7 Eclectic Reading Books

Reading time: 4


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What books are you reading?

I’ve been a big fan of Audible books for several years, but there’s a part of me that is yearning for a physical copy…

I’ve listed some digital and physical books I’ve been reading over the last few months, some are educationally focused, whilst others are related to my own interests in developing business and social networks for my doctoral degree.

1. Inventing Ourselves

Since I have joined the community of Cambridge University, I have been immersed with a wide range of contacts, sources to read and expertise. Recently, I was in touch with Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. We were due to share the same conference stage before the pandemic, but this event is still on hold.

For the last seven or eight years, I’ve been very interested in cognitive science and this is slowly evolving into cognitive psychology, meeting various cognitive scientists, of which Blakemore is one.

Throughout the pandemic, I have been explicitly researching brain development; this book explains how the brain evolves through young adulthood. Blakemore is a world leader in the teenage brain and this is something that all teachers should consider.


2. Thinking, Fast and Slow

I know I am very late to reading this book!

Perhaps I would’ve been much better off over the last decade if I had taken a closer look at Kahneman’s recommendations for decision-making, developing skills to make better judgements.

There’s a good reason why we need regular breaks, plenty of sleep and take our time when feeling stressed and anxious.

By thinking slow, we can make better-informed decisions.


3. Surrounded by Idiots

I’m sure in some shape or form, all of us have felt like this at some point in our life. For me, this is often in the world of politics rather than education.

This is a book to help you understand yourself better, handle conflict and improve the way you lead a team.

It’s been very useful for me in my solo work, helping me get a sense of myself, as well as learning better ways to influence others.

I’ve always thought I’ve been good at convincing others to make a decision. Over the years I have been refining this strategy in my work…


4. Social Research Methods

Social research methodsThis is a free podcast available on audible to help those conducting research in social science.

Somehow, from a background in design and technology, I now find myself doing a doctoral research degree in social science.

I’m making small steps forward, albeit a little slow, but I am plugging away and I’m starting to get to grips with the terminology, research methods and the field of social science.


5. Netnography

A book written by Robert Kozinets, who is now following me on Twitter(!), Kozinets focuses on the online world, unpicking cultures and communities as a social phenomenon. Something I am deeply fascinated with in terms of the education sector using Twitter.

What I love about this book is its practical application, the case studies and its step-by-step process to help new people like me, not only in the field of social science and social networks, but to teachers who have started a research doctorate.

In this book, Kozinets takes you on a journey of media in the 21st-century, the ways in which we connect, data operations, ethics, methodologies and how to collect data on social media. It’s not your typical read for a teacher, but there you go…


6. Bryman’s Social Research Methods

This book is enormous and is another title I have purchased to help me understand the research process from start to finish. I am confident that it won’t be one of those books that we all buy when we start a degree course and look back on completion and ask ‘Why did I waste the money?’ It’s relatively expensive and one that I am already using!

Whilst this is not a practical book for teachers, it is a very powerful book for educators conducting a research degree in social science. It’s the sixth edition and has sold over 250,000 copies!

The authors have brought together a wide collection of research and thinkers in dedication to Professor Alan Bryman’s expertise in research methods as a discipline.


7. The Revision Revolution

The Revision Revolution Book

A new book, published in January 2022, written by Helen Howell and myself.

The Revision Revolution book has been almost two years in the making. When Helen and I first pitched our ideas to John Catt in July 2020, the book was rejected. It was a first for me as an established author and the first for Helen as a new writer. At that time, we were naturally disappointed, having drafted almost 40,000 words. The publishers provided us with the feedback we needed to hear and Helen and I had yet another in-depth discussion about a new approach. 

We took the summer of 2020 off and revised our thoughts in the new academic year. We bounded between a revolution of sorts between learning, parents and study skills and almost 18 months later from that point – almost 3 years of curating – I’m pleased to have supported Helen in the process of co-publishing this book title, editing and proofreading every word and contributing to ideas and the resources.


Whilst it’s quicker to get through some books on a dog walk, I’m still left with the dilemma: Should I buy a physical copy or continue to listen online?

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