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A Dose of Motivation & Inspiration in the New Year: Top Reads and Podcasts of 2017

By: Kristin Dages

We love lists. Here are two to grow the brain and get you going in 2018.

List #1: Powerful Professional Reads

If you’re looking for a read on growth mindset, leadership, or motivation, here are my top five professional reads from 2017.

The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros

Not all change and new directions are innovative. This book gives great perspective on what’s truly innovative in education and how to build that mindset and culture within a school. Couros walks us through the steps to starting with the mindset, rolling it out with staff or students and then how to build, reflect on and sustain that culture of innovation.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

A powerful lesson and self-reflection in leadership, this book is on my annual reading list. If you haven’t listened to or read anything by Simon Sinek, this is a must! Also, take a look at his video on Millenials here.

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

I’ve bought more copies of this book for gifts than any other book. It’s a phenomenal read in growth mindset and perseverance that transfers to any job or career. Think about how you react when met with an obstacle. Are you paralyzed or do you thrive? Holiday shows us how embracing certain principles will get us to the latter. Although we don’t control what happens to us, we can control how we react, leading us to see opportunity.

The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Sometimes it’s hard to push ourselves. People pay thousands of dollars for trainers, nutrition specialists, and life coaches each year to take them to the next level physically and mentally. What if we could do that on our own with a simple rule? Whenever you’re feeling unmotivated or need to rework some habits, open this read or listen to the audiobook read by Mel Robbins, and she’ll light a fire under you to 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Act. Her story of challenges and the use of this rule to tackle pretty much anything is a nice tool to have at the ready.  

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Passion and persistence, not talent, get you to your goals. This read speaks to why it’s so important to build grit within our students and ourselves. Her accessible and intriguing read made me reflect on where I am on the grit scale and how we can get students to show more of it. Afterall, grit correlates with achievement, so it’s worth a gander.  

List #2: The Incredible World of Podcasts

An amazing form of storytelling and way to make your drive, workout, cooking or any other solo activity even more productive, podcasts have taken the digital world by storm offering an amazing array of content in all genres. I’m hooked and here are some that got me there!
  1. How I Built This with Guy Raz – Link
  2. LeVar Burton Reads – Link
  3. NPR’s Up First – Link
  4. Serial – Link
  5. S-Town – Link
  6. Crimetown – Link
  7. Freakonomics Radio – Link
Over winter break, I was able to catch up with some old friends, and as we got into a discussion on podcasts, one of them bashfully spoke up and asked, “How would one actually play a podcast?” Such a valid question if you’re just discovering this world of digital content, so I’ll end with the go-to apps for easy listening from your phone. Just download the app and do a search for one of the above programs.

iOS Recommended App:

Overcast – Free and Premium Option

The Verge Review

Android Recommended Apps:

Pocket Casts – $4

Podcast Addict – Free

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading and send me some suggestions of professional reads or podcasts that you’ve enjoyed as well for my 2018 list @KristinDages! Happy listening and happy new year!