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The 5 Books I Think Everyone Should Read

jume asked: What are 5 books you think everyone should read?

Well I'm going to cheat and mention more than 5 because it's my journal. Also really it depends on what you want out of life. For best results, just read all these books.

My all-time favorite fiction books:

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle Love breaks down the complicated machinery of oppression because machines just can't deal with the complexity of it all.

Contact by Carl Sagan my favorite book ever, about how the things we search for are physically near to us but conceptually far, so we're not looking in the right places. Much deeper than the movie.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis A person doesn't have to run out and murder people for their soul to be destroyed. They can just give up on life. This is a Christian book but I think it applies to lots of religions.

Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
The purpose of books is to let us see the world through somebody else's eyes. This young adult fiction story about a struggling smart kid trying to break free from the cycles of poverty on an indian reservation goes really far down the important road of helping us understand how to help at-risk kids.

My all-time favorite non-fiction books:

Innumeracy Because it's funny, charming, gives you great ways where we need to apply more math, and is basically a celebration of thinking.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide I didn't read this book for a long time because I thought it'd be too depressing to read about women's lives around the world in countries where women are treated terribly. But the book has so many stories about badass women who overcame the odds, I felt uplifted and hopeful. If we can keep going the right direction the world can be a wonderful place.

Myths of Innovation There are too many stories about science being done by a single lone genius who randomly gets an idea and *bam*, there's the iphone. Kids grow up thinking if I'm not that genius by age 7, why even go into science. This book was an inspiration, it reminded me that there's a place for everyone in science and innovation, it's just that history glosses over the real stories in the interest of oversimplification. Also the author is a cool dude.

Must read if you work at a job: Switch - How To Change When Change Is Hard Contrary to what you see at work, changing people's minds does not start with an inspirational photo on the company intranet. This book breaks down real leadership into usable nuggets that involve reading people, responding, making tiny strides, and bringing others with you along a path to a clear destination.

Must read if you want to save money: All Your Worth by Elizabeth Warren - after disliking Dave Ramsey, not relating perfectly well to Rich Dad Poor Dad, and finding interesting but not terribly usable advice in The Millionaire Next Door, Elizabeth Warren's book on personal finance hit me with all the right advice and became my personal financial planning handbook forever.

Must read for parents: Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn The parenting version of "Switch" about how kids will learn to think for themselves if you treat them like people and take them along with you in logical reasoning, instead of resorting to the carrots and sticks of sticker charts and punishments. You wouldn't turn an adult relationship into an economic system where involved parties try to nickle and dime each other, don't turn your parenting into one either.

And finally, must reads for feminists, which go to a whole different category:
1) Lean In
2) Backlash by Susan Faludi
3) Ain't I a Woman by Bell Hooks
4) She Wins, You Win by Gail Evans
5) Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judith Warner

That should do it for now. Sorry for totally cheating. I really did cut down this list, then just gave up.


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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2016 10:29 pm (UTC)

You are making me open up my "books to read" list to add a few things. Again.
May. 25th, 2016 10:55 pm (UTC)
I think the idea that everybody should read the same five books is rather absurd. Five books that everybody interested in $blah should read is much better.

I like the look of your suggestions too and shall see if I can get my hands on some of them.
May. 25th, 2016 10:57 pm (UTC)
I would add Cosmos.
May. 26th, 2016 10:44 am (UTC)
The only book on your lists that I've read is Carl Sagan's Contact, mostly because I've read just about everything he's ever written. I enjoyed the book, but have to say that I prefer his non-fiction. The Dragons of Eden blew me away.

The Elizabeth Warren book sounds interesting. I do so admire the woman, so it may be worth a read. Thanks for the rec.
May. 26th, 2016 03:59 pm (UTC)
I haven't read any of these but will add them to my list! I'm just getting back into reading and I needed some ideas. :-)
May. 26th, 2016 08:12 pm (UTC)
Well I just requested half of these from my library. Thanks!
May. 26th, 2016 10:10 pm (UTC)
Many of these sound very interesting to me. Thank you for the recommendations!
May. 29th, 2016 01:42 am (UTC)
Because of you I read Backlash like...ten years ago in middle school. Boy did I get some side eyes from the librarian. Great book though! Very formative in my feminism.
May. 29th, 2016 06:06 am (UTC)
:D My goodreads list just expanded by 20%.

Also, you might be ecstatic to know that after reading your posts about it, I got the Kindle version of Lean in for birthday/christmas or something, and when I finished it, bought 2 hard cover copies to take to work to have my female employees read (and the guys if I go through all the women first) The first one to finish it said that it did so much for her and opened her eyes so much. I am just over the moon to have been able to pass on this influence.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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