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"Powerful" Reads

We've talked about race, privilege, and now power. How do all these topics relate? What more can we learn? Be sure to check out our other posts about additional reading, listening, and viewing resources, but here are some books that will help take you to the next level of understanding, empathy, and action.


Please visit the Reading Public Library Catalog, Libby/Overdrive, or Hoopla to find copies of these titles.

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt. PhD. You don't have to be racist to be biased. Unconscious bias can be at work without our realizing it, and even when we genuinely wish to treat all people equally, ingrained stereotypes can infect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behavior. This has an impact on education, employment, housing, and criminal justice. In Biased, with a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Jennifer Eberhardt offers us insights into the dilemma and a path forward.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald In this accessible and groundbreaking look at the science of prejudice, Banaji and Greenwald show that prejudice and unconscious biases toward others are a fundamental part of the human psyche.

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown In Braving the Wilderness, author Brene Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson “This is a brilliant book, well timed in the face of a pandemic and police brutality that cleave along the lines of a caste system.”—Booklist

Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts by Brene Brown : In her #1 New York Times bestsellers, Brené Brown has taught us what it means to dare greatly, rise strong, and brave the wilderness. Now, based on new research conducted with leaders, change makers, and culture shifters, she’s showing us how to put those ideas into practice so we can step up and lead.

Full Dissidence: Notes from an Uneven Playing Field by Howard Bryant “Whether the issues are protest, labor, patriotism, or class division, it is clear that professional sports are no longer simply fun and games. Rather, the industry is a hotbed of fractures and inequities that reflect and even drive some of the most divisive issues in our country.”

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Oluo, Ijeoma “Through the last 150 years of American history — from the post-reconstruction South and the mythic stories of cowboys in the West, to the present-day controversy over NFL protests and the backlash against the rise of women in politics — Ijeoma Oluo exposes the devastating consequences of white male supremacy on women, people of color, and white men themselves.”

Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for A Fair America by Stacey Abrams “A recognized expert on fair voting and civic engagement, Abrams chronicles a chilling account of how the right to vote and the principle of democracy have been and continue to be under attack.”

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell In this thoughtful treatise spurred by the 2015 death of African-American academic Sandra Bland in jail after a traffic stop, New Yorker writer Gladwell aims to figure out the strategies people use to assess strangers-to "analyze, critique them, figure out where they came from, figure out how to fix them," in other words: to understand how to balance trust and safety. He uses a variety of examples from history and recent headlines to illustrate that people size up the motivations, emotions, and trustworthiness of those they don't know both wrongly and with misplaced confidence

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek In infinite games, like business or politics or life itself, the players come and go, the rules are changeable, and there is no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers in an infinite game; there is only ahead and behind. In this revelatory new book, Simon Sinek offers a framework for leading with an infinite mindset. Leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. Ultimately, they are the ones who lead us into the future

The Power Manual: How to Master Complex Power Dynamics by Cyndi Suarez All social relations are laden with power. Getting out from under dominant power relations and mastering power dynamics is perhaps the most essential skill for change agents across all sectors seeking to ignite positive change in the world.

The Power Paradox : How We Gain and Lose Influence by Dacher Keltner A revolutionary and timely reconsideration of everything we know about power. Celebrated UC Berkeley psychologist Dr. Dacher Keltner argues that compassion and selflessness enable us to have the most influence over others and the result is power as a force for good in the world. Enduring power comes from empathy and giving. Above all, power is given to us by other people. This is what all-too-often we forget, and what Dr. Keltner sets straight. This is the crux of the power paradox: by fundamentally misunderstanding the behaviors that helped us to gain power in the first place we set ourselves up to fall from power.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know by Adam Grant Think Again is a book about the benefit of doubt, and about how we can get better at embracing the unknown and the joy of being wrong. Evidence has shown that creative geniuses are not attached to one identity but constantly willing to rethink their stances, that leaders who admit they don't know something and seek critical feedback lead more productive and innovative teams, and that our greatest presidents have been open to updating their views. The new science of intellectual humility shows that as a mindset and a skillset, rethinking can be taught, and Grant explains how to develop the necessary qualities.

· Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman has brought together his many years of research and thinking in one book. He explains the two systems that drive the way we think. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives, and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. This author's work has transformed cognitive psychology and launched the new fields of behavioral economics and happiness studies. In this book, he takes us on a tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think and the way we make choices.

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