The 2022 Porchlight Business Book Awards Longlist is here! 

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Books to Watch | June 7, 2022

June 07, 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:

Build the Damn Thing: How to Start a Successful Business If You're Not a Rich White Guy by Kathryn Finney, Portfolio (JAG) 

Build the Damn Thing is a hard-won, battle-tested guide for every entrepreneur who the establishment has left out. Finney, an investor and startup champion, explains how to build a business from the ground up, from developing a business plan to finding investors, growing a team, and refining a product. Finney empowers entrepreneurs to take advantage of their unique networks and resources; arms readers with responses to investors who say, “great pitch but I just don’t do Black women”; and inspires them to overcome naysayers while remaining “100% That B*tch.” 
 
Don’t wait for the system to let you in—break down the door and build your damn thing. For all the Builders striving to build their businesses in a world that has overlooked and underestimated them: this is the essential guide to knowing, breaking, remaking and building your own rules of entrepreneurship in a startup and investing world designed for and by the “Entitleds.”

 

Fabric: The Hidden History of the Material World by Victoria Finlay, Pegasus Books (DJJS) 

How is a handmade fabric helping save an ancient forest? 
Why is a famous fabric pattern from India best known by the name of a Scottish town? 
How is a Chinese dragon robe a diagram of the whole universe? 
What is the difference between how the Greek Fates and the Viking Norns used threads to tell our destiny? 
 
In Fabric, bestselling author Victoria Finlay spins us round the globe, weaving stories of our relationship with cloth and asking how and why people through the ages have made it, worn it, invented it, and made symbols out of it. And sometimes why they have fought for it. 
 
She beats the inner bark of trees into cloth in Papua New Guinea, fails to handspin cotton in Guatemala, visits tweed weavers at their homes in Harris, and has lessons in patchwork-making in Gee's Bend, Alabama - where in the 1930s, deprived of almost everything they owned, a community of women turned quilting into an art form. 
 
She began her research just after the deaths of both her parents —and entwined in the threads she found her personal story too. Fabric is not just a material history of our world, but Finlay's own journey through grief and recovery. 

 

How to Survive the Modern World: Making Sense Of, and Finding Calm In, Unsteady Times by The School of Life, Alain de Botton (Series edited by), The School of Life (GMC) 

The modern world has brought us a range of extraordinary benefits and joys, including technology, medicine, and transportation. But with these advances, it seems, we've also seen an increase in greed, despair, and agitation.  

How to Survive the Modern World is the ultimate guide to navigating our unusual times. The book tackles our relationship to the news, our identities, our careers, our relationship to the natural world, our admiration for science and technology, our belief in individualism and secularism - and our suspicion of quiet and solitude.  

This book helps us form a calmer, more authentic, more resilient, and more light-hearted relationship to the complexities of our age. If modern times can feel like a disease, this book is both the diagnosis and the soothing, hope-filled cure. 

 

Somewhere We Are Human: Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival, and New Beginnings by Reyna Grande, Sonia Guiñansaca, Harper Via (EPP) 

In the overheated debate about immigration, we often lose sight of the humanity at the heart of this complex issue. The immigrants and refugees living precariously in the United States are mothers and fathers, children, neighbors, and friends. Individuals propelled by hope and fear, they gamble their lives on the promise of America, yet their voices are rarely heard. 

This anthology of essays, poetry, and art seeks to shift the immigration debate—now shaped by rancorous stereotypes and xenophobia—towards one rooted in humanity and justice. Through their storytelling and art, the contributors to this thought-provoking book remind us that they are human still. Transcending their current immigration status, they offer nuanced portraits of their existence before and after migration, the factors behind their choices, the pain of leaving their homeland and beginning anew in a strange country, and their collective hunger for a future not defined by borders.  

Created entirely by undocumented or formerly undocumented migrants, Somewhere We Are Human is a journey of memory and yearning from people newly arrived to America, those who have been here for decades, and those who have ultimately chosen to leave or were deported. Touching on themes of race, class, gender, nationality, sexuality, politics, and parenthood, Somewhere We Are Human reveals how joy, hope, mourning, and perseverance can take root in the toughest soil and bloom in the harshest conditions.

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