Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dr. John Jordan - Technologist

Dr. John Jordan is a clinical professor in the Department of Supply Chain & Information Systems at Penn State University, where he teaches IT Strategy in the MBA and undergraduate business programs. Formerly a principal with Ernst & Young/Capgemini, he directed research at the Center for Business Innovation then in the Americas Office of the CTO.

His work has been cited in the International Herald Tribune, Investors’ Business Daily, the Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company. John holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan as well as a master’s from Yale University, and graduated magna cum laude from Duke University. He is currently completing book manuscripts on global business model innovation, and on human-centric information fusion.

Which books did you read (or were read to you) as a child that you remember best and why?

Dr. Suess was brand new and we wore through at least two copies of The Cat in the Hat. My favorite, then and now, was Paddle-to-the-Sea, a gorgeously illustrated yet richly factual story of a hand-carved wooden canoe put into the water in the Canadian north woods that makes its way eventually to the ocean. I still know that Lake Huron looks like the silhouette of a fur trapper with a heavy pack on his back and Lake Superior is shaped like a west-facing wolf's head.

Which books had the most influence on your thinking and character?

Supermarkets used to sell encyclopedias a volume per week, but we never bought any. Since volume 1 was the teaser and we had freebies from two or three series, I read a lot about things that begin with A; atoms were a big favorite, but I had a harder time with astronomy. In 6th and 7th grade I also went to the big public library and read World War II books about the Normandy invasion particularly, but cannot remember any by name. Getting a PhD in history was no surprise given that start.

Beyond kids' books, Donald Hall, Fathers Playing Catch with Sons is truly wonderful and sticks with me as I transit parenthood. Walker Percy, esp. The Last Gentleman, so affected me that we named a son for him. James Agee, both fiction and non-fiction, was a vast stylistic talent who raised hard questions.

Are there any books you have read to your children which you would recommend?

Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country, Thunderbolt Kid, A Walk in the Woods); Artemis Fowl; Eva Ibbotson; The Runaway Bunny; Little House on the Prairie; Hello Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle; Roald Dahl; Where the Wild Things Are; Friday Night Lights; Ender's Game; Eppie M. Says; Leo the Lop; Eloise; The Happy Prince; Muffin Pigdoom and the Keeper; I Love You As Much . . .; Love You Forever. In young adult, we named our daughter after the girl in Catcher in the Rye, so it has to be included.

Are there any books related to your profession or calling that you think children ought to consider reading?

Foer, How Soccer Explains the World; McCourt, Teacher Man; Studs Terkel, Working; Chouinard, Let My People Go Surfing

What books are you reading and enjoying today?

Atul Gawande (esp. Better); foodie lit (Ruhlman, Buford, Bourdain, Pollan); Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft; Jan Morris, Coast to Coast; Coram's biography of John Boyd; Thaler and Sunstein, Nudge; Zakaria, The Post-American World.

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