I am often asked to recommend books that focus on particular themes or concepts I use in the classes I teach. I also get asked what I've read that I found significant, exceptional, or just plain interesting to me. With this in mind, I am listing several books that I consider worth reading in terms of what I value intellectually. Beware that there are many books I value tremendously that are not listed here. The books identified below are listed for some particular reason relating to specific classes I teach or to inquiries students have made. There is a brief comment for each explaining a bit about the book and how it connects to my work. Each book is directly linked to Amazon.com, the premier cyberspace bookstore. I have ordered from them and found the prices and service to be excellent.
- The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America's Public Schools (David C. Berliner & Bruce J. Biddle)Perhaps the best book yet exposing the values motivating school reform and pseudo-accountability. This book must be read by anyone wanting to grasp the issues and ideology behind NCLB and the various school reform models of the states. I highly recommend this book.
- Lies My Teacher Told Me (James W. Loewen)This book is a must for all educators who hold empowerment as their vision. Though I dislike the title in that it implies that the teacher is deliberately lying to the student, this is not what the book is about. Rather it is an expose of how social studies education has failed to be truthful by using and teaching from textbooks that totally fictionalize history. While the book is tremendously valuable in this regard, its power is in providing the reader with an opportunity to see concretely how hegemony plays out in classrooms through subeject matter studies. For those who need evidence of the fictions of schooling and the power of ideology, this is the source. I emphatically recommend this book for teachers of all subject areas as a foundation for understanding the need to abandon traditional practices in favor of empowering ones.
- How We Think (John Dewey)One of Dewey's best, How We Think is a complete discussion of reflective thinking and its role in education. How We Think is a simplified version paralleling Logic: The Theory of Inquiry which is Dewey's advanced treatise on reflective thinking. Both texts are foundational to understanding the contemporary notion of critical reflectivity.
- Slaughter House Five (Kurt Vonnegut)Arguably Vonnegut's best novel, the themes reflect important issues of ethics and morality from the personal level to the societal and governmental levels. I very often find myself thinking back on this novel in giving consideration to the role of schooling in shaping human development and moral judgment.
- Internet for Educators (Randall Ryder & Tom Hughes)By far the most readable and understandable book on learning the ins and outs of the internet that I have seen. It is extremely well organized and thorough without any reliance whatsoever on compubabble. This is an excellent guide for teachers and the perfect text for teacher educators teaching the Internet.
- Experience and Education, School and Society, and The Child and the Curriculum (John Dewey)Grouped together, these three works by Dewey stand as the cornerstone for understanding how people learn such that they are able use knowledge. Further, the texts illuminate how schooling needs to be configured to make it meaningful and educative for the student. Many of you know my phrase, "To be schooled is one thing, to be educated quite another." These works of Dewey provide the framework for understanding how we can unite schooling and education within the context of our democratic society.
- Power and Criticism: Poststructural Analysis. (Cleo Cherryholmes)This book is the source of many of my thoughts and ideas on structuralism and the marginalization of teachers. It also presents notions on deconstruction as poststructural analysis that are extremely powerful. Although the book is somewhat difficult to read, the principles and discussions presented by Cherryholmes are extremely powerful in helping us understand schooling and other institutions.
- Educating for Intelligent Belief or Unbelief (Nel Noddings) I recommend this book both for what is said and how it is said. What Nodings brings to us deals with the deepest realities of personal belief in terms of the relations between faith and applied intelligence as teenagers raise questions about the nature and meaning of life, death, religion, church, god and morality. How she does this facilitates the readers intelligent confrontation with the same issues. Noding's book is a very powerful intellectual experience and, I believe, a must for any of you who seek to move to the next level intellectually.
- Poetics of Postmodernism (Linda Hutcheon)Hutcheon presents what I consider to be the best understandings of what distinguishes the postmodern from the modern. The book is very readable and provides both powerful examples and explanations of how postmodernism plays out across our ideological perspective. I consider it foundational to understanding how postmodern conditions shape the youth of our classrooms. This literary work is the perfect companion to the Cherryholmes text noted above.
- The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence
(Carl Sagan)As with all of Sagan's work, Dragons of Eden is extremely readable in its presentation of how human intelligence might have evolved. Taken with the view of how experience shapes our sense of knowing, Sagan address how the collective experiences of the species may have shaped modern human understanding and behavior.
- Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Millennium (Carl Sagan)The last book by Carl Sagan, finished by his wife, is remarkable in its scope. Essentially a collection of wonderful essays, Sagan ventures into the realm of ethics in one section and presents a comparison of implicit ethical positions that affords a very powerful stimulus for thinking about principled behavior. His ability to meld science and human reflection makes this last work a renaissance of reading.
- The Tacit Dimension (Michael Polanyi)This is the primary source from which I have taken my concept of the repertoire of latent knowledge. Polanyi's idea of the "the repertoire of tacit knowledge" is defined and explained in this text. I consider one of the most valuable books I have read because Polanyi addresses the nature of knowledge as it is held, understood, and used by the individual, a topic rarely considered in education classes. This book is done very thoughtfully.
- Democratic Discipline: Foundation and Practice (Randy Hoover & Richard Kindsvatter)Yes, of course I recommend it. . . all kidding and minuscule royalties aside, Dick and I put together a book to fill a gap in the literature. Part of what we did to fill the gap was to present an overview of ideology and hegemony as they play out across student and teacher behaviors. I also recommend our work for its presentation of Pratte's (1988) idea of the "civic imperative" and how we can educate for citizenship and ethical behavior.
- The Civic Imperative: Examining the Need for Civic Education (Richard Pratte)Pratte's work is one of the most compelling projects on the value and need for a civic ethic ever written. Indeed, I drew a many ideas for my sections on ethics and citizenship in Democratic Discipline from Pratte's treatise. The book is a concise argument for civic education that bolsters and animates our idea of democracy. This is must reading for teacher educators and anyone concerned with understanding the nature of citizenship in a democratic society.
- Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (Noam Chomsky)A brilliant portrayal of how ideology is used to manipulate citizens, workers, and groups into serving the goals of the ruling class while believing (incorrectly) that these goals are in their own best interests.
- American Scholar (Ralph Waldo Emerson)Found in most collections of Emerson's work and in many high school literature books, this essay is in my judgment the best advice that can ever be given to a student. It is radical and projects ideas that were well ahead of the time in which they were written. The essay contains the very essence of what it means to be critical in the context of being schooled.
- Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)Discover the satire of American character that is the context around the moral growth and path to consciousness of Huckleberry. An adult book for sure, an adolescent book for sure, the heart of what educators must understand is the heart of this book.
- Brain Droppings (George Carlin)George Carlin is one of my heroes. . . his wit and wisdom not only entertain, but give us a contemporary social and political criticism that forces intelligent reflection as he strips away the veneers of pretentiousness, vanity, ideology, and stupidity that protect the powerful.
- The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6: Psychological Types (Carl G. Jung)
(6951 Reading Option)The definitive treatise on cognitive styles, this volume presents all of Jung's essays on the topic of psychological types. This book is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the concepts undergirding the notion of psychological types. Close reading shows clearly how and why the claims and understandings of psychological types such as perpetuated by Meyers-Briggs and Kiersey are dangerously off-base. I consider this work by Jung to be indispensable to our understanding of the contemporary myths of learning styles, aptitude, and critical thinking. This volume contains the initial 1913 essay that offended Freud to the degree that he broke off his relationship with student Jung.
- Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of Self (Carl Jung)
(6951 Reading Option)Aion contains some of the most powerful constructs ever developed by Jung. Ideas and usable constructs that can facilitate our understanding of education as self-development and the rise to consciousness. The volume contains sections on ego, self, anima/animus, shadow, and other aspects of the psychic totality. It is one of the most powerful set of writings in the Jung collection.
- Care of the Soul (Thomas Moore)
(6951 Reading Option)This is a very readable presentation of Moore's notion of soul that is based in the work of Jung and Hillman. A good introduction to a fascinating thesis about soul that is well worth considering. It is one of my favorites.
- The Gnostic Gospels (Elaine Pagels)
(6951 Reading Option)The Gnostic Gospels are ancient biblical texts that indicate a very different view of Christianity and Christ. Pagels is a biblical scholar who presents explanations of these rarely known writings. The term "Gnostic" comes from the early Greek word "gnosis" from which the word "know" is derived. Gnostics stressed self knowledge over externally imposed teachings and dogma, a position that brought them into conflict with the first organized Christian church. The material presented is collateral to much of the work of Carl Jung and is also an important connection to our understanding of what it means to know and to be educated. This book is a must for anyone interested in the subject of Gnostic Christianity. This Pagels book along with Stephan Hoeller's magnificant book, Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing, is indespensible to this subject. These two books are natural companions.
- Soul Mates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship (Thomas Moore)
(6951 Reading Option)A very readable book on a very important topic. Remarkable in his insights, Moore examines relationships framed within his notion of soul. This book is also based in the work of Hillman and Jung. I feel this is an outstanding book.
- The Soul of Sex : Cultivating Life As an Act of Love (Thomas Moore)
(6951 Reading Option)Don't get too excited. . . this is a very reflective treatment of the topic that is very thoughtful and powerful. It deals with many aspects of morality, love, sex, and soul as they relate to spirituality and society. Very well done and very readable, I highly recommend this book. It is an outstanding complement to Soul Mates, mentioned above.
- Education and the Soul : Toward a Spiritual Curriculum (Thomas Moore)
(6951 Reading Option)A very interesting book that is similar to one I am working on now. I will add more here when I have finished reading this one.
- The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling (James Hillman)
(6951 Reading Option)I find this to be excellent reading for all educators. It deals with Hillman's "Acorn Thesis" which examines the ideas of the soul and our vocational calling as something we are born with. As with all of Hillman's work, it is unique and very thought provoking. I highly recommend it.
- A Blue Fire: Selected Writings (James Hillman)
(6951 Reading Option)Scholarly, but not academic, this book is for those who wish to dive into Hillman's thoughts an views on everything from psycholanalysis to love. The common theme is Hillman's notion of soul. This is one of the best books I have ever read on the topic of soul and its survival in postmodern life. I highly recommend it .
- Anima: The Anatomy of a Personfied Notion (James Hillman)
(6951 Reading Option)This is the best presentations on soul that I have ever read including Jung's work. Those who know me, know that I value Hillman's work very much. Of his works, I perhaps value this one the most. I consider it brilliant in its description and explanation of the nature of soul as Hillman conceives it. This book has been instrumental in my own formulations about the education of the soul. Indeed, it is central to my own thinking as well as central to my own, personal understanding of life.
- The Psychology of C.G. Jung (Jolande Jacobi)
(6951 Reading Option)A great guide to some of Jungs key princples. Somewhat oversimplified, it is a very good introduction to further reading of Jung's own work. (Used in 951: Interpersonal Communications for Educators.)
- The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life (Thomas Moore)
(6951 Reading Option)This book is the closest thing to a how-to book that I will ever recommend to anyone. . . I really despise personal how-to books. However, in this work Moore gives a wonderful array of real-world examples of living soulfully. He hits upon some of the things I experience as enchanting in my own life and in doing so validates much of what I value and feel intuitively. This book is really exceptionally good reading especially in its juxtaposition of soul to the realities of our postmodern world.
- The Stirring of Soul in the Workplace (Alan Briskin)
(6951 Reading Option)A very unique book regarding soul in the souless evironment of the workplace. I highly recommend this for those in educational administration. It also may serve to empower teachers and other educators who are frustrated with cold, sterile work environments and superiors who treat them like numbers.
- Emotional Intelligence (Daniel P. Goleman)
(6951 Reading Option)A best seller about human emotions and how they play out across different aspects of life. Not too deep, but fun to read and somewhat thought provoking. It is very readable.
- To Know As We Are Known : Education As a Spiritual Journey (Parker J Palmer)
(6951 Reading Option)This is very close to a book that I would consider writing. Though Palmer takes an overtly Christian stance to the issues of education of the soul in schools, he does so with a light touch that is more connected to Gnostic philosophy than to pushing any particular Christian religous view. His work is consistent with valuing the importance of self knowledge as critical to the role of empowering teaching. It is very clearly written and very thought provoking.
- Feeling and Form (Susanne Langer)
(6951 Reading Option)This is a truly fascinating exploration into art, creativity, philosophy, and meaning. The power of the book, is in its construction of an intellectual framework for making connections among philosophical studies, human feeling, and intellectual growth. The role of aesthetics as elemental in the educative process is presented .
- Jung and the Lost Gospels : Insights into the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library (Stephan A. Hoeller)
(6951 Reading Option)This is one of the best books on the meaning of Gnostic philosophy that I've ever read. It presents a scholarly, yet clear picture of the most basic differences between Romanized Christianity and the Gnostic Christianity of Christ using Jung's work to compare and contrast both.
- The Soul's Religion: Cultivating a Profoundly Spiritual Way of Life. (Thomas Moore)
(6951 Reading Option)This is the best Moore yet because he deals explicitly with spirituality and is very specific. I find this book to be deep but readable, comprehensive, but focused. I highly recommend this book as a primary source for delving into the heart of the matter of spiritual living. The book is very much influenced by Hillman's work and would be a very good start for those who want to eventually get into Hillman's more scholarly, but readable works. I may even consider using this as a required text for Seduc 6951 when it comes out in paper back form.
- Freeing the Soul from Fear. (Robert Sardello)
(6951 Reading Option)This is an outstanding book that is not at all rooted in pop psychology or new age mysticism. Sardello draws sound ideas from favorites of mine such as Jung, Moore, and Hillman. He writes in an extremely readable style and presents a wonderful synthesis of the alchemy of transformation. He takes one of my favorite central ideas of Jung that fear, not hate, is the opposite of love and writes about how fear is a normal part of truly living. He puts the realization of fear and insecurity into a perspective that allows us to deal with their concomitant issues as part of the process of life. The book is implicitly a window on the fragmented and alienating world we live in today. I highly recommend this book.
- Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Stephan A. Hoeller)
(6951 Reading Option)This is a new book on gnosis and Gnosticism by Hoeller. It is by far the best and most readable text on the subject that I have read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in this fascinating area of spirituality. It is of tremendous value for either the novice or the well-read in the area of Gnostic Christianity. This book along with Elaine Pagel's The Gnostic Gospels are indespensible to understanding the power and history of the Gnostics. The book is simply outstanding in all ways.
- Meeting the Madwoman: An Inner Challenge for Feminine Spirit (Linda Schierse Leonard)
(6951 Reading Option)This is a book by an extremely bright and readable author. She writes about the liberation of the woman's psyche from the examination of archetypes and dreams. Her examples and characterizations are outstanding. I am extremely impressed by this book and must also say that it has great value for men in what she writes both in terms of understanding women and men themselves.
- The Wounded Woman (Linda Schierse Leonard)
(6951 Reading Option)Another outstanding book by Linda Schierse Leonard, this one is equally valuable for males and females alike. Using a typology and great examples, the book goes into the sources of problems related to the feminine psyche in today’s postmodern world. It is very readable and extremely insightful. She also uses dream examples to underscore her insights. I highly recommend this book.
- Witness to the Fire: Creativity and the Veil of Addiction(Linda Schierse Leonard)
(6951ReadingOption)Another outstanding book by Leonard. Itís more than just about addiction by a long shot.
- A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do (Thomas Moore)
(6951 Reading Option)
- The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins)
(6951 Reading Option)Dawkins is a very well-known author and very controversial as you might know. But, this text brings great food for thought and is extremely well written.
- Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism (Kurt Rudolph)
(6951 Reading Option)An academic overview of just what the title suggests.
- Nautre Walking (Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry David Thoreau)
(6951 Reading Option)Two of the best essays ever written by two of my most favorite authors. Their thoughts and reflections will feed your soul and your destiny. (Well, Henry is my 5th cousin, afterall.)
- The Education of the Heart: Readings and Sources for Care of the Soul, Soul Mates, and The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life (Thomas Moore)
(6951 Reading Option)Another readable and inspiring book by Moore.
- Projections: Our World of Imaginary Relationships (James Halpern and Ilsa Halpern)
(6951 Reading Option)This is a book that deserves a great deal more credit than it got. It goes to the heart of relationships in a way that is extremely readable and interesting.
- On the Way to the Wedding: Transforming the Love Relationship (Linda Schierse Leomard)
(6951 Reading Option)A totally fascinating and well-thought out book.
- The Invisible Partners: How the Male and Female in Each of Us Affects Our Relationships (John A, Sanford)
(6951 Reading Option)This is a good book for dealing with the anima-animus issues.
- Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) (Bart D. Ehrman)
(6951 Reading Option)Worth looking at closely.
- Artificial Happiness: The Dark Side of the New Happy Class (Ronald W. Dworkin)
(6951 Reading Option)One of several books on the role of legal drugs being pushed by the pharmaceutical companies. To even begin to understand our culture as it exists today, this book is elemental.
- Hmmm.... I'm thinking......and, still reading.