Stephanie Burns Logo Stephanie Burns
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What you will find on this page are some of the many books and items that I refer to often in my office. I use these books to inform my understanding of the human behaviours of learning, communication and motivation. It is an odd collection as my net is cast fairly wide when looking at the study of human behaviour. I find some novels more informative than some psychology books. Over the course of my career I have read voraciously and each piece has added something to my thinking.

The list here is not complete by any stretch of the imagination but there are enough items to show you the edges of my library. If an item causes you to wonder if I have more, then simply email me and I will try to direct you to other sources. I have tried to include those books that are still in print and which can be accessed through on-line booksellers. When I could find the book at Amazon I provided a direct link through the "buy it" button. Although I did this only in the early days of the site, and new additions lack this feature.

When I add new information to this page I will place it at the top of the page under "New Additions" while what was there will have been integrated under the subject headings below.

Cheers, Stef

 

NEW ADDITIONS 2009

 

  

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The Learning Revolution

by
Jonathan Solity

 

To books have now been written exploring the teaching methodology of, to me, one of the best teachers to have lived, Michel Thomas. Solity's book is an excellent review of Thomas' methodology cast in the framework of current models in educational and instructional psychology. If you want to know more about my own thinking about teaching and design then you cannot go past this book.

 

  

The Future of Learning

by
Marilyne Woodsmall, Ph.M.

Wyatt Woodsmall, Ph.D.

 

When Marvin Oka, my colleague from the Discover Camp era, discovered I was looking at foreign language learning, he asked if I knew of Thomas' work. He then told me that Wyatt Woodsmall and his wife had worked with Thomas over 5 years deconstructed Thomas' methods and philosophy. Together they have written an excellent book for all teachers, regardless whether the content is foreign language teaching, or any other subject.

Between an experience of a Thomas program, and then the details from Solity (above) and the Woodsmalls' may we all be led to question our thoughts about learning and teaching.

 

  

Alex and Me

by
Dr. Irene Pepperberg

 

Some of you know I have had a keen interest in animal behaviour. Much of what is done in the area of animal intelligence, teaching and learning informs directly my experiences teaching humans. I followed the work of Irene Pepperberg and her parrot Alex for many years, having had my own adventures with my parrot Kelly. Alex died unexpectedly a few years ago. This book is the story of Irene and Alex. If you want to have your ideas of animal intelligence blown wide open then this rich, heart warming story ought to just to that!

 

 

Animals Make Us Human

by
Temple Grandin

 

Another book about humans and animals while I am at it!

Many years ago I recommended Temple Grandin to you. Since she has written several new books. Being autistic allowed Grandin to view the world of animals in ways to which we were previously blind. I have read everything she has written and am a better teacher as a result. This is her latest work and a good place to start. If you ever have the opportunity to see her speak (often in U.S. documentaries you will experience a most gifted human being.

 

 

The Brain that Changes Itself

by
Norman Doidge, M.D.

 

 

I could never quite sort out what to recommend to friends and colleagues who wanted to get a start in the area of the neurosciences. I have several hundred books, all to me important. However, in 2007 Doidge wrote this wonderful composite book. It is fast path to catching up on the history, and delves squarely into the areas I focus upon most .. namely learning and the adult brain.

Please read this! Then follow up on some of the online brain programs, especially those of you with aging parents and/or those of you planning to live a long time

 

 

Collapse

by
Jared Diamond

 

 

Allow this work was written in 2005 I think it is more relevant to us today. I have always had a keen interest in civilisations and societies, and am history is one of my hobbies. This is current and fresh and the best of its kind.

I would also recommend Diamonds' book Guns, Germs and Steel.

   

Beyond the Brink

by
Peter Andrews

 

 

Andrews' once again addresses Australia's dying landscape. I have been a big follower of Andrews' work since first reading Back from the Brink a few years ago, and then meeting Australians who have used his ideas on their land. I cannot imagine any Australian, city or country dweller who would not benefit from knowing our land's history, and what is possible today.

 

 

Deep Survival

by
Laurence Gonzales

 

The jacket cover says, Who Lives, Who Dies and Why. And, that is where this book goes. It is counter-intuitive to our culture myths about the attributes of survival. I loved this book and learned heaps. Best research yet on this subject. You don't have to be an adventure to use the lessons of this book, being an adult learner in most programs is enough to qualify!

 

 

Outliers

by
Malcolm Gladwell

 

After Tipping Point and Blink how could you not read whatever Gladwell does next. I've been trying to say to people all my life that my success had as much to do with the luck of timing and location as anything. This usually met with resistance. This book takes you right into the heart of it. Have a good read. This book is a lot of fun, a real eye opener.

 

         
 

The Final Confessions of Mabel Stark

by
Robert Hough

 

I have read so many good books these past few years. Here is one of my all time favourites, right up there with Perfume and Altlas Shrugg. This is the story of Mabel Stark, the world's greatest female tiger trainer who lived during the time when the circus was in its golden age, the 1920s. What an amazing woman Hough found and voiced for us.

 

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNING

 

 

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Language Learning Programs

by
Michel Thomas

 

As many of you know I have focused most of my research time between mid-2005 and mid-209 on the subject of foreign language learning and teaching. Right at the start of that project I discovered the work of Michel Thomas and placed his "Spanish" program on this Recommendations list. I believed then it to be the most outstanding model of language teaching to exist. After nearly 4 years of exploring foreing language learning programs I now know it is the best.

For a practical and functional start to a new language his methodology cannot be underestimated. He is the only one who is not afraid to do the hard stuff that other programs skip over. He is an exemplary teacher. Today, there are more advanced additions to his earlier work.

Michel Thomas himself created programs for Spanish, Italian, French and German available via Amazon. Before his death he trained others to design with his methodology, the result being programs for Arabic and Mandarin.

You can access information about each of these individual programs at Amazon.com. Simply click on the image for the course that you want to explore.

BRAINS & BEHAVIOUR

 

Mind Hunter  

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Mind Hunter

by
John Douglas

 

The author of Mindhunter, John Douglas, created the "profiling" tool for the FBI. His book is masterful and in it we learn what can be seen in human behaviour through observation.

I have encouraged all those who have attended Training to Train to read this book. Don’t mind the topic, which is about serial murderers — read the book from the perspective of gaining a greater insight into human behaviour.

 

 

The Right Mind

 

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The Right Mind

by
Robert Ornstein

  Perhaps the most misinformed information I still hear discussed in training circles is that related to hemispheric dominance - right brain/left brain behaviour. If you are someone who uses that terminology - but have either not read anything in awhile on the subject (or heaven forbid, not read anything at all) this is the book I would like you to read.

Robert Ornstein is one of the original thinkers in the area of hemispheric research and was heavily quoted in Learning To Learn.

You will find his writing style totally engaging and very easy to follow. He will also provide you with a wealth of quotable-quotes to punctuate your lectures.

 

 

How the Mind Works

 

 

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How the Mind Works

by
Steven Pinker

 

This book was a gift from Dawn Hough, a Training To Train student. You'll love this brain book because Pinker is a great teacher. He brings the work alive with modern day examples from Star Trek to Marilyn Monroe to illustrate his points. What I wouldn't have given to be one of his students! His writing is so much fun you can just imagine what it would have been like to sit in his lectures.

 

 

BrainSex  

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Brain Sex

by
Moir and Jessel

  This is another really fun book. Although it is old by science's standards it is still an excellent introduction into the world of differences between the male and female brain. If you find yourself making up what you imagine the differences to be, then this is a good place to test your notions and learn. From this book you may develop a fascination for the subject, and then there is a world of new research that awaits you.

This is an excellent book for Trainers and Managers who note behaviour differences in communication and who wish to expand the basis of their understanding beyond social theories.

 

 

EMOTION THEORY

Descartes' Error

 

 

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Descartes' Error

by Antonio Damasio

  This is the book that will help you to understand the role of feelings in decision-making. Damasio's work, like LeDoux below set the ground work for my PhD research and is the basis of the strategies found in the Goal Achievers Program.

You will love his stories and anecdotes and the research is impeccable. If you've been talking about emotions and feelings and want to expand your understanding - then this is the read for you.

 

 

The Emotional Brain  

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The Emotional Brain

by
Joseph LeDoux

 

Anyone who has read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman will be familiar with the name Joseph LeDoux. His research on the role of emotion features underpins Goleman's work and indeed, features heavily in my own PhD thesis. It was wonderful to discover that LeDoux had written a book accessible to everyone outside the academic community.

If you've read Goleman and want the meat - this is one of the books I would recommend.

If you have done the Goal Achievers Program and want 1/2 of the theory behind it this is the book I would recommend.

If you couple this book with Damasio's Descartes' Error you will have taken a significant step in your education about emotions and emotional intelligence.

 

 

Molecules of Emotion

 

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Molecules of Emotion

by Candace Pert

 

An interesting book I read at the end of writing my PhD thesis. As most of you know much of my work now focuses on the role of emotions on motivation, decision-making and action. Candice Pert was the chief of brain chemistry at the National Institute of Health in the U.S. and takes us on a journey through the world of the chemistry of emotion and theories on their effects on our health. Anyone focusing on alternative approaches to health will find a science to support that thinking.

 

 

 

LEARNING

 

Thinking in Pictures

 

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Thinking in Pictures

by Temple Grandin

 

I have always been facinated by human behaviour and many of the books I read and recommend to my students have to do with peering in vicariously to the experience of people in unique situations. Temple Grandin is one of those people. I loved her story and found it illuminating to wonder what it might be to not think in language, but instead in pictures.

In Learning To Learn I used to play with my students teaching them to use vivid imagery for learning about a phenomenon - tapping into the brain's great capacity to 'fill in' missing pieces with great accuracy. My students from that program who sat on the edge of the bowl of pumpkin soup with relate to Grandin's ability to see the world "through a cow's eye". She also provides great insight into human-animal relations.

 

Dewey

 

 

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Experience &
Education

by John Dewey

 

Pick any Dewey book. If you are an educator this is one of a handful of the seminal thinkers who should be known.

I chose this book (although any would do) because so much of my work has gone back to the basis of experience, and it is the one I have most recently re-read.

 

Freedom and Beyond

 

 

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Freedom and
Beyond

by John Holt

 

John Holt is a real hero to many educators. I often recommend his book "How Children Fail" but it is not currently in print. This, however, is considered by many to be a turning point in his work where he begins to move out of the observations of his classroom and into the broader concerns for schooling and education.

He is a teachers teacher and we all have much to learn from his writings.

 

Culture of Education

 

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The Culture of
Education

by Jerome Bruner

 

Like Dewey, if you are a trainer, educator or coach you just have to know a bit about the philosophy of Jerome Bruner. No more said.

You won't learn how to do anything from Bruner in this book, but you will have important notions added to your thought process about education. You don't have to agree but it is important nonetheless to know.

 

 

WRITING

 

 

 

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On Writing

by
Stephen King

 

My number one best book for describing the inner world of the writer. Since committing to use writing as my primary means of communicating I have been reading books by the great storytellers whose voices can be clearly heard in their writing. Sometimes I read books on the craft of writing. I have found most lacking. I find it better to spend my time reading a lot and write a lot.

An exception is this book by Stephen King. A great read and key lessons on the craft of writing. Cuts through the crap!

 

         

 

FAVOURITES

 

Perfume

 

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Perfume

by
Patrick Suskind

 

Ah, Perfume.

A classic written in modern times. This is the first book that I had ever read that totally stimulated the senses of smell and taste. I could not believe that words could trigger such strong sensations. This is a very bizarre book, a murder mystery. The whole idea of it is shocking. That Suskind has used sensitivity to smell was both educative and mind-boggling. I left this book with a great respect for industries I knew previously nothing about. And, at each reading it has triggered a sense in me I didn't possess previously.

 

 

Atlas Shrugged  

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Atlas Shrugged

by Ayn Rand

  Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world--and did. It is a book that you must commit to achieve the first 100 pages before commenting upon.

Atlas Shrugged is the book I have reread most often in my life. It set the framework for many ideas I bring to my work. I think it is the first book in which I could not sit down while reading - I just had to stand up and walk. I went on to read a great deal about the life of Ayn Rand - and although on a real-life level I found some of her ideas difficult, this did not ever diminish the power of what I took from this book.

I have changed and grown greatly over the adult life, but there is a strong thread to the thinking espoused here - even today when I reread the book I have trouble slowing down my internal dialogue. It leaves a long residue.

 

The Green Mile  

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The Green
Mile

by

Stephen King

 

 

What's a favourites list if it doesn't contain a Steven King novel. And you can't go past the Green Mile for magic in story telling. It is another of those great risks in writing - created as a monthly serial. Even King's description of the writing process is worth the series. There are six short parts to this series. Each can be read in just a hour or so. I would read really slowly each issue, knowing I had to wait for the next. I really felt what Charles Dicken's followers felt waiting for the next penny paper to arrive.

For the record, I never planned on being a Steven King fan. I am definitely not into horror material. But one night staying at a friends I was hunting for something to read. I had actually already read every single book in their library except Stephen King's, The Stand! As it turned out this was King's 1978 classic and still today his most popular book. After the 30 pages I couldn't put it down, and it's another book I have re-read. I've found the link to the book so you can read more 400 reviews if you don't believe me! (Just click the title). I know some of you are thinking - "I can't believe Stephanie reads Stephen King."

Anyway, back to the Green Mile. This is simply a stunning piece of writing. You feel everything. Whether you've seen the movie or not you can't go past the experience of this serialised novel. You tend to smile a lot through King's books - and how could you not wonder what it must be like to live in a mind that can create like this.

 

Perfect Storm  

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The Perfect
Storm

by

Sebastian Junger

  This is the kind of fact based book I would like to be able to write. I enjoyed The Perfect Storm because it not only tells the gripping true story of a fishing boat and its crew that are caught in the midst of the most ferocious storm recorded in modern times, but because it is so technically specific.

On each page I learnt something new about topics that I had not previously been interested in, or not known much about. The writing style is easy and I was captivated from beginning to end.

 

 

 

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The Joy Luck Club

by
Amy Tan

 

 

 

This favourite was brought back to mind when reading Stephen King's new book "On Writing".

 

Sophies World  

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Sophie's World

by

Jostein Gaarder

  This book represents another of my writing goals- to write a story, embedded in which are the lessons I wish to teach. And, I don't mean lessons in the way of beliefs, or philosophy, or ideas - but concrete information like dates, types, history, names and so on. I use to write bedtime type stories in which the characters were all using technology - this was in the days I was teaching computer literacy and applications. I would think how nice it would be to read a fun story at the end of which I could give you a quiz and you would know new information. This idea actually attracted the attention of some folks at Universal Studios and publishing agents in Hollywood. But, alas, it was the wrong time for such an idea for me.

Sophie's World shows how a great story can be used to educate. The subject is the history of philosophy. If you want a wonderful adventure in your mind, and the result of revisiting the great philosophers, with characters you'll never forget, then this book is for you. I still dream of doing this myself one day.

 

 

LEARNING about PEOPLE by studying other things

 

The Life of Birds

Video series available from ABC Shops in Australia

 

 

 

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Life of Birds

by

Sir David Attenborough

 

One word describes this video series — Brilliant!

Without doubt this is the best documentary series on behaviour that I have seen. Forget that it is about birds — watch it from a human behavourist perspective.

 

HISTORY of the COMPUTER and the INTERNET

Fire In The Valley  

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Fire in the Valley

by Paul Freiberger & Michael Swaine

 

There are many good books on technology! I promise more to come on the history of, the effects of, the future of ... and so on. One way to understand people is to study their tools and the history of those tools.

The first book I chose is a new one ... Fire in the Valley. I referenced it in one of the status reports and thought I best make it easy to read more about and access.

I lived this experience and knew many of these people. The book is a facinating visit to early - late 1970's. You will see just how far the computer has come in this time. This book will really bring home that what we doing right now - this minute - in this newsletter is absolutely light years away from 30 years ago.

 

 

 

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Zero Time

by
Yeh, Pearlson, Kozmetsky

 

When beginning to work via the Internet I began reading books geared toward helping us come to terms with the newly emerging paradigms. Some of these books and articles have found ways of capturing and expressing the fundamental changes in business that occuring as a result of the new technology.

The future is about the customer. This book will set the framework allowing to more accurately assess the news you hearing about the impact of the Internet on commerce. Full of good lessons to be learned by anyone in business today.

 

 

 

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The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding

by
Ries and Ries

 

I've been a fan of Al Ries since 1987 when I read and began recommending his book "Positioning: The Battle for you Mind". When that book was coupled with Robert Cialdini's "Influence Patterns" you had a potent lens through which to observe and learn from the behaviour of those around us.

This is another excellent contribution to the way we think about business in general and the Internet specifically.

 

 

LEARNING from other THE MASTERS from other DISCIPLINES

 

Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman  

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Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman

by

Richard P. Feynman

 

I am a very big fan of anything written by or about Richard Feynman. I learn so many things about life at so many different levels it is hard to describe the experience.

I have put this entertaining and enlightening book by Feynman and one wonderful biography about his life. If are looking for a new wonderful role model - you wouldn't go wrong with Feynman.

 

 

 

Genius  

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Genius

by

James Gleick

 

This is an great biography of Feynman which at the same time analyses the attributes of genius. There are rare insights here into the process of developing a mind capable of creating new thoughts and new information.

Like Chaos before it this Gleick books aims and achieves educating the reader.

And, who could not be entertained by stories about Richard Feynman's life and career!

 

ODDS AND SODS
The Sims  

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The Sims

by

Electronic Arts

 

The Sims is amazing new software that comes from the creators of Sim City. The idea behind The Sims is to achieve the ultimate goal in life — happiness, and the way to achieve happiness is to satisfy your Sims' needs. The Sims allows you to create, direct, and manage the lives of SimCity's residents. Each need (Hunger, Comfort, Hygiene, Bladder, Energy, Fun, Social, and Room) can be met by interaction with other Sims or objects.

When you use the software, you build a simulated neighborhood and run the lives of the people that live there. There is an unlimited open-ended game play that allows you to help your Sims develop and mature.

A fascinating exercise in human behaviour. Worth a look see.

         

 

 
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