As the second year of the pandemic winds to a close, there’s a treasure trove of new books to read. My favorites cover pleasure, pain, and hope, flexibility and creativity, connection and community, and leadership.
PLEASURE, PAIN, AND HOPE
The vulnerability expert who has taken the world by storm explores the uncharted territory of emotions and experiences that make us human. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a book skyrocket to #1 on Amazon three months before launch—and that might well underestimate the power of this book.
Get ready to rethink your vision of a good life. With sharp insights and lucid prose, a prominent psychologist makes a captivating case that pain and suffering are essential to happiness. It’s an exhilarating antidote to toxic positivity.
The iconic primatologist gives us four reasons to believe in a better future: the intelligence of our minds, nature’s resilience, the power of youth, and the indomitable spirit of humanity.
FLEXIBILITY AND CREATIVITY
This management professor’s trailblazing research has fundamentally changed how I think about being proactive and adaptable. She’s also the only speaker I know who has ever gotten a standing ovation at an academic conference—for a talk on Thelma & Louise as career role models, no less! Her book is filled with clear, actionable insights about how to get better feedback, learn more rapidly, and speak up more effectively.
This book examines what it takes to make remote work work—not just for companies, but for people. With provocative examples and refreshing candor, two top-notch journalists highlight what too many workplaces are doing wrong—and how we can start getting it right.
If you want to stand out early in your career, start here. A top tech exec turned thought leader highlights the practical, often surprising habits that will help you reach your potential and make your mark.
A design thinking aficionado and popular podcaster curates a collection of some of her most memorable conversations. Her guests are remarkable thinkers, writers, and leaders, and she brings the best out of them.
CONNECTION AND COMMUNITY
“A philosopher goes to a Flat Earth convention” sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. But it actually happened, and this is a good book about how to have discussions with people who are skeptical of rigorous evidence but gullible on unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.
This is what America needs: an evidence-based book on race that doesn’t divide or polarize. Whether you’ve been avoiding the topic altogether or stumbling your way through it, this journalist is the ideal teacher to help you learn how to have better conversations about race. Her goal isn’t to make you more comfortable—it’s to make you more thoughtful.
The cofounder of Delivering Happiness with Tony Hsieh shares how companies can define their values and purpose and build a sense of community. It’s hard to imagine a more meaningful way to continue Tony’s legacy.
The legend behind many of the funniest movies of all time—from The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein to Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights—decided that at 95, it’s finally time to tell his story. Hilarity ensues and wisdom abounds.
For years in my classes at Wharton, I’ve been quoting West Philly’s famous son on how “taking responsibility is taking your power back.” His long-awaited memoir goes much deeper and broader.
America’s Sweetheart opens up about her work, her life, and what really happened behind the scenes of some of the most pivotal events in modern history. She’s bracingly honest and characteristically funny.
This is the saga of how one of the great founders of our era launched his company, grew it, got it back, and rejuvenated it. His entrepreneurial spirit is infectious, and his stories are full of important lessons about leadership, collaboration, competition, and innovation.
Mark Messier isn’t just one of the best hockey players ever—he’s also a keen observer of leadership and teamwork dynamics. He shares lessons about building cultures of excellence that will come in handy even if you’re not a sports fan.