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.

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.

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture is a book co-authored by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow. The Last Lecture is a book of lessons that the author, Randy Pausch wrote that are based off of his life. Randy Pausch was a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction, and design at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2006 Pausch learned that he had pancreatic cancer and was given a terminal diagnosis of 3-6 months of good health left. In the Last Lecture, Pausch combines humor, inspiration, and intelligence throughout his book, making it very easy to read. I give this book to all of my graduating seniors that our on our FIRST robotics team.

In his lecture as well as book, Pausch focuses on three main themes, Childhood Dreams, Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, and lastly, Lessons Learned. Throughout the book Pausch talks about the developments he made with students while being a professor. He writes about his theories of teaching, and his theory of teaching somebody something by thinking they’re learning something else.

Much of the book talks about how individuals handle themselves and the lessons he has learned and why they happened. Pausch makes it very clear that taking the actions of how you felt as a child can help you become the person and the professional you want to be. Pausch states, “It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, but it’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.”