Book Look

What is ‘Book Look’?  See here for the background to this page.

The Trusted Executive by John Blakey

Book Look by Cordelia Myers (January 2021)

It was my good fortune to come across this book accidentally. It was on my son-in-law’s reading list and he mistakenly sent it to our address. A huge gain for me.

It’s about ethical leadership. Its big idea is that authoritarian leadership is outdated. The internet, and particularly social media, means that we are all exposed to scrutiny and if your words don’t match your actions it will soon become public.

Blakey believes leadership built on trust is much more effective. He describes trust as having nine facets under three headings: ability, benevolence and integrity. He explores these in depth and has many helpful illustrations. This is best book on leadership I have read for a long time. It’s not school based but is easily applicable to all teachers (leaders of classes), school leaders and those leading professional development for teachers.

x + y: A mathematician’s manifesto on rethinking gender by Eugenia Cheng

Book Look by Cordelia Myers (December 2020)

This book has thrown me sideways. It has shown me

  1. How frequently I stereotype
  2. How unhelpful – or worse – stereotyping can be
  3. How thinking in terms of “types” affects my practice in the classroom.

In conjunction, it has also challenged my thinking about competition and its consequences. Mathematicians are often highly competitive, but they don’t need to be as Cheng illustrates. In fact, in today’s world where people work much more than ever in teams, it may be unhelpful.

I haven’t yet finished the book but my head is buzzing with the quantity of challenging material. I don’t agree with everything Cheng proposes but she has certainly made me think in a constructive way. I highly recommend it to teachers of maths or science.