When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön - I've lost count of how many times I've given this book out. Full of things I want to say to other people, like “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently,” and “The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”
Twelve Steps of Adult Children Steps Workbook - Are you turned off by the idea of "adult children"? I get it. Someone once described this as "a step-by-step guide on how to get over having a less-than-perfect upbringing."
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman - Holy shit, buy this book.
DATE & RELATE
"Building Loving and Lasting Relationships" is a popular class at Northwestern (also known as Marriage 101). I've read lots of the books that have appeared in the syllabus over the years, and if I could only choose one:
WHAT TO LEARN
Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth - For people like my former coworker, who believe that capitalism will solve the climate crisis.
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - chance! Randomness! This book helped inspire my first book, Can You Learn to Be Lucky?
Fiction and narrative = more empathy and better social skills. When you allow yourself to be emotionally transported to another narrative, you strengthen your ability to relate to others (especially people who aren't like you), appreciate different perspectives, and see the world through the eyes of others. It's like cross-training for relationships and being a better human— and what could be more important during the past 18+ months, since everyone's social interactions have been lacking during the pandemic?
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah - HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Trevor Noah has to be one of the most resilient people on earth, in addition to being an amazing writer and human being.