New Dream asked members of our Community in Action Facebook group to post a comment about a book that's inspired them to make change. We got lots of great responses and have compiled a few to share with you as you plan your summer reading.
By Heather Lende
As the obituary writer in a spectacularly beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska, Heather Lende knows something about last words and lives well lived. Now she's distilled what she's learned about how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life into three words: find the good. It's that simple—and that hard.
Quirky and profound, individual and universal, Find the Good offers up short chapters that help us unlearn the habit—and it is a habit—of seeing only the negatives. Lende reminds us that we can choose to see any event—starting a new job or being laid off from an old one, getting married or getting divorced—as an opportunity to find the good. As she says, "We are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live. The best news is that there's still time for additions and revisions before it goes to press."
"I felt like I was reading a cool relative's journal or something, she's very personable and comforting."
—Sarah Mobry Sadique
Fully Revised and Updated for 2018
By Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
For more than twenty-five years, Your Money or Your Life has been considered the go-to book for taking back your life by changing your relationship with money. Hundreds of thousands of people have followed this nine-step program, learning to live more deliberately and meaningfully with Vicki Robin's guidance. This fully revised and updated edition with a foreword by "the Frugal Guru" (New Yorker) Mr. Money Mustache is the ultimate makeover of this bestselling classic, ensuring that its time-tested wisdom applies to people of all ages and covers modern topics like investing in index funds, managing revenue streams like side hustles and freelancing, tracking your finances online, and having difficult conversations about money.
"This book has transformed so many people's lives, including my own! I recommend it to anyone trying to figure out 'what really matters' in their life, and the value of time and relationships versus money and 'stuff'."
By Susan Linn
Psychologist Susan Linn takes a comprehensive and unsparing look at the demographic advertisers call "the kid market," taking readers on a compelling and disconcerting journey through modern childhood as envisioned by commercial interests. Children are now the focus of a marketing maelstrom, targets for everything from minivans to M&M counting books. All aspects of children's lives—their health, education, creativity, and values—are at risk of being compromised by their status in the marketplace.
Interweaving real-life stories of marketing to children, child development theory, the latest research, and what marketing experts themselves say about their work, Linn reveals the magnitude of this problem and shows what can be done about it. With a foreword written by research psychologist and author Penelope Leach, Consuming Kids is a call to action for parents, educators, legislators and anyone who cares about the health and well-being of children.
"Susan Linn's book Consuming Kids is a huge inspiration! There's also a related film, "Consuming Kids" by Media Education Foundation."
by Marshall B. Rosenberg and Arun Gandhi
Do you hunger for skills to improve the quality of your relationships, to deepen your sense of personal empowerment or to simply communicate more effectively? Unfortunately, for centuries our culture has taught us to think and speak in ways that can actually perpetuate conflict, internal pain and even violence. Nonviolent Communication partners practical skills with a powerful consciousness and vocabulary to help you get what you want peacefully.
In this internationally acclaimed text, Marshall Rosenberg offers insightful stories, anecdotes, practical exercises and role-plays that will dramatically change your approach to communication for the better. Discover how the language you use can strengthen your relationships, build trust, prevent conflicts, and heal pain. Revolutionary, yet simple, NVC offers you the most effective tools to reduce violence and create peace in your life—one interaction at a time.
"This book has been invaluable to me."
By Saul Alinsky
First published in 1971, Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know "the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one." Written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American democratic tradition.
“Alinsky is that rarity in American life, a superlative organizer, strategist, and tactician who is also a social philosopher.” —Charles E. Silberman
“He cannot be bought; he cannot be intimidated; and he breaks all the rules.” —The Economist (London)
"The bible on community organizing. I have a long list of books that woke me up, but this one was one of the first and still holds true. A great gift for sweet sixteens! #RaiseThemtoRise. It's a must-read for anyone doing any kind of organizing work."
By Tim Kasser
Tim Kasser offers a scientific explanation of how our contemporary culture of consumerism and materialism affects our everyday happiness and psychological health. Other writers have shown that once we have sufficient food, shelter, and clothing, further material gains do little to improve our well-being. Kasser goes beyond these findings to investigate how people's materialistic desires relate to their well-being. He shows that people whose values center on the accumulation of wealth or material possessions face a greater risk of unhappiness, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and problems with intimacy--regardless of age, income, or culture.
Drawing on a decade's worth of empirical data, Kasser examines what happens when we organize our lives around materialistic pursuits. He looks at the effects on our internal experience and interpersonal relationships, as well as on our communities and the world at large. He shows that materialistic values actually undermine our well-being, as they perpetuate feelings of insecurity, weaken the ties that bind us, and make us feel less free. Kasser not only defines the problem but proposes ways we can change ourselves, our families, and society to become less materialistic.
"This book has been a huge influence in my life. And New Dream also created a short animated video to summarize the key messages—check it out!"