Book Review – Results Now by Mike Schmoker

Author Mike Schmoker followed up his two other “Results” books with the best and most motivating yet.

This book pleads with educators and administrators to assist in the immediate transformation of American schools. He describes in detail the “buffers” that American schools have created which have led to the illusion that a high percentage of American schools are actually effective (which he points out in detail, actually are not). This “buffer” that Schmoker describes has led to teacher isolation, lack of quality instruction, and to the reality that administrators are virtually devoid of influence when trying to effect the quality of instruction. This is a sample of some of the startling statistics Schmoker presents, (page 18):

o “Classrooms in which there was evidence of a clear learning objective: 4 percent”

o “Classrooms in which there was evidence of higher-order thinking: 3 percent”

o “Classrooms in which non-instructional activities were occurring” 35 percent”

(Note: to get specifics on this research-based study, visit his book)

One of the most motivating features of this book is that the author reminds educators of how much they already know about effective teaching practices, especially as a collaborative group. Often educators are fixated on new programs, more materials, more workshops and the need for more money. This quote is an example of this idea, “We have relied far too much, with miserable results, on a failed model for improving instructional practice: training, in the form of workshops or staff development.”

Chapter 8 of this book entitled, “Professional Learning Communities” is a pro-active approach to reforming schools and demonstrates Schmoker’s true value of educators.

As for administrators, don’t feel left out because Schmoker is fully aware of your limitations, boundaries and lack of support. Again keeping pro-activity in mind, Schmoker suggests several solutions which will change educational leadership and its effect on instructional quality.

This is one of the very few books that doesn’t try to state the issues with a politically correct point of view. His writing style is blunt yet lacks negativity. In fact, this book has the effect of challenging educators to make some simple and high effective changes TOMORROW, that can produce immediate results.

This ending quote from Results Now demonstrates why I give this book 5 stars (on a 5 point scale) for educators and educational leaders and as guessed, is suggested as a MUST READ.

(From Page163’s CONCLUSION, “WHY NOT US WHY NOT NOW”): “With so much at stake, is there any decent reason to postpone what could be education’s greatest moment?”

Note from me : This book is startling when you first read it mainly because of the statistics he shares and what was found inside our American classrooms, but these startling revelations are what truly should provoke all educators, leaders, and parents too, to make serious changes in the American school system.

Review on Five Minds for the Future

In this book, Howard Gardner stresses on five minds that is fundamental for survival in the present digital era and century. As we live in a digital technological world and era, inculcating and cultivating the habits of using these minds are mandatory. The five minds in brief are:

  1. Disciplined Mind: For each one of us to successful in life, we need to focus on one or two disciplines to succeed. Or else we need to compromise doing menial tasks and to master discipline in one subject takes about 10 years. To develop this disciplined mind, one must consistently work on for long enough until he attains mastery in the discipline. In future, Gardner stresses that for each productive and successful individual, he must focus on one or two disciplines proficiently to thrive in the coming generation.
  2. Synthesizing Mind: is basically integrating one or more disciplines to take effective decisions and actions so as to succeed. Most leaders and presidents have to use this mind most of the time in their career.
  3. Creative Mind: involves thinking creatively and outside the box. This result in creative breakthrough, inventions, innovations etc. The author stresses that having creative mind alone helps you reach nowhere unless and until it is backed up by disciplined mind and synthesized mind. Or else creative mind is a total failure. Whatever one does creatively need to be practiced and mastered regularly and built into a skill in that particular discipline.
  4. Respectful Mind: is another word for tolerant mind. Cultivating respectful minds helps to celebrate the difference across opinions, view, judgments, religious views, castes, races etc. Here one needs to be respectful of each other across nations, groups and community
  5. Ethical Mind: is building of ethics, principles and moral values. Here religious values play a great role. Gardner also considers digital way of communicating especially the chat as unethical and stresses here one must be as ethical as possible with support of respectful mind.

This book is a book I would recommend to read not only for the educators but also for the people in all professions including management and leadership. The language is very easy to follow and Gardener had been very down to earth in putting his ideas across. This book is one of the best book I have ever read because I think most of us lack the five minds and we need to be sure to have these 5 minds as a means to live and thrive in the coming decades. I would personally give 5 stars to this book.

Textbook Book Review – An Introduction to Business

Are you considering a career in business? Perhaps now is the time to get yourself ready, as the economy starts to recover and jobs start to come back to America. Are you considering getting an MBA, or a degree in business? Do you see yourself in the future as being a business manager of a business unit, or retail store? If so, perhaps you should learn more about how businesses operate, make their money, and manage their employees.

Of course it’s not all that simple, s there is a lot more to it than that. Nevertheless, it makes sense to get an early start, and perhaps consider some business courses as well. If you don’t have time to go to school right now there’s a very good book that I would like to recommend to you. It is a textbook, and it is available online. It is a book that I do own in my personal library for reference, even though I am a retired franchisor, and perhaps I could’ve written the book myself.

The reason I keep this book is because I believe it’s interesting to get the academic perspective on the topic, and to learn what our business schools, and community colleges are teaching future students who will attain business degrees, and then move into the workforce. The name of the book is;

“Intro to Business” Fourth Edition) by Steven A. Eggland, Les R. Dlabay, James L. Burrow, Robert A. Ristau, South Western Educational Textbook Publishers, Cincinnati, OH, (2000), 677 pages, ISBN: 0538-69146-8.

This book is broken into chapters or sections, which are referred to as units. Each unit and subsequent chapters goes into a different aspect of business, things that you need to know. For instance unit one talks about the economic environment, which is extremely important right now, as we exit the downturn in the business cycle to an inflationary period. Learn about business cycles, creating statistical modeling, and making proper economic decisions. Then there is a section or unit on business operations, and one on business and government regulations.

There are also units on international business, as well as small business management. Also you can learn about business credit and financing, as well as strategic investment strategies and risk management and return on investment. This is a very well-rounded book, easy-to-read, nicely formatted, and pre-highlighted to make your learning much easier. If you are looking for a starter book on the introduction to business – this is definitely a book that I would like to recommend to you, and like I said you can find it online.