May 12, 2017

Top "10" Professional Reading List for Educators - 2017 Version

by Joseph M. Crozier, GWAEA Chief Administrator

Joseph M. Crozier

This year I challenged my administrative team to reflect on their personal goals for the year and capture them in a single word. This very introspective activity helped everyone on my team think about our individual contributions toward our organizational goals in a very personal and meaningful way. My team individually suggested words like ‘wisdom,’ ‘relevance,’ 'engagement' and ‘optimism,’ and each team member shared personal reflections on their selection.

My word for the year was ‘dedication.’ There are many reasons I selected this word, but it certainly is relevant when it comes to the importance of including a wide selection of reading into a person’s own professional journey. This year’s Top Ten Reading list highlights my personal and professional focus on personal improvement, leadership, and education reform. This year the list includes a few favorites from the past year as well as recommendations from colleagues. (And I share a huge thank you to all of my colleagues who continually share their professional reading throughout the year!)

My entire career has been dedicated to education, and I believe it is essential that all educators have an endless pursuit of knowledge and keep the flame burning to be a life-long learner. Together, we have the opportunity to learn from each other. Compiling the “Top 10” reading list each year has provided me multiple opportunities to reflect on my own personal learning as I continually seek to become a better educational leader and servant to our clients. As I lead an organization that includes 480 individuals, I know it is essential that I continue improve my own skills, as well the culture and climate of our organization.

I hope this provides some resources for your personal and professional growth. Happy Reading!

Visit the links on the book graphics below to reserve copies through the Grant Wood AEA Media Center.

"Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance" by Angela Duckworth
In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

"The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues" by Patrick Lencioni
In "The Ideal Team Player," Lencioni tells the story of Jeff Shanley, a leader desperate to save his uncle’s company by restoring its cultural commitment to teamwork. Jeff must crack the code on the virtues that real team players possess, and then build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues.

"Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity" by Charles Duhigg
At the core of "Smarter Faster Better" are eight key productivity concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently.

"The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness" by Jeff Olson and John David Mann
Why is it that some people make dream after dream come true, while others just continue dreaming and spend their lives building dreams for someone else? One simple reason, those that are "successful" have found their SLIGHT EDGE! This book is not just another self-help, motivation tool of methods you must to learn in order to make it up the path of success. "The Slight Edge" simply shows you how to create powerful results from the simple daily activities of your life, by using tools that are already within you. And all you need to make that happen? Discover that "one" thing that will help you achieve that goal, realize a life-long dream or propel you up the ladder to success. Once you got it, then you will discover how your philosophy... creates your attitude... creates your actions... creates your results... creates YOUR LIFE! Plus, Jeff shares with you "the key" that will make all of the other self-help information you read, watch and hear actually work in your life!

"The Golden Rules; Top Steps to World-Class Excellence in Your Life and Work" by Bob Bowen
Bob Bowman, best known as the coach for the record-breaking run of Michael Phelps, is one of the most successful coaches in Olympic history. He is lauded for his intense personality, incredible dedication to his athletes, and his ability to nurture talent in athletes who have the heart and drive to win. This is his motivational book about winning in all walks of life and what you have to do to get there. He presents 10 key concepts that all people should live by. Illuminating his lessons with spirited anecdotes, Bowman will teach you how to get gold out of every day by setting goals and getting motivated to achieve them. He will explain that taking risks is the key to success in any pursuit, and coach you on how you can make yourself risk-averse.

"The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace" by S. Chris Edmonds
"The Culture Engine" shows leaders how to create a high performing, values aligned culture through the creation of an organizational constitution. With practical step-by-step guidance, readers learn how to define their organization's culture, delineate the behaviors that contribute to greater performance and greater engagement, and draft a document that codifies those behaviors into a constitution that guides behavior towards an ideal: a safe, inspiring workplace. The discussion focuses on people, including who should be involved at the outset and how to engage employees from start to finish, while examples of effective constitutions provide guidance toward drafting a document that can actualize an organization's potential.

“Leading with GRIT: Inspiring Action and Accountability with Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth” by Laurie Sudbrink

“Leading with GRIT: Inspiring Action and Accountability with Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth” by Laurie Sudbrink
"Leading With GRIT" is a practical and proven guide for transforming the workplace, offering pragmatic insight on value-based strategies that improve the individual and the business. Based on the author's proprietary principles of GRIT – Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth – this book describes how working toward individual improvement produces better organizational results than traditional approaches that focus on collective improvement. Readers are introduced to GRIT with a framework that can be applied in any workplace scenario, and are provided with strategies for applying GRIT to communication and intraoffice operations. Each chapter includes activities that assist with implementation, moving beyond the theoretical framework commonly taught in business school to provide a more practical approach to personal development.

"Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent" by Sydney Finkelstein
What do football coach Bill Walsh, restauranteur Alice Waters, television executive Lorne Michaels, technol­ogy CEO Larry Ellison, and fashion pioneer Ralph Lauren have in common? On the surface, not much, other than consistent success in their fields. But below the surface, they share a common approach to finding, nurturing, leading, and even letting go of great people. The way they deal with talent makes them not merely success stories, not merely organization builders, but what Sydney Finkelstein calls superbosses.

After 10 years of research and more than two hundred interviews, Finkelstein—an acclaimed professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, speaker, and executive coach and consultant—discovered that superbosses exist in nearly every industry. If you study the top fifty leaders in any field, as many as one-third will have once worked for a superboss.

"Mind Hacking: How to Change Your Mind for Good in 21 Days" by Sir John Hargrave
Have you ever wished you could reprogram your brain, just as a hacker would a computer? In this 3-step guide to improving your mental habits, learn to take charge of your mind and banish negative thoughts, habits, and anxiety—in just 21 days!

A seasoned author, comedian, and entrepreneur, Sir John Hargrave once suffered from unhealthy addictions, anxiety, and poor mental health. After cracking the code to unlocking his mind’s full and balanced potential, his entire life changed for the better. In Mind Hacking, Hargrave reveals the formula that allowed him to overcome negativity and eliminate mental problems at their core.

"How to Be a Great Boss" by Gino Wickman and Rene Boer
Studies have repeatedly shown that the majority of employees are disengaged at work. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Often, the difference between a group of indifferent employees and a fully engaged team comes down to one simple thing—a great boss.

In "How to Be a Great Boss," Gino Wickman and Rene’ Boer present a straightforward, practical approach to help bosses at all levels of an organization get the most from their people. They share time-tested tools that have worked for more than 30,000 bosses in every industry. You can learn to be a great boss—and dramatically improve both your organization’s performance and your team’s excitement about their work.

**Summaries and reviews adapted from by Joseph M. Crozier, Grant Wood AEA, 3/12/2017

Top "10" Professional Reading List for Educators, 2003-2016