Friday, May 11, 2018


When I first wrote "Is Good Best?" for Independent School magazine in the fall of 2003, I was intrigued with success. I still am fascinated with it, especially as it applies to leadership.

"Success" is one of the best TED Radio Hour podcast episodes featuring Tony Robbins, Angela Duckworth, Ron Gutman, Mike Rowe, and Alain de Botton. Click on the podcast link to listen to their voices on success.

In a nutshell . . .
  • Robins equates success to your drive; 
  • Duckworth sees success in life as resilience (grit); 
  • Gutman talks about the smile as a success indicator; 
  • Rowe says success is about dirty jobs; 
  • Botton sees success as creating a lot of anxiety. 
You can also listen to each of their TED Talks for yourself to get a better, deeper picture of success. Go to TED Talks to hear each of their talks.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Force for Good

In my quest to find out more about emotional intelligence, I discovered emotional quotient expert, Daniel Goleman's book A Force For Good: The Dalai Lama's Vision for Our World. Goleman brings out the Dalai Lama's determination to raise the care of humanity and having a purpose in life of reaching out and helping others.

Here are two quotes that reflect a snapshot of the book's connection to emotional intelligence:

“Compassion reduces our fear, boosts our confidence, and opens us to inner strengths,” the Dalai Lama adds. “By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection with them and a sense of purpose and meaning in life.” [pages 55-56]

“And when high- and low-ranking people in the same organization interact, the person of higher status not only shows less attention as indicated by gazing less at the other person but also interrupts more and monopolizes the conversation.” [p. 93]

Thursday, April 5, 2018


“The surprising thing Google learned about its employees — and what it means for today’s students,” by Valerie Strauss reporter for The Washington Post (December 20, 2017) is and excellent article that talks about what Google learned about emotional intelligence (EI).

“In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998. Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM [Science Technology Engineering Math] expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.”

The article goes on to say . . .

“Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety.”

“STEM skills are vital to the world we live in today, but technology alone, as Steve Jobs famously insisted, is not enough. We desperately need the expertise of those who are educated to the human, cultural, and social as well as the computational.”

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ah! Where Are We Going With Mobile Phones?

From NYTimes Sunday Review, March 4, 2018, pg. 7

"Media habits are shifting fast: The amount of time children 8 years old and younger spend on phones or tablets has increased tenfold in just five years, according to a 2017 study by Common Sense. The organization also found that 42 percent of children under 8 already have their own mobile device. That number was less than 1 percent in 2011."

Quote from "Your Kid's Phone Is Not Like a Cigarette," by Anya Kamenetz in last Sunday's NYTimes

* * * * *

For you and your kids, here is an excellent YouTube on how to manage your phone as opposed to it managing you.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Leadership Through Coaching

From TED:

“How do we improve in the face of complexity? Atul Gawande has studied this question with a surgeon's precision. He shares what he's found to be the key: having a good coach to provide a more accurate picture of our reality, to instill positive habits of thinking, and to break our actions down and then help us build them back up again. 'It's not how good you are now; it's how good you're going to be that really matters,' Gawande says.”

Friday, February 9, 2018

Listening to the Symphony 😀

I happen to love listening to classical music. So, while I was listening to the radio recently, I heard
"Thoughts While Attending the First Symphony in the Series My Wife Wanted to Buy," a 5-minute piece published by the New Yorker Radio Hour. See what you think.

Friday, January 26, 2018


Looking for perfect timing? Daniel Pink's newest book When will give you some great, research-based information. One of my favorite—of many—parts of the book is when he talks about the advantage of taking breaks in the workplace. Like his books A Whole New MindDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and To Sell is Human, When is an easy-to-read and convincing book. Go to his website to learn more.

If you have six minutes, check out this Face the Nation interview with Pink about When.

Back in 2010, I had the pleasure of interviewing the author myself. Here is a link to the Montessori Life article "Drive to Montessori: An Interview With Daniel Pink."

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A School's Way To Fight Phones In Class

From NPR website
Listen to this excellent NPR story, “A School's Way To Fight Phones In Class: Lock 'Em Up' ” by Tovia Smith. (January 11, 2018)

Here is how the story begins . . .

“Any teacher will tell you, class has never been the same since kids started coming to school with cellphones. Ancient Roman history will pretty much never win the day when competing with Snapchat and Instagram.

And sneaky as kids think they are, teachers know exactly what's going on when students look up with those zombie stares and constantly ask: 'Can you say that again?'

‘You can see that they're not listening to you,’ says history teacher Tony Patelis, at Newton North High School in Massachusetts. ‘They're looking down, and they tell me they're checking the time, even though the clock is on the wall.’ ”

Friday, December 29, 2017

Motivated Kids v. Kids With High IQ

On the QUARTZ website, the article “Highly motivated kids have a greater advantage in life than kids with a high IQ” by Rebecca Haggerty (Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism) posted December 19 is a must-read piece.

Here are a three callout quotes:

"If there’s a secret sauce to winning at life, the motivational kids seemed to have found it."

"Giftedness can come in many forms. Why are we hung up on IQ tests?"

"What message are we giving kids? You don’t have to suffer through your job to get to the weekend. You can enjoy what you do in life."

You won't be surprised to see the names Dweck and Duckworth when you read.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Power of Telling Stories

"It is important to take the time to tell stories in our classes. It is even more important to provide an environment for our students to have the opportunity to tell their stories in class. Telling their stories helps students build and understand their own identities." 

This quote is from "Stories: Listening, Telling, Teaching, and Learning," an article I recently wrote for NAIS's Independent Teacher. Within the article, you will also find some links to on-stage story telling from True Tales Live, a Moth-like venue in Portmouth, NH.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Wonder of Wonder

Having read the book Wonder by R. J. Palacio when it first arrived in book stores in 2012, I am not surprised that it remains number one on the NYTimes middle reader bestseller list. When I saw the newly released movie this past week, it was equally gripping. Watch the movie trailer below to get a glimpse of the power of the story.

I also recommend the follow-up book Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by the same author.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Winnie, A. A. Milne, and son Christopher Robin

Winnie The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker is an excellent book for children and adults.

Remember "Return to Pooh Corner" by Kenny Loggins?

And now the movie . . .

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Leadership: About Being a Boss

Photo Illustration by the NYTimes
The NYTimes October 27, 2017 article "How to Be a C.E.O., From a Decade’s Worth of Them" by Adam Bryant talks about his years writing the Corner Office column. Here’s a sample of what Bryant's excellent article has to offer about leadership.

Leadership, Part I - Leaders, for example, need humility to know what they don’t know, but have the confidence to make a decision amid the ambiguity. A bit of chaos can help foster creativity and innovation, but too much can feel like anarchy. You need to be empathetic and care about people, but also be willing to let them go if they’re dragging down the team.”

 “Leadership, Part II - . . . if you were to force me to rank the most important qualities of effective leadership, I would put trustworthiness at the top. A close cousin of trustworthiness is how much you respect the people who work for you.”

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Top Books To Read

I stumbled upon this fascinating article "Top Experts Always Recommend These 4 Books." Author Eric Barker's Time magazine article is excellent. Even though it was written in June of 2015, I think you will appreciate what the author has presented, and I am sure you will compare what he has listed with what you have read and which books sit on your bookshelf.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Disruptive Leadership

Listening to a TED Radio Hour podcast, "Disruptive Leadership," I was enthralled with the speakers—Sheryl Sandberg, General Stanley McChrystal, educator Bunker Roy, entrepreneur and writer Seth Godin, and leadership advocate Drew Dudley—who presented segments from their on-stage TED Talks.

While the whole podcast is a worthwhile 53-minute listen with tons of sage advice, I thought you might like to view Drew Dudley's 6-minute Talk since it is so powerful and uplifting, especially when he talks about "lollipop moments."

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Aesop's Fables

Aesop's Fables are fascinating stories for children of all ages . . . and adults, too. To get a hold of a book of Aesop's Fables, you can download a copy free from iBooks or Google Play or you can just go to this Library of Congress website.

Recently, I read to preschool children, Jerry Pinkney's The Lion & the Mouse. This beautifully illustrated book has no words, so you can "tell" the story in your own words. Children loved it.

From amazon

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Our Responsibility as Teachers

"Commentary: As school year begins, a message to teachers" by head of school Susan Kambrich is a must-read piece from the Times Union paper in Albany, NY.

From the article:
"It is easy to react emotionally and often angrily when confronted with conflict, racism, and bullying. Instead of reacting, let's work together this year to respond to hate by arming our children with ways to be empathetic and curious about others and the world, and giving them the ability to think critically about injustice."