Books I've Read


The On-Time On-Target Manager

Ken Blanchard and Steve Gottry 2004
Read: 2010 or before
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

Procrastination damages everything it touches. Schools, kids, business and families. It must be admitted to and dealt with. In this fable, Bob, the always late and disorganized manager, meets with a “CEO – Chief Effectiveness Officer,” and hears about the three P’s of being an on-time, on-target manager. Prioritize. Just as an emergency room triages […]

The One Thing

Gary Keller 2012
Read: 2013
Non-Fiction

First and foremost, any book that contains a reference to any of my amazing family is a great book for me to to read. Mr. Keller praises my artist brother Pat Matthews, and his focus and ability to paint one painting each and every day. Way to go Pat!   As you can see from […]

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Michael Pollan 2007
Read: 2020
Non-Fiction

If you have looked at my book list before, you have seen a lot of books on the art of cooking and grilling and smoking. I am certainly an omnivore. My wife is a pescatarian, but the rest of the family are omnivores. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is written by a carnivore who seeks to learn […]

The Obesity Code

Jason Fung 2016
Read: 2017
Non-Fiction

I am always on a quest for better fitness. I know that if I let up, I will get big. When I was a principal, my PTA president Carolyn would see me leaving the pool in the morning and say, “Stay on it. No fat principals.” Nice. This is a book that talks about the […]

Nova Scotia

David Orkin 2009
Read: 2017
Non-Fiction

Our summer trip this year will be a bicycling trip to Nova Scotia in eastern Canada. We take big biking trips every other year with a close group of friends from our neighborhood. It’s five couples who enjoy riding around the country. We’ve ridden in Vermont, New Hampshire, the Finger Lakes of New York, the […]

The Nickel Boys

Colson Whitehead 2019
Read: 2021
Education/Leadership, Fiction

I “read” this book via an audiobook. I love audiobooks when I am traveling, but for some reason, not while commuting. I listened to this one as I drove up and back from visiting my son up in Sacramento. It’s a historical fiction book, but it is based on research and in my mind, highly […]

News of the World

Paulette Jiles 2016
Read: 2018
Fiction

This was recommended to me by my father. It is a story of a 70+-year-old cowboy and war veteran whose main occupation was going around Texas and other western states reading citizens the news that they cannot get otherwise. It was a time when literacy was very low and news publications could not be accessed […]

Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job

Yong Zhao 2015
Read: 2016
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

This is a thoughtful book about how technology should be used in education and learning. In spite of increasing amounts of money invested in technology in schools, there have not been major shifts in student achievement. This book talks about five reasons that may have happened and offers recommendations for how technology can positively impact […]

Montana, 1948

Larry Watson 1993
Read: 2011
Fiction

This is another book on the Mira Costa reading list that I had not yet read. It deals with difficult family issues, coming of age, race and rural living. I can see so many ways to use the book in the classroom, and I know it is powerful enough to spark thinking.    

Media Moms and Digital Dads

Yalda Uhls 2015
Read: 2016
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

Our Education Foundation brought in Yalda Uhls to speak to our parents about students and technology. I introduced her and to do so felt a need to read her book prior to that, again it’s a great read about parenting in this age, which is no easy thing. I love the fact that Dr. Uhls […]

Leverage Leadership

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo 2012
Read: 2015
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

This book tells the story of the power of data in transforming schools and helping all students to achieve. I am a bit ambivalent about this one. While I agree with the premise, my philosophy of learning leans toward the more holistic side. I do not relish the idea of making learning about testing. I […]

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Bryan Stevenson 2014
Read: 2021
Non-Fiction

I don’t know why I have not read this book until now. But Bryan Stevenson has been someone who’s been mentioned to me by several of my friends in the last six months, and there’s a movie coming out based on this book, so many forces conspired to have me read it. And why did […]

Make Your Bed: Little Things that Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World

Admiral William H. McRaven 2017
Read: 2021
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction, Reading Now

I’ll get to the title of the book later. This is written about the trials and travails of life. It’s about how life can kick you in the teeth, whether or not you deserve it. He writes about Naval SEAL training and the strength you need to get through that. SEAL training prepares our young […]

Kitchen Confidential

Anthony Bourdain 2000
Read: 2018
Cooking, Non-Fiction

After the untimely death of Anthony Bourdain, I began to learn a lot about this TV celebrity that so many in the world were inspired by. I have to admit that I am not a very good TV watcher. I have missed so many great series. Dr. Dale recommended that I watch West Wing and […]

The Long Walk to Freedom (The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela)

Nelson Mandela 2013
Read: 2014
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

I read this book after the great Nelson Mandela died. I’m so happy that I read it, but it took me forever. I would not call it an engaging book, but it is certainly informative. I think he is one of the great figures in modern history, and an inspiration to any who face seemingly […]

Less: A Novel

Andrew Sean Greer 2018
Read: 2019
Fiction

This is a book my wife read with her book club. It’s not my typical read. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner which means it’s pretty “literature-y” for my tastes. I know, not a very good thing to say. In spite of all that, I loved it. It’s an insightful tale of a middle-aged man in […]

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Marie Kondo 2011
Read: 2018
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction, Reading Now

I was listening to an architect who specialized in building new schools talk about what classrooms should be. One of his pet peeves was all of the nonsensical and nonpurposeful clutter that occupies many classrooms. He thought that every classroom should contain only those items which are useful for teaching and learning or inspirational for […]

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 to today’s bottom line but to the long-term development of individuals and institutions that adapt, prosper, and grow” I have had many wonderful mentors in […]

The Lincoln Lawyer

Michael Connelly 2011
Read: 2012
Fiction

I know it’s summer when I’m reading a Michael Connelly novel. It’s not great literature, but it’s always fun. This is his first legal novel. By the way – Mick Haller – our lawyer hero – is not a “Lincoln lawyer” because he works in the traditions of our 16th president. He is called that […]

Master of the Grill

America's Test Kitchen 2016
Read: 2017
Cooking, Non-Fiction

This is another book from the good people at America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated. So I do a heck of a lot of outdoor cooking. I even built a new outdoor kitchen this year which is something I’ve been wanting for a long, long time. It features my barbecue grill and my Big Green Egg smoker/grill. […]

Leading with Focus

Michael J. Schmoker 2016
Read: 2017
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

Schmoker’s original book, simply called Focus, remains one of my favorite educational books of all time. Schmoker’s point remains the same: schools need to narrow their focus on what they are trying to do. His three major pushes are for schools to have a coherent curriculum, have sound lessons, and teach literacy. In other words, […]

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want

Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy 2016
Read: 2018
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

I am a big goal-setter. I find that I am much more focused and driven when I write down my goals or when I have target events to shoot for. If I have neither, I can kind of drift. This book caught my attention because it was recommended by many and it clearly focuses on […]

The Lacuna

Barbara Kingsolver 2009
Read: 2020
Fiction

I don’t get a chance to read much non-fiction, but when I do, there’s not much better than a Barbara Kingsolver novel. My wife read this one for her book club and I jumped on it once I heard it was Barbara Kingsolver. It’s a fantastic book set in the first half of the 20th […]

Know How

Ram Charan 2007
Read: 2016
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

I actually did not find a lot of application for this book for the public education sector. If I were starting a charter school or an internet-based school, two ideas that will continue to grow and shape the education scene, then I might be more interested in examining this book more closely. But I did […]