Perhaps you can tell by this list that I have switched from summer leisure reads to strategic initiatives and planning. That is not to say that these books are all about “work;” they are all excellent reads and worth people’s time if they find the subject relevant and of interest.
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathon Haidt: The Coddling of the American Mind
. This book was shared with me this fall, and I enjoyed it so much that we distributed copies of it to all our teaching faculty. Lukianoff and Haidt break down their book into three sections: national social trends, the college landscape, and the rise of fearful parenting strategies. The main thrust of the book is that there are things we can do to produced socially and emotionally resilient and autonomous adults. However, our current approaches to overprotecting our children are producing unhealthy young adults and a very tribal social and political climate that does not serve us well. I would highly recommend this book.
Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon: Moments of Impact
. When I was visiting an alumna in Austin, Texas this summer, I shared that we were going to be doing strategic planning work for The Association of Boarding Schools, and she immediately recommended that I read this book before getting too deep in the process. I would only recommend this book if you are involved in some element of strategic planning in your professional or volunteer work. I have been fortunate to have been involved in a number of strategic initiatives but confess that a majority – if not all – have resulted in tactical outcomes. If your strategic work demands a more transformative outcome, then this book will provide sage advice and a well thought out approach to successfully getting there.
Richard Chait, William Ryan, and Barbara Taylor: Governance as Leadership
. Quite possibly the best resource on good governance that I have come across. If you are someone who serves on a board or works directly with a board, the information in this book has the potential of changing how you view the board’s role and imagine what it possibly could be. These insights are applicable to any non-profit board and will reframe the work being done so that it is more engaging and influential. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is associated with a non-profit board – it is a game changer.
Matthew Walker: Why We Sleep
. Our school counselor, Ashley Smith, passed this book on to me, and I am glad that she did. In college, I took a significant number of classes in Anthropology, and as a result, I was familiar with a number of the studies that have been done on sleep, but this book goes above and beyond any previous knowledge I had on sleep. I found this book thoroughly enjoyable, and I don’t know of a more informative and more accessible book on this subject than Walker’s – my only suggestion is to make sure there is someone nearby with whom you can share the information, because you are going to want to tell someone about all you have learned. Walker’s research covers a wide breadth of information that anyone will gain from knowing; sleep is a key ingredient – it may be the
key ingredient – to living a healthy life. In the section for educators, I was pleased to see that at CRMS we had already considered our start time (8:15 a.m.), and as a boarding school we take advantage of supporting healthy attitudes and behaviors by limiting access to technology after study hall in the evening and monitoring the sleep of our students on weekends. I highly recommend this book.
Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive
. First published in 1985, Drucker’s book might be dismissed as dated, particularly due to his use of masculine pronouns throughout his book, and a little light in volume and depth as it comes in at under 200 pages. However, Drucker sage advice is definitely worth people’s time and attention. His five practices for effective management are as relevant today – perhaps even more so – than when it was written in the 1980’s and his assertion that these are accessible habits that can be learned is both optimistic and motivating. Even if you are extremely successful at what you do, this book is worth your time.
If you'd like a more leisurely read please view my last list of recommended reads here