1- The Choice: Escaping the Past and Embracing the Possible, by Edith Eger
I have always been a voracious reader. I love reading non-fiction and although I started contemplating picking back my old habit of reading fiction works especially after reading Obama’s memoir and learning about how novels have shaped his personality as a leader, I still find the idea challenging.
As a doctoral researcher I do spend a tremendous amount of time reading into my academic field (identity studies and critical discourse analysis) but that is not the kind of reading I want to share with you today. Instead I want to invite you into the reading world I built outside my academic niche. Those are books I read or listen to during my free time (usually when I am running or travelling). I love to immerse myself into all sorts of non-fiction books from self-help books to memoirs. In 2020 I read or listened to more than 40 books and below are the eight titles I enjoyed the most. As of right now, I am half way through Susan Cain’s wonderful book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking“.
Please note all the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links allowing me to earn a small fee from your purchase.
“Edith Eger was 16 years old when the Nazis came to her hometown in Hungary and took her Jewish family to an internment center and then to Auschwitz. Her parents were sent to the gas chamber by Joseph Mengele soon after they arrived at the camp. Hours later Mengele demanded that Edie dance a waltz to “The Blue Danube” and rewarded her with a loaf of bread that she shared with her fellow prisoners. These women later helped save Edie’s life. Edie and her sister survived Auschwitz, were transferred to the Mauthausen and Gunskirchen camps in Austria, and managed to live until the American troops liberated the camps in 1945 and found Edie in a pile of dying bodies.”
2- Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing, by Anita Moorjani
“In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks—without a trace of cancer in her body!”
3- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones, by James Clear
“No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.”
4- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo
“Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.”
“In this iconic bestseller, popular business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin proves that winners are really just the best quitters. Godin shows that winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt—until they commit to beating the right Dip”
6- A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
“In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil”
7- Work Rules! (Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead), by Laszlo Bock
“Drawing on the latest research in behavioral economics and a profound grasp of human psychology, Work Rules! also provides teaching examples from a range of industries-including lauded companies that happen to be hideous places to work and little-known companies that achieve spectacular results by valuing and listening to their employees. Bock takes us inside one of history’s most explosively successful businesses to reveal why Google is consistently rated one of the best places to work in the world, distilling 15 years of intensive worker R&D into principles that are easy to put into action, whether you’re a team of one or a team of thousands.”
8- Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living, by Shauna Niequist
“In these pages, New York Times bestselling author Shauna Niequist invites you to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.”