Monday, March 23, 2009
posted by Q6 at 5:47 AM
So I posted a rant not long ago about using business books and manuals in education, and my frustration that (a) they don't really cross over, and (b) education isn't important enough to have it's own section of the bookstore. That rant is partly motivated by a general sense of urgency in my profession, but it also affects me personally.

My boss--the principal of my school--LOVES these books. He can't get enough of them. He reads two or three a week. He copies chapters out of them and hands them out at meetings. He's always talking about them (and he's the kind of guy who never remembers if he's told you something or not, so I get repeats). And his new favorite book is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

I read Gladwell's Blink, and I thought it was insightful. I didn't think it was written for specific audiences (like business or education), but that didn't stop people from trying to apply the concepts to everything they did. I [am almost sure that I] skipped The Tipping Point, for no other reason than people told me it was too similar to Blink. My boss now goes on and on about Outliers--and fine, I'll read the damn book. What worries me is that according to him, it's about what the traits that make people successful; and to listen to his examples, 90% of these traits are beyond the control of the individual (like what month of the year you were born). I don't want to read 300 pages of "Here's what makes successful people tick, but there's nothing you can do about it" or "These are the things you didn't do for your kid and now he's irrevocably screwed up."

I'll read the book, but I have to finish the one I'm on now (The Power of Less by Leo Babauta) and read the next one in line (Fool by Christopher Moore). Then I'll read it, boss.
 



3 Comments:


At 8:42 PM, Blogger Jude

One of the premises of Outliers is that practice is important. Environment is important also, but mostly in terms of how much practice and/or support it gives you. I find it applicable to education because I believe that given enough coaching and practice, almost anyone can learn almost anything. That isn't, of course, always possible in public schools where we have to just keep moving people along. It's such a quick read (filled with pages of diagrams of birth order on sports teams, for example) that it doesn't take long to read. I purchased three copies and gave two to people in my school who I thought would read them and find them useful, but of course, school's in session, so with luck they'll get to them next summer. I lent my copy to a music teacher who also hasn't read it. Darned old school. It gets in the way of life (and reading).

 

At 10:18 PM, Blogger Maestro

Could be worse.... could be "Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun." I'm convinced that one is in my principal's library somewhere.

 

At 8:16 PM, Blogger "Dr" Psych

Funny that I just bought Outliers; being that I read Blink and found that it applies to humans in general, I am interested to see what Outliers has in store for me. Not sure when I will get to it but it will be summer reading, for sure. I'd love to know what you think about it. Being the "psych" fanatic I am, I am sure I will find it applies to human interactions, decisions and psychology, like Blink did.