Headmaster Kidd’s Summer Reading List 2022

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book on a hot summer day.

Is there anything more gratifying than relaxing in the shade or sprawling out on the beach with a crisp paperback in hand? Or an eReader, if that’s your thing? Or even an audiobook?  

No matter what the medium, storytelling is a fundamental part of our humanity—it is what connects us to other people and the world.

Stories can transform how we see the world, and the world itself, while also conveying the culture, history and values that unite us. By appealing to our emotions, stories help us to build empathy and gain a deeper understanding of other people’s experiences, as well as our own. Studies show that listening to stories read aloud during childhood plays a significant role in memory construction and can even trigger positive emotions later in life.

And with more than 1.6 million books published globally in 2019 alone, there is certainly no deficit of quality reading material to consume!

But with so many new books in the marketplace, how do you know what to read? We can help with that!

Each summer, as part of Ridley’s ongoing commitment to flourishing and personal growth, our stalwart leader, Headmaster Kidd, curates his aptly titled Headmaster’s Reading List—a short programme of transformative texts that captivate and inspire while also supporting our flourishing and wellbeing initiatives.

This year, Headmaster Kidd solicited suggestions from members across the Ridley community and narrowed the list down to these five electrifying titles:

Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain

In her latest masterpiece, Susan Cain, author of the bestselling phenomenon, Quiet, reveals the power of a bittersweet, melancholic outlook on life, and why our culture has been so blind to its value. Here, Cain employs her signature mix of research, storytelling, and memoir to explore why we experience sorrow and longing, and the surprising lessons these states of mind teach us about creativity, compassion, leadership, spirituality, mortality, and love.

As an accompaniment, Cain has also included a special Book Club Kit, which includes a letter from the author, discussion questions, writing prompts, a list of takeaways, and a Bittersweet playlist!

Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion by Dr. Wendy Suzuki

Hundreds of millions of people suffer from everyday, low-level, non-clinical anxiety. Popular science suggests that this persistent anxiety is detrimental to our health, performance, and wellbeing. But what if our preoccupation with avoiding anxiety is costing us something? What if we could learn how to harness the brain activation underlying our anxiety and make it work for us, turning it into superpowers?

In Good Anxiety, Dr. Wendy Suzuki unpacks the cutting-edge science that will help readers channel their anxiety for positive outcomes—accelerating focus and productivity, boosting performance, creating compassion, and fostering creativity—transforming our understanding and experience of everyday anxiety forever in the process.

How People Matter: Why It Affects Health, Happiness, Love, Work, and Society by Isaac Prilleltensky and Ora Prilleltensky

Mattering, which is about feeling valued and adding value, is essential for health, happiness, love, work, and social well-being. We all need to feel valued by, and add value to, ourselves, others, co-workers, and community members.

How People Matter shows not only the signs, significance, and sources of mattering, but also presents the strategies to achieve mattering in our personal and professional lives. Using research-based methods of change to help people achieve a higher sense of purpose and a deeper sense of meaning, this book equips therapists, managers, teachers, parents, and healthcare professionals with the tools needed to optimize personal and collective well-being and productivity and explains how promoting mattering within communities fosters wellness and fairness in equal measure.

Rest, Refocus, Recharge: A Guide for Optimizing Your Life by Greg Wells, PhD

In a 24/7 world, it can be a real challenge to get proper rest and give your mind and body the opportunity to fully recharge.

In this new book, Dr. Greg Wells outlines how small changes in the way you rest, refocus and recharge can help you improve your mental health, prevent illness and deliver optimal results, offering simple and practical techniques that you can easily incorporate into your existing routine.

Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn by Barbara Oakley, PhD, Beth Rogowsky, EdD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD

Neuroscientists have made enormous strides in understanding the brain and how we learn, but little of that insight has filtered down to the way teachers teach. Uncommon Sense Teaching applies this research to the classroom for teachers, parents, and anyone interested in improving education. Topics include:

  • Strategies for keeping students motivated and engaged, especially with online learning
  • Helping students remember information long-term, so it isn’t immediately forgotten after a test
  • How to teach inclusively in a diverse classroom where students have a wide range of abilities

Drawing on research findings as well as the authors’ combined decades of experience in the classroom, Uncommon Sense Teaching equips readers with the tools to enhance their teaching, whether they’re seasoned professionals or parents trying to offer extra support for their children’s education.

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Great teachers see themselves as great learners—and they see learning through the eyes of their students. That’s why our dedicated faculty and staff are thrilled to dive into this list, so we can model curiosity, intellectual humility, and a zest for lifelong learning for our students. But also, because reading is great fun!

We encourage all in our community to read along with us, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on these fascinating titles!

Until then—happy reading and happy summer!