"FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD: Learning to Give, Take, and Use Instructions" by Richard Saul with Loring Leiter Wurman

"FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD: Learning to Give, Take, and Use Instructions"

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Architect, graphic designer, consultant to industry, and purveyor of information packaging, Wurman now attempts to teach us how to teach and how to take teaching. Let it be a lesson to us all. After committing Information Anxiety (1988), a cluttered compendium of flashy formatting that produced just what the title promised, Wurman offers a bit more substance in this outing, but the product is still belabored. The text is an ultimately numbing amalgam of stray statistics, mild anecdotes, studies, rules, formulas, and conditions that might somehow prove of interest to some M.B.A.s. Buried within ""3 types of instruction,"" ""4 factors for instruction givers,"" ""5 basic components,"" and ""6 basic building blocks""--no lords a-leaping--are, to be sure, some pedagogical truths demonstrating that instructors don't listen, listeners don't hear, and all have private agendas with which to reckon. Wurman attributes the Union Carbide disaster at Bhopal, as well as lots of other messes, to faulty instruction, and maybe he's right. But here there's a wealth of distracting page-layout, what with boxes, mixed typography, and more bullets (of a printer's kind) than were expended in Operation Desert Storm. Somewhat more interesting is a surfeit of marginalia, with an eclectic collection of quotes from Werner Heisenberg to Kahlil Gibran, Albert Einstein to Robert Pirsig. Wurman's style (in English, not to mention book decoration) is less felicitous, which makes the margins better reading than the text. Some substance submerged in a flood of format.

Pub Date: Dec. 16th, 1991
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Bantam