Category Archives: Reviews


Are You Fully Charged?

charging laptop

Tom Rath’s 2015 book, Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life, focuses on three areas that contribute to a daily experience of greater engagement, well-being, and productivity — what Rath calls being “fully charged.” These three areas are:

Meaning: doing something that benefits another person
Interactions: creating for more positive than negative moments
Energy: making choices that improve your mental and physical health

Throughout the numerous short chapters th…


Managing References with Paperpile

A pile of journal articlesAh, research. No matter our field, we need to organize our source materials and keep track of our notes. As we write, we need a convenient way to insert citations and manage reference lists.

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink over the years writing about reference managers, such as Zotero and Mendeley, that can help us accomplish those tasks.

I’m a long-time user of Zotero, and I’ve often recommended it to my students (sometimes I’ve even required them to use it for an assignment). I’ll continue…


SLICKS Travel Backpack – Review

When you're stuck in the airport for hours and you notice your backpack trolling you.

Two years ago, I found myself in a situation where I was able to bike to work. The challenge was that I also typically wear dresses to work, and not the kind that you can just throw into a backpack. What I was looking for was a garment bag that was also a backpack. Ryan Cordell has reviewed some of the world of travel bags in this space, but this was a very specific need on my part.

It was a harder to find than a thought it would be, with most options being either unsuitable (haha) for anything…


Doing Focused Work in Distracted Times: Cal Newport’s Deep Work

Cat, staring intently

Although the book didn’t quite arrive in time for New Year’s resolutions (which are junk anyway), 2016 has already seen the publication of Cal Newport’s eagerly-awaited new title, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (Grand Central Publishing), which promises to offer research-driven guidelines for doing meaningful work. And it’s pretty successful at this goal!

Cal Newport is the prior author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work…


Personalizing Bulk Emails: MailMerge for Gmail vs MailChimp

I remember using MailMerge way back in the day… like when the internet first started. It used to be only possible to use with MS Outlook, and I haven’t used Outlook in a really long time, so I had given up on it. But recently, someone asked me to help them send personalized emails to a large group of people they had surveyed… and I remembered MailMerge. Turns out there is an option to use MailMerge for Gmail and it’s a simple add-on you use with Google Sheets. It is really really simple to use …


ProfHacker 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Hopefully you’ve noticed the subtle change in the air: the giving way of the aroma of pumpkin spice latte to the onset of the peppermint mocha. With that blessed change from decorative gourd season, mothers everywhere want to know what you’ll be getting them for the slew of holidays that close out the year. Not to fear! It’s the annual ProfHacker gift guide! Whether you’re looking for ideas for mom, your kid, the board gamer, or the reader in your life, we’ve got you covered.

And if for some re…


Digital Distractions: Halloween Edition

Halloween marks for many of us a turning point in the semester, as we move from “fall” into winter and the quickly-approaching holiday season. The mid-point of the semester can often be stressful for students and professors as we start to look towards finals and even begin preparing for spring. If you’re looking to take a break from grading and embrace the remaining days of autumn, here are a few suggestions for season-appropriate digital distractions


Who Speaks at Meetings? Find Out with GenderTimer

Complex Balance

Nobody really likes meetings, but, at the same time, one has to work with other people. (How unpopular are meetings? It looks like US Office of Strategic Services used typical meeting strategies as guidance for how to sabotage enemy organizations.) The fact that nobody likes meetings, of course, doesn’t mean that we don’t like them in quite the same way.

A topic that I’ve tried to become more aware of recently is gendered differences in meeting behavior. Although it frequently comes labeled wit…


Starting Your Own Website: Reclaim Your Hosting

If you’re a regular ProfHacker reader, you probably understand the importance of building and having control over your web presence. We’ve posted a “Website Hosting 101 guide back in 2009, a primer for creating your digital presence in 2011 with a guest post by Miriam Posner, and tips on how, and how often to update your website by Anastasia.

Now that the new school year has begun, some of you may be looking to start a professional website of your own. To create a website, you’re going to need…


Designing Engaging Course Documents with Piktochart


This is a guest post by Julie Platt, currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. She researches and teaches about writing centers, creative writing studies, professional writing, and technical communication. On Twitter, she’s @Aristotlejulep.–@JBJ]

It’s sometimes a struggle to get students to carefully read course documents. Many student questions, especially at this time of year, can be answered with “Please check the syllabus!” However, when I c…