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Books to Watch | October 4, 2022

October 04, 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:

After Life: A Collective History of Loss and Redemption in Pandemic America edited by Rhae Lynn Barnes, Keri Leigh Merritt, and Yohuru Williams, Haymarket Books (DJJS) 

After Life is a collective history of how Americans experienced, navigated, commemorated, and ignored mass death and loss during the global COVID-19 pandemic, mass uprisings for racial justice, and the near presidential coup in 2021 following the 2020 election. Inspired by the writers who documented American life during the Great Depression and World War II for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the editors asked twenty-first-century historians and legal experts to focus on the parallels, convergences, and differences between the exceptional "long 2020", while it unfolds, and earlier eras in U.S. History. 
 
Providing context for the entire volume, After Life’s Introduction explains how COVID-19 and America's long history of inequality, combined with a corrupt and unconcerned federal government, produced one of the darkest times in our nation’s history. Discussing the rise of the COVID-19 death toll in the United States, eventually exceeding the 1918 flu, the AIDS epidemic, and the Civil War, it ties public health, immigration, white supremacy, elections history, and epidemics together, and provides a short history of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 and the beginnings of a Third Reconstruction. 
 
After Life documents how Americans have dealt with grief, pain, and loss, both individually and communally, and how we endure and thrive. The title is an affirmation that even in our suspended half-living during lockdowns and quarantines, we are a nation of survivors—with an unprecedented chance to rebuild society in a more equitable way. 

 

Creative Hustle: Blaze Your Own Path and Make Work That Matters by Olatunde Sobomehin, Sam Seidel, Stanford d.school, and Khristopher "Squint" Sandifer, Ten Speed Press (GMC) 

Humans have always been creative hustlers—problem solvers who seek to live beyond the limits suggested by society. Yet we live in a world where the place you were born, the amount of money you have, and the level of melanin in your skin indicate the precise path you are expected to follow. Too many of us silence our creativity and let our hustle calcify as we settle for the roles assigned to us. 
  
Now Olatunde Sobomehin and sam seidel, co-teachers of the Creative Hustle course at Stanford University, help you identify and navigate your own creative path that leads from your gifts—your unique combination of skills—to your goals, where you make a living doing things that matter. 
  
You'll learn about other creative hustlers, like Bryant Terry, who merged his passions for social justice and African American cuisine to become an award-winning eco-chef and cookbook author; Sian Heder, who used her desire to deeply understand herself and others to make award-winning films that add to the cultural conversation; and author/TV host Ayesha Curry, who aligns her professional and personal decisions with her core values. 
  
Taking inspiration and lessons from these creative problem-solvers and using activities from the Creative Hustle course, you will begin to see and shape your own path—and follow it to the fulfillment of your goals. 

 

Eco-Types: Five Ways of Caring about the Environment by Emily Huddart Kennedy, Princeton University Press (EPP) 

When we picture the ideal environmentalist, we likely have in mind someone who dedicates herself to reducing her own environmental footprint through individual choices about consumption—driving a fuel-efficient car, for example, or eating less meat, or refusing plastic straws. This is a benchmark that many aspire to—and many others reject. In Eco-Types, Emily Huddart Kennedy shows that there is more than one way to care about the environment, outlining a spectrum of eco-social relationships that range from engagement to indifference. 
 
Drawing on three years of interviews and research, Kennedy describes five archetypal relationships with the environment: the Eco-Engaged, often politically liberal, who have an acute level of concern about the environment, a moral commitment to protect it, and the conviction that an individual can make a difference; the Self-Effacing, who share the Eco-Engaged’s concerns but not the belief in their own efficacy; the Optimists, often politically conservative, who are confident in their relationship with the environment, doubt the severity of environmental problems, and resent insinuations that they don’t care; the Fatalists, who are pessimistic about environmental decline and feel little responsibility to adopt environment-friendly habits; and the Indifferent, who have no affinity for any part of the environmental movement. 
 
Kennedy argues that when liberals feel they have a moral monopoly on environmental issues, polarization results. If we are serious about protecting the planet, we must acknowledge that we don’t all need to care about the environment in the same way. 

 

The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity, and Love in the Digital Age by Danielle Keats Citron, W.W. Norton (JAG) 

Privacy is disappearing. From our sex lives to our workout routines, the details of our lives once relegated to pen and paper have joined the slipstream of new technology. As a MacArthur fellow and distinguished professor of law at the University of Virginia, acclaimed civil rights advocate Danielle Citron has spent decades working with lawmakers and stakeholders across the globe to protect what she calls intimate privacy—encompassing our bodies, health, gender, and relationships. When intimate privacy becomes data, corporations know exactly when to flash that ad for a new drug or pregnancy test. Social and political forces know how to manipulate what you think and who you trust, leveraging sensitive secrets and deepfake videos to ruin or silence opponents. And as new technologies invite new violations, people have power over one another like never before, from revenge porn to blackmail, attaching life-altering risks to growing up, dating online, or falling in love. 

A masterful new look at privacy in the twenty-first century, The Fight for Privacy takes the focus off Silicon Valley moguls to investigate the price we pay as technology migrates deeper into every aspect of our lives: entering our bedrooms and our bathrooms and our midnight texts; our relationships with friends, family, lovers, and kids; and even our relationship with ourselves. 

Drawing on in-depth interviews with victims, activists, and advocates, Citron brings this headline issue home for readers by weaving together visceral stories about the countless ways that corporate and individual violators exploit privacy loopholes. Exploring why the law has struggled to keep up, she reveals how our current system leaves victims—particularly women, LGBTQ+ people, and marginalized groups—shamed and powerless while perpetrators profit, warping cultural norms around the world. 

Yet there is a solution to our toxic relationship with technology and privacy: fighting for intimate privacy as a civil right. Collectively, Citron argues, citizens, lawmakers, and corporations have the power to create a new reality where privacy is valued and people are protected as they embrace what technology offers. Introducing readers to the trailblazing work of advocates today, Citron urges readers to join the fight. Your intimate life shouldn’t be traded for profit or wielded against you for power: it belongs to you. With Citron as our guide, we can take back control of our data and build a better future for the next, ever more digital, generation. 

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