The pandemic has introduced a rare change in a familiar routine that has resulted in self-reflection and reprioritization of what is most important for many people. Whether the refocus is on friends and family, changing where you live, or finding a new career, Americans are creating new ways for themselves. These books were chosen because they are meant to challenge you to have the courage to do what is best for yourself and those around you. I have categorized each book into a theme that I identified as having helped in steering my direction to become an entrepreneur during this time. I hope you enjoy these touching stories of inspiration.
FEEL ESSENTIAL 1. Tears of Salt A Doctors Story – Pietro Bartolo is a doctor on an island country off the coast of Italy called of Lampedusa who tells his story of the refugee crisis. He runs the only hospital on the island where he goes everyday not knowing how many refugees will wash ashore. His resilience to wake up day after day, dealing with such trauma, shows how truly needed one person can be when they put their skill to use.
BUILD UP COMMUNITY
2. It Takes a School – Jonathan Starr
Jonathan Starr quit his job as a hedge fund manager to open the Abaarso School of Science and Technology in the country, Somaliland, not to be confused with Somalia. His perseverance and persistence to educate children who would have otherwise lived in poverty changed thousands of lives. His students have since been sent to Ivy league universities throughout the United States.
IDENTIFY PRIVILEGE WE'VE BEEN GIVE 3. In Order to Live – Yeonmi Park
Yeonomi Park is a North Korean defector that shares her story living in and escaping from North Korea. This book was utterly shocking to see what life could be like under such a cruel, oppressive, and brainwashing regime. The courage that Yeonmi had to escape was a miracle considering that North Koreans believe their leader can read their minds. She now spends her time speaking out against North Korean government and has started a recent Youtube , Voice of North Korea where she seeks to educate people on life in North Korea.
SPONTANEITY 4. Honeymoon with My Brother – Franz Wisner After Franz Wisner gets dumped right before his wedding he decides to quit his lucrative job in government relations and travel the world with his brother. The spontaneity is so inspiring and only exemplified the yearning to want to break free. When I finished the book I thought, “I could do that.”
PURSUE YOUR DREAMS 5. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho I rarely stray from non-fiction, but The Alchemist is a classic for someone trying to find themselves. If you are unsure of your purpose or need to do some soul searching this is a great read. This story gives the push to pursue your dreams.
SACRIFICE 6. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi Is an autobiography on Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon that battles IV metastasis lung cancer. This man was so needed in our world. The sacrifice he made to become a doctor and then save lives as often as he could was astounding. I couldn’t help but ball my eyes out through the ending hurting physically afterward because someone like him was taken from our world.
STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT
This is a book from one of my favorite authors Janine di Giovanni, who is a woman that has dedicated her life to reporting from the frontlines of war zones. The Morning They Came for Us is about the war in Syria. It shows how quickly a war can start and how important it can be to stand up for what you believe in.
I always love a good Kennedy book. My dad’s side of the family is also from New England and I have always been extremely intrigued with their entire family. This book was written by Jean, the youngest girl Kennedy sibling to share her view on what it was like growing up on the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. I choose this because it shows the parenting style that led their children to be free thinkers.
This book serves as a reflection of interests and habits formed in a country known for being one of the happiest in the world. “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about being with things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down,” describes Meik. This is a great coffee table book to serve as a constant reminder that life’s finest joys are in simple comforts.
PRIORITIZE YOURSELF 10. Girl Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
I recommend this wake-up call for everyone out there that should be and needs to be doing their thing. It’s your life and you are what you make of it. Rachel breaks through her own barriers and insecurities to lead a lifestyle that is intentional.
Thanks for checking out my recommended reading list as we reflect on the year we just had! If you are wanting some inspiration on how you can bring your passions into your career, schedule a free consultation to set up a time to discuss your next steps. Would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books!