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Superintendent's Bookshelf

 

What I've Read Recently

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014)

Here is my second Pulitzer Prize book to read this year. This one is so much more approachable for me, because it is a book of great literature disguised as a book about history. It juxtaposes two lives: a blind young woman from France and a young engineer from Germany during the rise and fall of the Nazi era. It goes back and forth between the two lives, and creates so many stories of sadness, of beauty, and of unimaginable times. I enjoyed every part of this book. It is simply written, and doesn’t contain the beautiful sentences of Less by Mr. Greer, but it is fantastic. Could not put it down, and I highly recommend it.

 

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil de Grasse Tyson (2017)

I’ll give you two quotes from the book. One from the intro: “If you’re too busy to absorb the cosmos via classes, textbooks, or documentaries, and you nonetheless seek a brief but meaningful introduction to the field, I offer you Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.” That is completely accurate. When I read that, though, I had the fast impression that it would be Astrophysics for Dummies … no. It’s complicated stuff. When I read it, I have to really think about what the heck these things mean. It’s almost beyond comprehension. That leads me to my second quote: “In the beginning, nearly 14 billion years ago, all the space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence.” If that doesn’t blow your mind, what can? It’s infathomable. Still, the book gives incredible insight into the universe and our small little place in it. I highly enjoyed it, even though I had to read several sections several times to even come close to understanding, or realizing I would never understand. Read it.

 

Less: A Novel by Andrew Sean Greer (2018)

This is a book my wife read with her book club. It’s not my typical read. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner which means it’s pretty “literature-y” for my tastes. I know, not a very good thing to say. In spite of all that, I loved it. It’s an insightful tale of a middle-aged man in search of himself through an around-the-globe journey. First and foremost, the language is fantastic. I have to slow down when I read literature like this, because if I don’t, I miss so much of the beauty of the book, which is probably the main point. I enjoyed it, and enjoyed the reflections of Mr. Greer all the way through. It’s one of those books that make you realize that outstanding writing is truly hard work. You just know he labored over every word. Enjoyable, and it’s actually a book I will read again.

 

Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Character) by Richard P. Feynman (1997)

My dad recommended this book to me because he thought it pushed the idea of what good and bad teaching is. Richard Feynman was an amazing physicist who won the Nobel Prize at some point. He is kind of the Forrest Gump of physicists because he was always in the right place at the right time. He was a young man when they tapped his shoulder to help out on the Manhattan Project. He got to work with some of the most amazing people of our time. And he is a character. He is not in any way politically correct; in fact, some of his views are downright backwards. Still, it’s a great examination of how physicists think and anyone considering that field should look at this life. Good book. Oh, and the reason I like his views as a teacher was that he believes that textbooks bring nothing additional to the classroom, and only a great teacher bringing a subject to life matters. Word.

 

 

Click here for my annotated bibliography

 

 

In this section, I will outline books that guide my thinking. I'm at my best when I'm reading, thinking and pushing myself. There's nothing more important than teaching literacy - the ability to read and write at advanced levels - and one way we all get better is (shock) by reading and writing. So I think it's important for me to share what I'm reading and what guides my work. 

 

Click here for my complete annotated bibliography.

 

Books About Teaching and Learning

  • Building The World's Greatest High School, by Richard Parkhouse (2013)
  • Better Learning Through Structured Teaching, by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey (2013)
  • Building a Better Teacher, by Elizabeth Green (2014)
  • Pathways to the Common Core, by Lucy Calkins (2012)
  • Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Education Will Change the Way the World Learns, by Clayton Christensen. (2011)
  • Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching, by Charlotte Danielson (2007) 
  • The Six Secrets of Change, by Michael Fullan (2008) 
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John J. Ratey (2008)
  • Focus: Elevating the Essentials To Radically Improve Student Learning, by Mike Schmoker (2011)
  • Horace's Compromise (1984); Horace's School, by Ted Sizer (1992)
  • Emotions, Learning, and the Brain, by Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang (2015)
 

Books About Leadership

  • Rookie Smarts, by Liz Wiseman (2014)
  • Getting Things Done, by David Allen (2001)
  • The On-Time On-Target Manager, by Ken Blanchard and Steve Gottry (2004)
  • Know How, by Ram Charan (2007)
  • Good to Great, by Jim Collins (2001)
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey (1989)
  • Quiet Strength, by Tony Dungy (2007)
  • Switch, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (2010)
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Richard Kiyosaki (2000)
  • Death by Meeting, by Patrick Lencioni (2004)
 

Books Recently Read

 

The 2018-19 School Year

  • All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (2014)
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil de Grasse Tyson (2017)
  • Less: A Novel, by Andrew Sean Greer (2018)
  • Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Character), by Richard P. Feynman (1997)

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival, by Peter Stark (2014)
  • Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger (2014)
 
The 2017-18 School Year
  • The Short Bus, by Jonathan Mooney (2008)
  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides (2015)
  • News of the World, by Paulette Jiles (2016)
  • Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy (2016)

  • First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, by Loung Ung (2000)
  • Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain (2000)
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo (2011)
  • Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo (2016)
 

The 2016-17 School Year

  • Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)
  • Emotions, Learning, and the Brain, by Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang (2015)
  • Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton (1911)
  • Golf in the Kingdom, by Michael Murphy (1971)
  • Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, by Bob Rotella (1995)
  • Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth (2016)
  • Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance (2016)
  • Leading with Focus, by Michael J. Schmoker (2016)
  • Master of the Grill, America’s Test Kitchen (2016)
  • Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job, by Yong Zhao (2015)
  • Nova Scotia, by David Orkin (2009)
  • The Obesity Code, by Jason Fung (2016)
  • 100 Recipes: The Absolute Best Ways To Make The True Essentials, America’s Test Kitchen (2015)
  • Shantaram, by Gregory Roberts (2003)
  • Unselfie : Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, by Michele Borba (2017)
 

The 2015-16 School Year

  • Being Mortal, by Dr. Atul Gawande (2014)
  • Creative Schools, by Ken Robinson (2015)
  • Edge of Eternity, by Ken Follett (2014)
  • Get Some Headspace, by Andy Puddicombe (2012)
  • Girl at War, by Sara Novic (2015)
  • How to Raise an Adult, by Julie Lythcott-Haims (2015)
  • Media Moms and Digital Dads, by Yalda Uhls (2015)
  • Overloaded and Underprepared, by Denise Pope, Maureen Brown & Sarah Miles (2015)
  • Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be, by Frank Bruni (2015)
  • WordPress to Go, by Sarah McHarry (2013)
  • The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough (2015)
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig (1975)

 

The 2014-15 School Year

  • Better Learning Through Structured Teaching, by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey (2013)
  • Building a Better Teacher, by Elizabeth Green (2014)
  • Cool: How the Brain’s Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World, by Drs. Steven Quartz and Annette Asp. (2015) 
  • Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Lifeby William Deresiewicz (2014). 
  • Leverage Leadership, by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (2012)
  • Rookie Smarts, by Liz Wiseman (2014)
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari. (2015) 
  • The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way, by Amanda Ripley. (2013) 
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Moderns, by Stephen Greenblatt. (2011)
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, by Laura Hildebrand (2010)

 

The 2013-14 School Year

  • Building The World's Greatest High School, by Richard Parkhouse (2013)
  • Coaching Conversations: Transforming Your School One Conversation at a Time, by Linda M. Gross Cheliotes and Marceta A. Reilly (2010)
  • Daemon, by Daniel Suarez (2014)
  • Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card (1985)
  • The Flip Side: Break Through The Behaviors that Hold You Back, Flip Flippen (2007)
  • A Leader's Legacy, by James Kouzes (2007)
  • The Long Walk to Freedom (The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela), by Nelson Mandela (2013)
  • The Power of Collective Wisdom, by Alan Briskin and Sheryl Erickson (2009)
  • 10% Happier, by Dan Harris (2014)
  • Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor, by Warren Bennis (2008)
  • Wired, by Douglas Richards (2012)
 

The 2012-13 School Year

  • Big Green Egg Cookbook, by Sara Levy (2009)
  • Enhancing Professional Practice, by Charlotte Danielson (2007)
  • Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (1951)
  • Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett (2010)
  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (1980)
  • The Hobbit, by JR Tolkein (1937)
  • How Will You Measure Your Life?, by Clay Christensen (2012)
  • The One Thing, by Gary Keller (2012)
  • Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein (1961)
  • Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD (2013)
  • Winter of the World, by Ken Follet (2012)
  • The Wolf Gift, by Anne Rice (2012)

 

The 2011-12 School Year

  • Adventures of Huckleberry Huck Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyerand Roughing It, by Mark Twain (1884, 1876, 1872)
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (2008)
  • The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly (2011)
  • Montana 1948, by Larry Watson (1993)
  • Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse (1922)
  • Slaughter House Five, by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
  • Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson (2011)
  • Truman, by David McCullough (1992)