Friday, March 17, 2006

'Graduating into Greatness--Beyond the Books' by Mart A. Nickison

Review by Ed Kane

TITLE: Graduating into Greatness--Beyond the Books: a method for improving your grades without studying your life away
AUTHOR: Marty A. Nickison II
PRICE: CD: $11.95
GENRE: Non-fcition/self help

Mr. Nickison makes a stream of good points that any under-performing undergraduate would do well to heed. The essence of 'Beyond the Books' is presentation--of your work and your person. I might quibble with some of the details (students will need to customise the advice to their own institution) but the overall thrust is a message the best students learn from experience and many would benefit from hearing early in their university careers. I am quite sure that Mr. Nickison also knows that when a student takes the time to present themselves and their work in a professional, polished fashion--the quality of their work tends to follow suit. This book would sit well as the first volume of a series that would go on to tackle other crucial and oft-neglected skills such as networking, building a c.v. and planning ahead for employment (or graduate school).

It is particularly unfortunate that a message about professional presentation suffers from persistent flaws in its own appearance. The jacket graphics go too close to the edge so that parts of words have been cut off, but the graphics on the CD are too small so that the square template can be seen on the round CD. More importantly, Mr. Nickison's informal delivery style sacrifices coherency and some passages are halting and too ungrammatical even for spoken delivery. If this material was presented on a website or a book chapter I would not hesitate to recommend it to my students--but it fails to capitalize on the audio-book format and is a little too slight for the $12 price. I would recommend further polishing of the script with more focus on repeating only the most important points and sufficient rehearsal to make the delivery smooth and effortless to listen too repeatedly, in order to get maximum benefit from the message and audio-book format.

That said, if you are having trouble getting through to a student who simply doesn't understand what is wrong with dressing like a tramp (in either sense of the word), addressing the professor in slang and handing in crumpled, tardy work--Mr. Nickison's informally presented 'insider' advice might be the perfect way to get through to them.

RATING: 5.5/10

8.3: Lulu


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