Non-Fiction Books That Are Perfect For Summer Listening – Part Two

Welcome to Part 2 of our spotlight on FANTASTIC audiobooks that are perfect for summer listening.  Today we are spotlight some great business books and sociology books that you can use to learn new stories from some great minds in their fields.  There are stories here on everything from adoption, racism, business, management, and more.  Get out that library card and download these titles on OverDrive today!

 

Same Kind of Different As Me

Ron Hall & Denver Moore

 

Summary:

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.

An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.

A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.

A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, inside the heart of God. It unfolds at a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.

Gritty with betrayal, pain, and brutality, it also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.  — Goodreads.com

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So You Want to Talk About Race

Ijeoma Aluo & Bahni Turpin

 

 

Summary:

In this breakout book, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today’s racial landscape–from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement–offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned, and crystalize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, and Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor, particularly in Naylor’s seminal essay “The Meaning of a Word.”   — Goodreads.com

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Trick Mirror

Jia Tolentino

 

Summary:

Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self-delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives. This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves around the self. In each essay, Jia writes about the cultural prisms that have shaped her: the rise of the nightmare social internet; the American scammer as millennial hero; the literary heroine’s journey from brave to blank to bitter; the mandate that everything, including our bodies, should always be getting more efficient and beautiful until we die.  — Goodreads.com

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Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay

Phoebe Robinson

 

 

Summary:

Robinson’s latest essay collection is a call to arms. She tackles a wide range of topics, such as giving feminism a tough-love talk in hopes it can become more intersectional; telling society’s beauty standards to kick rocks; and demanding that toxic masculinity close its mouth and legs (enough with the manspreading already!), and get out of the way so true progress can happen.  — Goodreads.com

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The Social Animal

David Brooks

 

Summary:

With unequaled insight and brio, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bobos in Paradise, has long explored and explained the way we live. Now, with the intellectual curiosity and emotional wisdom that make his columns among the most read in the nation, Brooks turns to the building blocks of human flourishing in a multilayered, profoundly illuminating work grounded in everyday life.

This is the story of how success happens. It is told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica—how they grow, push forward, are pulled back, fail, and succeed. Distilling a vast array of information into these two vividly realized characters, Brooks illustrates a fundamental new understanding of human nature. A scientific revolution has occurred—we have learned more about the human brain in the last thirty years than we had in the previous three thousand. The unconscious mind, it turns out, is most of the mind—not a dark, vestigial place but a creative and enchanted one, where most of the brain’s work gets done. This is the realm of emotions, intuitions, biases, longings, genetic predispositions, personality traits, and social norms: the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made. The natural habitat of The Social Animal.

Drawing on a wealth of current research from numerous disciplines, Brooks takes Harold and Erica from infancy to school; from the “odyssey years” that have come to define young adulthood to the high walls of poverty; from the nature of attachment, love, and commitment, to the nature of effective leadership. He reveals the deeply social aspect of our very minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that overemphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. Along the way, he demolishes conventional definitions of success while looking toward a culture based on trust and humility.

The Social Animal is a moving and nuanced intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. Impossible to put down, it is an essential book for our time, one that will have broad social impact and will change the way we see ourselves and the world.   — Goodreads.com

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The Broken Ladder

Keith Payne & James Anderson Foster

 

Summary:

A timely examination by a leading scientist of the physical, psychological, and moral effects of inequality.

The levels of inequality in the world today are on a scale that have not been seen in our lifetimes, yet the disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means. In The Broken Ladder psychologist Keith Payne examines how inequality divides us not just economically; it also has profound consequences for how we think, how we respond to stress, how our immune systems function, and even how we view moral concepts such as justice and fairness.

Research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics has not only revealed important new insights into how inequality changes people in predictable ways but also provided a corrective to the flawed view of poverty as being the result of individual character failings. Among modern developed societies, inequality is not primarily a matter of the actual amount of money people have. It is, rather, people’s sense of where they stand in relation to others. Feeling poor matters–not just being poor. Regardless of their average incomes, countries or states with greater levels of income inequality have much higher rates of all the social maladies we associate with poverty, including lower than average life expectancies, serious health problems, mental illness, and crime.

The Broken Ladder explores such issues as why women in poor societies often have more children, and why they have them at a younger age; why there is little trust among the working class in the prudence of investing for the future; why people’s perception of their social status affects their political beliefs and leads to greater political divisions; how poverty raises stress levels as effectively as actual physical threats; how inequality in the workplace affects performance; and why unequal societies tend to become more religious. Understanding how inequality shapes our world can help us better understand what drives ideological divides, why high inequality makes the middle class feel left behind, and how to disconnect from the endless treadmill of social comparison.  — Goodreads.com

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Uncensored

Zachary R. Wood

 

Summary:

Rooted in his own powerful personal story, twenty-one-year-old Zachary Wood shares his dynamic perspective on free speech, race, and dissenting opinions–in a world that sorely needs to learn to listen.

As the president of the student group Uncomfortable Learning at Williams College, Zachary Wood knows all about intellectual controversy. From John Derbyshire to Charles Murray, there’s no one Zach refuses to debate or engage with simply because he disagrees with their beliefs–sometimes vehemently so–and this controversial view has given him a unique platform on college campuses and in the media.

But Zach has never shared the details of his own personal story, and how he came to be a crusader for open dialogue and free speech. In Uncensored, he reveals for the first time how he grew up poor and black in Washington, DC, in an environment where the only way to survive was to resist the urge to write people off because of their backgrounds and their perspectives.

By sharing his troubled upbringing–from a difficult early childhood filled with pain, uncertainty, and conflict to the struggles of code-switching between his home in a rough neighborhood and his elite private school–Zach makes a compelling argument for a new way of interacting with others, in a nation and a world that has never felt more polarized. In Uncensored, he hopes to foster a new outlook on society’s most difficult conversations, both on campus and beyond.  — Goodreads.com

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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Matthew Desmond

 

Summary:

In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.  — Goodreads.com

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To the End of June

Cris Beam

 

Summary:

Who are the children of foster care? What, as a country, do we owe them? Cris Beam, a foster mother herself, spent five years immersed in the world of foster care, looking into these questions and tracing firsthand stories. The result is “To the End of June,” an unforgettable portrait that takes us deep inside the lives of foster children at the critical points in their search for a stable, loving family.

The book mirrors the life cycle of a foster child and so begins with the removal of babies and kids from birth families. There’s a teenage birth mother in Texas who signs away her parental rights on a napkin only to later reconsider, crushing the hopes of her baby’s adoptive parents. Beam then paints an unprecedented portrait of the intricacies of growing up in the system–the back-and-forth with agencies, the shuffling between pre-adoptive homes and group homes, the emotionally charged tug of prospective adoptive parents and the fundamental pull of birth parents. And then what happens as these system-reared kids become adults? Beam closely follows a group of teenagers in New York who are grappling with what aging out will mean for them and meets a woman who has parented eleven kids from the system, almost all over the age of eighteen, and all still in desperate need of a sense of home and belonging.

Focusing intensely on a few foster families who are deeply invested in the system’s success, “To the End of June” is essential for humanizing and challenging a broken system, while at the same time it is a tribute to resiliency and offers hope for real change.  — Goodreads.com

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Natural Causes

Barbara Ehrenreich

 

Summary:

A razor-sharp polemic which offers an entirely new understanding of our bodies, ourselves, and our place in the universe, Natural Causes describes how we over-prepare and worry way too much about what is inevitable. One by one, Ehrenreich topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to live a long, healthy life — from the importance of preventive medical screenings to the concepts of wellness and mindfulness, from dietary fads to fitness culture.

But Natural Causes goes deeper — into the fundamental unreliability of our bodies and even our “mind-bodies,” to use the fashionable term. Starting with the mysterious and seldom-acknowledged tendency of our own immune cells to promote deadly cancers, Ehrenreich looks into the cellular basis of aging, and shows how little control we actually have over it. We tend to believe we have agency over our bodies, our minds, and even over the manner of our deaths. But the latest science shows that the microscopic subunits of our bodies make their own “decisions,” and not always in our favor.

We may buy expensive anti-aging products or cosmetic surgery, get preventive screenings and eat more kale, or throw ourselves into meditation and spirituality. But all these things offer only the illusion of control. How to live well, even joyously.  — Goodreads.com

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Rhinoceros Success

Scott Alexander & Dave Ramsey

 

Summary:

Success Is Difficult But … tomorrow morning, you could wake up as a full grown rhinoceros and – * charge your way to success * use audacity to reach your goals * be happier than you’ve ever been before * make your life an exciting adventure * have the persistence and tenacity necessary for success * never worry again * succeed at the world’s most profitable hobby * achieve more and have a better balance in the six major areas of your life: FINANCIAL, WORK, PHYSICAL, FAMILY, SOCIAL AND SPIRITUAL Scott Alexander has discovered the REAL secret of success: becoming a rhinoceros. Read it and go rhino! That’s all there is between you and everything you’ve ever wanted to do or become in your life. CHARGE!!  — Goodreads.com

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Stillness is the Key

Ryan Holiday

Summary:

All great leaders, thinkers, artists, athletes, and visionaries share one indelible quality. It enables them to conquer their tempers. To avoid distraction and discover great insights. To achieve happiness and do the right thing. Ryan Holiday calls it stillness–to be steady while the world spins around you.

In this book, he outlines a path for achieving this ancient, but urgently necessary way of living. Drawing on a wide range of history’s greatest thinkers, from Confucius to Seneca, Marcus Aurelius to Thich Nhat Hanh, John Stuart Mill to Nietzsche, he argues that stillness is not mere inactivity, but the doorway to self-mastery, discipline, and focus.

Holiday also examines figures who exemplified the power of stillness: baseball player Sadaharu Oh, whose study of Zen made him the greatest home run hitter of all time; Winston Churchill, who in balancing his busy public life with time spent laying bricks and painting at his Chartwell estate managed to save the world from annihilation in the process; Fred Rogers, who taught generations of children to see what was invisible to the eye; Anne Frank, whose journaling and love of nature guided her through unimaginable adversity.

More than ever, people are overwhelmed. They face obstacles and egos and competition. Stillness Is the Key offers a simple but inspiring antidote to the stress of 24/7 news and social media. The stillness that we all seek is the path to meaning, contentment, and excellence in a world that needs more of it than ever.   — Goodreads.com

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Digital Minimalism

Cal Newport

Summary:

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.

In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives.

Digital minimalists are all around us. They’re the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day, but don’t feel overwhelmed by it. They don’t experience “fear of missing out” because they already know which activities provide them meaning and satisfaction.

Now, Newport gives us a name for this quiet movement, and makes a persuasive case for its urgency in our tech-saturated world. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don’t go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. What we need instead is a thoughtful method to decide what tools to use, for what purposes, and under what conditions.

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day “digital declutter” process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.  — Goodreads.com

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The Real-Life MBA

Jack & Suzy Welch

Summary:

The business titans and #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling authors of Winning return with a modern, essential guide for everyone in business today—and tomorrow—that explores the most pressing challenges related to creating winning strategies, leading and managing others, and building a thriving career.

In the decade since their blockbuster international bestseller Winning was published, Jack and Suzy Welch have dug deeper into business, traveling the world consulting to organizations of every size and in every industry, speaking before hundreds of audiences, working closely with entrepreneurs from Mumbai to Silicon Valley, and, in 2010, starting their own fully accredited online MBA program, which now has approximately 1,000 students enrolled. Over the same time frame, Jack has advised more than seventy-five companies through private equity, and dozens more in a senior advisory role at IAC. Now, Jack and Suzy Welch draw on their experiences to address the biggest problems facing modern management—and offer pragmatic solutions to overcome them.

Going beyond theories, concepts, and ideologies, they tackle the real stuff of work today. When you get down to it, they argue, winning in business is all about mastering the gritty, inescapable, make-or-break, real-life dilemmas that define the new economy, the old economy, and everything in between. Work is a grind. We just got whacked. My boss is driving me nuts. I’m stuck in career purgatory. My team has lost its mojo. IT is holding us hostage. Our strategy is outdated the day we launch it. We don’t know what our Chinese partners are talking about. We’re just not growing. These are some of the day-to-day issues the Welches take on. Coupled with Jack’s years of iconic leadership and Suzy’s insights as former editor of the Harvard Business Review, their new database of knowledge infuses The Real Life MBA with fresh, relevant stories and equally powerful solutions that every manager at any level can use right now.   — Goodreads.com

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Talk Like Ted

Carmine Gallo

 

Summary:

Ideas are the currency of the twenty-first century. In order to succeed, you need to be able to sell your ideas persuasively. This ability is the single greatest skill that will help you accomplish your dreams. Many people have a fear of public speaking or are insecure about their ability to give a successful presentation. Now public speaking coach and bestselling author Carmine Gallo explores what makes a great presentation by examining the widely acclaimed TED Talks, which have redefined the elements of a successful presentation and become the gold standard for public speaking. TED ? which stands for technology, entertainment, and design ? brings together the world’s leading thinkers. These are the presentations that set the world on fire, and the techniques that top TED speakers use will make any presentation more dynamic, fire up any team, and give anyone the confidence to overcome their fear of public speaking.

In his book, Carmine Gallo has broken down hundreds of TED talks and interviewed the most popular TED presenters, as well as the top researchers in the fields of psychology, communications, and neuroscience to reveal the nine secrets of all successful TED presentations. Gallo’s step-by-step method makes it possible for anyone to deliver a presentation that is engaging, persuasive, and memorable.

Carmine Gallo’s top 10 Wall Street Journal Bestseller Talk Like TED will give anyone who is insecure about their public speaking abilities the tools to communicate the ideas that matter most to them, the skill to win over hearts and minds, and the confidence to deliver the talk of their lives.

The opinions expressed by Carmine Gallo in TALK LIKE TED are his own. His book is not endorsed, sponsored or authorized by TED Conferences, LLC or its affiliates.  — Goodreads.com

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Factory Man

Beth Macy

 

Summary:

The instant New York Times bestseller about one man’s battle to save hundreds of jobs by demonstrating the greatness of American business.

The Bassett Furniture Company was once the world’s biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same powerful Virginia family for generations, it was also the center of life in Bassett, Virginia. But beginning in the 1980s, the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately Bassett was forced to send its production overseas.

One man fought back: John Bassett III, a shrewd and determined third-generation factory man, now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of more than $90 million. In Factory Man, Beth Macy brings to life Bassett’s deeply personal furniture and family story, along with a host of characters from an industry that was as cutthroat as it was colorful. As she shows how he uses legal maneuvers, factory efficiencies, and sheer grit and cunning to save hundreds of jobs, she also reveals the truth about modern industry in America.  — Goodreads.com

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Thrive

Ariana Huffington

 

Summary:

In Thrive, Arianna Huffington makes an impassioned and compelling case for the need to redefine what it means to be successful in today’s world.

Arianna Huffington’s personal wake-up call came in the form of a broken cheekbone and a nasty gash over her eye — the result of a fall brought on by exhaustion and lack of sleep. As the cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group — one of the fastest growing media companies in the world — celebrated as one of the world’s most influential women, and gracing the covers of magazines, she was, by any traditional measure, extraordinarily successful. Yet as she found herself going from brain MRI to CAT scan to echocardiogram, to find out if there was any underlying medical problem beyond exhaustion, she wondered is this really what success feels like?

As more and more people are coming to realize, there is far more to living a truly successful life than just earning a bigger salary and capturing a corner office. Our relentless pursuit of the two traditional metrics of success — money and power — has led to an epidemic of burnout and stress-related illnesses, and an erosion in the quality of our relationships, family life, and, ironically, our careers. In being connected to the world 24/7, we’re losing our connection to what truly matters. Our current definition of success is, as Thrive shows, literally killing us. We need a new way forward.

In a commencement address Arianna gave at Smith College in the spring of 2013, she likened our drive for money and power to two legs of a three-legged stool. They may hold us up temporarily, but sooner or later we’re going to topple over. We need a third leg — a third metric for defining success — to truly thrive. That third metric, she writes in Thrive, includes our well-being, our ability to draw on our intuition and inner wisdom, our sense of wonder, and our capacity for compassion and giving. As Arianna points out, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success. They don’t commemorate our long hours in the office, our promotions, or our sterling PowerPoint presentations as we relentlessly raced to climb up the career ladder. They are not about our resumes — they are about cherished memories, shared adventures, small kindnesses and acts of generosity, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh.

In this deeply personal book, Arianna talks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritizing the demands of a career and raising two daughters — of juggling business deadlines and family crises, a harried dance that led to her collapse and to her “aha moment.” Drawing on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving, Arianna shows us the way to a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplace, and our lives.   — Goodreads.com

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Start With Why

Simon Sinek

 

Summary:

Why do you do what you do?

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with why. It was their natural ability to start with why that enabled them to inspire those around them and to achieve remarkable things.

In studying the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way—and it’s the complete opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be lead, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

Any organization can explain what it does; some can explain how they do it; but very few can clearly articulate why. WHY is not money or profit—those are always results. WHY does your organization exist? WHY does it do the things it does? WHY do customers really buy from one company or another? WHY are people loyal to some leaders, but not others?

Starting with WHY works in big business and small business, in the nonprofit world and in politics. Those who start with WHY never manipulate, they inspire. And the people who follow them don’t do so because they have to; they follow because they want to.

Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire. This book is for anyone who wants to inspire others or who wants to find someone to inspire them.   — Goodreads.com

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15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

John C. Maxwell

 

Summary:

Are there tried and true principles that are always certain to help a person grow? John Maxwell says the answer is yes. He has been passionate about personal development for over fifty years, and for the first time, he teaches everything he has gleaned about what it takes to reach our potential. In the way that only he can communicate, John teaches . . .

The Law of the Mirror: You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself
The Law of Awareness: You Must Know Yourself to Grow Yourself
The Law of Modeling: It’s Hard to Improve When You Have No One But Yourself to Follow
The Law of the Rubber Band: Growth Stops When You Lose the Tension Between Where You are and Where You Could Be
The Law of Contribution: Developing Yourself Enables You to Develop Others

This third book in John Maxwell’s Laws series (following the 2-million seller The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork) will help you become a lifelong learner whose potential keeps increasing and never gets “used up.”  — Goodreads.com

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Writing a Business Plan and Making it Work

Brian R. Brown

 

Summary:

In this Guide: * Understanding and accessing your customers * Understanding your competitors * Getting and keeping the right people * How to carry out easy financial checks * How to write the business plan and make it work.  — Goodreads.com

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