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Headmaster's Books of the Week

How To Build A Car 

Adrian Newey

A book to inspire budding engineers, by a titan of the Formula 1 world.

 

Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice

Matthew Syed

 

Three Men in a Boat

Jerome K Jermone

I’ve been encouraged by many to suggest something lighter for a change! In that spirit, I’ll be talking about a beloved comic classic in assembly on Monday that remains as funny and fresh as when it was written in the 19th Century.

Headmaster's Book of the Week - The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

Tim O'Brien

Tim O’Brien’s book about the Vietnam War purports to be a series of fictional vignettes, but it is clearly based on his own experiences as an infantryman. His ability to convey both the horror and the humanity of that period of his life is compelling and profound, and I can recommend it to you unreservedly.

Garrincha

Ruy Castro

An arresting biography of the great Brazilian World Cup star, Garrincha (‘little bird’). Pele is generally better known outside Brazil, but Garrincha was more loved at home. It’s a sad and poignant story, though: the flair that made him such a flamboyant player had a flip-side of indiscipline, that ultimately led to great destruction in his private life, and an untimely end.

Teachers vs Tech

Daisy Christodoulou

 

 

 

 

 

The Beach

The Body Keeps The Score

Bessel van der Kolk

Having lived and breathed backpacker culture (once upon a time), Alex Garland's The Beach is acutely perceptive about that world, and the lurking evil that Golding's classic novel finds under the thin veil of civilisation.

 

 

 

The Beach

The Beach

Alex Garland

Having lived and breathed backpacker culture (once upon a time), Alex Garland's The Beach is acutely perceptive about that world, and the lurking evil that Golding's classic novel finds under the thin veil of civilisation.

 

 

 

Right Ho, Jeeves

Right Ho, Jeeves

P.G. Wodehouse

I recommended to pupils the delights of P.G. Wodehouse, who I dipped into again over the break. His world of gentle comedy still enchants me, and of course especially so where the exploits of Jeeves and Wooster are concerned. Not many of us will enjoy the life of the idle rich, but we can indulge in it from afar in the affable buffoonery of Bertie, along with the omniscient superintendence of his manservant. The dialogue never ceases to make me smile, along with Wodehouse's inimitable turn of phrase ("...the occasions when Aunt is calling to Aunt like mastodons bellowing across primeval swamps…"). If I have a favourite it is "Right Ho, Jeeves." For a headmaster the toe-curling farce of prize giving at Market Snodsbury Grammar School can't be bettered: do enjoy it for yourself!

 

 

The Madness of Crowds

The Time Machine

H.G. Wells

The Time Machine explores the logical consequences of two scientific theories: Natural Selection and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. If that sounds a bit dull, don’t be put off - it’s a riveting adventure story as well! The outworkings of Natural Selection are chilling enough, but Entropy proves to be ‘the real cosmic wave, and Evolution a mere Tellurian ripple within it’. I love books that make you think, and I hope you get time to enjoy one or two over half term

 

 

The Madness of Crowds

The Madness of Crowds

Douglas Murray

Murray delineates with alarm the movement in our culture from Martin Luther King's aspiration (that children should be judged by their character, not their colour), to a restless contemporary identity politics.

 

Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology

Neil Gaiman

A retelling of some well-known Viking tales of origins and endings.

Can We Trust the BBC?

Can We Trust the BBC?

Robin Aitkin

Former BBC journalist Robin Aitkin questions the impartiality of our national broadcaster, and suggests some of the reasons for its current travails.

The Barcelona Way

The Barcelona Way

Prof Damian Hughes

The essence of the Barcelona culture is serving a bigger vision (in this case playing beautiful football to honour Catalonia - ‘mes que un club’) and an emphasis on values. The most important for Barcelona is humility (perhaps why Messi continues to succeed, and Ibrahimovic failed at the Nou Camp).

 

 

Turn The Ship Around

Turn The Ship Around!

L. David Marquet

A nuclear submarine commander gives lessons on leadership which are applicable to most organisations (including schools, I hope!).

 

End the Fed

End the Fed

Ron Paul

A US presidential candidate dissects the nature of modern money, and how he thinks it needs to change.

 

The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway

 

The Man Who Planted Trees

The Man Who Planted Trees

Jean Giono

A short, mesmerising, allegorical tale, to be devoured in one sitting, telling the story of a bereaved French peasant who conceives a life's vocation of planting a forest. Through his generosity and self-effacing sacrifice, a landscape and community ravaged by human depredation is not only restored, but transformed. A fable with contemporary resonance, perhaps.

Life in a Medieval Castle

Life in a Medieval Castle

Francis and Joseph Gies

Written in the 1970s, it remains a very readable and fascinating insight into the ethos and economics of that time. Game of Thrones was based on it to some degree; not a great accolade, perhaps, but it may whet your interest!

 

The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

The Small Woman

Alan Burgess

Tells the incredible true story of Gladys Aylward, a London parlourmaid who became a missionary in China in the 1930s.