11 Transformative Books for Arts Educators, Education ClosetYou may have noticed a familiar theme in my blog posts. I am convinced there is a direct link between educational effectiveness and our ability to self-reflect and grow in awareness.  The great management and leadership consultant Peter Drucker wrote: “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” Toward that end, I would like to share with you my 2013 Top 11 transformative books that have played an important role in my reflective practice and assisted me in becoming a more effective educator.

What do I mean by more effective?

  1. Greater awareness of personal and social strengths and weaknesses.
  2. More holistic and connective in thought processes.
  3. Increased resilience when things don’t go so well.
  4. A better decision maker and planner.
  5. Focused creativity in lesson planning, classroom engagement and energy management.

Be advised, very few of these books are “education books” but they have major implications on how we teach and interact with students and colleagues. All of these books are available at Amazon and also on iTunes as audiobooks (my preferred format). I have “hot linked” all the titles for your convenience. Enjoy!

  1. Fires in the Mind – Based on hundreds of interviews with students, this inspirational book teaches how kids learn and think about their own education. It’s brilliant because it comes directly from the students. I repeat: the book is in the students own words. Moving and profound, this book offers valuable insight into what our students are actually thinking.
  2. Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way – Who isn’t concerned or worried about the future? We all are! Rosenstein gives us a glimpse into the greatest management and leadership consultant Peter Drucker’s strategies for creating a compelling future – NOW. You will develop a forward focused approach to life.
  3. Decisive – The Heath Brothers have done it again. Chock full of engaging and accessible stories, they offer us a simple yet profound pathway to creating better decisions. Their WRAP process integrates evidence-based and intution-based practices.
  4. Making Learning Whole – Harvard Project Zero pioneer asks educators to “play the whole game” in the classroom. Part philosophy, part practicum, the book will transform how you think about your teaching practice. You’ll think bigger and create more context.
  5. Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential – Some criticize the author for being a cult leader. Whatever. Anyone can recognize the holistic ideas on ecology, education, healthcare and personal responsibility that the author eloquently posits and you don’t have to join a cult to benefit from it!
  6. The Five Elements of Effective Thinking – Written by two university professors and backed by research, you will learn accessible tips to make better decisions. Who wouldn’t like to make better decisions! Transfer the knowledge to your students.
  7. Touchpoints – Written by a former Campbell Soups CEO, who reinvented himself after “retirement” this book teaches strategies of engagement and enhancing relationships with those we care about most and in the smallest of moments.
  8. The Shibumi Strategy – A “parable” or short story, you will learn the principles of Zen, kaizen and shibumi – the influential principles of life, art and business from Japan – and actually be able to apply them. The story is awesome (about a used car salesman, but that’s only to fool you!) and will linger in your memory for a long time. This is a fantastic primer on being effective AND visionary.
  9. Winning From Within – Written by a Harvard professor, attorney and negotiation expert, you will learn how to negotiate with your inner Dreamer, Lover, Thinker ad Warrior to produce the life results you want.
  10. Innovation You! – Written by a University of Michigan professor and innovation expert, you’ll learn how the Competing Values Framework of Create, Collaborate, Control and Compete will transform relationships with colleagues and help you see situations from many perspectives, instead of one (that could be quite wrong!).
  11. How to Wake Up – Written by a former law professor who gave up her entire career because of the onset of a debilitating and chronic illness, the book offers thoughtful, useful and poignant advice on self-awareness and personal transformation through life’s difficulties.

Happy reading and reflection – may it lead to more effective action!