Summer Reading List (Part 2)

A little delayed, but here is the second half of my summer reading list, as promised. Before I get in to it, I want to stress again;

  1. The length of the list doesn’t signify a dull summer break. I had a good summer, and
  2. I don’t just read non-fiction. I read some great novels as well!

So, here goes;

  1. Giving Voice to Values, Mary C Gentile
    This book was a gift from Mr Amit Bhatia, the lead faculty for the TSRS-Aspen Summer Leadership Programme and a great read. Ms Gentile is a professor of Babson College, USA and the book explores the issues of finding courage to lead through values and inspire others,
  2. Drive, Daniel Pink
    As a long time reader of Pink’s books and his blog this book had been on my ‘to be read’ list for quite some time. It’s a fascinating exploration of human motivation.
  3. Mindset, Carol Dweck
    Without a doubt, one of my highlight finds of the summer. Already, I’ve advocated this book to a number of colleagues in the last couple of months. I believe it deserves to be right up at the top of the reading list for all educators and parents, in fact particularly parents. Carol Dweck is a professor at Stanford University. Her book explores, through research findings the impact of the Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset. The starting premise is a simple one, but as the book highlights the implications are massive. Educators and parents who are not aware of the findings in this book can be inadvertently reinforcing fixed mindset that can blight the lives of children as it infects their beliefs about academic abilities, propensity and skill in learning, creativity, sports and physical skills and abilities.
    If you choose to read only one of the books on this list, this is the one I recommend.
  4. HBR, Managing People
    This is a compilation by Harvard Business Review of some of the most powerful and groundbreaking articles on the subject published by them. It contains some superb articles with profound thinking that has shaped people management practices throughout the world. Stand out articles for me were those by Daniel Goleman, Chris Argyris and Frederick Herzberg’s on motivation.
  5. 50 Self Help Classics
    This is almost like a primer for planning one’s reading for a year or two in its own right. It contains short summaries of a whole range of books going back to the very earliest, to the modern day gurus and guides on how to live an effective life.
  6. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King
    King’s tragic and untimely death meant that he never got to publish his autobiography. In fact he would undoubtedly have considered he was too young for such a thing and was way too humble and modest to consider it. This book was published after his death by bringing together material from King’s family, friends and both published and unpublished writings. What emerges is a portrait of a simple, honest, humble man who saw issues that troubled him greatly and through strength of spiritual faith and character set out to right the wrongs he saw in society, at whatever personal risk to himself. The book carried great insights in to the life and beliefs of the man and especially the enormous impact in his thinking from Gandhi.
  7. How Children Fail, John Holt
    This and its sister volume “How Children Learn” should be compulsory reading for all educators, especially those in pre-primary and primary education. I have recently reread both for the third time. This time I was reading updated versions in which Holt has added fresh insights and observations based upon understanding of later research. Every time I read them I am moved by Holt’s obvious love for children and his evident curiosity about the workings of their evolving young minds. Educators who think like Holt know that we’re there to teach children, not syllabus, subjects etc.
  8. The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christenson
    Better known to many educators for his book “Disrupting Class”, this is a sometimes heavy but rewarding business oriented book. It explores with lots of evidence why great companies at the top of their industries can fail to miss the ‘wave’ of new industry innovation, that can even wipe them out as companies largely because they become victims of their own success, incapable of taking the courageous steps to innovate if it means going against their accepted ways of working, the desires of their established customer base and the mindsets of the people who took the company to that level of success. As I read the book, I couldn’t help thinking that what holds good for companies may not be so true for educational institutes. When great companies fail to innovate they can quite simply die. However, when great educational institutes fail to innovate or move too slowly they don’t die. Maybe this is one of the problems at the root of the failures of education to move adequately with the rapidly changing needs of the world.

  9. The Art of Living, Epictetus
    Nothing to do with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Instead, a slim but interesting little volume of principles set down by the Stoic philosopher nearly 2000 years ago. His key thrust is that man cannot control life, but we have complete control over how we respond to it.
  10. Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar
    A small slim book, but one of the highlights of my recent reading. The book is a bi-product of Tal’s course that he teaches at Harvard – the most popular and most attended course there. Yes, indeed, the young under and post-grads of Harvard are smart enough to realise that they can have all the skills, intelligence and ability to get in to one of the world’s great academic institutes, they might be destined for great professional success – but, none of that guarantees them happiness in life. Tal is a part of the ‘Positive Psychology’ movement that is applying the rigour of academic research and thinking to what might previously have been strictly the domain of the self-help movement.
    Very thought provoking and well worth exploring.

One Response

  1. Mr. Mark ,

    Have no words to express how intense this listing is . Wish , could have words of Thanks to you .Would we have some Classic Book Listing too ? The Literature , pure and prosaic , please , in near future ?

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