The best books for surviving (and thriving) in disruptive times

Who am I?

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to make a difference—by helping others become wiser and/or happier. But how? Colleagues, clients, and friends tell me that I have a capacity for energy that is boundless. I resisted that statement. It sounded “fluffy”. How could I make a difference if I saw “energy” as being some flighty firefly? Then, when I went through 2 bouts of burnout, I realized that energy was the secret—the secret to resilience, the secret to growth and service. Reading, writing, and speaking fill me with the energy to grow, learn, laugh, and serve. I trust these books and my writing will bring the same to you.


I wrote...

Burnout to Breakthrough: Building Resilience to Refuel, Recharge, and Reclaim What Matters

By Eileen McDargh,

Book cover of Burnout to Breakthrough: Building Resilience to Refuel, Recharge, and Reclaim What Matters

What is my book about?

The World Health Organization had already listed Burnout as a global occupational hazard before the pandemic. From employees stressed to the breaking point to organizations battered by resignations and shrinking markets, this book offers solid advice and insight that is timely, relevant, and actionable. Because all leadership starts with self-leadership, you’ll find a clear road map to breaking free of personal and professional demands while being given a clear formula for building a life of your design.

At the same time, you’ll find a nuanced, broader perspective about a workplace that is “preheated” for overachievers. Leaders will be equipped with valuable questions and practices to help employees turn burnout into fired up. But make no mistake. You’ll find this a big-hearted book, written in a lively style with lots of relatable examples and immediately applicable advice.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Gift from the Sea

Eileen McDargh Why did I love this book?

Anne Morrow Lindberg lived through the kidnapping and death of her child, the steady scrutiny of the press, and a husband who sympathized with the Nazis. She had to craft her own life amid turmoil and heartbreak.  But I didn’t know her full story when I first read this book in college. I was drawn to it for the power of wisdom she found while walking a Florida beach.

I’ve lived most of my life near the ocean and her powerful, timeless truths drawn from simple shells and sea life captured both my heart and imagination. Over the course of some 30 years, when I need to find insight and solace, I am drawn again to her book. I always read something that hits me in a different way. I’ve been so captured by her use of metaphor, that one of my books, Gifts from the Mountain, seeks to find wisdom from the world of backpacking!

By Anne Morrow Lindbergh,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Gift from the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Quietly powerful and a great help. Glorious' Emma Thompson

'Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.'

Holidaying by the sea, and taking inspiration from the shells she finds on the seashore, Anne Morrow Lindbergh meditates on youth and age, love and marriage, peace, solitude and contentment. First published in 1955 and an instant bestseller, Gift from the Sea's insights - into aspects of the modern world that threaten to overwhelm us, the complications of technology, the ever multiplying commitments that take us from our families - are as relevant today as they ever were,…


Book cover of Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates

Eileen McDargh Why did I love this book?

To live and work in a world of turmoil and change requires courage. Resilience is a life skill that can be learned—but it takes courage. In this book, Hurt and Dye come up with very practical but realistic ways to identify organizational practices that encourage or cut-off valuable conversations.

I’m in the field of communications and their advice is not only timely but timeless. I reach for their book when I went to coach someone who is overwhelmed by the workplace. It might be a manager trying to hold a team together, or individual contributors trying to determine if a role is right for them.  Hold this on your bookshelf. I guarantee you will use it for yourself—or for others.

By Karin Hurt, David Dye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Courageous Cultures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From executives complaining that their teams don't contribute ideas to employees giving up because their input isn't valued--company culture is the culprit. Courageous Cultures provides a road map to build a high-performance, high-engagement culture around sharing ideas, solving problems, and rewarding contributions from all levels.

Many leaders are convinced they have an open environment that encourages employees to speak up and are shocked when they learn that employees are holding back. Employees have ideas and want to be heard. Leadership wants to hear them.

Too often, however, employees and leaders both feel that no one cares about making things better.…


Book cover of On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old

Eileen McDargh Why did I love this book?

On my nightstand, I have a journal in which I copy poems, writings that inspire, or insights I have. Two pages are filled with sentences I have copied from this book.  Why? Because getting older in these times of insanity and division can leave me anxious and without a rudder.

Parker has an amazing gift for making a statement that recharges and renews me:

“Calamites I once lamented now appear as strong threads of a larger weave, without which the fabric of my life would be less resilient.” Wow!

“Forget ego. Today’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster.”   Got it.

Or this one:  “Gravity pulls my skin down. But there is a counterforce called levity…Levity is the kind of humor that makes life’s challenges easier.” Get a blank book, a highlighter. Then read Palmer


By Parker J. Palmer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Brink of Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From beloved and bestselling author Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, Healing the Heart of Democracy), comes a beautiful book of reflections on what we can learn as we move closer to "the brink of everything."

Drawing on eight decades of life -- and his career as a writer, teacher, and activist -- Palmer explores the questions age raises and the promises it holds. "Old," he writes, "is just another word for nothing left to lose, a time to dive deep into life, not withdraw to the shallows."

But this book is not for elders…


Book cover of After the Shock: Getting You Back On the Road to Resilience When Crisis Hits You Head On

Eileen McDargh Why did I love this book?

I was so intrigued by Becky and her story that she became one of my case studies in my book. She has been through more traumatic transitions than most of us have in a lifetime. From her own experience and struggle, Becky has crafted a masterful model for sustaining and stabilizing our lives. 

She created the Four C’s as a foundation: comfort, control, community, and connection. I refer to her work as another guiding source when life becomes crazy…as indeed it will. From a place of feeling stabilized, Becky advocates a resilient response: how do you understand and use the experience? What assumption will offer support? And what resources do you have? I can and should refer to her book often for my own stabilizing.

By Becky Sansbury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After the Shock as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you are in crisis or walking alongside someone in crisis, this book is meant for you. This is more than a book; it is like being with a great friend.

When you hear the word crisis what do you think? A dramatic car wreck. A critical medical diagnosis. Divorce. Job loss. Natural disaster. Death. What about the mini-shocks within those crises or the smaller events that disrupt our lives more frequently? A fender bender in rush-hour traffic. Personal information getting hacked. Being overlooked for a promotion.
When crisis hits, large or small, we are thrown off balance.

In After…


Book cover of Someday is Not a Day in the Week: 10 Hacks to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life

Eileen McDargh Why did I love this book?

Moving from burnout to breakthrough is about becoming clear on what really matters. Sam Horn, the most prolific and powerful wordsmith I have ever known, comes up with subtle and not-so-subtle ways of hitting you between the eyes and asking “what are you waiting for?” 

Becoming clear on what really matters is not about goal setting. But rather, it’s about what makes you excited, more playful, purposeful, and passionate about your life. As with the other books, I have highlighted so much. Now, my task is not just to read but to do. Sam not only crafts a process but her method of questioning will stop you in your tracks. She has a wealth of pertinent quotes that jump out on almost every page: from Buddha to Hugh Jackman, from Anais Nin to Eleanor Roosevelt.

By Sam Horn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Someday is Not a Day in the Week as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Inspired me to ask myself why and to stop postponing the forgotten dreams." ―Geneen Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Women Food and God and This Messy Magnificent Life

Full of inspirational insights and advice, lifehacks, and real-world examples, Someday is Not a Day in the Week is CEO Sam Horn’s motivational guide to help readers get what they want in life today rather than "someday."

Are you:
• Working, working, working?
• Busy taking care of everyone but yourself?
• Wondering what to do with the rest of your life?
• Planning to do what makes you…


You might also like...

Make Her Pay

By Miranda Rijks,

Book cover of Make Her Pay

Miranda Rijks Author Of The Homemaker

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Reader Mountain-lover

Miranda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A twisty psychological thriller about beautiful, successful Leonie who has just met Markus, the man of her dreams. But Leonie has a secret. Ten years ago, she was involved in an accident in which another driver died. Leonie shouldn’t have been behind the wheel that night – so she fled the scene. And ever since, she’s struggled with the terrible guilt.

Now, as her wedding to Markus draws near, it seems someone is out to get her. It’s little things at first but it soon escalates into a terrifying campaign which threatens her business, her family and even her life. Leonie realizes there’s a link to the accident that happened all those years ago. Someone knows what she did. Someone is determined to make her pay.

Make Her Pay

By Miranda Rijks,

What is this book about?

Leonie has the perfect life. Someone wants to take it away.

Leonie is living her best life. Still in her twenties, she’s beautiful, successful and has just met Markus, the man of her dreams.

But Leonie has a secret. Ten years ago, she was involved in an accident in which another driver died. Leonie shouldn’t have been behind the wheel that night – no license, no insurance – so she fled the scene. And ever since, she’s been struggling to deal with the terrible guilt.

Now, as her wedding to Markus draws near, it seems someone is out to get…


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