Every year it shakes out roughly the same way: we begin January with a set of goals and hopes for the year ahead; we achieve some, abandon the rest, and along the way, we learn lessons.
Not so in 2020. By March, our goals for 2020 felt promptly dashed, and the lessons we learned weren't alway the ones we expected. Many centred on taking better care of ourselves and others, our relationships, how we approach mental health, and having our perceptions of socio-political issues like racism and class changed forever.
As we head into 2021, we’ve collected a list of the books that can help continue that learning, and maybe even just change your life for the better.
How to scale back capitalism to save the environment
How to establish your ideal work life
by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans Designing Your Work Life
Before the pandemic changed the way we work, making WFH a common acronym and Zoom a day-to-day tool, authors
Bill Burnett and Dave Evans were already outlining ‘How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work’, to borrow their forward-thinking book’s subtitle. Chock full of wisdom that is equal parts enlightening and empowering, Designing Your Work Life unpacks the fundamentals of work life, then equips readers with the necessary implements to find meaning through work. Whether you’re thinking of changing jobs, improving the one you have, or looking far into the future, Designing Your Work Life has something to offer. How to protect your data and privacy
How to raise empowered young women
by Marisa Porges What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous and Resilient Women
In a world where the
gender pay gap remains emblematic of the ongoing fight for gender equality, Marisa Porges’ effectively titled What Girls Need is a powerful guide for parents to help close it – and, along the way, the confidence gap that keeps young women from achieving their potential. Based not just on the “ground-breaking work at the all-girls Baldwin School, renowned for helping girls thrive personally and professionally” but on the author’s own remarkable work in historically male-dominated environments too, Porges outlines the combination of factors necessary for parents – “and anyone who cares about girls and what happens to them” – to help young women thrive. How to be antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi How To Be an Antiracist
On 25 May, 2020, George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, sparking worldwide protests and a reckoning with the ugly truth: that racism remained a more deeply ingrained in society than many had allowed themselves to believe. As Ibram X. Kendi writes in this book, first released in 2019 but powerfully relevant throughout this year, “Not being racist is not enough. We have to be antiracist.” It’s a powerful reminder that in order to fight racism, we cannot afford to remain neutral; we must unlearn and push against racism wherever we see it.
How to Be an Antiracist is a perfect place to start – but by no means the place to finish. How to effect change
How to push against oppressive caste and class systems…
by Isabel Wilkerson Caste
Bringing further dimension to the urgent discussions of race and the way it intersects with issues of class was
Isabel Wilkerson’s in-depth exploration of the insidious way that historical caste hierarchies continue to divide our world and fuel socio-political upheaval. But Caste isn’t just a historical study: by telling the stories of individuals as well as groups, Wilkerson provides both a micro and macro view of caste’s shadow, and by applying critique and problem-solving, she points the way forward for our global community after millennia of division. … and learn from the past
How to take care of our bodies
How to breathe
How to trust our instincts
by Glennon Doyle Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living
There weren’t many books bigger in 2020 than
Glennon Doyle’s ubiquitous memoir/self-help hybrid, Untamed. In Doyle’s bestselling story of self-discovery, readers found a galvanising call-to-action to listen to their hearts and trust their instincts, to Stop Pleasing and Start Living. If ever there was a year to make big changes, this was it, and Untamed captured the zeitgeist perfectly; just ask Adele, who read it this summer then claimed the book will “shake your brain and make your soul scream. I am so ready for myself after reading this book!”
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