Marks and Meaning (M+M) 0.5

•    Title: Marks and Meaning 0.5
•    Author: Dave Grey and friends
•    Paperback: 382 pages
•    Size: 6″ x 9″

This book is available as a PDF file because its not done.  This book may never be done.  The book contains a mix of typeset material, hand-written and drawn material, and open areas to make notes and try things out.

This is a workbook on design.  It has the following general sections:

1    The unbook
2    Information complexity
3    How do we understand?
4    Ways of meaning
5    Ways of thinking
6    Ways of working

I got the most from the section on how to construct a working 40 minute learning session which includes the right mix and timing of activities to improve learning; each student should connect – play – practice – master – be recognized in every class.  Then urge the student to reflect and use the information somehow outside of class to reinforce the learning.

The section on how we understand is also very useful.  It reminded me of a video we watched in a leadership class, you can find one version here.  The point of this video is that we tend to focus on what we’re looking for, not on the whole picture, which affects how we communicate.

I liked the part about five ways to categorize information:

•    Prism: one input, many outputs
•    Splicer: many inputs, one output
•    Razor: binary sorting
•    Peeler: penetrates outer layers
•    Flanker: seeks similar patterns in other domains

The section on how to black box areas that are too much detail for the current required discussion was useful.

The author suggests there are three principles for organizing information:

•    value,
•    grouping, and
•    structure

The whole last section of the book was very meaningful to me, as it deals with specific techniques for collaborating more effectively; that was worth the price of the book to me.

This is a great read, but next time I’ll probably get the PDF as I expect it will be updated a few more times.  But having one paper copy and reading it is probably useful for anyone interested in design from front to back, so to speak.


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