All of our Elevate Prize winners are driving change today, but it took a journey to get there—a journey that started with a single step. For many of us, that first step is by far the hardest one to take. There are so many reasons NOT to begin: We’re resistant to change. We’re afraid of failing. We’re daunted by the size of the challenge ahead. We’re not sure we’re up to the task.
Luckily, there are so many books that can inspire and prepare us for the road ahead. Here are some recommendations for your new year’s reading list from our Elevate winners and team:
- The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life, by Bernard Roth
“Bernie was one of my professors at Stanford,” says Krista Donaldson from Equalize Health. “This book came out of his amazing class Designer in Society—the thesis is that you can’t design for others unless you know yourself.”
- The Meritocracy Trap How America’s Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite, by Daniel Marcovits
For Zo Orchingwa from Ameelio, this book is “essential reading. The more you learn about how opportunities are limited, the more you can find ways to expand them.”
- Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, by Liz Wiseman
“This book can help someone who’s a good founder become a great leader,” says Nisha Ligon from Ubongo. “It helped me see that being a leader is about making everyone else stronger, not having to be the smartest person in the room yourself. It shines a light on the well-intentioned things we do that may actually diminish people—like stepping in too soon, rather than giving people space to work things out. I’ve found this book invaluable.”
- Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom, by Derecka Purnell
Amanda Alexander from Detroit Justice Center has no hesitation in recommending this memoir and critique by human rights lawyer Derecka Purnell, which lays out the connections between policing and oppression—looking back and suggesting a path forward.
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth
Our Program Director Matthew Minor loves this book so much he gave out copies for the holiday! “It digs into the impact of perseverance and persistence on success,” he notes. “I turn to it all the time for encouragement when I feel like giving up on something.”
- The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, by Gay Hendricks
“It’s a really great book about identifying your higher limit and what blocks you from reaching it,” says Alexander Roque from the Ali Forney Center. “Oh, AND…
- Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, by Daniel J. Siegal, MD
“It’s a unique way of understanding yourself and how you’re programmed. It’s not a self-help book—more of a self-audit book!”
- The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, by Jacqueline Novogratz
“This book brings home how connected we are, and how our actions make an impact—for good or for bad,” says Alexandra Grigore from Simprints. She recommends this inspiring memoir and call-to-action about how the author’s life changes when she sees a child in Rwanda wearing a sweater (with her name tag on it, no less) that she donated to Goodwill.
- Elevate: An Essential Guide to Life, by our own Elevate Prize founder Joe Deitch!
We love how Joe brings together philosophies from around the world to help motivate and drive success—and free people from ways of thinking that hold them back. The exercises offer a useful template for action in the new year.