The Ethnographer’s Reading List: Sam Ladner’s summer reading list mixes creativity with time, religion, & humor [guest contributor]
We welcome back Ethnography Matter’s first guest contributor, Sam Ladner! Instead of telling us why corporate ethnography can suck, Sam shares with us her summer reading. She discuses an experience that many of us are familiar with – how graduate school ruins the joy of reading. Much to her surprise, Sam tells us that she still loved theory post-grad school!
Grad school has a way of ruining the pleasure of reading. You have stacks of books and articles, many of which you have no hope of ever finishing, much less enjoying. Since leaving grad school, I’ve reveled in the freedom to read whatever I want. Imagine my horror when I realized I continue to read academic books! Yes, when left to my own devices, I tend to gravitate to heady theory and dense research.
Below are a few of my crazy picks. Unlike when I was in grad school, however, I allow myself to read as much or as little as I choose.
1. Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Csikszentmihalyi blew my mind when I read his famous Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, so I was pretty interested to learn what he has to say about creativity. He interviewed dozens of eminent scientists, writers, artists and business leaders. I’m personally intrigued about their working processes, which is not at all what I expected.
This book will give you insight into your own ethnographic practice. I’ve already learned about the conditions under which I am more creative in doing my analysis and writing up my findings.