Larry Winget writes in his 2007 book, It’s Called Work for a Reason, that if you don’t read at least five professional books a year, you are a sorry leader.
Now I wouldn’t go that far, but if you don’t make a conscious effort to read one or two books a semester, you run the very real risk of becoming complacent and being left behind by our field.
As an example, last summer I was speaking to over 70 administrators in a struggling district. As I was talking, I noticed that the audience seemed lost so I stopped. I asked them to raise their hand if they had read anything by the following authors, Schmoker, Fullan, DuFour, or Marzano. Not more than 10 hands were raised for any one author. So I followed the teachable moment and we created a practical must read list for school leaders. Here’s the list:
Good to Great, by Jim Collins (the modern classic)
Results Now, by Mike Schmoker (the blueprint for rapid change)
Corp Business, by David H. Freedman (a handbook for action based leadership)
The Moral Imperative of School Leadership, by Michael Fullan (our big picture)
The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell (little changes for big effects)
What books would you add?