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Book Review: The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of higher education from the inside out by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring

 Book reviews are meant to provide potential readers with information concerning the contribution a book makes in terms of new knowledge or perspectives to its intended field. The point of a scholarly book review is not to summarize the content of the book, but to situate the scholarly merit of the book within a field of study and to evaluate critically the author’s purpose, thesis, contentions, and methods of analysis. Hence, the bulk of the body of one’s review essay will be an evaluation of how convincing the author’s presentation of his/her thesis and a commentary on the book’s contribution to one’s understanding of important issues in educational change and innovation was presented. First, READ THE BOOK. This step is essential. If you have not read the book, you can not possibly review it. Next, in preparing to write your review, consider the following questions: • What is the book’s content? (i.e., summarize and assess the major ideas in the book) How is it organized? How well does the organization work? • What does the author promise the book will deliver? How well does the author succeed in delivering on that promise? • How readable is the book? If it is a difficult read, is it worth potential readers’ time and energy to struggle through the text? Is the writing uneven at points? • Has the book anything new to say or is it plowing familiar ground? • What are the limitations of the book? (All books have these; good authors note them.) What problems, if any, plague the book? • What is my intention in writing the review? Is the review meant as a service within a field or across fields? Am I consciously going to foreground a more specific agenda? • Am I writing the review for those within education or leadership studies, or those who work primarily in another discipline? • How might I make the inter-disciplinary nature of the text the focus of my review? In writing a book review, you will be examining another person’s thoughts on a topic from your point of view. Make your stand clear at the beginning of your review, in your evaluations of specific parts, and in your concluding commentary. Your stand must go beyond your “gut reaction” to the work and be based on your knowledge (readings, lecture, experience) of the topic. Finally, you will want to make references to specific portions of the book to illustrate your evaluation. The challenge will be to do as much of this as possible and yet not let it interfere with the restricted length of the essay. In other words, find creative ways to give examples from the book in a limited space. Obviously, quotations should be kept to a minimum, and should rarely exceed one sentence. Reviews typically run approximately 2,000 words (roughly 6-8 typed pages), double-spaced, 12-point font with 1” margins all around. Your review should do likewise. An essential feature of a good book review is the reviewer’s ability to write concisely so that a comprehensive evaluation of the book can be obtained from a brief reading. So, do not write more, write more concisely — find creative ways to communicate your critical evaluation of the book in a short essay. BOOK: The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of higher education from the inside out by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring *Please use and cite internal citations for support of the review using this book only* *Please ensure paper of 7 full pages has all requirements listed above in this book review.

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