Since 2016 we’ve coached and developed the leadership capacity of 100+ administrators on every continent (except Antarctica of course!). 

Part of our program includes reading a diverse range of leadership books from outside of education. We do this on purpose for two reasons: 1) leaders in the mastermind are learners, so they are reading enough books focused on education and 2) if we are going to change and innovate in education, Let’s read from the best of industries outside of education.

This post is massively popular and shares 22 of the best books for principals. I also wrote an updated post that categorizes some great books for school leaders from what makes it to my “hall of fame” to books about asking better questions and coaching.

The other day I finished the mastermind’s “reading plan” so here are the books on the schedule for 2021.

Best Books for Principals in 2021

Thinking in bets. We are kicking off 2021 about making better decisions. Annie Duke is a former World Series of Poker Champion and in Thinking in bets she teaches decision making. This book teaches school leaders how to  make the best decision possible when our emotions are high and when we don’t have all the facts

Thanks for the feedback. Because of the evaluative nature of the job, principals spend quite a bit of time offering feedback to others. But a great way to provide better feedback is to level-up how we ask, receive, and respond to feedback ourselves.

Caste. After the murder of George Floyd, we made a shift to include books that help us explore and discuss race in the context of school. This book builds upon that value of discussing race and will be a deep dive into the invisible caste system that exists in America (and its schools). 

The person you mean to be. Adam Grant had this to say about The person you mean to be, “Finally: an engaging, evidence-based book about how to battle biases, champion diversity and inclusion, and advocate for those who lack power and privilege. Dolly Chugh makes a convincing case that being an ally isn’t about being a good person—it’s about constantly striving to be a better person.”  I think that description clearly illustrates why we are reading this in 2021.

If you are excited by the idea of school leaders reading Caste and The person you mean to be, then you are probably an anti-racist educator who would love this podcast playlist.

Stillness is the key. Classroom educators are the most caring people I know, a trait shared among many principals as well. But you can’t pour from an empty cup. The author, Ryan Holiday, organizes this book into how we can focus on ourselves in terms of body, spirit, and mind. My goal is to end 2021 by focusing and exploring the unique self-care needs of school leaders.

Read these books with other Ruckus Makers in education and accelerate your leadership development. Apply to the mastermind below.

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