Books to Inspire, Inform, and Engage

First – Inspire your own Personal Growth
“The only person you are destined to become
is the person you decide to be.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.
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More than any other Persian poet, Hafiz expanded the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. With this stunning collection of Hafiz’s most intimate poems, this translation has succeeded brilliantly in presenting the essence of one of Islam’s greatest poetic and religious voices.
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An enduring presence in American homes for over 30 years, Fred Rogers’ plainspoken wisdom continues to guide and comfort many. An inspiring collection of stories, anecdotes, and insights (with sections devoted to love, friendship, respect, individuality, and honesty), The World According to Mister Rogers reminds us that there is much more in life that unites us than divides us.
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Who was Carl Sagan? Was he an astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, or science communicator? This picture book, perfect for young kids, will show you. Adya Jha, a twelve-year-old writer, writes a picture book that will take you and the little ones on a journey across his life, to the far reaches of the cosmos, and inspire many to persist and believe.
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George Dawson, a slave’s grandson, learned to read at age 98 and in this biography reflects on his life and shares valuable lessons in living, as well as a fresh, firsthand view of America during the entire sweep of the twentieth century. From segregation and civil rights, to the wars and the presidents, to defining moments in history, George Dawson’s description and assessment of the last century inspires readers.
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Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. This is their story of finding life’s greatest lesson.
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Second – Find the other Helpers
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ “
Fred Rogers

Muhammad Yunus, who created microcredit, invented social business, and earned a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in alleviating poverty, is one of today’s most trenchant social critics. In the last decade, thousands of people and organizations have already embraced Yunus’s vision of a new form of capitalism, launching innovative social businesses designed to serve human needs rather than accumulate wealth. In A World of Three Zeros, he invites young people, business and political leaders, and ordinary citizens to join the movement and help create the better world we all dream of.
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In the wake of the current political dysphoria, with countless tragedies consistently on the nightly news, America is facing a time of immense division. Political parties that completely polarize friends and family, mass shootings, threats of nuclear war, and a lack of confidence in our governmental leaders show that the country is in desperate need of restoration. We need a new paradigm of political understanding, a moral commitment to express it, and a new kind of activism to bring it forth.
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Howard Zinn was a participant in and chronicler of some of the landmark struggles for racial and economic justice in US history. In this memoir, Zinn reflects on more than thirty years of fighting for social change, from his teenage years as a laborer in Brooklyn to teaching at Spelman College, where he emerged in the civil rights movement as a powerful voice for justice. A former bombardier in World War II, he later became an outspoken antiwar activist, spirited protester, and champion of civil disobedience. Throughout his life, Zinn was unwavering in his belief that “small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
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Shannon Watts was a stay-at-home mom folding laundry when news of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary flashed across the television screen. In one moment, she went from outraged to engaged and decided to do something about it. What started as a simple Facebook group to connect with other frustrated parents grew into Moms Demand Action, a national movement with millions of supporters and a powerful grassroots network of local chapters in all 50 states
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Three – Get Informed and Understand Our Past
“Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana

How did federal, state, and local governments give rise to and reinforce neighborhood segregation? In this book, Richard Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation. A groundbreaking study that has already transformed our understanding of twentieth-century urban history, The Color of Law forces us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past.
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Revealing the story of 500 years of Latin American history, Eduardo Galeano displays the open veins of exploitation which he traces through the body of the entire continent, up to the Rio Grande and throughout the Caribbean, and all the way to their open ends where they empty into the coffers of wealth in the United States and Europe, weaving fact and imagery into a rich tapestry.
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Why did traders at prominent banks take high-risk gambles, expanding and leveraging their investments to the point that failure led to the global financial crisis of 2008? The culprit in this and many other cases is neoliberal ideology, the belief in the supremacy of “free” markets to drive and govern human affairs. Noam Chomsky traces the history of neoliberalism and describes the movements of resistance to the increasing interference by the private sector in global affairs.
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When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than 1% of the total wealth in America. More than 150 years later, that number has barely budged. The Color of Money seeks to explain the stubborn persistence of this racial wealth gap by focusing on the generators of wealth in the black community: black banks.
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Four – Engage and Take Action
“The world belongs to those who dare.
It’s good to go to the fight with determination, embrace life and live with passion, losing with class and winning with daring, because the world belongs
to those who dare and life is much more to be insignificant.”
Charles Chaplin

Why did traders at prominent banks take high-risk gambles, expanding and leveraging their investments to the point that failure led to the global financial crisis of 2008? The culprit in this and many other cases is neoliberal ideology, the belief in the supremacy of “free” markets to drive and govern human affairs. Noam Chomsky traces the history of neoliberalism and describes the movements of resistance to the increasing interference by the private sector in global affairs.
Buy it on Amazon.

New York Times poll in November 2016 found that a majority of Democrats had a favorable view of socialism. This book answers basic questions about what socialism is and is not, with essays written by young writers from the dynamic magazine Jacobin. Disarming and pitched to a general readership without sacrificing intellectual depth, this will be the best introduction an idea whose time seems to have come again.
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Decipher the American political system with this clear, easy-to-understand guide to the basics of the United States political system, from the founding of the thirteen colonies, to the foundations of the constitution, to how elections work. You’ll also find information about the history and context of current issues, like how Supreme Court justices are appointed; the electoral college and the popular vote; and how to get involved in the political process.
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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.
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