Great Summer Reads: 2019 Edition

by New Dream   |   June 21, 2019

Looking for a great summer read?

Here’s a list of our favorite recent (or recent to us!) books.

Holdon To Your Kids

Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté


International authority on child development Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., joins forces with bestselling author Gabor Maté, M.D., to tackle one of the most disturbing trends of our time: Children today looking to their peers for direction—their values, identity, and codes of behavior. This “peer orientation” undermines family cohesion, interferes with healthy development, and fosters a hostile and sexualized youth culture. Children end up becoming overly conformist, desensitized, and alienated, and being “cool” matters more to them than anything else. 

Hold On to Your Kids explains the causes of this crucial breakdown of parental influence—and demonstrates ways to “reattach” to sons and daughters, establish the proper hierarchy in the home, make kids feel safe and understood, and earn back your children’s loyalty and love. This updated edition also specifically addresses the unprecedented parenting challenges posed by the rise of digital devices and social media. By helping to reawaken instincts innate to us all, Neufeld and Maté will empower parents to be what nature intended: a true source of contact, security, and warmth for their children.

Our Take:

"This book is imperfect, unrealistic at times, somewhat dated, and also privileged. BUT, it is a valuable read for parents of tweens, particularly girls who are on the cusp of becoming teenagers. I have yet to find a perfect reference on for raising our daughter within the intense social pressure culture of today, even though we greatly limit screen time and highly value dinner time. Despite its flaws, this book has informed my balanced parenting lens and given me a holistic perspective. It's been a valuable tool in helping us understand what our daughter is experiencing and how parenting has changed, helping us find a balance between letting her fly and grounding her in the family."  —Elena Esteban

Body Thrive

Body Thrive: Uplevel Your Body and Your Life with 10 Habits from Ayurveda and Yoga

by Cate Stillman


Evolving your habits doesn’t have to be a struggle. In Body Thrive, wellness expert Cate Stillman guides you into 10 critical daily routines based on Ayurveda that will rejuvenate you by aligning your daily schedule with natural biorhythms. Rather than presenting a rigid checklist of scheduled tasks, Cate encourages easy and steady progress through small actions.

“You only get one body,” writes Cate. “What habits are you going to mold it with?” With Body Thrive, you’ll discover how to catalyze more energy, improve your digestion, hone your fitness routine, cultivate peace of mind, and shift your own habits toward lifelong health and wellness.

Our Take:

"A lot of fitness and wellness books latch on to the latest fads and trends. But this book is different, in part because it draws on centuries-old wisdom from Ayurveda. Stillman's tips are practical and simple, and don't require expensive equipment or even a ton of extra time. She promotes simple yet life-changing tweaks to your daily habits that can make a big difference—from your sleep habits to reducing stress through yoga and meditation—and explains the logic behind why they'll help you become healthier and more grounded." —Lisa Mastny


Thick and Other Essays

by Tressie McMillan Cottom


In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom is unapologetically “thick”: deemed “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less.” McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work. Thick “transforms narrative moments into analyses of whiteness, black misogyny, and status-signaling as means of survival for black women” with “writing that is as deft as it is amusing."

This collection cements McMillan Cottom’s position as a public thinker capable of shedding new light on what the “personal essay” can do. She turns her chosen form into a showcase for her critical dexterity, investigating everything from Saturday Night Live , LinkedIn, and BBQ Becky to sexual violence, infant mortality, and Trump rallies.

Our Take:

"This collection of essays explores an array of intersections, all deeply personal, for author and sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom. Her experiences and critique of pregnancy, politics, the media, and feminism, among many other things, are poignant, edgy, humorous, and incisive accounts of what it means to be a black woman in a racist consumer culture."  —Guinevere Higgins 


Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff

by Dinah Sanders


With three key principles and numerous practical tips, Discardia—a new holiday—helps you solve specific issues, carve away the nonsense of physical objects, habits, or emotional baggage, and uncover what brings you joy.

Dinah Sanders draws on many years of experience to provide a flexible, iterative method for cutting out distractions and focusing on more fulfilling activities. Join others around the world who use Discardia's inspirational—but not sappy—approach, and put your energy where it counts: toward living the less stressful life of your dreams!

Our Take:

"I'm a bit obsessed with books on organizing and decluttering, so am always looking for new and different takes on this topic. Discardia takes a much deeper approach than say, Marie Kondo, by explaining the psychology behind our habits while also offering very practical solutions to the 'stuff' challenges we face. Sanders offers tips on everything from winnowing down our email inboxes to rethinking our emotional attachments to heirlooms, gifts, and other more challenging items to part with. The 'holiday' aspect of the book didn't really resonate with me, but I still found it useful in giving me a new perspective on the psychology behind excess." —Lisa Mastny

High Price Of Materialism

The High Price of Materialism

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.

Our Take:

"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!"  —Edna Rienzi

Your Money

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

By Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez


For more than 25 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.

Our Take:

"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'. It really makes you think about how you're spending your money (and why), and is a great tool for streamlining your finances and planning your 'best' life." —Lisa Mastny