Books I've Read


The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams 2016
Read: 2023
Non-Fiction, Spirtuality

Wow. This is an amazing book. This is a book I will be re-reading for many, many years. The narrator of the book chronicles a series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Both of these men are regarded by their respective religions, and by most of the world, as holy men of […]

The Midnight Library

Matt Haig 2020
Read: 2023
Fiction

One of my son Dawson’s favorite topics is how many things had to go just right for him to come into existence. What if I had not moved to California from Arkansas? What if I had never moved to Southern California? While I don’t believe in the idea of multiple universes (way too complicated), and […]

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store

James McBride 2023
Read: 2023
Fiction

I found this book when I was surfing the net and looking for a new fiction book to read. I was not disappionted. James McBride writes a mystery/love story/tale of America focusing on a “Chicken Hill,” a community on the outskirts of a small Pennsylvania town. The book features disenfranchised blacks and Jewish immigrants, their […]

The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive

James A. Afremow 2013
Read: 2023
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

I bought this book after a series of disappointing times in a swim meet late in 2023. There’s no swimming advice in here. I’ll certainly continue searching for that. Nor is there a road map to better conditioning, which is all on me to get done. But what Mr. Afremow talks about is what kind […]

Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect

Will Guidara 2022
Read: 2023
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

My friend Marcia recommended this book. She is a highly successful businesswoman who has developed a successful business that thrives on making her clients feel special, connected, and karma-rich. After reading the book, I can see why she loved it. Will Guidara tells his story of how he took an excellent restaurant and turned it […]

Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity

Peter Attia 2023
Read: 2023
Non-Fiction

I’m in my sixties, and, although I’m believe that I am at peace with whatever the future brings, I want to live the longest healthy lifespan that I can. “Healthy lifespan” is a Peter Attia term. He is trying to figure out not just how we can live longer, but how we can have as […]

Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany

Bill Buford 2006
Read: 2023
Cooking, Non-Fiction

You almost don’t need to read the book after getting through the world’s longest title. I learned about Bill Buford after I wrote a post offering a list of summer reading books. Holly, a frequent contributor to comments on the blogsite, suggested both Heat and Dirt, by Bill Buford. I read Dirt first, about experiences […]

Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention and How to Think Deeply Again

Johann Hari 2022
Read: 2023
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction, Reading Now

My friend Jenn loaned me this book. That means I read it as a paperback, instead of Kindle-ing it. I read less than 10% of my books in hard copy. This was a perfect one to choose to be part of that 10%. This is a book about why we are distracted, and the forces […]

On the Road

Jack Kerouac 1955
Read: 2023
Fiction

My friend Bill recommended this book – he thought it was a perfect summer reading book. I’ve heard about it hundreds of times, but I’ve never read it. I’m glad I did, and I agree wholeheartedly, Bill – this is a great summer reading book. Jack and his growing and suspect group of friends travel […]

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Bill Bryson 2006
Read: 2023
Non-Fiction

My dad recommended this book to me – he may have even given me a copy of the book to read. It sat on my desk for a few years, but after I posted my summer reading blog post, he recommended it again. So I finally read it. Bill Bryson is author most famous for […]

Breakfast with Buddha

Roland Merullo 2008
Read: 2023
Fiction, Reading Now, Spirtuality

OK. I love this book. It’s one of the few books I’ve read where, after I finished it, I immediately began reading it a second time. I’ve written about it in two separate blog posts, and I have many friends who have read it and loved it after I suggested it to them. It’s a […]

Playing for Pizza

John Grisham 2010
Read: 2023
Fiction

I can always read a John Grisham novel. This one is not a legal thriller, though there are lawyers involved. I’m not sure JG is allowed to write a book without mentioning the word lawyer. Part of his contract of something. Anyway, it’s about a down on his luck NFL quarterback who needs a new […]

Demon Copperhead

Barbara Kingsolver 2022
Read: 2023

I was reading my news feed, and I saw an article about Barbara Kingsolver winning this year’s Pulitzer Prize for literature with her newest book, Demon Copperhead. I don’t need much of an excuse to read a Barbara Kingsolver novel. I’ve loved The Lacuna, The Poisonwood Bible, and many more. This one does not disappoint. She has a […]

Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results


Read: 2023
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

If you have ever been to the Pike Street Fish Market in Seattle, it’s a fun and joyful place. These three authors researched what makes it such a great place to work, and then they started using it as a motivational tool for individuals. This is a super quick read, and here are the four […]

The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy

Jon Gordon 2007
Read: 2022
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

This is a super fun book. Even though it was published before The Power of Positive Leadership, I read it afterwards. This is written as a fable – a tale of a bus full of positive people with positive energy and their impact on a rather negative man whose life is not going the way he […]

The Power of Positive Leadership

Jon Gordon 2017
Read: 2022
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

When I started as superintendent of the Placentia – Yorba Linda Unified School District, they had already adopted the theme of positive leadership for the year. I read Jon Gordon’s Positive Leadership as I explored the theme. Those of you who know me know that I am extremely optimistic and relentlessly positive. Unlike Candide, I do not […]

Today Matters: 12 Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success


Read: 2023
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

My friend Rick Lopez is a devout follower and fan of John Maxwell. Since Rick is probably the most organized and intentional person I’ve ever met in my life, I figured I should familiarize myself with Mr. Maxwell’s thinking. “Pulitzer prize-winning journalist William Allen White observed, ‘Multitudes of people have failed to live for today. […]

Sweet Land of Liberty: A History of American in 11 Pies

Rossi Anastopoulo
Read: 2023
Cooking, Non-Fiction

In the debate on best desserts. and in the pie vs. cake debate, pie wins for me 100% of the time. Ive had some good carrot cakes, and I’ll eat a sheet cake with a whipped cream frosting, but pie rules. So when I saw that this book was written, I had to read it.  […]

Miseducated: A Memoir

Brandon Fleming and Cornel West 2021
Read: 2023
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

I heard Brandon Fleming speak at a school board member conference this year. He was dynamic and engaging, and he told a remarkable story. I bought his book so I could know even more about his story. Fleming is an African-American who excelled in basketball in high school. In spite of virtually no support from […]

Golfing with God: A Novel of Heaven and Earth

Roland Merullo 2005
Read: 2022
Fiction, Spirtuality

I bought this book because I loved Roland Merullo’s Breakfast with Buddha, and I love golf. Not nearly as impactful as the Breakfast book, but light and enjoyable. The idea of deities caring about sports such as baseball and golf is a so far fetched in my book, but again, fun to read. My favorite line: “I should […]

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

Josh Waitzkin 2007
Read: 2022
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

This is yet another book recommended by Scott Fawcett, inventor of DECADES golf. It’s written by Josh Waitzkin who was the kid featured in In Search of Bobby Fisher movie that came out in 1993. He was a chess prodigy, and though he never conquered the world, he was among the best of the best.  […]

The Art of Scoring: The Ultimate On-Course Guide to Short Game Strategy and Technique

Stan Utley 2009
Read: 2022
Non-Fiction

I think the way that I learned about this book was through a golf learning program called Decades Golf, taught by Scott Fawcett. I believe he said this book was one of his go to’s. Like Fawcett, he believes that if average golfers kept their swing the same and made no other improvements, walking around […]

Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World

John O'Dohohue 2015
Read: 2022
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

My friend Tom recommended this book to me this year. Tom is a fellow superintendent who plans to retire at the end of 2022. He is a talented leader, a musician, and on top of that, a very reflective person. He found this book meaningful to him as he was embarking upon his new journey […]

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being

Martin Seligman 2011
Read: 2022
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

Martin Seligman is on a mission to change the very nature of psychology. While he looks at drugs and Freudian psychology as techniques that can at least mask and perhaps address the problem, he sees positive psychology as a way for everyone to grow. He does not want to treat PTSD, instead he wants to […]