One of the best books I’ve read on habit formation and decision making, and what better time to rebuild your mental patterns than when quarantined? It’s a simple, practical framework for changing the way you think about progress and success, whether you’re an organization hoping to redefine an industry or an individual looking to reduce stress.
The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win, by Maria Konnikova
Behavioral science meets David Mamet’s House of Games.
The Music Lover’s Literary Companion, compiled by Joan and Dannie Abse
A collection of essays about music and musicians; the pages sing.
The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
Beautifully written tale of the disastrous fire that broke out in the Los Angeles Public Library in April 1986, destroying a million books.
A provocative look at the contrast between the degree of agency that consumers have versus what they think they have.
Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis, by Ada Calhoun
The author interviewed more than 200 US women and studied social trends to identify roadblocks for Gen X women. The answer to the title question, broadly, is career and finances plus gender stuff plus caregiving for aging parents plus parenting, plus …
To Throw Away Unopened, by Viv Albertine
Former punk-rock guitarist (The Slits) writes about “a lifetime of fighting the patriarchy” and challenges of balancing family life and art. Engaging, funny writer.
As someone who had a premature baby, I had a vested interest in this book, but I was captivated by DiGregorio’s examination of how prematurity and medicine have changed.
No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram, by Sarah Frier
As a non-tech-savvy person, it was truly fascinating to learn how the founders created Instagram and how they navigated being bought by Facebook. Frier has a deft writing style and also stellar reporting chops.
The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
It’s a compulsive read about identical light-skinned twins and how their lives split apart, with one entering white society and the other moving back to her hometown. It’s an amazing examination of identity, racism, and sexism but also a beautiful story about a family through the generations.
The Break, by Katherena Vermette
This debut novel by Governor General’s Literary Award–winning Métis poet Vermette follows the impact of an assault that takes places in Winnipeg’s North End and is unlike anything I have ever read.
You Should See Me in a Crown, by Leah Johnson
If you need a shot of joy in your life, I recommend this book about a queer Black girl in Indiana who runs for prom queen in order to nab scholarship money for college.
The Order of Time, by Carlo Rovelli
A short, fascinating book on time from a quantum physicist who knows how to write for the layperson. He translates complex theories into everyday language, often through the lenses of poetry, art, or philosophy.
Deacon King Kong, by James McBride, who was awarded the National Humanities Medal.
Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, by Cathy Park Hong
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein
Can we be happier: Evidence and Ethics, by Richard Layard
Describes a new culture emerging based on “reciprocal obligation” that contrasts with the ultracompetitive dominant one. This new culture focuses on and acts for the greater good—at work, at home, and in the community.
Designing for Emotion, by Aarron Walter
Breaks down what design is really about, and how to go beyond functional and useful to truly delightful by designing for an emotional connection with people—one that is powerful, unique, humane, and essential.
The Grandmothers, by Doris Lessing
Four short novels from the 2007 Nobel Prize winner, a writer in the tradition of Charles Dickens, Émile Zola, and Stendhal who influenced Alice Adams and Tessa Hadley.
Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer