As much as music fits my moods, books help me find myself. When I’m stuck with an issue books help me find my way out. A friend suggested that when an issue is on my mind, my reflections on what I read are naturally connected to it. I prefer to think it’s something magical — that books just find their way into my hands to help me find solutions just when I need them!
Books on leadership and education help me tune-in to what is current in my field. I tap into the wealth of my local public library for books on leadership – sometime I check them out multiple times. Books about education and leadership fill the shelves in my office, along with a lot of children’s literature (books collected over the years that I enjoy reading to my students). Here’s my virtual bookshelf if you wish to take a peek. Enjoy!
Book(s) in my hands now: December 37, 2012 (Click on the images of the book covers to open links at amazon.com.)
Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo — I heard about this book recently and a preview online made me decide I had to read it right away. It’s a great book to read this winter break and I know it will change my practice when I return to school in about ten days. My blog’s title includes the words ‘Thoughts about Learning and Leading”. A leader’s responsibility for learning is never done, and this book is a wonderful addition to any novice or veteran leader’s library. It is a gem that focuses on instructional leadership – a notion that is sometimes fuzzy and at other times overly complicated. School leaders know this is important but often struggle with giving it the weight it deserves given the push and pull of day-to-day issues that can derail our focus. Bambrick-Santoyo pares it down to the essentials: (1) How principals use their time effectively – ‘what they do and how and when they do it’. (2) How they set up systems to run their schools so that they can ‘ensure great teaching to guarantee great learning’. He makes a case for how the strategies he describes in his book can be replicated to increase student achievement regardless of the demographics of any school. The book includes a DVD with video clips of the strategies he delineates. It also includes sample schedules and other tools including ideas for making professional development meaningful. I’ve just read the first couple of chapters and I’m hooked! It is written thoughtfully and brings into sharp focus what is essential in instructional leadership. I know this book will improve my leadership playbook. I look forward to putting the ideas I learn into practice. For now, I’m reading on…
Books I’ve read: I’ll keep adding to this section in the weeks ahead. Come back and browse! (Click on the images of the book covers to open links at amazon.com.)
People follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership by Jeb Blount — This book speaks to the importance of one of my 3 Rs – ‘Relationships’ and why leaders should make building relationships a priority. The author talks about the high cost of poor leadership – talented employees often choose to leave organizations when they feel their boss is someone who will not help them grow. He challenges leaders to think about how their success stems from the success of the people they lead and shares a path to get there.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee — A beautifully written book that takes us on a journey of cancer and cancer research over time. If education is about teaching kids how to learn, this book gives us a peek into how adults learn and seek answers to the things that plague us. It’s beauty lies in the language that draws a layperson into the world of medicine while still retaining huge doses of empathy for those who battle ‘the emperor of all maladies’. May we find the big answers soon!