Reading plays a special part in my life. So, in celebration of National Literacy Month, I wanted to share some of the books that the team at the Case Foundation and I have had the opportunity to read recently. As you might imagine, I am drawn to stories of #BeFearless leaders and insights that help lead to inspiration. I hope these stories will motivate you to look at the world with renewed curiosity, appreciation and fearlessness.
I would love to hear from you with any reflections you have after reading one of these books or with additional books you think should be added to my reading list.
1. The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, by Melinda Gates – For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people across the world with the most urgent needs. In this riveting and inspiring book, Melinda provides an eyewitness account from her travels to some of the most desperate places in the world, where women are not regarded as equals and face challenges many of us will never know. You will be pulled in and lifted up by the stories of the fearless leaders she has found in communities all around the world and how she came away with the clear vision that if you want to lift a society up, you need to stop keeping women down.
2. First: Sandra Day O’Connor, by Evan Thomas – Evan Thomas shines a light on the background and upbringing of the first female Supreme Court Justice, expanding our understanding of a woman who repeatedly shattered glass ceilings and made a fundamental impact on American society. A great way to be inspired to continue to make a difference and stand up for the values and ideals you hold dear.
3. Presidents of War, by Michael Beschloss – Michael Bechloss continues to turn out books that I can’t put down and is an inspiration to all who have sought to author a book. Based on ten years of research, Presidents of War is a fresh, masterful, intimate look at a procession of American leaders as they took the nation into conflict and mobilized their country for victory. For those of us who love presidential history, this is a must-read.
4. The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, by Elaine Weiss – One hundred years ago, America was in the throes of a landmark battle over whether women should have the right to vote. Elaine Weiss’ book turns the clock back to a time where suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade, clash with a wide range of opposing forces who see Tennessee as the place where they are going to halt the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. In a riveting read, The Women’s Hour opens your eyes to this unique period and the battle lines that were drawn in the fight for this fundamental right.
5. American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race, by Douglas Brinkley – Inspired by the celebrations around the anniversary of Apollo 11 and the first moon landing? Douglas Brinkley’s book is a great way to gain insights not only on the space race but on the extraordinary political, cultural and scientific factors at play during that time.
6. Hugs Daily Inspirations for Women: 365 devotions to inspire your day, Looking for a way to work more reading into your busy schedule and to start the day with a shot of inspiration? Look no further. I find this book of devotionals an uplifting way to kick off the day and hope you will find the uplifting quotes and the inspirational scriptures as energizing as I do.
7. This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Farm, by Ted Genoways – Focusing on the plight of a longtime family farm from harvest to harvest, Ted Genoways offers a window into everything from family dynamics to the impacts of shifting trade policy and climate change as one family seeks to pass the land they have been farming for five generations to the next generation. This is sure to prompt some gripping discussions about the role the family farm in the future of our country.
8. Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from Our Culture of Contempt, by Arthur C. Brooks – In a time of political polarization, this New York Times bestselling author offers his vision of how we can reunite the nation around principles of respect, kindness and dignity. A perfect gift for the people in your life who are looking for a playbook to make a difference in our present political environment.
9. Leadership: In Turbulent Times, by Doris Kearns Goodwin – One of my favorite historians takes a close look at four presidents—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson—to examine how they cultivated the leadership qualities needed to both succeed politically, but also to fearlessly make decisions that upended the status quo. Close looks at key junctures like Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Teddy Roosevelt’s relations with labor unions, FDR’s first 100 days and the priority LBJ placed on civil rights provide inspiration and deeper understanding of the distinct methods that each of these leaders used to distinguish themselves.
10. Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World, by Tim Marshall – While we often learn about maps in school so we can find the 50 US states or to identify countries, Tim Marshall sheds new light onto the role maps play. In fact, maps and the geography and socio-economic activity they bring to life can have deep real-world impacts. And those who ignore these realities or neglect to truly understand the implications represented on maps, often miss key elements that can have grave consequences. The insights brought to life in this book may lead you to see the world in a different light.
11. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson – Bryan Stevenson is always inspiring, calling us all to act to make the world a better place through his visionary work. This book provides an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer bursting through assumptions to find success, as well as a moving window into the lives of those he has defended. Bryan builds a bold argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.
12. Raise Your Hand, by Alice Paul Tapper –11-year old Alice Tapper tells the story of how she made a real change in her own behavior and, working with her Girl Scout troop and her parents, inspired girls to be more confident in school after she noticed that the girls in her class weren’t participating as much as the boys. Raise Your Hand is a book for children that echoes many of the themes of Be Fearless and reminds us of the importance of self-confidence and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Alice’s fearless attitude can inspire us all to act and empower those around us.
Hoping that this wide range of books inspires your fall reading and opens your eyes to new ideas and perspectives, and inspire you to Be Fearless.