|When it feels like the world is falling apart, I turn to books for comfort. And when Russia invaded Ukraine the world, already feeling shaky, felt a lot shakier to me.
In Radical Candor, I share a story about my first management experience, when a group of Russian workers wanted to know that I cared enough about them to help them escape if things went sideways in Russia. And in Just Work, I tell a story about working with the general director of a Ukrainian tank factory. As you can imagine, these folks have been much on my mind lately.
I’ve read a bunch of books to try to come to grips with what is happening. I chose three that I wanted to re-read with you all if you’re game.
One of my favorite ways to connect with other people is around passages in books. When one person can highlight a passage and comment or ask a question, and another person can answer it, it’s a way to think more deeply and differently about things that move us.
And it’s a way to build community and solidarity at a time when I, for one, really need it. There will be a zoom meeting for folks to talk synchronously but a lot of the bonding will happen in “document-centric chat.”
Members of the club will read the books listed below together:
- The Future is History by Masha Gessen
This book is chilling, but it helps us understand what’s going on right now. Stories of people’s lives illustrate Gessen’s intellectual framework. This Russian-American journalist’s book explains so well why we are going to have a long hard road to establish a shared sense of morality and reality with the Russian people.
- The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
“Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest.” Arendt wrote that in 1951, but it applies to everything we are seeing in Ukraine. However, we also have a lot of systems that are profoundly unjust in the United States. This book reminds us that Americans have also created a society that we need to fix.
- American Kleptocracy by Casey Michel
This book should be required reading in the United States and the UK. In the United States, we built a financial system that propped up what Putin has been building for decades. Now it is time to do what we can to help the Ukrainians, but we will have to look in the mirror when this is over.
You can get these books directly from Fable, a platform founded under the premise that reading improves mental wellness with a mission to deliver the world’s best social experience with extraordinary stories.
I look forward to reading with you!