Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Topsight 2.0 > Now under Kindle Unlimited

I just announced that Topsight 2.0 is now available on Much more content, but the same price, so that I can get this book in the hands of people who need it.

For the same reason, I'm happy to announce that the Kindle version of Topsight 2.0 is now up, and it's listed under the Kindle Unlimited program. If you're signed up for Kindle Unlimited, you can download and read it for the low price of $0.00 (USD).

If you're not signed up for Kindle Unlimited, you can buy it for the same price as the original Topsight for Kindle — $7.99. That's lower than the $19.99 print price, and you can get it in your hands immediately!

I hope you try out Topsight 2.0 in either format. I'm excited about the book and its additions. Let me know what you think!

Topsight 2.0 > I have an announcement

Five years ago, I decided to try an experiment. What if I published a research methods book—a book that described how I conduct qualitative field methods for workplace studies? What if I made it as simple and accessible as possible? And what if I kept the price low so that people could access it easily?

The response was better than I hoped. Topsight has been used in graduate and undergraduate classes across North America. It has sold globally. It has been used in industry. Right now it's sitting on a perfect five-star rating on Amazon, with comments such as "Topsight is my favorite book. Hands down" and "THE book to buy for conducting research and writing a report." I'm thrilled that the book has been useful.

I'm also gratified that Topsight is being recommended by professors to their Ph.D. and MA students—and surprised that it is increasingly being cited in scholarly research (28 times as of today).


I've been using Topsight for those five years to teach the principles of workplace research to BA and MA students, as well as a reference for my Ph.D. students. And through those activities, I've noted some areas in which Topsight could be made even better.

For instance,

  • the early chapters discuss organizations, but not in as much detail as I would like.
  • the chapter on coding data is critical, but it isn't that easy to follow. 
  • the section on modeling provides several models, but doesn't give advice on how to build one's own customized data models.
  • the interim report isn't well aligned with the advice I give in the instructions.
  • the book ends by suggesting that students go on to engage in design—but doesn't talk about basic approaches to design, such as prototyping, organizational games, or future workshops.
Topsight is good, but it can be even better. 

I'm happy to announce that it now is. 

Topsight 2.0 has just been launched on It's reformatted, it's a lot longer, and it's addressed the points above as well as others. Better yet, it's the same list price—which makes my margins a little thinner, but keeps the book accessible to the people who need it.

As of right now, Topsight 2.0 is available in print; within the next two days, the Kindle version will also be available. It'll have the same content and the same features as the print version—and it'll also be the same price as the original Topsight for Kindle. 

Over the next few days, I'll be blogging more about the new features in Topsight 2.0. I hope you'll pick it up, and please don't hesitate to let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Reading :: Bodies in Flux

Bodies in Flux: Scientific Methods for Negotiating Medical Uncertainty
By Christa Teston

Christa Teston has been applying the tools of rhetoric to medical practice for a while, authoring a series of articles that specifically focus on how medical professionals use agreed-upon methodological principles to work across fields. In this book, she pulls that work together, using Annemarie Mol's work on multiple ontologies to theorize this cross-field work. Here, Teston focuses squarely on methodology: how it is used to generate authority (p.1) and negotiate uncertainty (p.2).

Specifically, Teston looks at cancer care, and four ways to negotiate uncertainty in this activity: "evidential visualization, evidential assessment, evidential synthesis, and evidential computation" (p.2). Evidence, here, is understood as fundamentally rhetorical, and "backstage methods" (in the Goffman sense) allow medical professionals to "coproduc[e] evidential order from biological chaos" (p.15). Medical professionals use these methods to deal with inevitable flux, creating "evidential attunement," which "necessitates entanglements between human, nonhuman and computational actors" (p.15).

To develop this argument, Teston draws on "the so-called new materialist and nonhuman turn" (p.18). Perhaps Teston dislikes the term "new materialism" as much as I do: after name-checking Latour, Callon, and Bennett, she adds, "Although some have called this brand of materialism new, others (i.e., those who align themselves with materialist feminists) would suggest that there is nothing new about this materialism" (p.18). She goes on to discuss others in this vein, such as Hekman, Pickering, and Deleuze & Guattari, then concludes, "In this book, I locate material-discursive intra-actions between humans and nonhumans at the seat of method" (p.18).

She adds that although medical care strives for certainty, "this book unearths reasons for how and why it is that cancer care is not and can never be an objective science." She is not critiquing the "black boxes" of cancer care, which "are essential" because they "do the hard work of stabilizing, qualifying, and mobilizing 'future use of ideas and facts' while aggregating and mobilizing alliances (Danius 2002, 41-42)" (p.22). Rather, she seeks to examine how this work happens rhetorically, demonstrating rhetorical theory's explanatory power (p.22).

To reach this goal, Teston draws on case studies in which she investigates method attunement in cross-field medical work related to cancer care. She describes these qualitative studies and draws on rhetorical tools and concepts—Toulmin analysis, stasis theory, enthymematic reasoning, kairos, phronesis—to take apart the suasive work happening in each. And I appreciate that she performs these cases with a high degree of methodological explanation, demonstrating the rigor of each case.

On the strength of these cases, Teston concludes that "defining and diagnosing disease is a kind of quixotic empiricism" (p.169). Within these cross-field cases, she says, evidences result from rhetorical attunements—"In medical practice, rhetoric is a material-discursive performance that involves dissecting corporeal differences and similarities into manageable bits and bytes. Rhetoric is a material-discursive act of designing and deploying algorithmic protocols capable of predicting and communicating about possibility" (p.171).

Overall, the book was well done, both methodologically and theoretically. Teston offers a materialist approach to understanding medical rhetoric in particular and methodology in general. If you're interested in medical rhetoric, scientific rhetoric, materialist approaches to rhetoric, or methodology, definitely take a look.