We asked members of the Blue Beyond team to name a book that had an impact on how they think about the world. Below are some of our responses.
History of the World by J.M. Roberts
It brings home the fact that history really does repeat itself and shows how similar scenarios are played out in different cultures. It also helps give perspective on our time when you stop to realize how long great civilizations of the past flourished for centuries and then passed.
Half the Sky : Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Kristof and WuDunn
It illustrates so well the challenges of “doing good” in the world while highlighting the very real challenges of empowering women the world over, along with how relative Power can be.
The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison
The Lorax by Dr. Suess
My father bought me a copy of the book for my 8th birthday and I was so impacted by how greed and lack of connection to the environment virtually distroyed everything. From an early age, I tried to be careful about recycling, thoughtful about what materials I use avoiding those that are difficult to make and even more difficult to recycle and do whatever I can to reduce my carbon foot print. I even worked at a recycling center after school when I was 15 and 16, coming home smelling terrible but glad I was able to give back.
Ethics for the New Millennium by the Dalai Lama
It really helped me become more aware of interconnectedness of all our actions big and small. And the value of exploring all the context that surrounds an issue or situation before diving in.
La muerte de Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes
From Wikipedia: “…the novel used rotating narrators, a technique critic Karen Hardy described as demonstrating ‘the complexities of a human or national personality’.” The novel was so beautifully layered – connecting the individual to the social, a history to its present, and the varying perspectives required to tell the real story behind the story.
AntiFragile: Things that Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
This work explains that the greatest and most influential events in our environments, “Black Swan Events” are not only unexpected, but are typically downright flabbergasting when they occur. It has helped me see the silver lining of ambiguity and prepare for neither the worst or the best, but simply the possibility that either will happen.
Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott (or any of her books)
She’s a genuine, humble (and hilarious) writer who I think most people could probably relate to in some way, because she bares her “humanness.” Bird by Bird (titled from advice her dad gave her kid brother who was struggling with homework assignment on birds – “Just take it bird by bird…”) is about her challenges as a writer, and lessons she’s learned, but the sentiments apply widely to life in general (follow your passion, don’t give up, ignore the self-doubt, ask for help, the power of gratitude, etc.). I think what I take away most from her writing is that people are all more alike (and more complicated!) than we probably think.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I love the concept of a “personal legend”. A journey just for us, that we can’t compete against anyone for, where we learn to be open to and read the “omens” that come to us from the world, and connect us to the world. The value of autonomy juxtaposed to our relationship with others and with the world, fused. It’s lovely.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
It took me outside of my narrowly focused world and help me be aware of the decision making behind the action that led to the lesson learned.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (Stanford professor and psychologist)
Based on exhaustive research (often with her students), it contrasts “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” approaches to learning–with surprising and very practical applications to everyday life and work.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
A very interesting read that had an impact on the way people see and think about growing organizations. Also I just happen to love the book “On Becoming A Leader” by Warren Bennis — his work and influence in the leadership space is unprecedented and has had an impact on cultivating leaders and leadership talent over time.
NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by David Oliver Relin and Greg Morensen
Showed how one person could make a difference. Made me incredibly grateful to have education be a right.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
While written as a children’s book, the story and messages have resonated with me for years after I first read the book to my boys. For me, it speaks to the unconditional love between parent and child as well as our relationship with Mother Nature and her resources.
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
I remember feeling like my mind was blown when I finished this book. The concept seems obvious after-the-fact, but it caused me to think about the world – and my place in it – a lot differently.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (and all of Annie Dillard’s books)
Because of the way it validated and inspired my experience of the holy in everyday life–and the holiness of everyday life and every life–totally separate from any religion, creed or belief.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess
From a young age, this book has been a constant reminder to explore, forge my own path and accept life’s ups and downs. It encourages perseverance, embraces ambiguity, and reminds me that in the end, if you take every challenge and opportunity one step at a time, everything will be ok.
The Art of Decision Making by Morton Davis