New Releases | November 8, 2022
November 08, 2022
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:
Conversations with Birds by Priyanka Kumar, Milkweed Editions (EPP)
So begins this lively collection of essays by acclaimed filmmaker and novelist Priyanka Kumar. Growing up at the feet of the Himalayas in northern India, Kumar took for granted her immersion in a lush natural world. After moving to North America as a teenager, she found herself increasingly distanced from more than human life, and discouraged by the civilization she saw contributing to its destruction. It was only in her twenties, living in Los Angeles and working on films, that she began to rediscover her place in the landscape -- and in the cosmos -- by way of watching birds.
Tracing her movements across the American West, this stirring collection of essays brings the avian world richly to life. Kumar’s perspective is not that of a list keeper, counting and cataloguing species. Rather, from the mango-colored western tanager that rescues her from a bout of altitude sickness in Sequoia National Park to ancient sandhill cranes in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, and from the snowy plovers building shallow nests with bits of shell and grass to the white-breasted nuthatch that regularly visits the apricot tree behind her family’s casita in Sante Fe, for Kumar, birds “become a portal to a more vivid, enchanted world.”
At a time when climate change, habitat loss, and the reckless use of pesticides are causing widespread extinction of species, Kumar’s reflections on these messengers from our distant past and harbingers of our future offer luminous evidence of her suggestion that “seeds of transformation lie dormant in all of our hearts. Sometimes it just takes the right bird to awaken us.”
For Profit: A History of Corporations by William Magnuson, Basic Books (DJJS)
Americans have long been skeptical of corporations, and that skepticism has only grown more intense in recent years. Meanwhile, corporations continue to amass wealth and power at a dizzying rate, recklessly pursuing profit while leaving society to sort out the costs.
In For Profit, law professor William Magnuson argues that the story of the corporation didn’t have to come to this. Throughout history, he finds, corporations have been purpose-built to benefit the societies that surrounded them. Corporations enabled everything from the construction of ancient Rome’s roads and aqueducts to the artistic flourishing of the Renaissance to the rise of the middle class in the twentieth century. By recapturing this original spirit of civic virtue, Magnuson argues, corporations can help craft a society in which all of us—not just shareholders—benefit from the profits of enterprise.
The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion by Ella F. Washington, Harvard Business Review Press (JAG)
"What does a workplace utopia look like to you?"
This is the question Dr. Ella F. Washington asks company leaders, and often she hears about an ideal vision of an organization that values diversity and inclusion and wants employees to bring their whole selves to work.
But how can you get there? Organizations have largely missed the mark when it comes to creating environments where all employees thrive in an equal and equitable way, because they treat diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a program that gets done rather than the necessary and difficult journey it is. A truly inclusive workplace requires invention and reinvention, mistakes and humility, adaptation to a changing world, constant reflection, and sometimes significant sacrifice.
The road to an inclusive workplace is a difficult one, but you can traverse it, and there's help along the way. Start here with stories of companies making the necessary journey, including Slack, PwC, Best Buy, Denny's, and many others. Hear from company leaders about their successes and failures, the times they were on the vanguard, and the moments they realized they had much more work to do. These are profiles in perseverance from people who are keen enough to recognize the need for inclusive workplaces and humble enough to know they're not there yet. Along the way, Washington provides a framework for thinking about where these companies are on their journeys and where you and your company may be too.
Progress is hard won on the necessary journey to becoming an inclusive organization, but it must be won. John Lewis said it best: "You see something you want to get done, you cannot give up, and you cannot give in."
True Reconciliation: How to Be a Force for Change by Jody Wilson-Raybould, McClelland & Stewart (GMC)
There is one question Canadians have asked Jody Wilson-Raybould more than any other: What can I do to help advance reconciliation? This has been true from her time as a leader of British Columbia’s First Nations, as a Member of Parliament, as Minister of Justice and Attorney General, within the business communities she interacts, and when having conversations with people around their kitchen tables. Whether speaking as individuals, communities, organizations, or governments, people want to take concrete and tangible action that will make real change. They just need to know how to get started, or to take the next step. For Wilson-Raybould, what individuals and organizations need to do to advance true reconciliation is self-evident, accessible, and achievable.
True Reconciliation is broken down into three core practices—Learn, Understand, and Act—that can be applied by individuals, communities, organizations, and governments. They are based on the historical and contemporary experience of Indigenous peoples in their relentless efforts to effect transformative change and decolonization; and deep understanding and expertise about what has been effective in the past, what we are doing right, and wrong, today, and what our collective future requires. True Reconciliation, ultimately, is about building transformed patterns of just and harmonious relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples at all levels of society.
Throughout the book, the author shares her voice and experience with others who tell their stories, illustrated with helpful sidebars and infographics, as well as historical timelines. To help with the practices of learning, understanding, and acting, there is a planning guide at the end of the book—to help the reader translate words into action for themselves as individuals, for their communities, organizations, and governments at all levels. The ultimate and achievable goal of True Reconciliation is to break down the silos we've created that prevent meaningful change, to be empowered to increasingly act as ‘inbetweeners,’ and to take full advantage of this moment in our history to positively transform the country into a place we can all be proud of.