Looking for a good book to dive into for the summer? The Broad Center staff has a few recommendations we’ve enjoyed in our team’s book club.
Whether you’re seeking readings to hone your professional skills or ones to spur meaningful conversations, we’ve got a book for you!
Our readings focus on professional development, education, diversity and other related issues — giving us a chance to broaden our knowledge to do our best work.
Below are a few of our team’s favorite book club reads.
Originals by Adam Grant
“I liked Originals not only because it was clever, quirky and evidence-driven but because I felt it immediately applied to my work. Grant argues that originality is not always a norm-shattering idea but often a cross-citational process of building upon existing ideas. This resonated with the way I approach my work by incorporating new features and ideas into existing structures.”
Hillbilly Elegy: A memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
“J.D. Vance does a great job presenting a different lens through which to view economic disparity in America today. “Poverty as a family tradition” is all too common in our country today, and it is important to see how this can transcend race and political identity.”
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
“The Other Wes Moore is a jarring reminder of how the cycle of poverty positions so many for failure before they even have a fair shot — and how challenging and nearly impossible it is to escape the perils of these societal inequities. It also illuminates the possibilities. With the support from the right people who are willing to take a chance and open the door to a new reality, someone like Wes Moore, despite his upbringing and circumstances, had the chance to break the cycle. The book is a reminder that we all have the potential to go down the wrong path and also have the same potential to go down the right path — we just need more people who believe and invest in our potential. ‘The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine, the tragedy is that my story could have been his.’”
An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Matthew Miller, Andy Fleming and Deborah Helsing
“In An Everyone Culture, I loved reading about deliberately developmental organizations. The tougher — and also more exciting — part was thinking about which elements could be introduced to the culture where I work.”
Speaking of Fourth Grade: What Listening to Kids Tells Us About School in America by India Schaenen
I really enjoyed hearing the students’ responses to the questions posed by India Schaenen in this book. It was a great reminder of how refreshingly candid children are and how incredibly smart and aware they are. Irrespective of the type of school attended — private, religious, public, etc. — they intuitively knew what characteristics make for great and poor instruction and classroom experience. Their stories also reinforced how much environment plays a part in a child’s educational experience. When asked why they attend school, some spoke about having to go to school because that was what you do when your parents go to work while other students linked education to having careers, retirement, a family and social responsibility. In the appendix, Schaenen includes the questions she asked students which gave us an opportunity to select a few questions to answer during our book club conversation — rewinding to imagine how our fourth-grade selves would have answered. It was amazing to hear how we each thought we would respond back then and how those perspectives may or may not hold true for us today as leaders in K-12 education.
– Rasheeda A. Washington