Mike Matthews

My thoughts after 61 years on this planet on family, public education, cooking, and life.

Books Library

10% Happier

Dan Harris 2014
Read: 2014

My father recommended this book to me. I try to always follow his recommendations. He is still a voracious reader, while continuing to practice law. He is keenly interested in   […]   View Post →

100 Recipes: The Absolute Best Ways To Make The True Essentials

America's Test Kitchen 2015
Read: 2017
Cooking, Non-Fiction

This is a great cookbook from my favorite cooking magazine people – Cooks Illustrated. They always explain the science behind why a recipe works and show what they tried and   […]   View Post →

A Leader’s Legacy

James Kouzes 2007
Read: 2014
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

This book focuses on the personal legacies of our leadership. How does our relationship with those we lead help them to grow? “The most significant contributions leaders make are not   […]   View Post →

Adventures of Huckleberry Huck Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Roughing It

Mark Twain 1884, 1876, 1872
Read: 2012

My dad has always loved Mark Twain, so I reread or read for the first time – Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Roughing It were all wonderful. I laughed out loud on several of   […]   View Post →

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr 2014
Read: 2019

Here is my second Pulitzer Prize book to read this year. This one is so much more approachable for me, because it is a book of great literature disguised as   […]   View Post →

Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival

Peter Stark 2014
Read: 2019

My brother Bill from Oregon recommended this book. It’s a great companion to Undaunted Courage which is one of my favorite books of all time. Though not as compelling or   […]   View Post →

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Neil de Grasse Tyson 2017
Read: 2018

solid read.   by  (2017) I’ll give you two quotes from the book. One from the intro: “If you’re too busy to absorb the cosmos via classes, textbooks, or documentaries,   […]   View Post →

Being Mortal

Dr. Atul Gawande 2014
Read: 2015

I am 55 years old now and I feel very fortunate that both of my parents are still alive and very much a part of my life. But I am   […]   View Post →

Better Learning Through Structured Teaching

Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey 2013
Read: 2015

This came to my attention from a USC doctoral student. It is a fantastic book that brings together many of the best ideas and research in teaching. Mike Schmoker’s ideas   […]   View Post →

Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates 2015
Read: 2018

Manhattan Beach has spent a lot of time over the last 18 months talking about the importance of inclusion. We have seen events in our community and in our schools   […]   View Post →

Big Green Egg Cookbook

Sara Levy 2009
Read: 2012

When I’m not being a school administrator, I love to cook. I cook all kinds of things, but what I really love to do is to grill and smoke foods.   […]   View Post →

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Trevor Noah 2019
Read: 2022

What a life. Those of you who watch the Daily Show (Jon Steward/Steven Colbert/Trevor Noah) know what intelligence, empathy, humor, and wit and takes to lead that effort. Trevor Noah   […]   View Post →

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   […]   View Post →

Building a Better Teacher

Elizabeth Green 2014
Read: 2015

This book, by a journalist and not an educator, hits the nail on the head when the author states that our educational research in the US is fantastic, and the   […]   View Post →

Building The World’s Greatest High School

Richard Parkhouse 2013
Read: 2014

I love this book. I love it so much and it has truly inspired me. I met with a group of leaders to share my enthusiasm for it, and I   […]   View Post →

Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story

Chris Nashawaty 2018
Read: 2021

Chris Nashawaty’s book details the making of Caddyshack, and even more than you might figure it was, it was a total sh**show. It’s a miracle a film was ever made. You marvel and cringe your way through it, and you feel for all of the comic geniuses who could not hang on to their own lives.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Isabel Wilkerson 2020
Read: 2021

This was a majorly eye-opening book. To me, the key to the whole book is Wilkerson’s assertion that there have been three caste societies in our last 2,000 years. One   […]   View Post →

Coaching Conversations: Transforming Your School One Conversation at a Time

Linda M. Gross Cheliotes and Marceta A. Reill 2010
Read: 2014

This book was recommended to me by Dr. Brett Geithman, MBUSD’s Executive Director of Educational Services. Brett is one of the finest instructional leaders I know. I first saw him   […]   View Post →

Cool: How the Brain’s Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World

Drs. Steven Quartz and Annette Asp 2015
Read: 2015

Steven Quartz is a very good friend of mine, and my wife and I were excited to be able to read this book before its publication. This is a big   […]   View Post →

Creative Schools

Ken Robinson 2015
Read: 2016

Like most educators, I am a huge fan of Ken Robinson. His famous TED Talk has inspired so many of us in education. At the core of it is his   […]   View Post →

Daditude: The Joys and Absurdities of Modern Fatherhood

Chris Erskine 2018
Read: 2019

My favorite columnist in the world is Chris Erskine. He was a twice-a-week columnist in the LA Times for years. He wrote about being a dad, being a friend, being   […]   View Post →


Daniel Suarez 2014
Read: 2014

This is another recommendation from my father. I call these types of books pure fun that can be read on a weekend or on a night when you don’t need   […]   View Post →

Death by Meeting

Patrick Lencioni 20014
Read: 2012

, by  (2004) I’ve always thought of myself is an excellent meeting manager. In fact, I’ve often joked that my ideal job would be a professional meeting runner. I believe   […]   View Post →

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   […]   View Post →