The best books to understand the need for DEI and workplace inclusion from the leader and employee perspectives

Who am I?

I have been an organizational psychologist and executive coach for more than two decades, advising high-level executives, including Fortune 500 leaders, to build workplace cultures in which all employees can flourish. Yet, for many employees of color, the workplace is so challenging that many feel professionally stifled. I realized many years ago that to accomplish my own goals; I needed to take control of my career and not depend upon the vagaries of individual leaders. I needed to set goals, take a long game view, be honest with myself and my leaders, and help leaders understand how changing some habits could help them and me succeed in a disrupted world. 

I wrote...

Book cover of Leading Inclusion: Drive Change Your Employees Can See and Feel

What is my book about?

In this well-researched book, organizational psychologist and executive coach Gena Cox delivers the message that although human variation is normal, true inclusion that embraces these variations remains elusive in the workplace. She argues that this state of affairs will continue until executives lead inclusion from the top of their organizations. Drawing on psychological science, interviews with corporate leaders, the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) experts, and her own experience in corporate America, Gena goes beyond the “business case” and answers the clarion call for human-centered organizational leadership.

Leading Inclusion is not a “how-to” book; it is a “how-to-be” book that educates, challenges, and empowers you and your c-suite and board colleagues to change your organization—and America—one employee at a time. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The First, the Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America

Gena Cox Why did I love this book?

The First, The Few, The Only is the first book I have read that accurately captures the angst of my day-to-day experience as a high-achieving woman of color in corporate America. I love that the book also proposes empowering systemic and individual actions to enhance those experiences.

By Deepa Purushothaman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The First, the Few, the Only as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A deeply personal call to action for women of color to find power from within and to join together in community, advocating for a new corporate environment where we all belong-and are accepted-on our own terms.

Women of color comprise one of the fastest-growing segments in the corporate workforce, yet often we are underrepresented-among the first, few, or only ones in a department or company. For too long, corporate structures, social zeitgeist, and cultural conditioning have left us feeling exhausted and downtrodden, believing that in order to "fit in" and be successful, we must hide or change who we are.…

Book cover of Leadership Reckoning: Can Higher Education Develop the Leaders We Need?

Gena Cox Why did I love this book?

The message of Leadership Reckoning is that we need do a better job of developing human-centered business leaders who can meet the challenges of a disrupted world. I believe the approach in this book will also achieve the goal of building more inclusive organizational cultures in which all employees can thrive, regardless of their variations.

By Thomas Kolditz, Libby Gill, Ryan P. Brown

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since its inception, higher education in the U.S. has claimed to develop leaders. This bold claim appears in college mission statements and mottos, and it is reinforced in recruiting materials and ad campaigns. But is this claim justified? Leadership Reckoning takes to task American colleges and universities for their haphazard, incoherent, evidence-free approaches to developing students as leaders and offers a principle-driven, outcome-oriented blueprint for how effective leader development can occur. Higher education has both the opportunity and the responsibility to take leader development seriously and create the leaders we need. It's high time that happens, and Leadership Reckoning points…

Book cover of The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World

Gena Cox Why did I love this book?

Dorie Clark has a way of identifying the challenges that derail careers and then proposing clear, nail-on-the-head solutions that can be executed. The Long Game clarifies that we can achieve our goals if we define our goals and then are purposeful in taking a long-game view and creating the environment that can support those goals. We need to focus, persist, and make space for thinking. I have followed the guidance in this book to help me achieve some very specific goals that were previously vague ideas.

By Dorie Clark,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Long Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Your personal goals need a long-term strategy.

It's no secret that we're pushed to the limit. Today's professionals feel rushed, overwhelmed, and perennially behind. So we keep our heads down, focused on the next thing, and the next, without a moment to breathe.

How can we break out of this endless cycle and create the kind of interesting, meaningful lives we all seek?

Just as CEOs who optimize for quarterly profits often fail to make the strategic investments necessary for long-term growth, the same is true in our own personal and professional lives. We need…

Book cover of Think Big: Take Small Steps and Build the Future You Want

Gena Cox Why did I love this book?

Think Big is a science-based roadmap to help a reader achieve their wildest dreams, by taking small and big steps that move you incrementally toward the goal. Sometimes the steps require doing things you have not done before but sometimes they require stopping or reducing or changing your current patterns of dealing with the realities of life.

By Grace Lordan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What are you doing today to make your dream future come true?

'A rare self-help book that's actually informed by evidence. A host of perceptive, practical tips for getting out of your own way and making progress toward your career goals.' Adam Grant, bestselling author of Think Again and Originals

'A practical and accessible guide to using behavioural science in your career.' Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women

We all have big ambitions for the future but those dreams only become reality if we do something towards them regularly. To achieve audacious goals, we need to take action…

Book cover of Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms

Gena Cox Why did I love this book?

Shellye Archambeau is one of the most successful tech business leaders in America. And this book shows you how she did it and how you can, too. The secrets include clearly defining the goal as early in life as possible; don’t wait. This book will let you know when to say “yes,” and which enticing offers deserve a hard “no.”

By Shellye Archambeau,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Full of empowering wisdom from one of high tech's first female African American CEOs, this inspiring leadership book for readers of Dare to Lead and Start with Why offers a blueprint for how to achieve your personal and professional goals, drawn from the author's own compelling story of how she weathered life's difficulties to build massive success.

Shellye Archambeau recounts how she overcame the challenges she faced as a young black woman, wife, and mother, managing her personal and professional responsibilities while climbing the ranks at IBM and subsequently in her roles as CEO. Through the busts and booms of…

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Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

Book cover of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

Alan Pearce Author Of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a journalist, I'm driven to find stories that have not been covered before and to make clear the incomprehensible. I like people, and I like asking questions. I've covered wars and disasters, and on any given day, I could expect to see people at their very worst and at their very best. With my book about comas, I've met some of the finest people of my career, doctors, nurses, and other clinicians who are fighting the system, and coma survivors who are simply fighting to get through each and every day. This is the story I am now driven to tell.

Alan's book list on consciousness that demonstrates there is more to life than we know

What is my book about?

What happens when a person is placed into a medically-induced coma?

The brain might be flatlining, but the mind is far from inactive: experiencing alternate lives rich in every detail that spans decades, visiting realms of stunning and majestic beauty, or plummeting to the very depths of Hell while defying all medical and scientific understanding.

Everything you think you know about coma is wrong. Doctors call it 'sleeping' when in reality, many are trapped on a hamster wheel of brain-damaging, nightmarish events that scar those that survive for life. Others are left to question whether they touched levels of existence previously confined to fantasy or whether they teetered on the brink of this life and the next. Coma is not what you think.

Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

What is this book about?

Explores the extraordinary states of expanded consciousness that arise during comas, both positive and negative

Every day around the world, thousands of people are placed in medically-induced comas. For some coma survivors, the experience is an utter blank. Others lay paralyzed, aware of everything around them but unable to move, speak, or even blink. Many experience alternate lives spanning decades, lives they grieve once awakened. Some encounter ultra-vivid nightmares, while others undergo a deep, spiritual oneness with the Universe or say they have glimpsed the Afterlife.

Examining the beautiful and disturbing experiences of those who have survived comas, Alan and…

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