Endorsements – what are they worth?

//Endorsements – what are they worth?

What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise — although the philosophers generally call it “recognition”!

William James

You might not have noticed (I’ve been the very soul of subtlety!) but I’ve got a new book out in June.

This is my third book, and I have to say I love the process of assembling ideas, crafting them into some semblance of meaning, rethinking, redrafting, editing, proofreading. Writing is so much more than I ever thought it was before establishing a foothold in the publishing industry and I pretty much enjoy it all. The bit that terrifies me is sending it out there into the world. It’s not so much that a book on education largely lives and dies by it’s Amazon ranking, it’s risking the disappointment and disapproval of those I admire.

It’s fair to say I was equal parts delighted and relieved when Doug Lemov said of my last book, “David Didau’s book is everything a book about the work of teaching should be: clear-eyed, lively, wise and funny. Written by a front-line practitioner of the craft.”

So, when I sent early drafts what I’m calling “Wrong Book’ to various people I respect and admire their feedback was really valuable, but sending it out to some of my educational heroes felt like an enormous risk.

I’ve now had stamps of approval from Bob Bjork, Dan Willingham and Dylan Wiliam. Even if everyone else thinks it’s rubbish, I will treasure comments like these for years to come:

The title indicates that Didau is ready to smash idols. Fortunately for us, he creates more than he destroys, deftly assembling findings from the learning sciences to build a path toward more effective classroom learning.

Daniel Willingham

A truly remarkable book.  No other book that I know of manages to integrate an in-the-trenches classroom-teaching perspective with an accessible coverage of critical findings from cognitive-science research.

Robert A Bjork

This is my new favourite book on education. I read it from cover to cover before writing this preface, and I plan to revisit it regularly. If I was still running a PGCE programme, it would be required reading for my students, and I can think of no better choice for a book-study for experienced teachers. Anyone seriously interested in education should read this book.

Dylan Wiliam

So what are these kinds of ‘dust jacket endorsements’ worth? A hell of lot! Does this mean I’m especially shallow? Not according to Cicero who said, “We are motivated by a keen desire for praise, and the better a man is the more he is inspired by glory. The very philosophers themselves, even in those books which they write in contempt of glory, inscribe their names.”

I can’t tell you how proud I am to have inscribed my name on this.

If you read it, I’ll be exceedingly grateful for your comments too.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock

2015-05-10T14:28:35+00:00May 5th, 2015|Featured|


  1. CristinaM. May 5, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    And proud you should be.

    I have known very very few people able to do two things: to think through so many aspects of teaching and learning, and to CHANGE their mind (and practice) and state it so openly and with such honesty.

    Even if our ideas or opinions on education differ in some ways, I will always appreciate your independence in thinking.

    Congratulations and I am looking forward to reading the book.

    • David Didau May 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      Thank you Cristina. Dylan says in his preface to the book, “I suspect that David and I still disagree about some of these issues, but being open to the idea that we might be wrong allows us both to continue to develop our thinking about how to harness the power of education to transform lives.” I get the same thing from you. You too are an exploratory, rather than confirmatory thinker.

  2. teachwell May 6, 2015 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Enjoy it!! I think the important thing is to put the debate back into teaching from a teacher’s perspective. That has been distinctly lacking both during my training and my time in the classroom. The most important thing for me right now is to hear from teachers themselves and their experiences regardless of whether I agree. Scholarly research in all other fields does not dismiss the reality of what it is studying and for too long there has been a gap between theories and practice. You can’t get away with blaming the patient every time a new medicine does not work the way it was assumed it would yet blame the teacheritis is too common. Indeed when things do not work for huge number of teachers the empirical evidence has been dismissed far too easily. Good for you and I have pre-ordered the book so am very much looking forward to reading it!!

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  5. […] wondering whether to shell out your hard-earned cash, here is Robert Coe’s review, and also some snippets from others who’ve read the book. And apart from anything else, it clocks in at 464 pages and […]

  6. […] reviews from some of the most eminent thinkers in education and psychology such as professors Dylan Wiliam, Robert Bjork, Daniel Willingham and Robert Coe, some ‘real’ readers have had a chance to plough their way through the […]

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