A Review of Zen and the Art of Public School Teaching

John Perricone’s book may appear simple judged by its size and tone, but it is deceptively so, standing in fact as one of the most important books on the complex topic of teaching meaningfully in perhaps the most challenging realm in our society – namely the trenches of our secondary schools. In clear, concise, honest and earnest prose, John Perricone provides profound insights, guidance, and philosophy (at times through practical exercises) into the very soul of what it means to truly inhabit the identity, acumen, artistry, and passion of being a teacher.
It is not a how-to guide. Rather, it is so much more, asking the reader to understand and better themselves as a function of their true ability to teach (and learn) more effectively, fostering student development towards goals much larger than grades. The book is only surpassed by John’s presence and the manner by which he speaks and lives his principles, and in turn, truly inspires.
For the sake of what we do as educators, don’t just read this book; sincerely engage its ideas.
C. Michael Elavsky, Ph.D.
Associate Professor College of Communications
Pennsylvania State University

Mr. Perricone,

I am a third through eighth grade English teacher in rural Armenia and just wanted to thank you for writing Zen and the Art of Public School Teaching. Though I speak Eastern Armenian conversationally, I do not have any English speaking mentors in my village and have thus read pretty extensively this year to compensate for this lack of native English support. Your book is particularly special in that it was for me what I like to call a game changer. It has fundamentally changed the way I view my profession, my role as a teacher, and my purpose. Know that this year there was a first year teacher living amongst the Caucasus mountains who was and remains totally awed by your work and inspired by your ideas. Thank you for teaching, for thinking critically about your work, for writing it all down, and for sharing it with the world.

Kind regards,

Talene Boodaghians

To Purchase a copy of
Zen and the Art of Public School Teaching

Please mail check for $18.00 made to John Perricone, send to:
John Perricone 309 Norton Avenue Endwell, NY 13760
Please be sure to include your return address & requested inscription.

50 Books or More

If your school system is considering purchasing 50 books or more
Mr. Perricone can individually sign them for $15.00 each.
If you provide a list of names to Mr. Perricone, he will autograph them by name. Contact John Perricone directly at or by phone at 607-765-6017

More Reviews

“It’s time someone told the truth about excellent teaching. John Perricone’s book is mystical, practical, insightful, and remarkably refreshing for teachers struggling to serve students well in the conflicted landscape of contemporary education. His writing has given all of us in education a powerful gift with immediate use. Give it to a teacher you love. Also give it to a teacher you don’t love.”    —Lynn Olcott , Education Department: SUNY Cortland

“More than a book, more than a philosophy, John Perricone captures the essence of the spirit that resonates in us all, guides us in finding that spirit as it is expressed in the mission of teaching, and shows how to help young people discover the same in themselves. Perricone’s words are authenticated by his own living example, as a truly powerful inspiration.”   —Stan Proffitt , Corporate Educator/Leadership Consultant

“Having taught in the public school system for 34 years and reached the magical age of 56, I had started to think seriously about life after teaching when people would ask, “When are you going to retire”? Then I read Zen and the Art of Public School Teaching. I now realize that I’ve got a few more decades in me. What a pity this profoundly inspirational and perceptive book wasn’t written when I started teaching.”   — Gil Durham, Science Department Chairman, Chenango Valley CSD

John Perricone’s book, Zen and the Art of Public School Teaching, is a book written from the heart and, like any great book, touches the heart and the mind of the reader. This book is a must read for all educators who want to be inspired, revitalized, or simply reminded of why they entered the noblest profession. It is full of wisdom, engaging anecdotes, and practical tips that will make the reader smile, both inwardly and outwardly.
— Jonathan C. Erwin, author of The Classroom of Choice
(ASCD 2004), Faculty Member: The William Glasser Institute