The Greater Journey: American in Paris by Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough--- An enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.
McCullough wrote substantively in this book about Emma Hart Willard, whom he called a “champion of higher education for American women.”
Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson—The authors provide a compelling and intentionally provocative summary of how education might be transformed by the opportunities provided by technology to deliver individualized education versus the current “factory-like” structure of our school system. They propose an intriguing vision of student-centric learning, which, they claim, could be on line as soon as 2014—the year of Emma Willard’s bicentennial. Interesting to contemplate, intellectually stimulating to imagine.
The Art of Possibility, Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander—A read that will change the way you imagine your life. The authors urge you to examine the lens through which you view your experiences. The added treat is that they urge you to do so with creativity, humor and memorable stories that ensure the lessons of the book are well-learned and easily remembered.
A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink—Pink postulates that globalization, material abundance, and technological advancements are driving us beyond the Information Age into what he terms “the Conceptual Age.” His theory is that the Conceptual Age will require workers with different skill sets: workers who are creative thinkers, who understand design concepts, who are big-picture thinkers, who are empathic listeners, who have emotional intelligence, and who intentionally pursue the meaning of life. Mind you, he is not suggesting that analytical skills, which our culture currently prizes, will not also be honored. Instead he is suggesting that successful individuals must be able to synthesize both their analytical and their conceptual skill sets to new ends.
Binge: What Your College Student Won’t Tell You, Barrett Seaman—A former journalist, Seaman researched 13 college campuses, intent on providing an insider’s look at life outside the classroom, and reports a number of disconnects in the social culture of our nation’s finest colleges and universities. Among them: disturbing trends in drug and alcohol use, and sexual behaviors and excesses; unexamined insensitivity around issues of diversity; a growing aloofness from professors who feel the tension between research and teaching; and, of course, the impact of the new economics of athletic programs. It strikes me—and reports from college students I know tell me this is accurate—that it is vital for teenagers to own the necessary social survival skills to get through the college experience so they can thrive as intellectual innovators. This engaging revelation about the current social scene on college campuses should be a clarion call for action on the part of parents and educators alike to provide those skills to our college-bound students.
College Unranked, Lloyd Thacker—A former college counselor and founder of The Education Conservancy, Lloyd Thacker has gathered the voices of admissions deans, college presidents, and college counselors into a must-have collection that every parent and high school junior should peruse. In sum, these wise minds remind us that the search for the right college always has been and always should be about getting an education—despite what the marketers want you to believe.
How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation, Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey—An easily accessible book that opens up new ways of thinking about language, whether in conversations with others or with yourself. The authors ask you to dive in, directly involving yourself in thought-provoking exercises, as you come to understand how the way in which you use language could become the most powerful tool in your communications arsenal.
Why Gender Matters, Leonard Sax—Research continues to affirm that there are indeed gender differences. Dr. Sax attempts to lead parents and educators through the maze of the latest research findings to gain a better understanding of how the awareness of gender difference can inform learning, discipline, risk taking behavior and a host of other developmental issues.
The Primal Teen: What the New Discoveries About the Teenage Brain Tell Us About Our Kids, Barbara Strauch—An interesting mix of scientific language and straight talk that will help parents understand just how teenagers tick. It is useful to know just what causes mood swings and risk taking behaviors we have come to associate with adolescence.