My Addiction to Nonfiction

A few years ago I started reading nonfiction books. The first one I remember reading was the classic How To Win Friends and Influence People. I remember feeling as if my eyes opened a little more and I was able to see things more clearly.

That was back in 2007 or 2008, yet I still remember several of the key principles of the book. Immediately after reading the book, I began implementing some of the ideas in my classes and saw a remarkable shift in my students. One key idea I’ll never forget is for each of us, our name is the sweetest sound on earth. Because of that, I made a point to call each student by his or her first name every single day. That may sound trivial, but I know that before thinking about it, some of my students would go days without ever hearing me say their name aloud.

Since reading Dale Carnegie’s classic, I started reading a little more. I read another classic— Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I followed that up a few books later with The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Then I heard two great ideas that revolutionized my thinking toward reading:

1. “The books you don’t read won’t help.”   -Jim Rohn

2. “Information costs but it pays for itself.”   -Les Brown

Since then, I’ve read hundreds of books— books that have influenced every aspect of my life from finances, fitness, spiritual growth, education, marriage, relationships, business, leadership, and personal development. I’ve kept my notes and highlights in an Evernote notebook and I refer back to the key ideas that have helped me grow along the way.

Book Notes (Evernote for Mac)

My Book Notes (Evernote for Mac)

The more I’ve read, the more I’ve wanted to read. Even today with three young kids running around, I read just as much as (if not more than) I did before we had kids.

But not everyone is like that. I wasn’t even like that for the first 26 years of my life.

In Tim Sanders’ book Today We Are Rich, he writes, “According to a 2007 Market Tools Survey I conducted, the average businessperson reads about one book a year related to his or her profession. The average chief (CEO, COO, CFO, etc.) reads six books in the same period.” I’ve also heard him say that the average American reads one book every five years.

My question is Who wants to be average?

Reading nonfiction is powerful. It can open our minds and get our creativity rolling. It can cause us to see things in a new light. It can challenge us, shape us, and encourage us. I’ve noticed the right books come into my life at just the right moment, and I don’t take it lightly. Just last week a student asked me if I had read any of Jon Gordon’s books. Not only had I never read a Jon Gordon book, I’d never even heard of the guy! Over the next three days, I heard at least three other people mention his books to me. I’m currently reading one of his books now and it’s exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right moment in my life!

For all of us to grow, we need to read.

If we’re parents, we need to be reading books like Boys Should Be Boys or Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (both by Meg Meeker) to help us along the way.

If we have financial concerns, we need to be reading books like The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

If we’re struggling with negativity, we need be reading books like The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.

If we’re leaders, we need to be reading books like the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell. 

If we’re school administrators, we need to be reading books like What Great Principals Do Differently by Todd Whitaker.

Educators especially should be reading about teaching trends and reading about dealing with this generation of kids or dealing with their parents. They should be reading books to add enthusiasm and excitement into our classrooms. If we want to continually improve, we need to read.

If it’s been a while since you read a nonfiction book related to your profession, let me challenge you to find one and start today. Get two copies and give one to a friend to read and share ideas. Remember what Jim Rohn said:  “The books you don’t read won’t help.”

 

In the comments below, share a nonfiction book that has influenced you the most professionally. 

Evernote Use #14- Collaborate at a Conference with a Shared Notebook #50EduEvernote

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting 50 different ways school administrators and educators can use Evernote to be more organized and more effective. I’ll be using #50EduEvernote on Twitter to further this discussion and share ideas. If you’d like, click here to follow me on Twitter.

Evernote Use #14- Collaborate at a Conference with a Shared PD Notebook

When attending a conference or workshop with other teachers from your school, a shared notebook is a great place to collect, condense, and share notes with each other, and it’s also a great way to share ideas with the teachers and administrators from your school who were unable to attend the event.

The best way to do this is to create a notebook and share it with the other teachers attending the conference. (This is also a great way to encourage colleagues to start using Evernote.) As a premium member, you can give full editing rights to the notebook which allows other users to upload, edit, and manage the shared notebook.

Create a Shared Notebook for a Conference

Create a Shared Notebook for a Conference

No matter how teachers plan to take notes during the conference, their notes can be uploaded to this notebook for quick reference.

Evernote— simply open a new note in this notebook and begin typing (don’t forget the picture & recording features, but keep in mind that a note’s size limit is 1MB so you can’t go crazy with pics, video, and audio!)

Notability— simply send the notes to Evernote (don’t forget the picture & recording features)

Penultimate— simply move your note from the synced Penultimate notebook to this notebook (may have to be done via a browser or desktop– not sure)

Pen and Paper– open a new note in this notebook and snap a picture of your handwritten notes.

Livescribe*— simply record and copy notes, sync the pen, and send to Evernote.
*Score 15% off any smartpen using this link.

Another way? It will still work. Just email your note to your Evernote account and then move it to the shared notebook.

As you take notes, focus on the stories just as much as the specific content, quotes, and statistics. I love the idea below from Made to Stick and would like to create something similar using Evernote.

The Conference Storybook —A great idea for summarizing a conference!

1. Write down the stories each presenter tells.

2. Structure and organize the stories.

3. Convert to book form to share with others at the company (or in this case, a shared notebook).

A story is much better than a common-sense quote about keeping lines of communication open. Instead of “Lessons from Nordstrom: In retail, outstanding customer service is a key source of competitive advantage”—use the story about a Nordie wrapping a Macy’s gift. The message (outstanding customer service) will still be shared and the story will be remembered.

A Collective Conference Notebook Ready to Share with Others

A Collective Conference Notebook Ready to Share with Others

After the conference, edit the notes, then share with colleagues via a personal invitation to join the notebook or create and share a public URL.

Since all educators attend several conferences, a shared conference notebook is a great way to encourage others to start using Evernote. Share this post with them and tell them they can get a free month of Evernote Premium just for creating an account!

Have fun!

Jordan

Evernote Use #13- Save PD Documetation #50EduEvernote

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting 50 different ways school administrators and educators can use Evernote to be more organized and more effective. I’ll be using #50EduEvernote on Twitter to further this discussion and share ideas. If you’d like, click here to follow me on Twitter.

Evernote Use #13- Keep Up With Professional Development Documentation

For years I kept a 3-ring binder for my professional development documentation. I would come back from a workshop, punch holes in my documentation, and put it in my binder. That is if I remembered to do it. Often I would forget and when I needed to turn in all of my hours, I’d have to track down all of those forms.

Now I use Evernote. (Of course I was going to say that, right?)

When I get any PD documentation, I scan or snap a picture of it and add the picture to my PD notebook in Evernote. I title the note the name of the conference and also tag it for quick reference.

Scanned PD Documentation (Evernote for Mac)

Scanned PD Documentation (Evernote for Mac)

In addition to saving PD workshop documentation in Evernote, I also save travel receipts. When I get a receipt, I immediately snap a picture of it (because more than likely I’ll lose it). I save all of my receipts from a trip in one note, and after the trip, I email the note to the accounting department for reimbursement.

Travel Expenses (Evernote for Mac)

Travel Expenses (Evernote for Mac)

At the end of the school year when it’s time to turn in all of my PD documentation, I have everything saved and can easily find it.

Since all educators must keep track of their PD, this a great way to encourage others to start using Evernote. Share this post with them and tell them they can get a free month of Evernote Premium just for creating an account!