Got Game?

I was on vacation last week trying to burn the rest of my days off before the end of the fiscal year. I was able to finish one of the books recommended at a LOEX session, Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever by John Beck and Mitchell Wade. It's a relatively short book coming in at 180 pages. Beck and Mitchell surveyed 2,500 business professionals in the US. Their research subjects included recent MBA grads from two programs (unidentified universities on the West Coast and in the Midwest) and business professionals working in all sizes of companies and in a wide range of fields. Their research focused on finding out if worker's abilities, expectations, and attitudes were different between those that grew up playing or being around games versus those that did not.

I was a little disappointed in their choice to make 1975 the starting point for what they called the Gamer generation. I don't agree with this choice, since I was born in 1970 and I consider myself to be a gamer. I also know many other people born anywhere from 1968 to 1974 who are active gamers.

Beck and Mitchell set the stage for their findings by starting out with a quick overview of the development of the game industry. They then explore some of the common concerns about video games: sexism, violence, stereotypes, and isolation before jumping into the analysis.

Their research shows that gamers:

  • are driven to compete;
  • care about the fate of their employer;
  • are very loyal;
  • are engaged in their work;
  • prefer to multitask;
  • prefer compensation tied to actual performance; 
  • enjoy being the hero;
  • value teamwork;
  • are comfortable taking risks; and
  • learn best through trial and error.

Throughout the book Beck and Mitchell offer suggestions on how managers can best use a gamer's strengths. The book doesn't have much to offer for those interested in the use of games for learning. However, I would still recommend this book to anyone with management responsibility.

The First Verse: A Novel

I hadn't planned on writing a review of this The First Verse. However, I think many librarians and book lovers would find it an interesting read. This is Barry McCrea's first novel. The story is set mostly in Dublin, Ireland with a brief jaunt to Paris at the end.  Books play an unusual role throughout the story.

Niall Lenihan, the main character, is attending his first year at Trinity College in Dublin where he is studying French and English literature. He is excited to be away from home and also coming to terms with his sexuality as a gay man. Niall meets an interesting couple at a party during the first month at college.

John and Sarah practice an ancient form of divination using books. They call this process "sortes." A person asks a question and then randomly chooses a book and reads a passage from it to find the answer. The answer can be found or inferred from the passage chosen. Additionally, they use a process of reading random passages aloud at the same time to find new meaning.

As you would expect, Niall gets caught up in John and Sarah's activities and joins them in their quest to find the meaning of the "sortes" and the mysterious cult-like group, the Pour Mieux Vivre.

I found the story a bit tedious to follow at times, because I don't have a working knowledge of Dublin. The author makes reference to many streets, buildings, and pubs. I still found this to be a good story and would recommended, though at times confusing because of the geographical references.