This past month I have had the pleasure of listening to a series of podcasts from my Superintendent discussing reading lists for this summer. His podcast can be found in iTunes starting at podcast number 179. As the ‘traditional’ school year is winding down, summer hobby time is winding up. Teachers are busy creatures, so summer can be the time to peck away at the titles we have come across during the year.
Since I listen to his podcast every week I thought I’d send in a few titles for consideration. These are three recommendations I sent him to include in his book review. Here are a few of my favourite reads over the past while:
The Element: Why Finding Your Passion Changes Everything written and read by Sir Ken Robinson. This book is pretty much a ‘must read’ for any educator looking to partner with students – trying to see them grow into their live calling & passion. As an Education expert, Robinson articulates what good teachers are able to do: open their students’ eyes to a grater world that awaits them. This book is a non-Christian take on what our Global Citizenship Program (GCP) program strives to do:
- help kids find their God-given gifts & abilities
- help kids find their passions, and
- help kids find ways to serve their world for the kingdom of God
I gave The Element to my high school staff this past June. I felt the theme & ideas shared in this book were powerful enough to help shape where I want our school to go. As educators, really, we need to be in the process of allowing our students to come alive – to find their passion – to try/ask/fail/learn/grown into their vocation & life path. This book helped me see each individual student as an individual. And, it reminds me to celebrate them each day.
Another book I highly recommend is Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? written & read by Seth Godin. Everyone should read at least one Seth Godin book in their lifetime…and if only one, then this is it. I have made a personal declaration to read every book he writes (Note: I am also doing this for Malcolm Gladwell *read the next book review, and Sir Ken Robinson *read the previous book recommendation, and haven’t yet publicly declared this for C.S. Lewis yet…).
Linchpin is for anyone looking to increase their circle of influence at work, home, or community. It really pushes the reader away from laziness & fear and pushes them towards personal mastery. It talks about finding the areas or space that exists between the lines of your job description and makes a case for going beyond the physical labor of your job to the emotional labor of giving ‘gifts of creative work’ to those around you. Really, this is a must read for people looking to take their personal role, influence, and leadership to the next level.
The above two books are great reads, but my top book in the 24 titles I’ve read on Audible.com which sits a-top my ‘most recommended reading list’ is Outliers: The Story of Success written & read by Malcolm Gladwell.
Arguably, I would read Gladwell for his writing (and narration – he reads all his own audio books and heaven knows I love books narrated by the authour). But it is his take and synthesis on common questions that really had (and have) my thinking. Outliers‘ subtitle is: The Story of Success. Gladwell does a masterful job at challenging the everyday notions of success while considering a different topic or case study each chapter. He looks at why most professional hockey players have birthdays in the first 1/3 of the year; he considers the 10,000 hour rule and shows it at work in the lives of The Beatles, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates; he considers cultural implications regarding communication, power differentials, and levels of entitlement; and he also looks at length of school year, the language of counting, and cultural background as contributing factors to why some students are better than others at Math.
I have listened to this book three times on audio – and doing this short review makes me even more excited to read/listen to it again. I own all his titles for my eyes and ears respectively yet I still have Blink and The Tipping Point on my ‘next-reads’ list. I love his style and his delivery. Check out his Ted talk or YouTube videos if you’d like to get a flavour.
The ideas shared in Outliers are ones I think about daily as I work with individuals trying to ‘achieve’, ‘make it’, and ‘do better’… Really, I think about them most when I’m honest about my own life since so many of Gladwell’s conclusions have a link to self-discipline.
If you do happen to read Outliers, or any of his other best sellers – I’d love to chat with you about your key gleanings & take-a-ways!
So, have you read these? If not, check them out – I think they’re great. If so, would you please post your key gleanings or take-a-ways? I’d love to hear what you found meaningful in them.
God bless, and happy reading this summer! See you on Twitter!