I’ve had quite a few folks me for recommendations for book studies, reading groups, or personal growth. So I thought I might write something up!
Now, I don’t actually read much that’s explicitly about education. I think that reading widely helps me to think better, avoid fads, and see education through a clearer lens. So most of these aren’t “education books,” but I think they’ll get you thinking in new ways:
- Why Don’t Students Like School? – Really fun read. Contains an unforgettable image of Dick Chaney and Joey Tribbiani. Written by cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham.
- Made To Stick – Need to convince people (say students or parents or administrators or teachers) that something’s important?
- Essentialism – Is it possible that you’re trying to do too much? This book seriously changed the way I run my life.
- Good Strategy, Bad Strategy – Pairs beautifully with Essentialism. All about making hard decisions to guide long term journeys.
- Drive – What motivates us (psst, it isn’t external rewards)? Dan Pink is great.
- Nudge – Focused on changing behavior without just making a rule and punishing people for not following it. Pairs nicely with Made To Stick.
- The Hungry Mind – A fantastic book about curiosity, both at home and in schools. Find anything you can from Susan Engel.
And, I’d be remiss not to mention the book about depth and complexity which I co-authored with Lisa Van Gemert!
Trendy, But Have You Actually Read Them?
The books Mindset and Grit are cited so frequently, but I have a sneaking suspicion that very few folks have actually read them. So read them! They’re not hard. And be aware of how both authors’ work gets misunderstood and over-applied.
Want to really dig into how to get kids thinking? You gotta get out of the edu-echo-chamber and read some classics. Find anything written by these folks. Papers, books, crusty old scanned PDFs, whatever! There’s way more out there than what I’ve linked below (especially if you have access to research papers).
- Jerome Bruner (The Process of Education will melt your mind)
- John Dewey (I’ve read Experience and Education)
- Hilda Taba – Here’s a crusty, scanned PDF. You know you are doing to do some hefty thinking when chapter one is titled “The Nature of Thought”!
- James Gallagher
- E. Paul Torrance
Finally, Models of Teaching is more of a textbook, but it’s a fantastic library of different ways to teach lessons. It covers the work of many of the aforementioned researchers.
If you read any of these, do let me know how it goes!
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