We asked our blog authors to tell us what books they’re reading in the new year, along with a short description of why they selected them. In the spirit of encouraging us as Christian educators to be lifelong learners, we share their 12 picks below (unedited and in no specific order):
Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler, Jossey-Bass, 2015
“As Christian educators, we believe each child was created with God-given gifts and that God has great plans for them. This book really challenges our fixed mindsets as educators that perhaps only some students are good at math, and it gives us an imagination for the fact that perhaps all students can learn complex math if you use the best strategies as teachers.”
Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem, Zondervan, 2010.
“Grudem’s work on politics is a sweeping, comprehensive treatment of many contemporary issues that we need to understand from a biblical perspective. It is equipping me to speak more intelligently into the lives of our students and parents, as they look to me as a leader for direction on how to think.”
The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders: Unlocking Your Leadership Potential by N. Karl Haden and Rob Jenkins, Deeds Publishing, 2016.
“I am reading this because I am increasingly interested in finding ways to lead personally and professionally.”
Rewiring Education: How Technology Can Unlock Every Student’s Potential by John Couch, BenBella Books, 2018.
“I continue to be interested in creating a learning environment that will meet students’ needs today and in the future.”
An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, Harvard Business Review Press, 2016.
“Focuses on the development of employees through a corporate culture of development and on seeing individuals as unique and valuable team members who are more than just fulfilling a business function.”
The Making of a Leader (2nd Edition): Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development by J. Robert Clinton, NavPress, 2012.
“Schools, churches, and society seem to have a gap in quality leaders and how they develop. Dr. Clinton’s theories offer some scaffolding that may help the reader see the progression of leader development. Leadership doesn’t just happen, nor are leaders born ready to lead.”
Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALS Lead and Win, by Jocko Willing and Leif Babin, St. Martins Press, 2015.
“No one operates in a more chaotic setting than do the members of the Special Forces. Yet their ability to function effectively as a team is unparalleled. This book provides insight into the mindset and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult combat missions and shows how to apply those principles to any team or organization. Fascinating read with tons of practical application for anyone in leadership.”
Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas, Viking Press, 2017.
“As he did with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas provides us with a vivid portrayal of one of the important individuals in the history of the Church. His account provides crucial historical background as well as a realistic, very human picture of the man who challenged the monolithic power of the Roman Catholic church and opened the door to the Protestant Reformation.”
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K.A. Smith, Brazos Press, 2016.
“A very insightful look into the liturgies and practices that we choose to follow, and how these liturgies impact us as Christians as well as our ability to disciple others. This book will challenge how you view the inputs (aware and unaware) into our lives and will renew your commitment to Christ-centered liturgies of practice that impact your ability to shape the culture around you.”
The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation by Rod Dreher, Sentinel, 2017.
“A strategy for Christians in a post-Christian nation to build enduring Christian communities based on principles of order, hospitality, stability, and prayer. It speaks to the value and importance of Christian education given the current state of our country and world. Written from a Catholic perspective.”
Move Your Bus by Ron Clark, Touchstone, 2015.
“Breaks down employees into four categories (runners, joggers, walkers, riders) and discusses how each contributes to the speed of the bus. Advocates for getting all your people to become runners or joggers or usher them off the bus. This is probably something that many of our school struggle with. It’s a compact book at 150 pages.”
Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination by John Corvino, Ryan, Anderson, and Sherif Girgis, Oxford University Press, 2017.
“Provides a point-counterpoint format written by two young social conservatives and a longtime LGBT-rights activist, and looks at hard questions regarding the legal intersections of religious liberty and same-sex marriage and other contemporary movements. The book is thoughtful and engaging and models civil discourse around important issues that impact people of faith and religious institutions.”
Happy New Year and—should any of these spark an interest for you—happy reading!
About the Author
Dr. Lynn E. Swaner is the director of Thought Leadership and Higher Education Initiatives at ACSI. Prior to ACSI, she served as a Christian school administrator and a graduate professor of education. A published scholar, her focus is on engaged pedagogy and creating cultures that foster student learning. She received her Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York City.