Chris Maples got his Ph.D. in geology/paleontology because he loved working outdoors and collecting fossils; wearing ties and going to meetings, not so much.
Dr. Maples, who has been president of the Oregon Institute of Technology since 2008, prefers to read mysteries and other “problem-solving books.” A firm believer in the egalitarian purpose of education, he is especially interested in books about why things fail — from bridges to polar exploration. “Because we all learn more from failures than from successes,” Maples says.
The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead
“Modeled similarly to so many self-help and business-philosophy books today, Zen of Zombie focuses on the single-minded pursuit, group effort and adaptability of zombies in their quest for brains. It is a tongue-in-cheek approach to an otherwise boring topic, but it is remarkable how applicable focus, adaptability and playing to strengths are to so many walks of life.”
Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It
“The authors dissect details of a number of failed university and college presidencies. To adapt Tolstoy, all successful presidencies resemble each other; each failed presidency fails in its own way. That said, the authors do an excellent job of classifying and organizing presidential failures in a way that facilitates a clearer understanding of similar threads of failure.”