Times Higher Education review here, including:
This book is a delight. Howard Becker is that rarity: an academic writer who brings you into his presence, makes you comfortable, then entertains and educates you from first to last page. He is a writer who effortlessly communicates his enthusiasm and general glee with a career going back to the sociology department of the University of Chicago in the early 1950s, and still enthrals himself and his devotees as he approaches his tenth decade.He's been a hero of mine—and every other aspirant sociologist of the era—ever since the '70s, when he wrote his seminal Outsiders; studies in the sociology of deviance, including his famous paper generally known as "How to smoke pot" (not as deviant as it sounds—it's a discussion of the social elements contributing to how the drug experience is interpreted).
Mnay times I've used his email conversation with Shirah Hecht about teaching a research methods course as an exemplar of informal mentoring,
And his classic 1972 article on "A School is a Lousy Place to Learn Anything In" which antedates all the situated learning (Lave and Wenger) stuff but makes the arguments so much more clearly. [It's not easy to access online for copyright reasons, but many thanks to David Stone, who wrote in 2011; "I was happy to discover that my institutional subscription gave me access to the original Becker article. Just in case others should be as lucky, here is the DOI link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/000276427201600109 "] The formal reference is (1972) “A school is a lousy place to learn anything in” American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 85-105, reprinted in R J Burgess (ed.) (1998) Howard Becker on Education Buckingham; Open University Press.