’ve read on the newspaper digital disruption might say about the future of higher ed.

Reading 'Uberland' and Thinking About Contingent Faculty

A fine work of technology ethnography.

The Progressive Case Against Tyler Cowen’s 'Stubborn Attachments'

Should sustainable economic growth be our first priority?

An Alt-Ac's Take on 'How to Leave' the Big City

Rejecting the superstar city in favor of the college town.

Drinking In 'Coffee for One'

K-Cups, higher ed, and books.


Dr. Joshua Kim is the Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) and a CNDLS Senior Fellow for Academic Transformation, Learning, and Design at Georgetown University.  He has a PhD in demography and sociology from Brown University.


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