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Books to Watch | March 1, 2022

March 01, 2022

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Each and every week, our marketing team—Dylan Schleicher (DJJS), Gabbi Cisneros (GMC), and Emily Porter (EPP)—highlights a few new books we are most excited about.

This week, our choices are:

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Humanity Is Trying: Experiments in Living with Grief, Finding Connection, and Resisting Easy Answers by Jason Gots, Hanover Square Press (EPP) 

You could say this book is about a series of experiments—some impulsive and foolish, others grandiose, and still others that strive for honesty, humility, and timing to yield some promising results. Experiments in connection with self and others in spite of the enormous gulf that yawns between your subjective experience and mine and all that is lost in translation when we try to find the middle ground. 

Humanity is Trying is itself an experiment in resurrecting two people—a sister and a best friend—from beneath the sad stories of their deaths. Because we are not our stories, not reducible to that, however compelling they may be. 

Driven by the losses of his best friend, John, and sister, Meri, Jason Gots looks back on their lives and his own, how they shaped each other in life and how their deaths drove him as an artist, musician, and creator of the podcasts Clever Creature and Think Again.  

 

Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work by Ruchika Tulshyan, The MIT Press (DJJS) 

Few would disagree that inclusion is both the right thing to do and good for business. Then why are we so terrible at it? If we believe in the morality and the profitability of including people of diverse and underestimated backgrounds in the workplace, why don’t we do it? Because, explains Ruchika Tulshyan in this eye-opening book, we don’t realize that inclusion takes awareness, intention, and regular practice. Inclusion doesn’t just happen; we have to work at it. Tulshyan presents inclusion best practices, showing how leaders and organizations can meaningfully promote inclusion and diversity.  

Tulshyan centers the workplace experience of women of color, who are subject to both gender and racial bias. It is at the intersection of gender and race, she shows, that we discover the kind of inclusion policies that benefit all. Tulshyan debunks the idea of the “level playing field” and explains how leaders and organizations can use their privilege for good by identifying and exposing bias, knowing that they typically have less to lose in speaking up than a woman of color does. She explains why “leaning in” doesn’t work—and dismantling structural bias does; warns against hiring for “culture fit,” arguing for “culture add” instead; and emphasizes the importance of psychological safety in the workplace—you need to know that your organization has your back. With this important book, Tulshyan shows us how we can make progress toward inclusion and diversity—and we must start now. 

 

Promotions Are So Yesterday: Redefine Career Development. Help Employees Thrive by Julie Winkle Giulioni, Association for Talent Development (GMC) 

Career development is so much more than promotions alone, and managers are in a powerful position to redefine career development and create positive results for their employees and their organizations in this area. Julie Winkle Giulioni offers you a new approach for developing your employees’ careers and helping them thrive in a company when promotions are not readily available. You will gain a new perspective on career development and practical tools through an easy-to-apply framework of seven alternative dimensions of development (contribution, competence, confidence, connection, challenge, contentment, and choice) that will engage your employees—dynamic opportunities for growth that are completely within your control as a manager. 

The time-honored tradition of defining career development exclusively in terms of promotions, moves, and title changes is dead. Beyond, between, and besides the climb up the positional ladder, there are many other ways that employees can—and want to—grow. However, many organizations still operate under the notion that promotions are the only option for career development, leaving employees disengaged, managers frustrated, and the business disadvantaged in its efforts to retain talent. The good news is that career development is so much more than promotions alone, and managers are in a powerful position to redefine career development and create positive results for their employees and their organizations in this area. In Promotions Are So Yesterday, Julie Winkle Giulioni offers you a new approach for developing your employees’ careers and helping them thrive in a company when promotions are not readily available. Discover an easy-to-apply framework of seven alternative dimensions of development (contribution, competence, confidence, connection, challenge, contentment, and choice) that will engage your employees—dynamic opportunities for growth that are completely within your control as a manager. Promotions Are So Yesterday is filled with practical advice, nearly 100 questions to spark reflection and productive dialogue, and actionable templates and tools that managers can use with employees. Help bring your employees and your organization to even greater achievement with a strategy that will increase your employees’ job satisfaction, performance, knowledge, and skills, and strengthen your organization’s workforce. 

 

Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America by Megan Kate Nelson, Scribner (EPP) 

Each year nearly four million people visit Yellowstone National Park—one of the most popular of all national parks—but few know the fascinating and complex historical context in which it was established. In late July 1871, the geologist-explorer Ferdinand Hayden led a team of scientists through a narrow canyon into Yellowstone Basin, entering one of the last unmapped places in the country. The survey’s discoveries led to the passage of the Yellowstone Act in 1872, which created the first national park in the world.

Now, author Megan Kate Nelson examines the larger context of this American moment, illuminating Hayden’s survey as a national project meant to give Americans a sense of achievement and unity in the wake of a destructive civil war. Saving Yellowstone follows Hayden and two other protagonists in pursuit of their own agendas: Sitting Bull, a Lakota leader who asserted his peoples’ claim to their homelands, and financier Jay Cooke, who wanted to secure his national reputation by building the Northern Pacific Railroad through the Great Northwest. Hayden, Cooke, and Sitting Bull staked their claims to Yellowstone at a critical moment in Reconstruction, when the Grant Administration and the 42nd Congress were testing the reach and the purpose of federal power across the nation.

A narrative of adventure and exploration, Saving Yellowstone is also a story of Indigenous resistance, the expansive reach of railroad, photographic, and publishing technologies, and the struggles of Black southerners to bring racial terrorists to justice. It reveals how the early 1870s were a turning point in the nation’s history, as white Americans ultimately abandoned the the higher ideal of equality for all people, creating a much more fragile and divided United States.

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