Why do we read? We read to escape. We read to learn. And we read for this bright, shining moment of illumination where we understand something, or know something, we didn’t know before. Most of us read because we’re curious — about someone’s life, a certain topic, a fictional world, or a particular place.
Looking for a good book to dig into? Below you’ll find a list of books, in no particular order, that have inspired, or even illuminated, something in me.
See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur “In a world stricken with fear and turmoil,” said Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, “Valarie Kaur shows us how to summon our deepest wisdom.”
The Constitution of Knowledge by Jonathan Rauch “In what could be the timeliest book of the year, Rauch aims to arm his readers to engage with reason in an age of illiberalism,” wrote Juliana Rose Pignataro from Newsweek. “Nothing is off limits in this ingenious work which builds on his Kindly Inquisitors. Anyone curious about the state of American discourse and culture will devour it.”
Curious by Ian Leslie "Leslie delineates the various types of curiosity and what might be lost as we lean on search engines and offload our memories to cloud storage,” wrote The New York Times Book Review. “He's at his best when considering how socioeconomic conditions impede curiosity."
The Soul of America by Jon Meacham This was one of Oprah's "Books That Help Me Through!" She said it’s because “it reminds us that previous dark chapters in our nation’s history have been temporary, and we emerged from them.”
High Conflict by Amanda Ripley Robert Cialdini, the author of Influence and Pre-Suasion, said, “Ripley brilliantly illuminates the forces driving us to build impenetrable walls between ourselves and differing others, as well as the forces empowering us to build bridges over those walls.”
Together by Vivek Murthy “Together is an extraordinary and essential book for our time,” wrote Ben Silbermann, the CEO and cofounder of Pinteret “With powerful stories and sobering truths, Dr. Murthy does a masterful job of showing how, even in the digital age, there’s no substitute for authentic human connection.”
Crucial Conversations by Patterson This book is a classic in the business world and beyond on learning how to keep your cool and be heard when emotions flare up. As Dain M. Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, put it, "Most books make promises. This one delivers.”
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt "It may well change how you think and talk about politics, religion and human nature,” wrote NPR. It sure did for me.
Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle This book will inspire us to do something we need to do more of — just talk to each other, face-to-face. Publishers Weekly said, “This book makes a winning case for conversation, at the family dinner table or in the office, as the ‘talking cure’ for societal and emotional ills.”
Dignity by Chris Arnade This book is about those who have been forgotten in what Arnade calls “back row America.” I couldn’t put it down. As Matthew Walther from The Week summed up, “Dignity is one of the best nonfiction books published in my lifetime.”