Surprises from Writing Renegade Leadership


It’s hard to believe that my new book, Renegade Leadership, is available now.  The book is about creating innovative schools for today’s students.  The process of writing a book still fascinates me, and I wanted to share a few surprises that emerged along the way.

1. As I was writing Renegade Leadership many stories from my childhood, college, and early years in education resurfaced.  I can be somewhat guarded at times, so I’m surprised at how natural it felt to share some of those stories.  Earlier versions of the manuscript featured stories from renegade artists, engineers, athletes, and business people.  However, the final manuscript turned out to be much more personal that I originally intended.


2. I’m not sure how it happened, but when all was said and done over 30 amazing educators lent their voice and vision to the book.  Their stories inspired me more than I anticipated, and I find myself reading (and rereading) the book just to take-in the incredible insights they offer.

3. Feedback from preliminary reviewers surprised me.  I think I underestimated the impact that sharing some of my “epic failures” might have had on readers.  It seems like people really appreciate reading about the “real stuff” in education…including the many mistakes I’ve made along the way.  (There is a vulnerability in the book that makes me a tad bit nervous to offer it up to others.)

4. One of the last things I added to the book’s companion website turned out to be one of my FAVORITE memories from writing Renegade Leadership.  If you go to the companion website HERE you will find something I refer to as “Audio Outtakes” for each chapter.  The Audio Outtakes include short audio clips of text from the book followed by a brief conversation between me and my 3rd grade daughter.  I cherish the time we spent reading and recording the outtakes together.

Obviously, I’m very excited to cross the “finish line” and have the book move to publication.  At the same time, I hope this is just the beginning of the conversation.  Our students have too much at stake for us to ignore the possibilities that meaningful change could provoke.

You can see a preview of Renegade Leadership and order it now on Amazon!


Blog Post by:
Dr. Brad Gustafson
Principal, Greenwood Elementary
Wayzata Public Schools
Plymouth, MN

*Content from this blog post was also featured on the Adjusting Course blog.  To subscribe to the Adjusting Course blog go to

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