Spring 2016 Reading List: Fiction, Feminism, and Rethinking Business

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This Spring Reading List is brought to you by: excellent fiction, the powers of feminism, rethinking business priorities (can we say sleep, anyone?), and a biting look at what happens when a 50-something Newsweek editor takes on a new job at a 20-something startup.

** Some favorites in narrative and fiction**

The Girl on the Train — by Paula Hawkins.

Creepy, wonderful, entertaining. Nearly kept me up all night to finish the book. A psychological thriller that starts slowly and builds to a delicious entanglement of overlapping characters.

Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Startup Bubble — by Dan Lyons.

What happens when the former technology editor of Newsweek takes a marketing job at the 20-something startup scene that is Hubspot? In a hilarious, serious, and honest look at what technology companies and startups are building today, Dan Lyons offers a smack-down on the way that we’re designing businesses, and directly addresses the problems of ageism and lack of diversity in tech. Is all of content marketing just a race towards adding more crap to the pile of noise on the internet? Perhaps. Afterwards, he did go on to write for the show Silicon Valley.

**What should be required reading for all humans (men, women, and beyond)** 

Men Explain Things To Me — by Rebecca Solnit.

If nothing else, read Chapter 2 for a sobering look at the statistics regarding women, rape, and violence in our country. We continue to treat violence against women as one-off, isolated events. Did you know that more women are killed (by men) every three years than the number of people that died in the 9/11 terror attacks? Obviously this doesn’t mean that men are evil; far from it. It does say, however, that there’s a big problem in our country, and I haven’t seen it articulated this clearly and succinctly many other places. Please, please read this.

Girls and Sex — by Peggy Orenstein.

The way that girls understand, engage in, and feel about sex has changed in many ways over the past thirty years (who knew that giving a blow job was the new “second base”?), and yet the same story lines around power, control, pleasure, and satisfaction are being played out across the sexual landscape of teenagers, college students, and young adults. What does it mean to be a girl and to understand sex? This powerful book interviews 70 young females and tells the stories in nuanced, thoughtful ways. If you’re a “slut” for having sex and a “prude” if you’re a virgin, is it always a losing game if you’re a female? Why does the metaphor of “baseball” imply that there has to be a winning team and a losing team? And when, if you’re a girl, does your own pleasure come into play — or is it all about perceptions, performance, and pleasing others?

Above all, perhaps the most powerful insight I was left with: it’s not about sex at all. It’s about understanding your feelings, knowing how to communicate, and learning how to make decisions. If teenagers can use learning about sex as a way to explore their own feelings, become great at communication, and become effective decision-makers, then we’re doing our young adults a wonderful, wonderful service.

** If you’re exhausted at work and you don’t know why**

Thrive — by Ariana Huffington.

I’m diving into both of Ariana Huffington’s books right now (this and The Sleep Revolution), and while the insights do not feel mind-bogglingly new, they are very, very important. It’s like the thing you keep putting down on your to-do list but never managing to do. How can we begin to rethink our lives so that wonder is an essential component? When will we wake up from the slog and realize that thriving as humans is as essential, if not more, than everything else we’re doing?

The More of Less — by Joshua Becker.

Just out this week, and I’m excited to say that a story of mine is in his book. The beloved author of Becoming Minimalist (blog/website) and books like Clutter Free With Kids, Joshua writes about how having less is ultimately about having a lot more. What we buy and what we own can weigh us down, be it financially, physically, or mentally.

**And of course, I’m plowing through Pregnancy & Parenting books as well, too**

Some of the ever-growing pile of books on my shelf include: Childbirth Without Fear, Pro, Simplicity Parenting, Expecting Better, Work/Pump/Repeat, The Mommy Plan, After Birth, and Here’s The Plan.

Yup, gobbling up books. :)

Would love more fiction recommendations. If you have any fiction books you’ve loved lately, send them my way.


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