The 2021 Porchlight Business Book Awards longlist is here!

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Books to Watch | November 9, 2021

November 09, 2021

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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.

We are in the homestretch of our awards season, so our Staff Picks and Books to Watch feature will be on a sort of hiatus while we buckle down on our deliberations. We are still picking the books we are most excited about for our Books to Watch each week, but we will be using the publisher’s jacket copy instead of writing our own words about the books.  

This week, our choices are:

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The Interior Silence: My Encounters with Calm, Joy, and Compassion at 10 Monasteries Around the World by Sarah Sands, Chronicle Prism (GMC) 

A journey around the world to find tranquility, quiet the mind, and understand the power of silence. 
 
Suffering from information overload and unable to sleep, acclaimed journalist Sarah Sands tried countless strategies to de-stress, only to find temporary relief. Searching for something different, something lasting, Sands went on a quest to uncover ancient and proven wisdom for a happier, quieter, and more compassionate life. In this insightful and beautifully written book, Sands takes us along on her pilgrimage to ten monasteries around the world. 
 
In the remoteness of these sacred spaces, Sands observes a hidden knowledge held by monks and nuns—what she calls "the interior silence." Renouncing the material world, their inner concentration buoys them in an extraordinary weightlessness and freedom, an oasis of reflection. Behind the cloistered walls, Sands too finds a clarity of mind and an unexpected capacity for solitude. 
 
From a Coptic desert community in Egypt to a retreat in the Japanese mountains, discover another way of being—moving from appetite, envy, and anxiety to compassion and appreciation. The ultimate remedy for a digital age in which everyone is talking, and no one is listening, this book reminds us of the importance of silence and the power of stillness. 
 
BEYOND MINDFULNESS: The trendiness and explosion of books on meditation and mindfulness does not always solve our modern-day stressors or our fight-or-flight existence. The Interior Silence goes beyond new-age mindfulness to offer traditional wisdom from monks for quieting the mind and embracing simplicity. 
 
DISCOVER ANCIENT WISDOM: For spiritual readers and wisdom seekers, The Interior Silence takes you directly to the root of these ancient practices, learning from monastic life around the world. 
 
FOR ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS: For readers who enjoyed The Geography of Bliss, anyone who enjoys learning about new places and cultures, or for those craving a trip, this book will take you to the countryside's, deserts, and mountains of Japan, France, Egypt, Greece, and more. 

 

My Body by Emily Ratajkowski, Metropolitan Books (EPP) 

A deeply honest investigation of what it means to be a woman and a commodity from Emily Ratajkowski, the archetypal, multi-hyphenate celebrity of our time 

Emily Ratajkowski is an acclaimed model and actress, an engaged political progressive, a formidable entrepreneur, a global social media phenomenon, and now, a writer. Rocketing to world fame at age twenty-one, Ratajkowski sparked both praise and furor with the provocative display of her body as an unapologetic statement of feminist empowerment. The subsequent evolution in her thinking about our culture’s commodification of women is the subject of this book. 

My Body is a profoundly personal exploration of feminism, sexuality, and power, of men's treatment of women and women's rationalizations for accepting that treatment. These essays chronicle moments from Ratajkowski’s life while investigating the culture’s fetishization of girls and female beauty, its obsession with and contempt for women’s sexuality, the perverse dynamics of the fashion and film industries, and the grey area between consent and abuse. 

Nuanced, unflinching, and incisive, My Body marks the debut of a fierce writer brimming with courage and intelligence. 

 

Tracking Wonder: Reclaiming a Life of Meaning and Possibility in a World Obsessed with Productivity by Jeffrey Davis, Sounds True (GMC) 

An eye-opening and mind-expanding exploration of wonder—and how to nurture its capacity to spark your full creative potential 

Do you yearn for more meaning, connection, and the ability to respond to life’s curveballs more creatively than reactively? If so, you’ve likely found that hard work, material success, and even years of expertise often aren’t enough. What stands in the gap between your busyness and a life filled with cherished moments? 

For years, Jeffrey Davis has researched, interviewed, and worked with luminaries across cultures and professions to answer that question. What he’s identified is a single universal experience that opens us to creative awakening across all walks of life: wonder. 

Here, this acclaimed teacher, consultant, and speaker invites us to discover how wonder dissolves our rigid ways of seeing and thinking, allowing us to glimpse anew what is true, beautiful, and possible—and how to then bring our insights to fruition. Rich with wisdom, real-life stories, and practical guidance, Tracking Wonder shows you how to 

  • Bring forward your childlike wonder
  • Disrupt default mental habits to stay open to possibility
  • Fertilize confusion into curiosity
  • Navigate uncertainty and crises with creative resilience
  • “Unbox” other people to deepen your connections, and gift them with wonder
  • Fine-tune your daily process and flow, and much more

 

Unfear: Transform Your Organization to Create Breakthrough Performance and Employee Well-Being by Gaurav Bhatnagar and Mark Minukas, McGraw Hill Education (DJJS) 

Two top experts on high-performing organizations show you how to reframe your―and your employees’―relationship with fear and anxiety to create a learning culture of engaged workers at the top of their game. 

Fear and uncertainty have been undermining performance and well-being in the workplace for as long as we have had workplaces. Here’s a little-known fact of business: mismanaged fear is responsible for almost all of the dysfunction that most organizations experience. While fear can drive short-term results, it does so at the cost of high employee burnout and turnover. It also undermines long-term business performance. But we can’t eradicate it entirely; it is inherent to the human condition. Winning organizations aren’t fear-free; they know how to reframe fear into opportunities for learning and growth. They create resilient cultures of unfear. 

In this timely and essential guide, McKinsey alumni Gaurav Bhatnagar and Mark Minukas show leaders: 

  • The impact of fear, its biological underpinnings, and the archetypes through which it is expressed as patterns of behavior in organizations 
  • The strategies, techniques, and actions to bring about an unfear transformation 
  • The process begins with yourself―how to become an unfear individual 
  • Transformation doesn’t start with systems and structures but with mindsets and behavior―how to build unfear teams 
  • Employee well-being leads to high performance for your business―how to build unfear organizations 

This proven approach to workplace anxiety reduces stress, boosts engagement, and overcomes obstacles that get in the way of success. It leads to personal rewards greater profits, and sustainable growth. This is only possible with a culture of unfear. 

 

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