Four Really ‘Good Reads’ for Educators Over the Holidays

The holidays; time to recharge the batteries, enjoy, relax, and for some it’s a time to catch up on that list of books waiting to be read. I usually have an ambitious to-read list over the two-week break, this year is no exception. Several education related books are on the list that I discovered either through a book review in the Sunday paper or through a colleague’s recommendation.  I thought I’d share just in case there are readers out there looking for a good read this holiday season.

Below are the four books on my list.  Enjoy!

The One World Schoolhouse: Education ReimaginedThe One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined by Salman Khan
Released in October, the reviews so far are very favorable. On Amazon 58 readers give it 5/5 and Good Reads 4.8/5. I’ve been following Khan Academy since its inception and am impressed by the drive and tenacity of its founder Salman Khan. The venture is not-for-profit, Khan quit his job and took 10 months to film the videos for the platform in his apartment.

A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere: this is the goal of the Khan Academy, a passion project that grew from an ex-engineer and hedge funder’s online tutoring sessions with his niece, who was struggling with algebra, into a worldwide phenomenon. Today millions of students, parents, and teachers use the Khan Academy’s free videos and software, which have expanded to encompass nearly every conceivable subject; and Academy techniques are being employed with exciting results in a growing number of classrooms around the globe. (

Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education Through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open KnowledgeOpening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education Through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge by Toru Iiyoshi, M.S. Vijay Kumar and John Seely Brown.

This book is a collection of essays by educators, technologists and researchers (including organizations and associations) involved in open education; it discusses the successes, challenges, and opportunities in the movement towards ‘open’. Looks like a helpful read for educators initiating, or involved in open programs in their own institutions.

In keeping with the theme of ‘open’, the book is available through the support of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, under a Creative Commons license at the MIT Press Web site,

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each OtherAlone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
The title is intriguing—does it not describe what happens when people hide behind their electronic devices? If you don’t have time to read the book, Turkle did an excellent TED talk on this topic,…

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have. (

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of CharacterHow Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough
I first heard of this book after reading a review in the New York Times,…
and what piqued my interest was the well-known and much cited study, the marshmallow experiment of psychologist Walter Mischel. The study found that children who mustered the self-control to resist eating a marshmallow right away in return for two marshmallows later on, did better in school and were more successful as adults. Hmm…. Given today’s current culture, it will no doubt be a thought-provoking read.

In his new book, “How Children Succeed,” Tough sets out to replace this assumption with what might be called the character hypothesis: the notion that noncognitive skills, like persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence, are more crucial than sheer brainpower to achieving success. (

Any good reads you’d like to share?

You can view all my reviews at Good Reads here.

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