Blog

Learning missions, reflections on learning design, tango ideas, book recommendations

The Ohlone Way by Malcolm Margolin

This quasi-historical, quasi-fanciful little book paints vivid pictures of the lives and culture of peaceful, dreaming, dancing, indigenous people who lived attuned with nature in California for thousands of years. Spending time in the Bay Area recently and chatting with Loren reminded me of how joyful it was to read this book years ago. I believe that as we re-imagine our institutions and communities it's powerful to reconnect with inspiring elements of ancient societies.

The Social Profit Handbook: The Essential Guide to Setting Goals, Assessing Outcomes, and Achieving Success for Mission-Driven Organizations by David Grant

How do you know if you're successful in achieving your mission - especially if your mission is, say, a little idealistic and fuzzy? There are lots of metrics to consider looking at...This is an inspiring little book by David Grant on designing qualitative assessment systems - rubrics - for mission-driven organizations to measure success. Quick read, lots of concrete examples, stories from the field. Grateful for Shorey Myers' recommendation to check it out.

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

A sweet little book that reminded me of the power of process over perfection. Austin Kleon shows how that sharing works-in-progress (and thinking-in-progress) even while still messy and unripened can be valuable and inspiring and catalyze all kinds of great results. For some reason this makes me think of fractals.

Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff

This epic book by George Lakoff, who I consider one of the most brilliant and subtle thinkers of our time, and Mark Johnson, crisply explains how metaphors structure all our thinking - and how completely they can constrain or free us. It showed me things "which i cannot touch because they are too near" to quote e.e. cummings - it helped me discover new ways of thinking about love, war, and my own mind. Please read carefully this powerful book and you just may find it applicable in every corner of your life like I did.

Educating for Eco-Justice and Community by C. Bowers

In this book, Chet Bowers shows why EVEN progressive theories of education unwittingly reinforce belief systems that are hostile to environmental care and community health. I believe this is extremely important for all of us, especially those who care about education, to understand. This is a super dense book, definitely NOT an easy read, and, to be completely honest to you, I was really only able to process the intro. I hope that someone out there finds it valuable and worth diving deeper into, and is able to bring this important thinking into your work.

A Course In Miracles

Good morning! Today I want to share a book that helped me start to sense who I could be if I let go of fear. A Course In Miracles is an extraordinary gift - a sane and vigorous text, a mind-opening 365-day workbook. I believe it is a good time to find freedom from fear and reconnect to the deep love and connectedness that is our true nature. 

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams

I keep learning and relearning the value of becoming willing to fail, and thus to widen and widen my world. With gratitude to all those who give me space to practice, try, experiment, and keep learning, and discover ways to serve and create that are increasingly in tune with my authentic self. This is a great book with lots of wisdom, a fast read that's very funny and silly too!

A Woman's Journey to God by Joan Borysenko

Remembering how much I learned from this beautiful book by Joan Borysenko offering a feminine take on spirituality. She contrasts how many women enjoy exploring connection with the divine, with other narratives that to me now feel much less relevant. Although I still feel a bit tentative in sharing spiritual resources here, the value they have brought me motivates me to go ahead in case others find them helpful and connecting.

Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals by Steven M. Wise

Caring, sentient beings like elephants, dolphins and chimpanzees have a right to bodily integrity and freedom from incarceration. A more sure path for them to have that right is legal reclassification to "non-human persons." Steven Wise has dedicated his career to this work that moves us closer to a more just, gentle, and peaceful society. A hundred years from now let our generation be remembered as the one that ended the enslavement of these intelligent friends.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk

Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all surrounded by people who have survived traumas. This incredible book, the fruit of decades of difficult research, helped me learn so much about how to I can better understand this disturbingly common experience and be more helpful. Bessel van der Kolk is a pioneer and beacon of sanity in a confused world, and his work highlights gentle new paradigms for healing.

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg

This book completely changed the way I work with emotions because it provided an extremely clear way of distinguishing between emotions and judgments/narratives. There are transcripts of actual examples which provide new ways of thinking about how conversations could unfold. The rich language related to real needs and feelings is so helpful for navigating interpersonal worlds. Please read this book by Marshall Rosenberg