Mini Book Reviews (3)

Been a while since I’ve written some book reviews, and that’s mostly because I wasn’t reading much, outside of school-related reading, the first 5 months of the year. So, here are some quick reviews of the last two books I’ve read:

Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner

Summary: Tony offers insights into what creates top innovators, including what parents, educators, and employers can do to help form the characteristics needed to become a creative and innovative problem solver.

Thoughts: Since part of my teaching philosophy focuses on developing creative, innovative thinkers through inquiry-based methods, this book was not only right up my alley, but very inspiring! One aspect I really enjoyed was hearing from the innovators he interviewed what their parents and teachers did to inspire creativity and innovation, and there were certainly some running themes. In general the parents had similar philosophies that included lots of independent play (purposefully NOT scheduling their child’s life), letting their child to make mistakes (even big ones), and supporting their child’s interests. The educators also had lots in common: their assessments were NOT typical, and included a lot of collaboration, more “choose your own” aspects, and supporting student’s interests.

The theme of the book was “play, passion, purpose” – how the innovators of our world evolve throughout their lives (and not just from childhood to adulthood), but also through each new interest, class, or even career path. First we must have the chance to play, which turns into a passion, and then evolves into a more meaningful purpose. I love this so much, it’s engraved on the back of my new iPad!

I would definitely recommend this book to any parent, educator, or employer who wants to foster creativity and innovation in your children, students, and employees.

Rating: 4.5/5 (because it did get repetitive in some places, and i’m not sure if I could ever give a 5/5 to a non-fiction book).


Pattern Recognition by William Gibson


Summary: The synopsis on the cover  says this book is about Cayce Pollard, who had a weirdly keen marketing sense. She gets hired to investigate some kind of internet video footage, and mystery and intrigue ensues. Also, her dad was a CIA agent and went missing on 9/11.


Thoughts: This was a book club choice, and we all thought the synopsis sounding so interesting, and exciting, and very different from the other choices we’ve had. Unfortunately, I could not have been more disappointed with this book (and I wasn’t alone). The plot seemed to go nowhere, and characters or red herrings that could have connected never did. There were a few times I would thing the book was finally getting started, and then it just fell flat. The writing was boring and tediously filled with extraneous detail. I hear this is part of a series, but there’s no way I’d put in the time to see if it gets better.
Rating: 1/5 (the fact that it took me 4ish months to get through this book should tell you how bad it was).
I just started Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson, and it’s caught my attention already, so that’s a good start. It’s from the Young Adult genre, which I’m loving recently! Thanks to nicoleandmaggie for recommending it a while back!

Comments on: "Mini Book Reviews (3)" (3)

  1. Glad you like it!


  2. The Innovators book sounds interesting! What I have always struggled with, and this may be because of the nature of the schools where I worked (i.e. not very academically oriented), is finding a balance between giving my students the time that discovery learning requires to do it right vs. covering all of the material we need to get through without having to rush, especially at the end of the semester. One of my teaching goals, if I stay in teaching, is to figure out how to do that more effectively.


    • One thing I’ve learned from people who do this really well is to not get stuck on what “needs” to be taught – the curriculum is there as a guideline. The goal is to teach the overall expectations, and not focus too much on the specific expectations that are listed.


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