David and Goliath is exactly what you would expect from Malcolm Gladwell. It’s full of fascinating real-life stories that illustrate his points beautifully. And his points, as always, will turn your thinking upside down and backwards. He has a way of looking at life and seeing the exact opposite of what everyone else sees. If you liked Blink, Outliers, The Tipping Point, and What the Dog Saw, this one will not disappoint. And if you haven’t read any of his other books……then you need to!!
This book tells the true story of two girls growing up under that tutelage of Mr. K. He is a Ukranian immigrant who teaches music to children in New Jersey. Being his student is a little bit like being in boot camp. He screams, he yells, he calls students “idyots.” He expects more from his students……always. He gives almost no praise and criticizes constantly. They find themselves working and practicing for hours and hours everyday trying to become as great as Mr. K seems to think they can become. If they manage to somehow meet his lofty expectations they may get a slight nod and a “not bad.” If they don’t meet his expectations, they get “AGAIN!” But a funny thing happens to his students…….they excel beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Not just in playing the violin, but in life. Why? Could it be that his tough as nails approach and his high expectations taught his students valuable life lessons? Lessons like, “happiness is achieved by working hard” and “DISCIPLINE YOURSELF!” The lessons of this book go against everything that society stands for today, but I think we (educators, parents, coaches, etc….) can learn a lot from Mr. K.
This Christmas classic is a wonderful book to read during the holidays. It tells the story of Scrooge, a stingy, grouchy old man who hates pretty much everything and everyone. But he especially hates Christmas. He is miserable because he has traded friendship and family for a life of making a profit. When he is visited by three ghosts one Christmas Eve, however, everything changes! A beautiful tale of redemption.
This is the newest offering from Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner. It’s written very differently than most books, as it tells all the stories of about 10 different characters, but all from the first person, so it’s a little confusing. Once you get the characters straight though, it’s very intriguing, especially when they all come together at the end. This is sort of a heartbreaking, sad book, but also a very beautiful account of human suffering in all walks of life.