The best books on navigating an unstable world

Tom Fletcher Author Of Ten Survival Skills for a World in Flux
By Tom Fletcher

The Books I Picked & Why

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

By Yuval Noah Harari

Book cover of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Why this book?

This is the most extraordinary repackaging of what we know of our shared history. It helps us understand the journey we have made from cave paintings to the driverless car, and the ingenuity and creativity that we must marshall once again if we are to ensure that the tech works for us, not the other way round. It is humbling and uplifting.


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The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

By Peter Frankopan

Book cover of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

Why this book?

This is one of those books that you come back to again and again. Most of us learn a history of the wars that our country happened to win, rather than how we learnt to live together between those conflicts. I asked students in 16 countries to work out what was missing from their education. All identified a sense of global history. This book is the answer to that need. 


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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

By Doris Kearns Goodwin

Book cover of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Why this book?

The book on leadership, character, and resilience. And a reminder both that we have navigated similar moments of peril and uncertainty, and that individual humans have an agency to shape the world around them in better ways. History hasn’t ended, and we badly need leaders who can combine intellect with emotional intelligence.


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Letters to a Young Muslim

By Omar Saif Ghobash

Book cover of Letters to a Young Muslim

Why this book?

In this gently articulated yet profoundly challenging book, Omar offers advice to his son and reflects on the assassination of his father. He challenges us about the dangers of certainty and the importance of liberty of thought and speech. “I want you to beware of anyone who tells you, with utter conviction, what you should think.” The letters are to his son, but the contents are great truths for all of us. 


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This Is Shakespeare

By Emma Smith

Book cover of This Is Shakespeare

Why this book?

A book of immense humanity and authenticity, which reminds us of how the great themes of great literature and art can offer solace and guidance in moments of fragility. By helping us go back to Shakespeare with less insecurity or baggage, the book opens up new perspectives on how others have grappled with these questions about how to be human. And it reminds us that we are allowed to question, challenge, and have fun.


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