The best books to change your view on the world

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent 10 years building Scopio, which stands for “Scope It Out” to build an accessible platform for anyone, anywhere to tell their story and share their images. I have used technology to change stereotypes and archive historical moments to our everyday imagery. I like to consume information easily and actionably and these are my recommendations! We did that in writing The Year Time Stopped so people can enjoy and get value out of 200 images and stories for the next century.


I wrote...

The Year Time Stopped: The Global Pandemic in Photos

By Christina Hawatmeh, Nour Chamoun,

Book cover of The Year Time Stopped: The Global Pandemic in Photos

What is my book about?

The first global image book in 2020. This book will change our view of humanity during the pandemic. We published it for people to look back on. This historic piece belongs on everyone’s bookshelf for the next century. Opening this book every time will remind you how brave, creative, and beautiful you can be.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Humans of New York: Stories

Christina Hawatmeh Why did I love this book?

I had someone in my language class in my master's program whose whole life changed by being one of the stories from the book Humans of New York. I was so inspired and realized the power of one single image. I also like this book because every time you open it you learn something new. Not many photo books can do that.

By Brandon Stanton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Humans of New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times Bestseller!

With over 500 vibrant, full-color photos, Humans of New York: Stories is an insightful and inspiring collection of portraits of the lives of New Yorkers.

Humans of New York: Stories is the culmination of five years of innovative storytelling on the streets of New York City. During this time, photographer Brandon Stanton stopped, photographed, and interviewed more than ten thousand strangers, eventually sharing their stories on his blog, Humans of New York.

In Humans of New York: Stories, the interviews accompanying the photographs go deeper, exhibiting the intimate storytelling that the blog has become…


Book cover of The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level

Christina Hawatmeh Why did I love this book?

Artists (but this book is for everyone) are often talented but need to overcome mental hurdles that are imposed on us by society, family, and our surroundings that are telling us only to dream so big or achieve so much. The Big Leap teaches you how to go beyond your limitations to make your dreams come true and see things differently.

By Gay Hendricks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Big Leap as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The Big Leap" reveals a simple yet comprehensive model of life fulfillment, presented in a way that engages both mind and heart. Gay Hendricks, a major voice in the fields of relationship transformation, and body-mind therapies, developed these methods over the last thirty years by working closely with more than one thousand extraordinary achievers in business and the arts. Readers will discover what prevents them from fulfilling their true potential so they may enjoy the highest levels of success. Through a step-by-step program, Hendricks shares his proven method for identifying and breaking through our personal upper limits to achieve ultimate…


Book cover of Obama: An Intimate Portrait

Christina Hawatmeh Why did I love this book?

I am a huge fan of Pete Souza, Obama’s resident photographer. Not only does he show you the day in and day out of the most historically positive president of our time, he continues to this day to educate his audience and show us how a president can be. He also sheds light on some extremely difficult topics like school shootings, and Obama’s historic singing of “amazing grace” while consoling families. This book shows me that anyone can be president and that it's a human’s job because you see his humanity through these photos, not the “superhero” president that historically is how presidents are portrayed that makes us feel somehow separate from them, and unreachable.

By Pete Souza,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Relive the extraordinary Presidency of Barack Obama through White House photographer Pete Souza's behind-the-scenes images and stories in this #1 New York Times bestseller -- with a foreword from the President himself.

During Barack Obama's two terms, Pete Souza was with the President during more crucial moments than anyone else -- and he photographed them all. Souza captured nearly two million photographs of President Obama, in moments highly classified and disarmingly candid. Obama: An Intimate Portrait reproduces more than 300 of Souza's most iconic photographs with fine-art print quality in an oversize collectible format.

Together they document the most consequential…


Book cover of Orientalism

Christina Hawatmeh Why did I love this book?

This 1978 published book drove immense controversy. Orientalism pushed heated debates surrounding the nature of Western attitudes towards the Middle East. It pushed millions of people to rethink their prejudices. Said argued that throughout Western history, writers on the Middle East, regardless of the somewhat varying attitudes of their day, reinforced an image of Arabs as uniform, incompetent, and unreflective. But to Said, “the Orient” was a creation of the Western imagination. This work spurred the removal of insensitive words at the beginning of Aladdin. I value this book because it allows us to see how the media is formed and how we can change it. It teaches you agency and power.

By Edward W. Said,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Orientalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The seminal work that has redefined our understanding of colonialism and empire, with a preface by the author

'Stimulating, elegant and pugnacious' Observer
'Magisterial' Terry Eagleton

In this highly-acclaimed work, Edward Said surveys the history and nature of Western attitudes towards the East, considering orientalism as a powerful European ideological creation - a way for writers, philosophers and colonial administrators to deal with the 'otherness' of eastern culture, customs and beliefs. He traces this view through the writings of Homer, Nerval and Flaubert, Disraeli and Kipling, whose imaginative depictions have greatly contributed to the West's romantic and exotic picture of…


Book cover of Why We Can't Wait

Christina Hawatmeh Why did I love this book?

Why We Can't Wait is an easy way to get into the psychology of MLK. It is a 1964 book by Martin Luther King Jr. about the nonviolent movement against racial segregation in the United States, and specifically the 1963 Birmingham campaign. The way it is written makes it understandable from a 1:1 perspective. I am connected to this because it helps a person be actionable in their own way about causes they care about. No frills, just action!

By Martin Luther King, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Why We Can't Wait as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'He changed the course of history' Barack Obama

'Lightning makes no sound until it strikes'

This is the momentous story of the Civil Rights movement, told by one of its most powerful and eloquent voices. Here Martin Luther King, Jr. recounts the pivotal events in the city of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 that propelled his non-violent campaign for racial justice from a movement of lunch counter sit-ins and prayer meetings to a phenomenon that 'rocked the richest, most powerful nation to its foundations'.

As inspiring and resonant as it was upon publication, Why We Can't Wait is both a unique…


You might also like...

American Flygirl

By Susan Tate Ankeny,

Book cover of American Flygirl

Susan Tate Ankeny Author Of The Girl and the Bombardier: A True Story of Resistance and Rescue in Nazi-Occupied France

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Susan Tate Ankeny left a career in teaching to write the story of her father’s escape from Nazi-occupied France. In 2011, after being led on his path through France by the same Resistance fighters who guided him in 1944, she felt inspired to tell the story of these brave French patriots, especially the 17-year-old- girl who risked her own life to save her father’s. Susan is a member of the 8th Air Force Historical Society, the Air Force Escape and Evasion Society, and the Association des Sauveteurs d’Aviateurs Alliés. 

Susan's book list on women during WW2

What is my book about?

The first and only full-length biography of Hazel Ying Lee, an unrecognized pioneer and unsung World War II hero who fought for a country that actively discriminated against her gender, race, and ambition.

This unique hidden figure defied countless stereotypes to become the first Asian American woman in United States history to earn a pilot's license, and the first female Asian American pilot to fly for the military.

Her achievements, passionate drive, and resistance in the face of oppression as a daughter of Chinese immigrants and a female aviator changed the course of history. Now the remarkable story of a fearless underdog finally surfaces to inspire anyone to reach toward the sky.

American Flygirl

By Susan Tate Ankeny,

What is this book about?

One of WWII’s most uniquely hidden figures, Hazel Ying Lee was the first Asian American woman to earn a pilot’s license, join the WASPs, and fly for the United States military amid widespread anti-Asian sentiment and policies.

Her singular story of patriotism, barrier breaking, and fearless sacrifice is told for the first time in full for readers of The Women with Silver Wings by Katherine Sharp Landdeck, A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell, The Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia, Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown and all Asian American, women’s and WWII history books.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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