Summer Bookshelf 2017

Reading time: 6


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What books are on your summer reading list?

Over the past 10 years, my collection of educational books has taken over a small bedroom-makeshift-office, slowly brimming from the bedside table to the ceiling! Last week, I had a tidy up – you may have seen this on Twitter – so, I’ve picked out my favourites from that video and offered my recommendations for your summer reading list.

The books in the photograph above, are listed below from left-to-right.

When the summer arrives for teachers, the long period of time offers much space to reflect and an opportunity to get lost inside a book. This post just shares what 18 books are on my summer reading list  – from left to right – with an image, a weblink to Amazon and a short book overview. I’ve also included a few non-related education books.

1. Learning Reimagined

Written by Graham Brown Martin, this book documents his travels to 18 countries around the world, conducting interviews with lots of different and interesting people in education in schools, universities and other places of learning, before writing up what he’d learnt about the purpose of education.

It is a beautifully illustrated book.


2. The Last Lecture

If you are not familiar with The Last Lecture, this is traditional staple to those in the university sector. Professors are asked to consider their departure and to ponder on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences are asked to consider the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

This book is Randy Pausch’s story …


3. Supporting Children with Educational Needs

Written by senior teacher Cherryl Drabble, this comprehensive resource will equip primary and secondary teachers and SENDCos with the training and skills they need to fully support children with SEND in mainstream classrooms.

I was delighted to be able to review a copy.


4. Inner Story

Written by Dr. Tim O’Brien, this is a book about you. There are two stories inside your head. One is about your life. The other is controlling your life – that story is your Inner Story. It is created in your mind and controls everything that you think, feel and do. If you want to be more confident, successful and happier or want to perform better as an individual or as a team you have to know your inner story. How much do you know about yours?

I’ve highlighted this book from cover to cover.


5. Open

This book is written by David Price OBE.

What makes a global corporation give away its prized intellectual property? Why are Ivy League universities allowing anyone to take their courses for free? What drives a farmer in rural Africa to share his secrets with his competitors? These are some of the wide-ranging questions asked throughout this book.

I’m delighted to be collaborating on a new book with Price in Spring 2018.


6. Classroom Observations

Matt O’Leary writes about Classroom Observation and explores the pivotal role of lesson observation in the training, assessment and development of new and experienced teachers. Offering practical guidance and detailed insight on an aspect of training that is a source of anxiety for many teachers, this thought-provoking book offers a critical analysis of the place, role and nature of lesson observation in the lives of education professionals.

This is a must read.


7. A History Teaching Toolbox

A History Teaching Toolbox is the perfect handbook for busy classroom teachers eager to try out some new strategies with their students. More than 60 tried and tested activities and approaches are organised into helpful categories and explained with step-by-step instructions and topic-specific examples to illustrate how they can be immediately employed.

Written by Russel Tarr, you may be familiar with his website in your classroom.


8. Teaching Notes From The Front Line

Written by Dr. Debra Kidd, this is one of the most powerful books on education I have read.

Kidd writes, ‘we have allowed powerful institutions to manipulate the fear of parents and teachers to the extent that neither can see how to proceed without being told what to think’.

This book explores how the so-called accountability and quality systems in the UK have been used to straightjacket teachers into compliance, even when flying in the face of emerging knowledge and understanding about learning.

9. Talk for Teaching

This new book by Paul Garvey uses his experience as a teacher, inspector and as a national strategies consultant to advise educators and schools on how his Talk For Teaching method can help them take control of their professional development – without it increasing costs or taking up valuable lesson time.

I have had the pleasure of working with Garvey.


10. The Art of Standing Out

Blending personal insight with tried-and-tested strategies, The Art of Standing Out is a powerful blueprint for all ambitious headteachers, senior leadership teams and governing bodies, demonstrating how schools can be led from the brink of closure to world-class centres of learning.

Written by Andrew Morrish, he factual account of life in schools is heartwarming and offers much authenticity.

I am looking forward to speaking at Morrish’s multi-academy trust conference in Spring 2018.

11. The School Leadership Journey

John Dunford sets out the key elements of what he has learned about school leadership, teaching and learning during his 45-year career. He interweaves a series of enlightening stories about government education policy during this period with the way in which successful schools have navigated the constantly changing policy landscape.

This book is full of unbelievable experience and I am honoured to have been quoted inside.


12. Developing as an Educational Leader and Manager

Written by Dr. Megan Crawford, this book builds on notions of leadership at all levels, containing an invaluable bank of creative ideas to help teachers already in management positions, as well as those just starting out, to reflect on their personal and leadership development.

Crawford is Professor and Director Plymouth Institute of Education.


13. High Challenge, Low Threat

Building on notions of leadership at all levels, this book contains an invaluable bank of creative ideas to help teachers already in management positions, as well as those just starting out, to reflect on their personal and leadership development.

It is just a sublime book, and so is its author, Mary Myatt.

I have been delighted to know and work with Mary for the past 5 years.


And books not related to education … which may give you an indication of where I currently am.

14. Simple Thinking

Let’s be honest, life is full of unnecessary complexity and it′s left most of us confused, angry and disenfranchised. This book will help you to remove the baggage, cut through the clutter and begin your smooth path to success.

Simple Thinking by Richard Gerver helps us learn how to act with clarity and confidence.



15. Fat, Forty And Fired

Fat, Forty and Fired, is a story written by Nigel Marsh, penned for anyone who has dreamed about leaving the rat race behind and living a more meaningful life. It is the hilarious, insightful and deeply moving account of Marsh’s ‘gap year’ at home, as he rediscovers fatherhood, loses twenty kilograms, kicks his drinking habit, trains for an ocean swim race and generally gets his house in order.

I was delighted when Marsh sent me a personal copy after quoting his fabulous TED talk in my training presentations. n.b. my book cover is not red in the photograph.

16. 100 Social Innovations from Finland

One might wonder what a single-chamber parliament, dish drying cabinets and text messaging have in common. Or what the link is between maternity packs, xylitol, the sauna and free school meals. The answer is simple: they are all Finnish social innovations.

This book, which is both serious and entertaining, presents 100 Finnish social innovations.


17. The $100 Startup

You no longer need to work nine-to-five in a big company to pay the mortgage, send your kids to school and afford that yearly holiday. You can quit the rat race and start-up on your own – and you don’t need an MBA or a huge investment to do it.

The $100 Startup is your manual to a new way of living. There’s hope for us all.


18. Twitter Power 3.0

Twitter Power 3.0 is the newly updated guide that shows smart businesses and entrepreneurs how to use Twitter to their advantage. This book is the best business leader′s guide to Twitter, with the most up to date information on trends in social media, branding, and competitive research.

Readers will learn that viral content doesn′t happen by accident, why videos and photos are crucial to engagement, and how to measure the success of a Twitter strategy using specific and accurate metrics.


The books currently on my ‘wish-list’ are here.

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