Summer Reading List

Brenda Hamm | July 13, 2023

Summer is the perfect time to do some extracurricular reading, whether that means honing your leadership skills or escaping from day-to-day routines. You can’t get away from all the “required reading” of your work, but choosing something for yourself this summer can get the creative, idea-generating side of your brain fired up or, if you prefer, provide you with a way to get to a distant place without ever leaving your comfy chair. 

To begin the list, we have two thought-provoking books: Gentelligence: The Revolutionary Approach to Leading an Intergenerational Workforce and Behind Their Screens: What Teens Are Facing (And Adults Are Missing). Gentelligence looks at today’s multigenerational workforce, which is becoming more common in organizations each year, as a form of diversity for school leaders to nurture rather than ignore. Recent national reports have brought student well-being to the front and center of school’s concerns. Behind Their Screens takes a new and comprehensive look into teens’ use of social media and their perspectives on the positive and negative impacts on their mental health. Both books are relevant to schools today and well worth the read.

Gentelligence: The Revolutionary Approach to Leading an Intergenerational Workforce, 2021, by Megan Gerhardt, PhD, Josephine Nachemson-Ekwall, Brandon Fogel

This book asks us to consider the presence of multiple generations in a workplace as a form of diversity deserving of attention. Gentelligence: The Revolutionary Approach to Leading an Intergenerational Workforce offers strategies for effective leadership and collaboration within intergenerational teams. The authors introduce the concept of “gentelligence,” a term coined to describe the intelligence and wisdom that emerges from a blend of generations working together harmoniously. They dive into the characteristics and motivations of different generations, including Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z, and argue that in today’s diverse workforce, organizations must adapt their leadership approaches to optimize the unique perspectives, values, and work styles of different generations. Gentelligence even offers valuable insights into the role of technology in the modern workplace and how it influences each generation’s expectations and behaviors. The book is collaborative in nature with contributions from multiple authors who draw from their collective expertise in organizational behavior, psychology, and human resources, providing a solid foundation for their recommendations and insights. 

Overall, Gentelligence is a timely and relevant guide for leaders seeking to navigate the complexities of our growing intergenerational workforce. It offers practical advice, backed by research and real-world examples. There are actionable strategies for leaders hoping to unlock the full potential of their generationally diverse talent pool and foster a culture of inclusivity, collaboration, and innovation.

Behind Their Screens: What Teens Are Facing (And Adults Are Missing), 2022, by Emily Weinstein and Carrie James

It’s easy to demonize social media when it comes to the reported decline in adolescent attention span and, more significantly, mental health. But what do adults, particularly parents, teachers, and school leaders, really know about the digital landscape from the perspective of teens? Principal Investigators at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s “Project Zero,” Emily Weinstein and Carrie James, have put their combined years of research together and written the timely, and powerful book, Behind Their Screens: What Teens Are Facing (And Adults Are Missing). Relying on teens to share their experiences and insights, the authors not only demonstrate that adolescents are well aware of both the drawbacks and benefits of social media but also how teens and the adults in their lives can find common ground and learn from one another. As expressed on the website,, “Putting adults’ concerns alongside teens’ perspectives lights a new path forward” through the landscape of modern technology.

After thousands of interviews with teens, the authors share a profound respect for teens’ abilities to articulate their experiences and perspectives and help the reader to challenge their assumptions about teens’ use of social media and begin to answer some important questions. Teens are “frustrated with their tech habits” so what is in the way of meaningful change? Is there such a thing as safe sexting? What role should schools be playing in supporting students in the digital landscape?

Relevant, timely, and important, ‘Behind Their Screens’ provides insights, urges questions, and may be the start to a comprehensive, supportive, and productive conversation between adolescents and the adults in their lives about growing up navigating today’s digital terrain.

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