Reading List

Heyo.  Next Tuesday I start school again!  I’m getting my masters in Science Education, a bold move since I don’t currently have A job.  But, whatevs.  Science is cool.

Lately, I’ve been kind of bored with reading.  There’s books I’ve been burning through like a madman, but I’ve been having a hard time staying engaged or feeling like my time reading was worth it.  2013 has been one of my most productive years of reading – but it’s been almost all Fiction – mainly sci-fi/fantasy.

Of course! I thought the other day.  I used to alternate books fairly regularly fiction/non-fiction and it kept me out of such trouble.  So, the past week I’ve been digging into some great non-fiction.


I’ve been a fan of Ron Clark since reading “The Essential 55.”  He is a man of boundless energy I would enjoy meeting and he loves what he does.  This book brings forth the usual Teacher Advice you find in books like “Teach Like a Champion.”  Mr. Clark has a great gift for anecdotes and it is easy to see his true love of his students.

Of course, he has critics, too.  There are certain rules of his, as well, as anecdotes in this book, that don’t paint him all to positively.  There’s been a few details (dress codes; retaking tests) I don’t agree with him on.  But I agree with him about loving the students being important and taking time to engage with them.

His time commitment is amazing.  My main wondering is if he is married with children of his own – making time for my own family is challenging during the teaching season, even when not volunteering and its not an area I’m willing to ignore.


This is a book about grit and “soft skills” that we need to give our children.  It raises a lot of internal eyebrows for me – I get so frustrated during the school year how much emphasis is given on certain content areas, but we ignore the so-called soft skills.  School really needs to be a place where we celebrate tenacity and efficacy (which Ron Clark seems to agree with!) instead of fact factories.

There’s not much new stuff in this book for me, since a lot of the same ground was covered in NUTURESHOCK, but it’s a good book.

GOOD TO GREAT by Jim Collins

This book was recommended to me many years ago by an old boss (hi, Bruce!) and I’ve been listening to it in my car.  What a great book.  Research mixed with revelation mixed with really well told stories.  What gets me is how many of the mistakes described in the book I see my school district making.  Too many attempts at big miracle moments.

It’s a great book for normal people, too, with awesome lessons for any organization.  I might buy it – though I’ve loved listening to Jim Collins dulcet tones.

There’s a few more I’m just getting into, but these are the three main I’m reading now to supplement my Sandman Slim reading.  I’m also reading Ophiuchi Hotline for book club, and not diggin’ it thus far.

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