In response to the post, “Four Books,” a reader writes:
“I would love to see the other books that make up the Top 10!”
The rest of the top ten list is somewhat fluid and situational. Also, my list is more leadership and system focused. This doesn’t mean that I don’t value books on instruction, I do. I read a lot books on instruction, but they are generally content or grade level specific, which limits their value to the broad spectrum of the profession. So, here are all of the books on my current list of Top Ten books for school leaders.
The First Five (posted previously)
1. Results Now, by Mike Schmoker.
2. Corp Business, by David H. Freedman.
3. Good to Great, by Jim Collins.
4. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell.
5. Classroom Instruction That Works, by Robert Marzano.
The Best of the Rest (6-10)
6. The Moral Imperative of School Leadership, by Michael Fullan.
You actually should read everything that Fullan writes, but if time is a factor, this is the one to start with. I do have one small problem with Fullan. He’s too smart. He understands the nuances that drive expert leadership and does a world class job of explaining this (perhaps better than anyone). Unfortunately, the smart/lazy manager type can use Fullan as justification for their repeatedly inane actions (or inaction).
7. How the Mighty Fall, by Jim Collins.
Yes, it is a business book, but Collins lays out the doom loop that district after district is currently stuck in. Fortunately, he tells us how to get out of the loop and even prevent it. Unfortunately, most senior leadership doesn’t care and isn’t listening.
8. Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
The modern classic. I only appreciated it after I read it the second time. First, you have to have tried to manage significant organizational change for the first time and made a mess of it; than you are ready understand what Dr. Johnson is really teaching us.
9. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, by John C. Maxwell.
Maxwell is a former pastor. He writes about church leadership. In many ways, church leadership is a better model for school leaders than business leadership. Violate the Irrefutable Laws at the peril of your organization and you career.
10. Slot number ten is filled by a number of books, that depending on my mood, interest, or need of the person I’m working with, that I might recommend. Some of those books include:
33 Strategies of War, by Robert Greene for strategic and tactical planning.
The Federalist Papers, by Hamilton, Madison and Jay. If you are trying to lead an organization of more than three people who have competing self interests, you might find this worth reading.
It’s Called Work for a Reason, by Larry Wingate. Admittedly a pulp book. But sometimes we have to get over ourselves, cut thru the BS and admit that we have a job to do and how hard we tried doesn’t matter if we’re not successful. Just looking at the title ought to give you a little boost when the going gets tough.
His Excellency, by Joseph J. Ellis. Think you have leadership all figured out? If this study of George Washington doesn’t convince otherwise, you must be pretty darn good.
Think. Work. Achieve.