January 30, 2024
January 30, 2024
Finding the right book at the right time can transform your life or your organization. We help you discover your next great read by showcasing four recently released titles each week.
The books are chosen by Porchlight's Managing Director, Sally Haldorson, and the marketing team: Dylan Schleicher, Gabbi Cisneros, and Jasmine Gonzalez. (Book descriptions are provided by the publisher unless otherwise noted.)
This week, our choices are:
Sally’s pick: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World—and How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo, HarperOne
In the #1 New York Times bestseller So You Want To Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo offered a vital guide for how to talk about important issues of race and racism in society. In Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America, she discussed the ways in which white male supremacy has had an impact on our systems, our culture, and our lives throughout American history. But now that we better understand these systems of oppression, the question is this: What can we do about them?
With Be A Revolution: How Everyday People are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World—and How You Can, Too, Oluo aims to show how people across America are working to create real positive change in our structures. Looking at many of our most powerful systems—like education, media, labor, health, housing, policing, and more—she highlights what people are doing to create change for intersectional racial equity. She also illustrates various ways in which the reader can find entryways into change in these same areas, or can bring some of this important work being done elsewhere to where they live.
This book aims to not only be educational, but to inspire action and change. Oluo wishes to take our conversations on race and racism out of a place of pure pain and trauma, and into a place of loving action. Be A Revolution is both an urgent chronicle of this important moment in history, as well as an inspiring and restorative call for action.
Dylan’s pick: The Friction Project: How Smart Leaders Make the Right Things Easier and the Wrong Things Harder by Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao, St. Martin’s Press
The definitive guide to eliminating the forces that make it harder, more complicated, or downright impossible to get things done in organizations.
Every workplace is clogged with destructive friction—the convoluted, time-consuming, and soul-crushing gyrations that drive people crazy and undermine organizational performance. Countless employees, executives, and customers bemoan hours lost to mazes of red tape, “efficiency tools” that become anything but, and clueless leaders who pile on needless complexity, all of which make it far too difficult to get necessary things done at work. And yet, striving toward a “frictionless organization” is a misguided goal, because too many organizations also make the wrong things too easy to do. Half-baked ideas and technologies that attempt to dampen friction often make things even worse, eating away at our energy, creativity, and productivity.
Bestselling authors Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao have spent the last decade studying what ought to be easy and what ought to be hard in organizations, and how to change things for the better. Drawing from a deep well of research, case studies, and hundreds of engagements with top companies, The Friction Project reveals just how widespread this affliction is, and charts a roadmap for readers to take up the mantle and blaze a path out of the muck. Sutton and Rao tease out the most common and destructive forms of friction, and share proven tactics, tools, and practices that can help us avert these traps and move forward. Ultimately, The Friction Project makes the case for a new philosophy that empowers us to build positive, productive, and humane organizations that make life better for their people and those they serve.
Jasmine’s pick: Race Rules: What Your Black Friend Won’t Tell You by Fatimah Gilliam, Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Race Rules is an innovative, practical manual for white people of the unwritten rules relating to race, explaining the unvarnished truth about racist and offensive white behaviors. It offers a unique lens from Fatimah Gilliam, a light-skinned Black woman, and is informed by the revealing things white people say when they don't realize she's Black.
Presented as a series of race rules, this book has each chapter tackling a specific topic many people of color wish white people understood. Combining history and explanations with practical advice, it goes beyond the theoretical by focusing on what's implementable.
Gilliam addresses issues such as:
- Racial blinders and misperceptions
- White privilege
- Racial stereotypes
- Everyday choices and behaviors that cause racial harm
Introducing a straightforward universal three-step framework to unlearn racism and challenge misconceptions, this book offers readers a chance to change behaviors and shift mindsets to better navigate cross-racial interactions and relationships. Through its race etiquette guidelines, it teaches white people to become action-oriented racism disruptors instead of silent, complicit supporters of white supremacy.
Gabbi’s pick: Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet by Chris Dixon, Random House
The internet of today is a far cry from its early promise of a decentralized, democratic network of innovation, connection, and freedom. In the past decade, it has fallen almost entirely under the control of a very small group of companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. In Read Write Own, tech visionary Chris Dixon argues that the dream of an open network for fostering creativity and entrepreneurship doesn’t have to die and can, in fact, be saved with blockchain networks. He separates this movement, which aims to provide a solid foundation for everything from social networks to artificial intelligence to virtual worlds, from cryptocurrency speculation—a distinction he calls “the computer vs. the casino.”
With lucid and compelling prose—drawing from a 25-year career in the software industry—Dixon shows how the internet has undergone three distinct eras, bringing us to the critical moment we’re in today. The first was the “read” era, in which early networks democratized information. In the “read-write” era, corporate networks democratized publishing. We are now in the midst of the “read-write-own” era, sometimes called web3, in which blockchain networks are granting power and economic benefits to communities of users, not just corporations.
Read Write Own is a must-read for anyone—internet users, business leaders, creators, entrepreneurs—who wants to understand where we’ve been and where we’re going. It provides a vision for a better internet and a playbook to navigate and build the future.