Apr 18, 2018
Top "10" Professional Reading List for Educators - 2018 Version
by Joseph M. Crozier, GWAEA Chief Administrator
Each year for the past 16 years I’ve enjoyed compiling a “Top 10” professional reading list that brings to light my personal and professional focus on personal improvement, leadership and education reform.
Each year’s list includes my favorites from the past year as well as recommendations from colleagues.
Each year I enjoy learning more about what it took to bring successes to individuals and how to help teams do more.
This year’s list is no different, but I’m writing it from the vantage point of someone who is approaching a professional milestone I’ve planned for my entire career. With the thanks to all of my colleagues who continuously shared their professional reading with me over the years, this is my last “Top 10” booklist.
Together we have had the opportunity to learn from each other, and for that I’m grateful. Compiling the “Top 10” reading list each year has provided me multiple opportunities to reflect on my own personal learning as I continuously seek to become a better educational leader and servant to our clients. I’ve always believed, as a leader for an organization that includes 515 individuals, it is essential that I continue to improve my own skills, as well the culture and climate of our organization.
This list reflects my quest for continued balance in professional learning and personal health, and many of the books on the 2018 “Top 10” list focus on leadership and self-improvement. These books have great insights into how some people become more successful, get more done, and enjoy a positive outlook on life.
As I plan my retirement later this year, my future lists will be used to keep track of new ventures like retirement travel and hobbies, but I know it’ll continue to include opportunities for continued personal and professional growth. Happy reading!
1. “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact” By Chip Heath & Dan Heath
“‘The Power of Moments’ packages together countless hours of research and interviews, as well as dozens of illustrative examples, in digestible, accessible, and entertaining prose. ‘Moments’ offers something for everyone—medical practitioners rethinking the patient experience, corporate leaders re-imagining staff engagement, small businesses looking to differentiate themselves, teachers crafting more memorable lessons. Like ‘Switch’ and ‘Made to Stick’, two of the authors’ previous books, ‘The Power of Moments’ is particularly useful for the social sector, in which change agents face daunting challenges in the fight for social justice, economic equality, and environmental protection. All those desperate for blueprints for creating the extraordinary should read this book.” – Stanford Social Innovation Review
2. “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” By Daniel H. Pink
“Known for his popular books on motivation and creativity, Pink tackles the science behind how we organize our time and how we should set up the routines of our days.” – Washington Post, “11 Leadership Books to Read in 2018”
3. “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World” By William H. McRaven
“Should be read by every leader in America... [MAKE YOUR BED] is a book to inspire your children and grandchildren to become everything that they can. It is a book to discuss with your executive leadership team as a spur to meeting shared goals. Most of all, it is a book that will leave you with tears in your eyes.” – Wall Street Journal
4. "The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World” By Jon Gordon
“...full of proven principles, interesting stories and practical ideas, which makes it a must-read for anyone who wants to become a positive leader.” – The Association of MBA’s, June 2017
5. “Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages” By David Ross
“Ross has plenty of terrific stories to tell from a long career in the big leagues. Ross shares his perspective on what it takes to be a good teammate and how that role accounted for both his longevity in the sport and his impact on the Cubs in 2016. He also weighs in with some compelling inside stories and observations about Maddon, Jon Lester, Jason Heyward, and others from last year’s winners.” – Chicago Tribune
6. “Wait, What?: And Life’s Other Essential Questions” By James E. Ryan
“Jim Ryan promises that asking five simple questions will bring clarity, curiosity, courage, compassion, and conviction. Why should we believe him? For one thing: he’s right. Why should you care? Well, why not read the book—all in one sitting, as I did—and find out?” – Angela Duckworth, author of “GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
7. "The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How” By Daniel Coyle
With a canny grasp of his subject, Daniel Coyle looks at the development of extraordinary talent, particularly in athletes, and the “revolutionary scientific discoveries” unlocking the “talent code” behind it. Cutting across the nature/nurture argument, Coyle examines research into myelin, a neural insulator produced when we repeatedly “fire a particular circuit.” The more myelin produced along that circuit, the “stronger, faster, and more accurate our [relevant] movements and thoughts become.” Interviewing top coaches, educators and researchers, traveling to talent hot spots and neurology labs, Coyle describes three steps (roughly: visualizing and comprehending, repeating and perfecting, and emotional connection) employed (knowingly or not) by talents like the skateboarding Z-Boys, Brazilian soccer players, the Bronte sisters, pop musicians, outperforming school kids and others, as well as ways to understand and spur that process along (in ourselves and others). An exciting, accessible window into research that could trigger a revolution in education and the treatment of mental illness, this intriguing study also puts better-known models of learning into perspective: “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”
8. “Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems” By Michael Fullan
“Coherence is a book that demands action – it moves from the narrative of fixing one teacher at a time, to asking about the coherence of the system (be it school, national, or world issues). Fullan and Quinn create an important narrative about direction, working together, deepening learning, and securing accountability. The book sparkles with examples of coherence in action, it makes no excuses for employing the wrong levers of change. This is the blueprint for a new vocabulary of education action; it shows where we need to go next, and is another example of Fullan at the top of his game.” – John Hattie, director and author of “Visible Learning”
9. “Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace” By David Stillman
Move over Millennials, Gen Z is here. David and Jonah give a fun and informative introduction. This is a must-read for anyone looking to recruit, manage, and retain the best and brightest new workers. – Andrew Yang, CEO and founder of Venture for America, author of “Smart People Should Build Things”
10. “Believe It to Achieve It: Overcome Your Doubts, Let Go of the Past, and Unlock Your Full Potential”Believe It to Achieve It: Overcome Your Doubts, Let Go of the Past, and Unlock Your Full Potential” By Brian Tracy
Letting go of negative thoughts is one of the most important steps to living a successful, fulfilling life, but also often the most difficult. In this practical, research-based guide, bestselling authors Brian Tracy and psychotherapist Christina Stein present their “Psychology of Achievement” program to help you identify and overcome detrimental patterns and ideas preventing you from achieving your goals or feeling happy and satisfied in your life.
**Summaries and reviews adapted from
amazon.com by Joseph M. Crozier, Chief Administrator, Grant Wood Area Education Agency, 3/22/2018