Mike Matthews

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

Books Library

Salt: A World History

Matt Kurlansky 2003
Read: 2020
Cooking, Non-Fiction

I saw this book in the airport bookstore, and bought it for my Kindle. I love reading on my Kindle, as I can always go back to the book, I   […]   View Post →

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Yuval Noah Harari 2015
Read: 2015

My dad recommended this one to me. I don’t think I liked it as much as he did. Mr. Harari examines the cognitive history of humans, and basically argues that   […]   View Post →


Gregory Roberts 2003
Read: 2017

I read this book at the recommendation of some friends in the District. It’s a book of fiction about the life of an Australian refugee in India. It gives amazing   […]   View Post →


Hermann Hesse 1922
Read: 2011

From rural living to the search for Buddhist meaning in India. If you have read the Power of Now and you liked it, you may find this book meaningful as well. Even if   […]   View Post →


Kurt Vonnegut 1969
Read: 2011
Fiction, Recommended for Young Adults

Continuing my “summer of satire.” This is a book on MBUSD reading lists that I had never read, but had always meant to. It is not the most uplifting of books.   […]   View Post →

Spark Joy

Marie Kondo 2016
Read: 2018

The introduction to this book has Marie Kondo saying, “I don’t really see a need for this book. I told you everything in this first book but people keep writing   […]   View Post →

Spark. The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

John J. Ratey, MD 2008
Read: 2011
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

Exercise makes us better. Plato had it right when he wrote: “In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity.

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson 2011
Read: 2011
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

I downloaded this on the first day it was available. I said at the TEDx conference that I think Steve Jobs will go down as one of the great educational heroes   […]   View Post →

Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert Heinlein 1961
Read: 2013

My dad recommended this book to me. It’s a combination of science fiction, sixties mentality and utopian society thinking that had me going back and forth between wanting to stop reading   […]   View Post →

Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Character)

Richard P. Feynman 1997
Read: 2019

Oh, and the reason I like his views as a teacher was that he believes that textbooks bring nothing additional to the classroom, and only a great teacher bringing a subject to life matters. Word.


Chip and Dan Heath 2010
Read: 2011
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

It’s centered on the idea that humans have two sides: a rational side (the rider) that plans and knows what is best, and an emotional side (the elephant) that actually get things done.

Talking to Strangers

Malcolm Gladwell 2019
Read: 2020

In recent months, I have become a fan of podcasts. I have a long commute so I enjoy getting to listen to them on the way to or from work.   […]   View Post →

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   […]   View Post →

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein 2008

It’s a sad history told by Enzo, an amazing dog destined to be a human in his next life. Enzo, like his human companion, has a deep passion for race   […]   View Post →

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

Stan Utley 2009
Read: 2022

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   […]   View Post →

The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100

Dan Buettner 2019
Read: 2021

I learned about this book when I received my Blue Zones newsletter in my in box, and then I was so pleased to get the book as a gift from   […]   View Post →

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer

Neal Stephenson 2000
Read: 2013

My sister-in-law recommended this book to me. It’s a science fiction book about a futuristic world where computers and humans are incredibly intertwined. I did not love the book, but   […]   View Post →

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

Robert Dugoni 2018
Read: 2020

This book combines some classic underdog stories in the setting of a traditional Catholic school education. I was reminded several times of some of the stories from my own Catholic   […]   View Post →

The Flip Side: Break Free of The Behaviors that Hold You Back

Flip Flippin 2007
Read: 2014
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

I heard Flip Flippen speak at a conference. He’s an incredible force. He’s adopted children from around the world and made an incredible difference in their lives. His message is   […]   View Post →

The Hobbit

JR Tolkein 1937
Read: 2013

My 25 year old son, who just graduated from law school, was my companion as we watched all of the Lord of the Rings movies come out during his time   […]   View Post →

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins 2008, 2009, 2010
Read: 2012

I just finished reading this three part series that young adults are crazy about. I can see why. It’s a bleak vision of our nation in the future, and it   […]   View Post →

The Lacuna

Barbara Kingsolver 2009
Read: 2020

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   […]   View Post →

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   […]   View Post →

The Lincoln Lawyer

Michael Connelly 2011
Read: 2012

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   […]   View Post →