As has become an annual tradition for the New Year, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite reading from 2017 to share with you. I’m thrilled to say that with graduate school officially behind me, I’ve been able to select books with full freedom and abandon, which means that this may be the best list of books yet. If you pick any of these up and read them, please send me an email or give me a call… I’d really love to discuss and hear your thoughts.
In the meantime, happy reading!
By Cheryl Strayed
Never having read her most famous book, Wild, I wasn’t inclined to read any of Strayed’s work. That is until my friend Dillon was willing to read one of my favorite books, Moby Dick, in exchange for my reading one of his, Tiny Beautiful Things. I thought I was getting the better end of the deal, but five minutes into Strayed’s collection of highlights from her online advice column, I was in tears and deeply affected by the power of her words and the insight in her advice. This book is a super quick and easy read because it’s broken into small segments. As it turns out, this book is now one of my all-time favorite books.
By Krista Tippett
I know I recommend the work of Krista Tippett a lot, so seeing this book appear on the list should come as no surprise! This book is a profoundly moving and thoughtful collection of voices from Tippett’s conversations over the years of hosting her podcast, On Being. She draws in the collective wisdom and synthesizes it into themes that touch the heart and provoke the mind. I know my opinion here is biased because of how much I adore the podcast, but please don’t let that prevent you from picking up this inspiring book.
By Sheryl Sandberg
I have never thought of myself as a business woman… that is, not until I became a small business owner in September of 2017. In preparation of that, I picked up Sandberg’s well-known guide for women in the workplace. As a longtime feminist, this book aligned with my passionate sensibilities of equality, equity, and justice. However, what surprised me was the ways in which it tugged at the just-as-important-yet-often-overlooked disparities in the home. Sandberg describes her own observations as one of the 50 most powerful women in business—what that looks like in her professional life AND what that looks like at home. A really important book for women and men who value uplifting women and urging them toward an enriched, engaged, fulfilling life.
By Susan David
My friend Colette recommended this book to me at the start of summer, and I was astounded David’s ability to draw in a variety of techniques—like yoga, mindfulness, breathing—to create a manual for thriving in one’s life. I’ve been practicing these techniques for more than a decade, but never have I seen them infused with such eloquence and dexterity. David provides a practical approach for profound change, offering anyone who picks up her book a blueprint for thriving in all aspects of life.
By Shefali Tsabary
If you’re a parent whose child is older than one day, I have to provide a cautionary disclaimer: please read this book with a lot of curiosity, self-compassion, and humor! This book came onto my radar because of how often I interact with young people in my work and personal life. The title uses the word “revolution,” and that’s not an overstatement—it encourages a fundamental shift from traditional parenting styles. Tsabary uses many of the same techniques as David, but applied specifically to the very important task of parenting. If you’re a parent, or if, like me, you plan to become one someday, I highly recommend picking up this book. It could make all the difference in your relationship with yourself as a parent, in your relationship with your child, and in the personhood your child develops every day.
By Paul Hawken
Global Warming, Climate Change, the destruction of our natural world… perhaps the most important conversation of our time, and to facilitate practical, realistic dialogue about the issue, Draw Down offers 100 solutions to draw down carbon from our atmosphere and to give people who feel powerless the inspiration they need to make a difference in their own lives and in their communities. A must-read those of you committed to reversing the damage of global warming and to protecting our planet for future generations.
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
When I first read the essay “The Case for Reparations” in graduate school, it completely changed the way I understood race relations in the US—revealing truths about our nation’s history through the lens of racial discrimination and injustice. But revisiting it in the collection of essays that Coates published in The Atlantic during the eight years that Barack Obama held the office of President reframed the discussion into a comprehensive view that is most definitely a tragedy. Coates includes some of his most illustrative essays, along with eight new ones, all while weaving in personal narrative as a framework to the nonfiction. With racism as important a conversation as ever, I highly highly recommend this book.
By John O’Donohue
Of course, I have to include at least one collection of poetry, and this year’s is without question a collection of blessings by John O’Donohue. I first learned about this poet from a conversation he had with Krista Tippett called “The Inner Landscape of Beauty,” and it just broke my heart in all the beautiful ways a heart should be broken. I wept at the depth of his understanding and the poetic construction of his words. Not only are these blessings gorgeously expressed, but they also have shaped the way I think about prayer and wishes and my own practice of yoga. They’re a breathtaking way to begin each day.