I often tend to catch flack for my reading habits, both for the amount of time I spend with my nose buried between pages and for the lack of fiction in my literary diet. (For those of you out there that like to get after me about this, I’m participating in The Atlantic’s new 1book140 book club and currently reading Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin as a part of that, so hey, I’m trying!)
Likely due to my bibliophilia, a number of people lately have asked me for book recommendations for summer reading, additions to professional development libraries at schools, etc. A lot of those requests are for books on “character development.” If you’re reading this, you likely already know that our approach to character and culture development at IEE covers a diverse range of topics, so it probably won’t surprise you that these book recommendations are all over the map as well. Each of these five books match up with at least one Power2Achieve unit so they make great companion reads for those implementing Power2Achieve Foundations, and they offer helpful insights that are useful both in and outside of educational contexts. Some have been mentioned on this blog before, but I think each one would work wonderfully for individual, small group, and large group study, so check them out if you haven’t already!
Do you have other favorites you’d recommend to others? Please reply to this post and let us know about them!
Here’s my Power2 hit list:
1. Drive – Daniel Pink
. Daniel Pink absolutely crushes the topic of motivation in this book. Not only is there a chapter dedicated how the concepts he presents apply to education, but every piece of the book has to do with why it can be so challenging to engage and motivate students, and what we can do about it as educators. Pink also maintains a fantastic blog (http://www.danpink.com
) , so there’s a continuing ed opportunity as well. This book is drawn from in units 4.1 and 4.2 amongst other places in Power2Achieve.
2. Made to Stick – Chip Heath & Dan Heath
: Another one that someone could easily argue should become mandatory reading for educators. When I came to work at IEE, this was the very first thing they put in my hand. Everyone in our organization has read it, and we refer back to sections of it constantly. When I read it, I immediately saw ways it would have enhanced my teaching, and in terms of concepts to present to students, there is a lot of information that goes right along with Units Power2Achieve 1.1, 2.1, and others.
3. Finding the Open Road – Mike Marriner, Brian McAllister, Nathan Gebhard
: I found this book on a shelf in shop in Seattle just after it was published, a date which happened to coincide with my college graduation. I don’t know that I’ve ever come across resource as full of such diverse takes on life, purpose, and careers and as accessible to young people as this one. Basically it’s a book that contains transcripts of interviews done by a group of guys who snag an old RV and hit the road asking for people’s words of wisdom. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if I were to step into any classroom K-20 tomorrow, this would be a book I would draw from. It aligns wonderfully with Power2Achieve 8.1, and would be a wonderful resource to build a project off of (also, for a book that offers a similar type of “the path less traveled” viewpoint from the position of organizational leadership, check out Let My People Go Surfing by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard
4. Nobody Left to Hate – Elliot Aronson
: In our experience many books on issues of bullying/hazing/school-violence/etc. tend to be either very dense in terms of research on root causes and intervention methods or light to the point that there is very little action-oriented information presented. While it doesn’t provide a checklist of strategies to implement, it does offer a well written look into the world of school violence in all its forms, often times presenting information so jolting that it can’t help but impact the way you interact with others when you attach stories and statistics to the real faces of students in a school (for example: ”In 1999, one out of every five adolescents had seriously considered suicide, and one out of ten had attempted it.”) This book most closely aligns with Power2Achieve Unit 5.1, but also underscores the urgent need to address topics of reducing stress and anxiety (3.2) and considering the perspective of others in order to build positive relationships amongst peers, between students and educators, and between students and their families.
5. Thinkertoys – Michael Michalko
: Another resource unlike any other I’ve ever come across. In Thinkertoys, Michalko presents a huge array of activities that can help build creativity and critical thinking skills. What makes this book unique is that he does each strategy its justice by delving into the theories it stems from, allowing the reader to pull out the specific activities themselves quickly or, even better, learn about the theories the activities are built on and then pull them out and put them into action. This is cited in Unit 6.1 and makes a nice companion to the unit.