“Undefended Love” by Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons

A thought-provoking book, more profound than I expected. Refreshingly, both same-gender and opposite-gender couples are used for the examples.

The authors warn several times to be sure a relationship is not abusive before using it as a crucible for personal work. This is a warning that’s missing from most relationship books I’ve read, which […]

“The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman

Subtitle: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures

Recommended to me by: Emily Ross

This is a beautifully written history of the Hmong people from Laos in the 20th century, interwoven with the story of one Hmong family who took refuge in Merced, California. Their daughter Lia Lee had […]

“Nasty People” by Jay Carter

Subtitle: How to stop being hurt by them without becoming one of them

Re-read while writing my double bind article.

The first half of this book talks about invalidators and how subtle and awful they can be. The tone is affirming and validating for those who have been invalidated in the past.

The second […]

“Writing the Other” by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward

Subtitle: A Practical Approach

Recommended to me by: reading Nisi Shawl’s other book “Filter House”

I felt so warmed and included by Nisi Shawl’s writing in “Filter House” that I was eager to read “Writing the Other.” I wanted both to learn how to write inclusively, and to experience more of that included feeling.

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“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria” by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

Subtitle: And Other Conversations About Race

Recommended to me by: Kate Nepveu’s article How to Discuss Race and Racism Without Acting Like a Complete Jerk

Dr. Tatum, a research psychologist and current President of Spellman College, answers the title question compassionately and thoroughly, creating a framework to think and talk constructively about race. She alternates […]

“Totally Tolerant” by Diane Webber and Laurie Mandel

Subtitle: Spotting and stopping prejudice

A brief, photo-filled book with concrete advice for teens on embracing diversity and overcoming prejudice. Adults can benefit from this book as well.

As you can see on the cover, the photos strongly support the book’s message, showing people of a variety of skin colors, genders, and ethnicities.

Diversity […]

“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott

Subtitle: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Anne Lamott’s writing process seems reassuringly similar to my own, and seems to include just as much struggle. She advises us to write everything that comes to mind, and then later refine it into clarity and grace. A lot of the book is devoted to all the […]

“The No Asshole Rule” by Robert Sutton, PhD

Recommended to me by: Robert Sutton blog post (via Twitter)

It’s a rare business book that focuses on warmth, kindness, and peaceful, loving environments. This compassionate little book, subtitled Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, does so with clarity and conviction.

In this book, you’ll find:

A definition of assholes (also […]

“Liberated Parents, Liberated Children” by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

I liked How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk so much that I read the authors’ prior book.

“Liberated Parents, Liberated Children” was published first, by many years. It tells the story of how the authors and a group of other parents (fictionalized to protect privacy) learned respectful, […]

“How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

I read the occasional parenting book to find out how I should have been treated as a child, and to learn how to treat myself and others better now.

This book advocates treating children as lovable, capable beings deserving of respect. This shouldn’t sound radical, right?

The examples and exercises teach many concrete, immediately […]