And now for something completely different

September 6 2007 by Ellen Roseman

Unlike most bloggers, I don’t write a lot about my personal life. But I’ll take a break today from my usual posts to talk about what’s going on.

In two weeks, I start teaching night classes at the University of Toronto’s school of continuing studies. It’s my fourth year and I’m doing two courses on investing. One is for absolute beginners and one is for those who want to become a better investor. They run Thursday evenings, 6 to 8 p.m., at the downtown campus. If you check the link, you can see I’ve become a poster child for the school. I even have my face on ads in Toronto subway platforms.

As a change of pace, I’m also leading book clubs at the U. of T. The first is about Chick Lit: Jane Austen to Bridget Jones. The second is about Mysteries: Why We Love Murder and Mayhem. As an avid reader, I often use books as inspiration for columns. Now I can talk about something else other than business and investing titles.

For my birthday this summer, I asked my family to give me an iPod. It took me forever to adapt this technology. I was always carrying around a CD player or even a tape player (since CDs skip when you run). Of course, I love the iPod and found it very easy to use. Now I’ve found a book that describes why we all walk around with white buds in our ears. Steven Levy, a Newsweek tech reporter who covers Apple, thinks the iPod (launched in fall 2001) is a perfect device for its time, allowing you to carry around your entire music collection in your pocket. Here’s an excerpt from the Amazon.com review:

Borrowing one of the definitive qualities of the iPod itself, The Perfect Thing shuffles the book format. Each chapter of this book was written to stand on its own, a deeply researched, wittily observed take on a different aspect of the iPod. The sequence of the chapters in the book has been shuffled in different copies, with only the opening and concluding sections excepted. “Shuffle” is a hallmark of the digital age — and The Perfect Thing, via sharp, insightful reporting, is the perfect guide to the deceptively diminutive gadget embodying our era.

In case you want to know, I have the iPod Nano (8 GB) that holds 1,000 songs and it’s far from filled up yet. Consumer Reports gives it high marks, except that it lacks an FM radio. That was another reason I delayed buying one, because I love CBC. But I download the editor’s choice podcast every day, so I can get a taste of the programs I missed.

2 comments

  1. FourPillars

    Sep 6 2007

    Good for you for teaching an investment course for beginners.

    I wish something like that was offered in the high schools – that’s when it’s most needed.

    Mike

  2. John

    Sep 7 2007

    I’ll second the above. A stock broker and a mutual fund salesman taught such courses at the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan Community College, respectively. Such institutions should stick to arms-length and critical examination of their subject.

    Kudos to the U of T for realizing this and hiring ER.