Brianne Gidcumb | May 2016
Books for Personal and Professional Development: Volume 4
In January, I introduced you to my effort to hold myself accountable to my 2016 resolution: to increase my reading on topics of personal and professional growth. Over the past few months, I’ve shared my reads and recommendations in the hopes that you find something that will be beneficial to your own personal and professional growth, and today, I share with you my fourth installment!
This new release caught my eye in the gift shop at the Art Institute of Chicago, so I picked it up and got to reading immediately. Will Gompertz suggests that we are all artists, and that there are distinct characteristics that “artists” embody that lead to the ability to creatively express oneself. Gompertz outlines ten lessons on creativity, with examples from artists such Andy Warhol, Picasso, and J.J. Abrams. This book delves into the habits of artistic and creative people, which is a great tool for self-reflection and goal-setting in terms of how the reader might implement habits and processes that will lead to greater creativity and productivity. The book is interspersed with great quotes and quick thoughts on creativity (“Artists turn nothings into somethings. They do it by behaving like any other entrepreneur”; “Questioning does not make creativity more difficult. Rather it brings clarity and brevity and purity to our ideas”). As educators, we strive to teach children artistic habits of mind, standards for mathematical practices, practices for science and engineering. We try to encourage children to develop habits and ways of thinking- this book is a great read for the creative educator to encourage habits and ways of thinking for ourselves!
Similarly to Mr. Gompertz’s look into the habits and principles of working creatively, brothers and partners at IDEO, Tom and David Kelley identify principles and strategies that allow us to tap into our creative potential. Each of the eight chapters in this book take us through steps that are necessary to unleash the artistic creativity that resides naturally in each of us. Again, by promoting artistic and creative habits and practices within ourselves and our students just as we promote mathematical and scientific practices and habits, we encourage lifelong learning, critical thinking, opportunities for collaboration, and the ability to think and problem solve flexibly!
As I have engaged in yoga teacher training and gone through a personal crossroads, this book has been recommended to me by more than one person. I finally picked up a copy, and I think it’s incredibly relevant to educators who are worked too hard, scrutinized harshly by society and the media, and far too hard on themselves. We, as educators, tend to be Type A perfectionist personalities. We strive for perfection, and feel inadequate when we don’t live up to these standards set by ourselves and by our culture. Brené Brown provides ten “guideposts” that serve as standards for “wholehearted” living. By embracing who we are, who we are supposed to be, and living more mindfully, we can bring integrity and joy into our actions, our goals, and our lives. I think it’s an incredibly relevant message for overworked educators who need validation that it is okay to be imperfect!