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Books to Watch | August 30, 2022

August 30, 2022

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Looking for your next great read? We're here to help! Each week, our marketing team—Dylan Schleicher (DJJS), Gabbi Cisneros (GMC), Emily Porter (EPP), and Jasmine Gonzalez (JAG)—highlights four newly released books we are most excited about. 

Book descriptions are provided by the publisher unless otherwise noted.

This week, our choices are:

Beloved Economies: Transforming How We Work by Jess Rimington and Joanna Levitt Cea, Page Two (JAG) 

From rising inequality, to systemized oppression, and an increasing consolidation of wealth, it’s clear that work isn’t working for us anymore. Rather, it’s working for a select few. What changes can we implement at all levels of organizations, now, to make them healthier and more just? 
 
Based on six years of research, Beloved Economies offers seven practices for individuals who are part of teams within enterprises—from businesses to nonprofits, farms, and after-school groups—to build economic realities of more purpose, meaning, and joy. 
 
In their work with a range of communities and leading voices across the US who are building a next economy, research practitioners Jess Rimington and Joanna Cea have found that when individuals commit to these practices, they transform their enterprises to become more of an emerging system that expands economic imagination. Working in this way awakens us to the fact that our economies can be about mutual cooperation and should exist to facilitate our need to thrive. 
 
Beloved Economies shows that large-scale change does not require a policy prescription or a degree in economics; it turns out intentionally transforming how we work on our teams is a powerful lever for broader economic change. Work can work for us all, and we can build an economic future that we can all love. 

 

California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas and Electric—and What It Means for America's Power Grid by Katherine Blunt, Portfolio (DJJS) 

Pacific Gas and Electric was a legacy company built by innovators and visionaries, establishing California as a desirable home and economic powerhouse. In California Burning, Wall Street Journal reporter and Pulitzer finalist Katherine Blunt examines how that legacy fell apart—unraveling a long history of deadly failures in which Pacific Gas and Electric endangered millions of Northern Californians, through criminal neglect of its infrastructure. As PG&E prioritized profits and politics, power lines went unchecked—until a rusted hook purchased for 56 cents in 1921 split in two, sparking the deadliest wildfire in California history. 
 
Beginning with PG&E’s public reckoning after the Paradise fire, Blunt chronicles the evolution of PG&E’s shareholder base, from innovators who built some of California's first long-distance power lines to aggressive investors keen on reaping dividends. Following key players through pivotal decisions and legal battles, California Burning reveals the forces that shaped the plight of PG&E: deregulation and market-gaming led by Enron Corp., an unyielding push for renewable energy, and a swift increase in wildfire risk throughout the West, while regulators and lawmakers pushed their own agendas. 
 
California Burning is a deeply reported, character-driven narrative, the story of a disaster expanding into a much bigger exploration of accountability. It’s an American tragedy that serves as a cautionary tale for utilities across the nation—especially as climate change makes aging infrastructure more vulnerable, with potentially fatal consequences. 

 

Escape into Meaning: Essays on Superman, Public Benches, and Other Obsessions by Evan Puschak, Atria Books (GMC) 

As YouTube’s The Nerdwriter, Evan Puschak plays the polymath, posing questions and providing answers across a wide range of fields—from the power of a split diopter shot in Toy Story 4 to the political dangers of schadenfreude. Now, he brings that same insatiable curiosity and striking wit to this engaging and unputdownable essay collection. 
 
Perfect for fans of Trick Mirror and the writing of John Hodgman and Chuck Klosterman, Escape into Meaning is a compendium of fascinating insights into obsession. Whether you’re interested in the philosophy of Jerry Seinfeld or how Clark Kent is the real hero, there’s something for everyone in this effervescent collection. 

 

Tomorrow in Shanghai: Stories by May-lee Chai, Blair (EPP) 

In a vibrant and illuminating follow-up to her award-winning story collection, Useful Phrases for Immigrants, May-lee Chai’s latest collection Tomorrow in Shanghai explores multicultural complexities through lenses of class, wealth, age, gender, and sexuality—always tracking the nuanced, knotty, and intricate exchanges of interpersonal and institutional power.  

These stories transport the reader, variously: to rural China, where a city doctor harvests organs to fund a wedding and a future for his family; on a vacation to France, where a white mother and her biracial daughter cannot escape their fraught relationship; inside the unexpected romance of two Chinese-American women living abroad in China; and finally, to a future Chinese colony on Mars, where an aging working-class woman lands a job as a nanny. Chai's stories are essential reading for an increasingly globalized world. 

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