Books to Watch | March 8, 2022
March 08, 2022
This week, our choices are:
I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times by Moníca Guzman, BenBella Books (DJJS)
Journalist Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted—twice—for Donald Trump. When the country could no longer see straight across the political divide, Mónica set out to find what was blinding us and discovered the most eye-opening tool we’re not using: our own built-in curiosity.
Partisanship is up, trust is down, and our social media feeds make us sure we’re right and everyone else is ignorant (or worse). But avoiding one another is hurting our relationships and our society.
In this timely, personal guide, Mónica, the chief storyteller for the national cross-partisan depolarization organization Braver Angels, takes you to the real front lines of a crisis that threatens to grind America to a halt—broken conversations among confounded people. She shows you how to overcome the fear and certainty that surround us to finally do what only seems impossible: understand and even learn from people in your life whose whole worldview is different from or even opposed to yours.
Drawing from cross-partisan conversations she’s had, organized, or witnessed everywhere from the echo chambers on social media to the wheat fields in Oregon to raw, unfiltered fights with her own family on election night, Mónica shows how you can put your natural sense of wonder to work for you immediately, finding the answers you need by talking with people—rather than about them—and asking the questions you want, curiously.
Mastering Community: The Surprising Ways Coming Together Moves Us from Surviving to Thriving by Christine Porath, Balance (EPP)
Despite our deep desire to feel a sense of belonging, many of us feel isolated. The rise of technology and modern workplace practices have led people to be even more disconnected, even as we remain constantly contactable. And as our human interactions have decreased, so too have our happiness levels. This is sparking a crisis in mental health that will have repercussions for years, leaving people lonelier and organizations less productive and profitable, too. What Christine Porath has discovered in her research is that leaders, organizations, and managers of all stripes may recognize there is a cost but have few solutions for how to implement the cure: Community.
With her signature depth and grasp of research across myriad industries including business, healthcare, hospitality, and sports, Porath extrapolates from the statistics on the experiences of hundreds of thousands of people across six continents to show us the potential for change. Through uniting people and sharing information, unleashing them with autonomy, creating a respectful environment, practicing radical candor, providing a sense of meaning, and boosting personal well-being, anyone can help a community truly flourish. The applications of Porath’s findings are endless, and the stories and case studies are positive and uplifting. This insightful exploration of the real nature of community-building will inspire readers to unite and grow their communities—be it in the workplace, the PTA, sports, or places of worship—and make them thrive.
Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times by Azar Nafisi, Dey Street Books (GMC)
What is the role of literature in an era when the president wages war on writers and the press? What is the connection between political strife in our daily lives, and the way we meet our enemies on the page in fiction? How can literature, through its free exchange, affect politics?
In this galvanizing guide to resistance literature, Nafisi seeks to answer these questions. Drawing on her experiences as a woman and voracious reader living in the Islamic Republic of Iran, her life as an immigrant in the United States, and her role as literature professor in both countries, she crafts an argument for why, in a genuine democracy, we must engage with the enemy, and how literature can be a vehicle for doing so.
Structured as a series of letters to her father, Baba, who taught her as a child about how literature can rescue us in times of trauma, Nafisi explores the most probing questions of our time through the works of Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, and more.
Split the Pie: A Radical New Way to Negotiate by Barry Nalebuff, Harper Business (DJJS)
Negotiations are incredibly stressful and can bring out the worst in people. Wouldn’t it be better if there were a principled way to negotiate? Wouldn’t it be even better if there were a way to treat people fairly and get treated fairly in a negotiation?
Split the Pie offers a new approach that does both—a field-tested method that reframes how negotiations play out. Barry Nalebuff, a professor at Yale School of Management, helps identify what’s really at stake in a negotiation: the “pie.” The negotiation pie is the additional value created through an agreement to work together. Seeing the relevant pie will change how you think about fairness and power in negotiation. You’ll learn how to get half the value you create, no matter your size.
Filled with examples and in-depth case studies, Split the Pie is a practical and theory-based approach to negotiation. You’ll see how it helped reframe a high-stakes negotiation when Coca-Cola purchased Honest Tea, a company Barry cofounded with his former student Seth Goldman. The pie framework also works for everyday negotiations. You’ll learn how to deploy logic to determine truly equitable solutions and employ empathy to expand the pie and sell your solution. Split the Pie allows both sides to focus their energy on making the biggest possible pie—to have your pie and eat it too.