Recommended books

A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink

Daniel Pink explains that:

‘…the future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people – artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers – will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys’.

This distinctly new group of people will offer more than linear, logical thinking and they will view their environment, workplace and life from a more holistic perspective, aware of the changing world around them. The educational system must meet that challenge. Teacher will benefit greatly from reading this book as we are the ones that must prepare students for an emerging labour market which has evolved from what Pink describes as a knowledge based sphere of linear thinking, analytical and calculating skills to a new sphere were they will need the ability to detect patterns and opportunities, among other things. If the former were the skills of the Information Age, then synthesis will become the core skill of the 21st Century, where students are required to grasp the bigger picture and to combine contrasting elements into a new impressive whole. Welcome to the Conceptual Age. This book has helped us re-focus our own teaching as well as outlook on education and beyond. It is a truly insightful read, get it now.

Here Comes Everbody by Clay Shirky

The world we live in today shows “…the largest increase in expressive capability in human history”, according to Clay Shirky. He explains the significance of new and emerging technologies such as Social Media and demonstrates clearly that the way we communicate with each other has changed immensely. This new world has for example created opportunities to collaborate and communicate to express positive ideas and opinions like during the Iran Elections of 2009, but it has also created negative elements where young girls can share ideas about becoming dangerously skinny. Clay Shirky gives us many different examples like the Sichuan earthquake where the BBC found out about the terrible event via and that the last time China had had an earthquake by such magnitude it took more than three months before the the Chinese government released details about the event. This is a superb book which provides insight into the this new way of working and communicating, a world which will affect, well…everybody.

Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

Reynolds book is, to put it simply, outstanding. There are several books that discuss the issues of presenting information in various ways, some of which do an excellent job for example Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullet Points, but Presentation Zen takes the reader to another level when it comes to understanding the nature of presenting one’s message.

Reynolds summarises current literature on the topic and gets you thinking about why your key point(s) matter and how we can go about ensuring that the audience, in my case students, are engaged, want to continue to listen or discuss and that they remember what your message is all about. Presentation Zen encourages the reader to become more creative and, something which we feel is essential, shows us as professionals how we can teach our students to become inspirational and thoughtful communicators.

When we deliver INSET or workshops we always use Garr Reynold’s ideas and his theory behind a successful presentation. Please visit Reynolds website to find out more.

Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley

Tom Kelley, CEO at the innovation and design firm IDEO, explains how they have created a culture of innovation at the firm and how simple and effective their techniques and methods really are. Kelley introduces a series of ‘individuals’ you can play during meetings and brainstorming session to gain as much as possible from all present. Kelley also suggest many creative ways to stimulate discussion and generate innovative ideas. This book is a must for those of you who want to gain a deeper insight into the workings of a successful and innovative working environment. It is an enriching, thought-provoking and fun book to read and one which we whole-heartedly recommend to anyone seeking new ideas.

Please visit IDEO’s main website to find out more.

Alan November

Fourteen year old: “I’m working on a history paper about how the Holocaust never happened.”
Long pause. “Zack, where did you hear that the Holocaust didn’t happen?”
“The Internet. It’s on a Web page at Northwestern University.” November Learning

How often do you hear students, and teachers, mutter something like ‘find it on the net’ or ‘just do a google search’? We all face the same dilemma of how to use the World Wide Web effectively and wisely. There are good websites out there which can enrich learning, excite students and challenge them to think. What websites do teachers use that do all of this? Alan November raises many important questions about how children, and adults alike, use the internet to access information. One of the most interesting articles, Teaching Zack to Think, on the topic is still hosted on his site and available to download. Well worth a read as well. Web Literacy for Educators provides concrete examples of how to use the internet effectively, from dealing with plagiarism to searching safely. This is one of those books you need to have.

Voices of Our Time (CD collection) by Studs Terkel

When Studs Terkel passed away in October 2008 thousands mourned, yet most people around the world had never heard his name. The most interesting thing about Terkel is the way he interviewed people and, perhaps most importantly, who he interviewed. The list of celebrities who are involved in this selection is quiet staggering, however, Terkel’s ‘magic’, in my humble opinion, is when he devoted his time to ordinary individuals whose life journeys revealed a lot about life of that time. This particular selection of interviews include Aaron Copland, Oliver Sacks, Margaret Mead, Daniel Ellsberg, Maya Angelou, Pete Seeger, John Kenneth Galbraith, and dozens of others. This collection provide excerpts from 48 interviews, first broadcast on Terkel’s daily show on WFMT, which all together, provide a fascinating portrait of the last half of 20th century.

Please visit to explore this fascinating individual in more detail and discover other books and listen/watch interviews conducted by Terkel.

Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times by Studs Terkel

This books is a master piece.

In this book Studs Terkel turns to a subject more elusive than those of his earlier oral histories (, namely hope . There are many very thoughful and though-provoking interviews which keeps you from putting the book down. My favourite interviewis when he talks to Brigader General Paul Tibbets, who piloted the Enola Gay over Hiroshima in 1945, when Tibbets dismisses the possibility for peaceful resolutions to the post-September 11 conflicts. It raises many interesting questions about the nature of warfare and violence.

Chris Abani: GraceLand

Abani’s best-selling 2004 novel GraceLand is a searing and funny tale of a young Nigerian boy, an Elvis impersonator who moves through the wide, wild world of Lagos, slipping between pop and traditional cultures, art and crime. It’s a perennial book-club pick, a story that brings the postcolonial African experience to vivid life. I love Abani’s writing, it’s honest, funny and imaginative as is he. If you have a spare 17 minutes do visit and listen to Chris Abani’s talk of African stories: complex, moving, funny and conscious.