Growing up, I rarely bought albums from individual artists. Why buy albums from Shaggy, Seal and Weezer when I could get one album with “Boombastic”, “Kiss from a Rose” and “Buddy Holly” along with 14 other great hits in one collection? I loved that some musical experts would take the best hits from a number of artists and package them together. Before we had iTunes we had compilation albums.
I was talking with a colleague about George Couros’ new book The Innovator’s Mindset and she said, “He doesn’t really say anything new, he just pulls together what everyone is saying.” YES. Exactly. And that is why I like it so much. I could find much of what is in Couros’ book the on web – embedded in websites and blogs across the internet. But he did the hard work for me and pulled together a collection of some of the very best thinking across the continent and clarifies for those of us who think we are already doing the next thing, that there are many others on related journeys.
The book serves as reassurance and also a pep talk for those of us on the innovation journey. Above all, the book models the power of network. While we can get hung up in the tools – be it Facebook, Twitter, blogs – there is no doubt this book and this narrative don’t happen without Couros’ ability to build and sustain a powerful learning network. I read and interacted with this book differently than any other paper book I have owned. I followed the conversation on Twitter, saw the reaction on Facebook and clicked to learn more on Couros’ blog about the key themes of the book.
The book that was the model of networking gave me new people to follow in my network. It was a networked book about networking in education (knowing George a little I am sure he would appreciate that it was like a coffee table book about coffee tables). The questions at the end of each chapter like “How might you create an environment that fosters risk-taking?” are great discussion starters.
So like my Now! cassette tape (which I still have), Couros has done a great job of pulling together thinking from very different contexts into a common narrative and forcefully making the case that we need to continue to challenge the status quo – and know as we are doing it there are many others doing the same.
Couros’ book is a great summer read and also would be a solid choice for a school book club. Two other books I have just ordered for summer reading based on recommendations from colleagues are The Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, and The Silo Effect by Gillian Tett. I think it is always good to read both inside and outside of education. Curious to know what are on others summer reading lists.