100 books like The End of Education

By Neil Postman,

Here are 100 books that The End of Education fans have personally recommended if you like The End of Education. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The School in the Cloud: The Emerging Future of Learning

Guy Claxton Author Of What's the Point of School?: Rediscovering the Heart of Education

From my list on schools and education.

Who am I?

I’m a cognitive scientist, and I love reading, thinking, and researching about the nature of the human – and especially the young – mind, and what it is capable of. Even while I was still doing my PhD in experimental psychology at Oxford in the early 1970s, I was gripped by the new possibilities for thinking about education that were being opened up by science. In particular, the assumption of a close association between intelligence and intellect was being profoundly challenged, and I could see that there was so much more that education could be, and increasing needed to be, than filling kids’ heads with pockets of dusty knowledge and the ability to knock out small essays and routine calculations. In particular, we now know that learning itself is not a simple reflection of IQ, but is a complex craft that draws on a number of acquired habits that are capable of being systematically cultivated in school – if we have a mind to do it.

Guy's book list on schools and education

Guy Claxton Why did Guy love this book?

You may know of Sugata’s work, even if the name does not ring a bell. He is the Indian professor who decided to cement an online computer into a wall in a slum in Delhi, set up a hidden camera, and waited to see how the local children would react. This was before everyone had a laptop or a mobile phone. The kids quickly gathered round and quickly figured out how to do all kinds of interesting things, without any teaching. Indeed, he found that when teachers tried to ‘help’, the children stopped being resourceful, stopped collaborating as independent learners, and expected to be taught. The School in the Cloud documents the growth of Sugata’s work and global influence since that first experiment, and reminds us forcibly of just how much all children can learn under their own steam – if we will just get out of the way. 

By Sugata Mitra,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The School in the Cloud as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the results of Sugata Mitra's latest research around self-organized learning environments (SOLE) and building "Schools in the Cloud" all over the world.


Book cover of An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students

Guy Claxton Author Of What's the Point of School?: Rediscovering the Heart of Education

From my list on schools and education.

Who am I?

I’m a cognitive scientist, and I love reading, thinking, and researching about the nature of the human – and especially the young – mind, and what it is capable of. Even while I was still doing my PhD in experimental psychology at Oxford in the early 1970s, I was gripped by the new possibilities for thinking about education that were being opened up by science. In particular, the assumption of a close association between intelligence and intellect was being profoundly challenged, and I could see that there was so much more that education could be, and increasing needed to be, than filling kids’ heads with pockets of dusty knowledge and the ability to knock out small essays and routine calculations. In particular, we now know that learning itself is not a simple reflection of IQ, but is a complex craft that draws on a number of acquired habits that are capable of being systematically cultivated in school – if we have a mind to do it.

Guy's book list on schools and education

Guy Claxton Why did Guy love this book?

Ron Berger is a global treasure in the field of education. He is the guiding spirit behind the remarkable EL Education schools – they used to be called Expeditionary Learning schools – in the USA. An Ethic of Excellence was the first book of Ron’s I encountered, and it blew me away. With years of hard-won experience, he has learned that all students, give the right kind of support, are capable of producing genuinely high-quality work, and he knows how to teach in a way that makes that possibility a reality. Ron says, “when we are grown up, we won’t be judged by our test scores, but by the quality of both our character and our work”, and he gets students ready for that world. His schools get all their students to good colleges, and they get good degrees. The quality of Ron’s work is truly inspiring.

By Ron Berger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Ethic of Excellence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing from his own remarkable experience as a veteran classroom teacher (still in the classroom), Ron Berger gives us a vision of educational reform that transcends standards, curriculum, and instructional strategies. He argues for a paradigm shifta schoolwide embrace of an ethic of excellence. A master carpenter as well as a gifted teacher, Berger is guided by a craftsman's passion for quality, describing what's possible when teachers, students, and parents commit to nothing less than the best. But Berger's not just idealistic, he's realistiche tells exactly how this can be done, from the blackboard to the blacktop to the school…


Book cover of The Saber-Tooth Curriculum

Guy Claxton Author Of What's the Point of School?: Rediscovering the Heart of Education

From my list on schools and education.

Who am I?

I’m a cognitive scientist, and I love reading, thinking, and researching about the nature of the human – and especially the young – mind, and what it is capable of. Even while I was still doing my PhD in experimental psychology at Oxford in the early 1970s, I was gripped by the new possibilities for thinking about education that were being opened up by science. In particular, the assumption of a close association between intelligence and intellect was being profoundly challenged, and I could see that there was so much more that education could be, and increasing needed to be, than filling kids’ heads with pockets of dusty knowledge and the ability to knock out small essays and routine calculations. In particular, we now know that learning itself is not a simple reflection of IQ, but is a complex craft that draws on a number of acquired habits that are capable of being systematically cultivated in school – if we have a mind to do it.

Guy's book list on schools and education

Guy Claxton Why did Guy love this book?

This marvelous little book was first published in 1939 – and it is still bang up to date in its critique of conventional education. (As a society we seem to have learned far too little in the ensuing 80 years). Peddiwell tells the story of the first pre-historic educators who taught young people useful life skills like how to grab fish, or how to use fire to scare away saber-tooth tigers. Over the years the climate changed, but the elders refused to allow the curriculum to change with it. The saber-tooth tigers died out, but scaring them still had to be taught in schools because that knowledge had become a ‘cultural treasure’ even though it was now useless. It is very funny, and bang on the money, in showing just how stupid supposedly clever people can be. (Peddiwell and his story were both made up by a real professor called…

By Abner Peddiwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Saber-Tooth Curriculum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

McGraw-Hill first published "The Saber- Tooth Curriculum" in 1939, and it has remained a classic bestseller to this date. The book is just as relevant and applicable to the key questions in education today as it was when it was first published. With tongue firmly in cheek, Peddiwell takes on the contradictions and confusion generated by conflicting philosophies of education, outlining the patterns and progression of education itself, from its origins at the dawn of time to its culmination in a ritualistic, deeply entrenched social institution with rigidly prescribed norms and procedures. This fascinating exploration is developed within a fanciful…


Book cover of Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Changing World

Guy Claxton Author Of What's the Point of School?: Rediscovering the Heart of Education

From my list on schools and education.

Who am I?

I’m a cognitive scientist, and I love reading, thinking, and researching about the nature of the human – and especially the young – mind, and what it is capable of. Even while I was still doing my PhD in experimental psychology at Oxford in the early 1970s, I was gripped by the new possibilities for thinking about education that were being opened up by science. In particular, the assumption of a close association between intelligence and intellect was being profoundly challenged, and I could see that there was so much more that education could be, and increasing needed to be, than filling kids’ heads with pockets of dusty knowledge and the ability to knock out small essays and routine calculations. In particular, we now know that learning itself is not a simple reflection of IQ, but is a complex craft that draws on a number of acquired habits that are capable of being systematically cultivated in school – if we have a mind to do it.

Guy's book list on schools and education

Guy Claxton Why did Guy love this book?

Perkins, like Mitra and Berger, is on my list of top educational gurus. All his books are worth reading, but Future Wise is one of the latest and best. It takes a long careful look at the contents of the conventional school curriculum, compares it with the real-world challenges that today’s kids will meet, and finds it seriously lacking as a preparation for real life. He goes on to explore the wealth of current knowledge that isn’t in the curriculum but ought to be, and demonstrates the kind of careful, creative thinking about education that ought to be happening but rarely is – certainly not by most academics and politicians. David is a Harvard professor, and is, as you would expect, deeply thoughtful and fair-minded, but he writes with a down-to-earth elegance and charm that makes his penetrating questioning all the more convincing.

By David Perkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Future Wise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How to teach big understandings and the ideas that matter most Everyone has an opinion about education, and teachers face pressures from Common Core content standards, high-stakes testing, and countless other directions. But how do we know what today's learners will really need to know in the future? Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Changing World is a toolkit for approaching that question with new insight. There is no one answer to the question of what's worth teaching, but with the tools in this book, you'll be one step closer to constructing a curriculum that prepares students for whatever…


Book cover of The Political Economy of Education Reforms in Vietnam

Tran Van Hoa Author Of Vietnam's Reforms and Economic Growth

From my list on Vietnam’s reforms and economic growth.

Who am I?

I am a professional economist and econometrician with over 50 years of teaching and research experience. I've published articles in more than 200 international publications and been on the senior teaching staff of top U.S. and Asian universities. In recent years, I have also been interested in serious scholarly studies on developing economies in Asia and as an economic consultant to several Asian government ministries.

Tran's book list on Vietnam’s reforms and economic growth

Tran Van Hoa Why did Tran love this book?

For readers interested in a sectoral analysis of Vietnam’s reforms and economic growth, the book provides a useful account of one major area of reform in Vietnam, namely education.

Coupled with domestic training and foreign capital inflows, this education sector and its reforms can be said to be a principal contributor to the country’s development and growth. The book also discusses the reform’s rationale and issues and, for policy analysis, describes the consequences for the sector and the economy in recent years.

By Minh Quang Nguyen (editor), James Albright (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Political Economy of Education Reforms in Vietnam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book, drawing on a political economic perspective of education development, is a comprehensive account of the question "why some education systems flourish while others falter." It provides a state-of-the-art review of the Vietnamese way of education development, figuring out the pitfalls, challenges and opportunities of neoliberal reform. It also sheds new light on the rise of neoliberal capitalism in contemporary Vietnam as the country intensifies its market-oriented economic transition.

Starting from educational development concerns, this book differentiates the growth and development concepts in education. While "growth with limited development" is well reflected in many developing education systems, the Vietnamese…


Book cover of Five Practices for Equity-Focused School Leadership

Decoteau J. Irby Author Of Stuck Improving: Racial Equity and School Leadership

From my list on equity-focused school reform for educators.

Who am I?

Every teacher from pre-Kindergarten to higher education, who has experienced and understands what it means to be committed to equity and to practice transformation but still not see the kinds of outcomes expected, needed, or deserved among students of color. These students of color, particularly Black and Brown students, tend to be grossly underserved in and through the educational system. Decoteau Irby amplifies the humanity of those young people and situates them in the context of suburbia, an understudied place and space among Black and Brown communities. 

Decoteau's book list on equity-focused school reform for educators

Decoteau J. Irby Why did Decoteau love this book?

This book provides the most comprehensive but succinct explanation of all the key elements that are required to lead to equity in a school.

It has everything from the beginning key concepts that someone would need to understand in the beginning to concrete practices that someone should be doing. 


By Sharon I. Radd, Gretchen Givens Generett, Mark Anthony Gooden , George Theoharis

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Five Practices for Equity-Focused School Leadership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This timely and essential book provides a comprehensive guide for school leaders who desire to engage their school communities in transformative systemic change. Sharon I. Radd, Gretchen Givens Generett, Mark Anthony Gooden, and George Theoharis offer five practices to increase educational equity and eliminate marginalization based on race, disability, socioeconomics, language, gender and sexual identity, and religion. For each dimension of diversity, the authors provide background information for understanding the current realities in schools and beyond, and they suggest "disruptive practices" to replace the status quo in order to achieve full inclusion and educational excellence for every child.

Assuming that…


Book cover of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom

Mneesha Gellman Author Of Education Behind the Wall: Why and How We Teach College in Prison

From my list on college in US prisons.

Who am I?

I have been involved with teaching in prison for the last 22 years, and have taught everything from creative writing to meditation to college classes across carceral facilities in New York, California, and Massachusetts. As the founder and director of the Emerson Prison Initiative at Emerson College’s campus at Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord, I constantly work with faculty and students who are navigating the teaching and learning environment under some of the most adverse circumstances. These books have helped me feel less alone in this work.

Mneesha's book list on college in US prisons

Mneesha Gellman Why did Mneesha love this book?

Ok, this book is not specifically about teaching in prison, but it is about teaching from an abolitionist perspective, which is relevant to the same readers interested in teaching in prison. I first read it as part of a National Alliance for Higher Education in Prison’s book group, along with my colleagues from the Emerson Prison Initiative. Love makes the argument that education merely for survival does a disservice to humanness, and transactional education reinforces social hierarchies. Alternatively, abolitionist teaching looks to connect education to liberation.

By Bettina L. Love,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Want to Do More Than Survive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2020 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award

Drawing on personal stories, research, and historical events, an esteemed educator offers a vision of educational justice inspired by the rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists.

Drawing on her life’s work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements. She argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying…


Book cover of The New Games Book

Chris Buckingham Author Of Business Planning for Games

From my list on translating your great ideas into a winning games business.

Who am I?

Games and playing have always played a part of my life. I have created games and businesses and been fortunate enough to have worked with both at various levels as a mentor and guide. For me, this is the gift that keeps giving. The tee-shirt wearing creatives and the suit folk with their business acumen we seek to help scale our ideas. I have worked for years at the nexus of these tribes, and still find it a thrill to learn about the visions people have for the wonderful world of games and play and the oblique outcomes we couldn’t have predicted.

Chris' book list on translating your great ideas into a winning games business

Chris Buckingham Why did Chris love this book?

My copy is from 1976. It is a timeless classic that speaks to the human at the center of everything we play together.

This book serves to remind us that games don’t have to be digital experiences. Sometimes exploring ideas and being creative can lead to new paradigms of seeing each other as contributors to our joy and excitement of playing games.

I never tire of reading this book and learning of the scale and scope for being players and playing well together. The games in this book are co-created with a community of players, isn’t that the way it should be?

As game designers, when we pitch to investors, we often forget to include the joy and love that our customers, players, and users find in our games. 

By New Games Foundation, Andrew Fluegelman (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Games Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than sixty games in which two to two hundred players can participate all require elements of trust and cooperation


Book cover of The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State 1900-1918

Thomas Ferguson Author Of Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems

From my list on understanding money and power in the United States.

Who am I?

The heart of Golden Rule is its presentation of the investment theory of party competition. This developed out of a crucial formative experience of mine as a graduate student at Princeton University in the mid-seventies. An adviser remarked to me that Ivy Lee’s papers were over at Seeley Mudd Library. I knew Lee’s history, as a co-founder (with Edward L. Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud) of public relations in America. I had never consulted an archive – but with an eye to finding some inspiration for my Ph.D. thesis, I decided to go take a look. What I found there changed my whole approach to understanding politics.

Thomas' book list on understanding money and power in the United States

Thomas Ferguson Why did Thomas love this book?

Weinstein’s, like Kolko’s book above, is a vital corrective to much starry-eyed contemporary writing about Progressivism and the real nature of movements supporting the “vital center.” His accounts of how major American businesses supported early twentieth-century reform movements, hoping to head off popular upsurges while also accomplishing changes they thought they needed, are indispensable in our time. Modern readers are not used to these sorts of things and so they have a hard time seeing through promises of reforms that are anything but what they appear to be. Like Kolko’s, Weinstein’s work is greatly strengthened by his study of primary sources. 

By James Weinstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State 1900-1918 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918


Book cover of An Elusive Science: The Troubling History of Education Research

Sanjay Sarma Author Of Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn

From my list on helping us reimagine what education could be.

Who am I?

I'm passionate about understanding and fixing how we teach and learn for a simple reason: My own journey as a learner was very nearly cut short. While attending one of the most competitive universities in India, I witnessed firsthand what can happen when a once-promising student runs into learning roadblocks. I nearly gave up on my academic career, only to be saved by—of all things—a hands-on, corporate training program. As I moved back into academia, it became my goal, first as an educator and later as MIT’s Vice President for Open Learning, to empower how we teach and learn with findings from cutting-edge research. And to avail these possibilities to as many learners as possible. 

Sanjay's book list on helping us reimagine what education could be

Sanjay Sarma Why did Sanjay love this book?

There is a cottage industry of historical and analytical books attempting to explain where, exactly, our educational norms, structures, and strictures came from. Many of these are terrific, but Lagemann’s An Elusive Science is the best of the bunch for exploring how nineteenth and twentieth-century scientific research influenced modern educational practice. The author is the source of a line oft-quoted in ed circles: “I have often argued to students, only in part to be perverse, that one cannot understand the history of education in the United States during the twentieth century unless one realizes that Edward L. Thorndike won and John Dewey lost.” This is the book that explicates and explores this almost primordial dichotomy, and how different philosophies of science became aligned with complementary philosophies of educational practice. A piercing, impeccably researched, enjoyable read. 

By Ellen Condliffe Lagemann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Elusive Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its beginnings at the start of the 20th century, educational scholarship has been a marginal field, criticized by public policy makers and relegated to the fringes of academe. An Elusive Science explains why, providing a critical history of the traditions, conflicts, and institutions that have shaped the study of education over the past century.


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