Reading as an Occupation: What I read in September.

The only constant in life is change. One area that I, and many people from what I have observed, struggle dealing with is change. Successfully adjusting to change begins with having an open mind and being objective.  Sounds easy enough, but how exactly can we deal with upheaval in our life, difference of opinions, or new information on an old topic? Two words, Think Again. This book was on the short list of books I read in September.

So, what books made my short list this month? Think Again, Outliers, and Perspectives on Occupational Therapy Education: Past, Present, and Future. Each book expanded not only my base of knowledge and I hope you will find these books to be helpful with informing your life and occupational therapy practice.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant

Adam Grant came onto my radar from a Tweet. I remember reading the Tweet and being impressed by the depth of the information provided in such a brief Tweet. There were maybe 2 more Tweets with the same impact, and I decided to follow this wordsmith completely unaware that this was the Adam Grant who wrote the book Think Again, which seemed to be on everyone’s “must-read” list. I decided to give Think Again a read to see if the book lived up to all the hype and spoiler alert, it did!

Think Again is a book that is perfectly timed with many people (including occupational therapy practitioners) who are rethinking many elements of their lives. Grant provides a clear path to analyze your current status and determine ways to build your future status. Collectively, Think Again, provides you with a way to, well, think and also how to rethink. Grant focuses on the need for mental flexibility for success and provides strong evidence—research and personal anecdotal stories to support this premise. What struck me in this book was the variety of topics that were covered, all of which are components of our lives with which we have grappled. Rather than determine what to do, Grant provides a clear plan of how to do it. He tackles work, life, debating, etc. in a way that makes you, well, think.

In a time where we can literally block people who share different viewpoints than us or need a way to determine what is truly our life path, Think Again, is a book that can provide concrete steps to develop an action plan to address the issue. One endearing portion of this book is that Grant also shares some of the mistakes he has made and what has caused him to rethink his opinions on certain topics, which in itself is not only modest, but also a good learning experience for the reader.

Rating: 4 out of 4. Highly recommend this book. Being able to develop a plan to think and process information is a skill that is needed in today’s world where we are deluged with information.  

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

After recently finishing Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, I felt that I wanted to read more by this author. Gladwell’s books are very straightforward, yet informative. He combines research with personal stories and the combination makes each book a learning experience without being too research laden. Research without examples of application is not practical.

The premise of Outliers is to look more closely at the belief that people accomplish great things because they are exceptional. The book looks at individuals that are successful in a specific field and dissects the accomplishments to determine to what extent exceptionality is the reason for the individual’s success. This was an eye-opening analysis that pulls in other components to one’s success such as timing, work ethic, and even religion.

I appreciated learning about what makes a person successful and understanding what areas can and cannot be controlled when it comes to success. The individual that Gladwell used in Outliers were relatable. Their stories could be our own personal journey. Therefore, the steps that they take to achieve their goals can be implemented in our life. Lastly, Gladwell provides us with some of his own family background which solidifies the concepts he has provided throughout this book. Gladwell is one of a handful of authors whose older books, such as Outliers, continues to sell. That the information remains applicable over time is a true testament of the accuracy of the information presented.

Rating: 4 out of 4. Highly recommend this book. With a focus on the components of success, this book can be used in both personal and professional aspects of one’s life. 

Perspectives on Occupational Therapy Education: Past, Present, and Future by Steven D. Taff, PhD.,OTR/L, FNAP, FAOTA, Lenin C. Grajo, PhD., EdM, OTR/L, and Barbara R. Hooper, PhD., OTR/L, FAOTA.

What will occupational therapy education look like in the future? What do you want occupational therapy education to look like in the future? What is occurring presently that will impact the occupational therapy profession and how can we best prepare our students for the next phase of clinical practice?  The vision that is needed with occupational therapy education is made clear in Perspectives on Occupational Therapy Education: Past, Present, and Future.  

Perspectives on Occupational Therapy Education is separated into three sections: Past, Present, and Future. Each section provides a rich background of that point in time and the impact on occupational therapy education. Each section provides the reader with supporting research of each concept and clear steps to follow to positively impact occupational therapy education, taking into account the everchanging landscape in which occupational therapy education and practice occurs.

Past. With a brief review of the past, the authors provide a summary of the educational philosophies that influenced occupational therapy curricula and continue with a recap of the history of occupational therapy education.  

Present. With Chapters such as, Occupational Therapy Education in a Changing Health Care System and Recent Development in Educational Research and Evaluation: A Vision for the Future of Occupational Therapy Education Research, this section provides current educators with methods of addressing with students what is impacting the profession today. While the focus is on how to guide students during this time, this book can also serve as a blueprint for students to review to understand what their future will look like and how best to prepare.

Future. The vision for the future includes perspectives of occupational therapy around the world, technology, emerging fieldwork models, and the increase in the need for occupational therapy practitioners with political and social barriers to clinical practice. Additionally, ending with the number of occupational therapy programs that are developing, it is important to realize the need to have a consistent method of educating the next generation of occupational therapy practitioners.

While this book focuses on occupational therapy education, the reach goes beyond meeting the knowledge base of educators as a classroom text. Perspectives on Occupational Therapy Education can also serve students who want to learn more about the history, current issues facing the profession, and what the future holds for them as clinicians. Additionally, this book can also inform fieldwork supervisors to better understand the needs of today’s student, and current clinicians who want a view of the future of the profession.

Rating: 4 out 4. Highly recommend this book. Understanding the past, present, and future of occupational therapy education will ensure that today’s student is provided with an education that will build a better clinician.

Hope you enjoy these reviews. What books have you read this September that has impacted your occupational therapy practice?

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