The Book I Read: How it works

By May 15, submit the title of a favorite book or article (and link if available), along with a sentence or two about why other people should read it. Then choose a book someone else recommended, read it, and find your fellow readers at the June 17-20 iiE Gathering and/or respond to them online. Enjoy your new favorite book and friendships.  Books should have some connection to learning and innovation, but the connection is yours to make – you don’t have to choose something that is traditionally educational or scholarly.

Follow this link to submit a book.

(And while you’re thinking about a book to share, let the Talking Heads be your soundtrack:)

The Book I Read was inspired by conversations with Bill Sommers, Skip Wilson, and Karl Klimek, and by Susanna Hapgood’s “Let Me Tell You About The Book I’ve Been Reading” activity.

Teaching Outside the Box by LouAnne Johnson

This book is geared toward teachers and their approach toward educating their students. Teaching Outside the Box gives the reader a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for success in the classroom. Several of the methods are similar to other books I have read in regards to teaching but their are some very interesting takes on important classroom topics. Topics such as classroom management, the importance of reading and how to improve student reading, and other creative methods to get students going. Teachers need every tool available to best teach students and this book gives teachers several new tools and methods to do just that!

Slingerland, E. (2008). What science offers the humanities: Integrating body and culture. Cambridge University Press.

This was my introduction to cognitive science. It changed and enriched my perspective on art, literature, thinking, learning, and culture by addressing the current gulf between hard science and the humanities in our universities and popular culture. Challenging the Cartesian mind/body dualism and the cult of “Theory” professed in so many disciplines of the humanities these days, the author discusses the paradigm shift needed for the humanities to be respected in the general culture again, to be considered worth learning about. As someone a profound interest in language, poetry, music, theater, art, and other aspects of the life of the human spirit I appreciate this book for crying out against the humanities’ current obsession with theory for theory’s sake. Perhaps by heeding Slingerland the humanities can once again pursue their vocation: exploring ideas about how to live more fulfilling lives and organize fairer societies.

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

“If you’re involved in education in any way you have three options: you can make changes within the system, you can press for changes to the system, or you can take initiatives outside the system. A lot of the examples in this book are of innovations within the system as it is. ” – Ken Robinson


Nick Sousanis’ *Unflattening* (Harvard University Press, 2015) is scholarship presented as a comic. By combining examples from a variety of disciplines–science, literature, mathematics, art, and more–from antiquity to the present day, Sousanis argues against the type of flatness exemplified by the two dimensional characters in Edwin A. Abbott’s *Flatland* (1884) who cannot understand the concept of “upward.” In a very accessible book, Sousanis encourages readers to see past their own boundaries. The book is particularly relevant to both educators and students.

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education

Following on the success of his TED talk, How Schools Kill Creativity, Sir Ken Robinson has written this book to stimulate change from within (and outside) of the system of education. As he states in the introduction, “If you’re involved in education in any way you have three options: you can make changes within the system, you can press for changes to the system, or you can take initiatives outside the system. A lot of the examples in this book are of innovations within the system as it is. Systems as a whole are capable of changing too, and in many ways they already are. The more innovation there is within them, the more likely they are to evolve as a whole.” It’s “The Book I’m Reading” rather than “The Book I Read” and I’m not far enough into it to provide a review as it was just recently released this month but I look forward to perhaps discussing it at the iiE Gathering.

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

Campbell examines how myth has impacted (and continues to do so) our modern world. I chose this book because, as a History teacher, I love to examine how thought and belief throughout the ages impacts our society today. Though not so much a traditional book for education, it has always been my belief that, in order to move forward, we must understand the past.

Getting There: A Book of Mentors

This book is written by Gillian Zoe Segal. Through short stories, the author is able to tell the story of successful entrepreneurs, and the road they took to become successful. Each story highlights the failures and struggles each entrepreneur faced while pursuing their dream.

I will leave you with a quote from the author, which I feel pertains to all of us as we figure out what we want to do when we grow up: “The road to get there is almost guaranteed to be arduous, but if you love what you do, you’ll thrive on inevitable challenges and have stamina to achieve your potential.”

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz

The system manufactures students who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.

Education is the way that a society articulates its values: the way that it transmits its values. What we’re doing to our kids we’re ultimately doing to ourselves.


This book was written by Ed Catmull, president of Pixar. It describes the process used to create a high trust, risk taking group of learners who push the edges of technology. I liked the honesty about the progress, barriers, and lessons learned along the way. There are starting points that are outlined in the back of the book which can be a beginning place for our discussion.