The School Administrator, the professional journal for school superintendents, often features a bio on a superintendent who has achieved some notoriety. One part of the bio I always note is what they call “Books at the Bedside.” I guess the idea is that knowing what these great leaders are reading in bed might give us some insight into their character.
I decided to take a picture of the books beside my bed and concluded that my character is old, dusty, scattered, varied and mostly unfinished. I’m not sure what these books say about me, but I’m going to give you the big picture. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
On the top of the pile is an easy read by Barry Schwartz called Why We Work. It’s a good analysis of the research behind why we do what we do. What motivates us in our work? What do employees really want from employers? Interesting, but no big revelations for the school business.
Beneath that I found You Are Not Special by David McCullough, Jr. A 30 year teacher and father of 4, the author has great advice for today’s teens. This was a best seller based upon the author’s commencement address and other clever musings.
Then there are a couple of books that are there for those nights when you toss and turn and can’t sleep. Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates is a collection of quotes, many yoga related, by the author and others about how to live a meaningful life such as: “You may not be what you think you are, but what you think, you are. Jim Clark”
And there’s The Complete Book of M*A*S*H. Lots of trivia on the TV show. Yes, I was a huge MASH fan.
There’s How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. Great book based upon recent research into how children learn and succeed from challenging environments that can help us recognize how to especially help teach children of poverty.
There’s the book of West Virginia Curiosities, a Christmas gift from Jacque, about roadside oddities from my home state. Yes, I’ve seen most of them.
There’s a magazine and there’s a cookbook. We have lots of cookbooks. And there’s an iPad.
Finally, there is this treasure - my father’s primer The Child’s World. I found it in a box of stuff my mother gave to me when she was moving to a senior community. In pencil, on the inside is the date 1-5-34. He would have been 5 and ½. There’s also his name written in cursive which I doubt he wrote and some child art that I like to think is from his hand. Dad never went to college, but he made sure his three kids did. Thanks dad.
So, that’s it. You can draw your own conclusion. I’ve decided it’s time to clean off the nightstand. Six-months from now I’m sure there will be a new stack.
What books are at your bedside?