Dr. Karen A. Stout Shares 2015 Summer Reading List

Achieving the Dream President & CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout has had a great summer of reading.  For the past 15 years, Dr. Stout has shared her summer reading list with colleagues and students at Montgomery County Community College. Now she is delighted to share her 2015 summer reading list with the Achieving the Dream community.  Please enjoy. 

Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown---This is a beautifully written story of the journey of University of Washington crew team to the 1936 Olympic gold medal that emphasizes the importance of “swing” to winning.  I wonder what a community college in “swing” looks like.

OPEN: How we will work, live and learn in the future by David Price---Price, a futurist, challenges us with a provocative look at how going "open" has transformed the way we live.  He goes deep with descriptions of the implications on schools, colleges and teaching and learning.  He speaks about this concept of “tramping” where we work on a number of projects at once, rotating in what works and rotating out what does not work, and building our organizations to create the right “growing” conditions.  This reminds me of the ATD work we do on our campuses. He makes a case that schools are cultures of containment rather than collaboration and that this must change.

The Wright Brothers by David McCollough---He does it again with this behind the scenes story of invention, and the grit and perseverance involved when one commits to and then sticks to a dream.

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam—A must read for all of us in education, Putman speaks to the alarming opportunity gap that has emerged between kids from “have” and “have not” backgrounds.  He makes a case that the American Dream for many is no longer self-evident.  He mentions community colleges prominently in his chapter on “what is to be done”.

The Road to Character by David Brooks---Brooks talks about eulogy versus resume values through storytelling around the lives of several people.  He speaks about something called the “agency” moment when one begins the process to stop being blown away by voids and begins to live based on inner criteria.  I wonder, exactly, what an agency moment looks like for some of our students?  I think this is when our students begin to succeed.

Finding the Space to Lead by Janice Marturano---This book speaks to the need for leaders to create space, or breathing room, necessary to be clear and focused and to listen deeply to ourselves and others. Organizations also need to create this space.  I think this is what ATD has done for many of the colleges in our network. ATD has created space to fail, to take risks and has developed a network of inquiry for faculty that is growing and unique. 


I also read a few fiction selections.  The Children’s Act by Ian McEwan;  All the Light We Can Not See by Anthony Doerr; and Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar.


To print a copy of this summer reading list, please click here.

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