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

The Books I Picked & Why

Gift from the Sea

By Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Gift from the Sea

Why 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!


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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

By Karin Hurt, David Dye

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

Why 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.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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

By Parker J. Palmer

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

Why 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



When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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

By Becky Sansbury

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

Why 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.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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

By Sam Horn

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

Why 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.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Random Book Lists