98 books like Becoming

By Michelle Obama,

Here are 98 books that Becoming fans have personally recommended if you like Becoming. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Mists of Avalon

By Marion Zimmer Bradley,

Book cover of The Mists of Avalon

Helen Fulton Author Of A Companion to Arthurian Literature

From the list on sensible stories about King Arthur.

Who am I?

I came to the Arthurian legends through the medium of medieval Welsh literature, a subject that had intrigued and challenged me since I was an undergraduate. I found the language impenetrable and yet beautiful, while the literature it encoded was fascinatingly unlike the literary traditions of England and France. I wanted to connect with a version of Arthur that preceded the romance traditions of France and England and bears witness to a much older culture and social organisation. Though I've learned to love other versions of Arthur, and indeed I teach the Arthurian legends as part of my academic work, the stark drama of the Welsh poems and tales continues to intrigue me.

Helen's book list on sensible stories about King Arthur

Why did Helen love this book?

Before the appearance of ‘franchise’ novels set in an Arthurian world, and even before the genre of ‘fantasy writing’ had established itself, the American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley published one of the most remarkable novels about Arthurian Britain and its cast of characters.

Well researched and deeply imbued with the colours of a powerfully-imagined world, the novel refocuses the events of Arthur’s life from the point of view of the women who surround him, especially Morgaine (Morgan le Fay) and Igraine, Arthur’s mother.

This was the first feminist retelling of the Arthurian story, one in which Arthur was no longer the focus of the action, and when I first read the novel I found the audacity of this inversion captivating. 

By Marion Zimmer Bradley,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Mists of Avalon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is the tragic tale of the rise and fall of Camelot - but seen through the eyes of Camelot's women: The devout Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's Queen; Vivane, High priestess of Avalon and the Lady of the Lake; above all, Morgaine, possessor of the sight, the wise, the wise-woman fated to bring ruin on them all...

Think Again

By Adam Grant,

Book cover of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know

Elissa L. Perry Author Of Human Resources for the Non-HR Manager

From the list on less businessy business that can help managers.

Who am I?

In a world in which we are faced with increasing amounts of information that we have to parse (from social media, cable news channels, newspapers), it often feels hard to separate fact from fiction, and evidence-based research from junk science. In my own work, I have given a great deal of thought to how to get research-based evidence into the hands of practitioners (managers, employees) who can put it to good use. An important piece of the puzzle is helping practitioners understand the research evidence and how to apply it. The books on this list are great examples of authors who translate research into language that people can understand and use.

Elissa's book list on less businessy business that can help managers

Why did Elissa love this book?

One of the central themes of this book is that in order to successfully adapt and make good decisions in today’s rapidly changing world, the ability to rethink and unlearn may be more important than the ability to think and learn. 

The author’s appeal to readers to think like a scientist and to embrace being wrong resonates with my own beliefs about the value of an evidence-based approach to decision making. Grant uses vivid and compelling, real-life examples to illustrate research-based principles to great effect. 

I love the fact that he provides “actions for impact,” specific behaviors that each of us can employ to support rethinking and that provide a roadmap for how we can apply “best processes” to our daily lives. 

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Think Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

"THIS. This is the right book for right now. Yes, learning requires focus. But, unlearning and relearning requires much more-it requires choosing courage over comfort. In Think Again, Adam Grant weaves together research and storytelling to help us build the intellectual and emotional muscle we need to stay curious enough about the world to actually change it. I've never felt so hopeful about what I don't know."
-Brene Brown, Ph.D., #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead

The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking:…


By Glennon Doyle,

Book cover of Untamed

Kaighla Rises Author Of Evryn, The Light

From the list on remembering you’re 100% that bitch.

Who am I?

I am a writer, poet, and seeker, creating art that empowers women to choose their own destiny and live their truth, authentically. I’ve spent the better part of my life feeling powerless, victimized, and alone. For years, I lived in situations that demanded that I give up my power and subjugate myself to men in order to be respected and welcomed into my community. And then, after a period of extreme trauma, I learned how I had been brainwashed. So I have made it my life’s mission to spread this one message: you have all the power you will ever need, right now, within you. Claim it.

Kaighla's book list on remembering you’re 100% that bitch

Why did Kaighla love this book?

When my husband left me, I was distraught and confused. I had done all I could to force myself into the box he built for me, to be the perfect wife and mother, and he still left. In the middle of my spiral of hurt and self-hate, a friend recommended this book to me, and I devoured it in a matter of days. 

In Untamed, Glennon—who also did all she could to be the perfect wife and mother before her ex-husband engaged in a string of affairs—argues for women to stop killing and abandoning themselves to win the love and appreciation of other people (especially men) and to instead claim their own power and live the life that they want to live.

This was the first book I ever read that argued, in no unclear language, that women have the right and responsibility—as all people do—to stand up and…

By Glennon Doyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OVER TWO MILLION COPIES SOLD! “Packed with incredible insight about what it means to be a woman today.”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club Pick)

In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • Cosmopolitan • Marie Claire • Bloomberg • Parade •…

Give and Take

By Adam Grant,

Book cover of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Keisha Blair Author Of Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity, and Happiness

From the list on resilience and overcoming setbacks.

Who am I?

I'm a trained Economist and Harvard Trained Policy Expert. I was part of the Prime Minister's supporting delegation to the World Economic Forum, ASEAN, and APEC Summits in Singapore. I'm the Founder of the Institute on Holistic Wealth and host of the Holistic Wealth podcast. I wrote a viral article entitled "My Husband Died At Age 34. Here Are 40 Life Lessons I Learned From It". I coined the term Holistic Wealth with the publication of the first book on Holistic Wealth. I am the founder of the Holistic Wealth movement and known as the Mother of Holistic Wealth. I've written three books on Holistic Wealth (series). 

Keisha's book list on resilience and overcoming setbacks

Why did Keisha love this book?

I’ve always believed in the “Law of Reciprocity” and how it can drive resilience and holistic wealth.

The dynamics of collaboration, giving of ourselves, even when we are in a time of grief or facing a setback is important when looking at how the most successful people bounce back. Resilience also stems from how we interact with people and our relationships.

Adam Grant explores so many different facets in this book that can help to build resilience. Adam also spells out how not to be a “door mat” so if you are always a giver and always engaging in self-sacrifice then it can really compromise resilience.

Organizational culture is also important in building resilience – and it's one of the great tragedies of some organizational cultures where successful “takers” are still the most successful. The book is a great primer for individual and organizational resilience. 

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Give and Take as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking look at why our interactions with others hold the key to success, from the bestselling author of Think Again and Originals

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today's dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton's highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. Praised by social scientists, business theorists, and corporate…

The Color of Water

By James McBride,

Book cover of The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother

Steve Pemberton Author Of The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World

From the list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit.

Who am I?

I’m most drawn to stories of overcoming. My own childhood was about exactly that-overcoming a multi-generational inheritance of family separation and orphaned children. When I wrote my first book about that story, A Chance in the World, an unanticipated magic unfolded: I began to receive stories of strangers from all across the world who wrote to tell me their own story of overcoming. Each and every day I hear from someone and the steady stream of those stories of overcoming affirms something I have to come to learn: we all have a story and none of us look like that story.

Steve's book list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit

Why did Steve love this book?

Even a casual glance at today’s headlines will show how race continues to be a perplexing issue in our society. And it shouldn’t be. But we need examples of how to navigate the complexities of race and McBride’s powerful memoir shows us how.

His deep loveand appreciationfor his mother and coming to terms with her story while still standing in his own truth as a Black man is instructive and inspiring…and a reminder that there is nothing greater than love.

By James McBride,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

_______________ 'A triumph' - New York Times Book Review 'A startling, tender-hearted tribute to a woman for whom the expression tough love might have been invented' - The Times 'As lively as a novel, a well-written, thoughtful contribution to the literature on race' - Washington Post _______________ MORE THAN TWO YEARS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST _______________ From the New York Times bestselling author of Deacon King Kong and The Good Lord Bird, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, came this modern classic that Oprah.com calls one of the best memoirs of a generation and that…

Between the World and Me

By Ta-Nehisi Coates,

Book cover of Between the World and Me

Naomi Raquel Enright Author Of Strength of Soul

From the list on the complexity of identity and to challenge racism.

Who am I?

My passion for examining racism and identity has been lifelong, born out of my experience as the daughter of an Ecuadorian mother and a Jewish-American father, a native speaker of English and Spanish, and a citizen of three countries. I was born in La Paz, Bolivia, raised in NYC, and spent childhood summers in Guayaquil. My identity has been consistently questioned and challenged. This all led to a deep desire to understand the complexity of identity and the history and dynamics of systemic racism. My son, who is presumed to be white, enhanced this passion, and it is because of him that I wrote Strength of Soul.

Naomi's book list on the complexity of identity and to challenge racism

Why did Naomi love this book?

Without having read Between The World And Me, I would have never written my own book. I taught Ta-Nehisi Coates’s son, Samori, in middle school, which made reading this book even more impactful. Between The World And Me is just as much about challenging systemic racism and being the change one wishes to see, as it is about the profound love that exists between parent and child. Becoming a parent is one of the most transformative experiences one can have and in Between The World And Me, Coates’s love for his son, and his desire for his son to know he can change the world, is palpable. It was a powerful read both as a mother, and as an individual deeply invested in examining, understanding, and challenging systemic racism.

By Ta-Nehisi Coates,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Between the World and Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race” (Rolling Stone)

Fire Shut Up in My Bones

By Charles M. Blow,

Book cover of Fire Shut Up in My Bones

Vivian Gibson Author Of The Last Children of Mill Creek

From the list on Black family life in America.

Who am I?

I was raised with my seven siblings on Bernard Street in Mill Creek Valley—454 acres in downtown St. Louis, which comprised the nation's largest urban-renewal project beginning in 1959. I started writing short stories about my childhood memories of the dying African-American community after retiring at age 66. The Last Children of Mill Creek was published when I was 70 years old. This memoir is about survival, as told from the viewpoint of a watchful young girl -- a collection of decidedly universal stories that chronicle the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.

Vivian's book list on Black family life in America

Why did Vivian love this book?

With polished language and measured pace, Blow tells a fascinating coming-of-age story of growing up in a small Louisiana town. As the youngest in a family of five boys raised by a schoolteacher mother, with the help of her extended family, he unveils his struggles with sexual identity and masculinity.

By Charles M. Blow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fire Shut Up in My Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Charles M. Blow's mother was a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, and a job plucking poultry at a factory near their town in segregated Louisiana, where slavery's legacy felt close. When her philandering husband finally pushed her over the edge, she fired a pistol at his fleeing back, missing every shot, thanks to "love that blurred her vision and bent the barrel." Charles was the baby of the family, fiercely attached to his "do-right" mother. Until one day that divided his life into Before and After - the day an older cousin took…

Men We Reaped

By Jesmyn Ward,

Book cover of Men We Reaped: A Memoir

Sarah L. Sanderson Author Of The Place We Make: Breaking the Legacy of Legalized Hate

From the list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Who am I?

I chose to study creative nonfiction during my MFA program so I could learn what makes great memoirs work, but I first fell in love with the genre as a teenager, when I picked up Angela’s Ashes off my mom’s bedside table. I’m grateful for the way memoir gives me a window into the lives of people of other races, religions, abilities, experiences, and even other centuries. While my book The Place We Make isn’t only a memoir—it’s a blend of memoir and historical biography—it was my desire to both understand the view through my research subject’s eyes, and analyze how I was seeing the world myself, that drove me to write it.

Sarah's book list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes

Why did Sarah love this book?

Men We Reaped blew me away.

Not only does Ward provide an incredibly personal and achingly beautiful glimpse of a culture I was unfamiliar with—a rural, impoverished Black community in the Deep South—but she does so with an innovative structure that simply dazzled me.

One strand of the book opens at the beginning of Ward’s life, while the other strand picks up at the end of her tale, with the most recent of five harrowing deaths due to gun violence that she and her community have endured. Each part of the story then alternately proceeds toward the same point, forwards along her childhood and backwards through each death, until both strands wind up in the middle of the story. It’s brilliantly executed. 

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

_______________ 'A brutal, moving memoir ... Anyone who emerges from America's black working-class youth with words as fine as Ward's deserves a hearing' - Guardian 'Raw, beautiful and dangerous' - New York Times Book Review 'Lavishly endowed with literary craft and hard-earned wisdom' - Time _______________ The beautiful, haunting memoir from Jesmyn Ward, the first woman to win the National Book Award twice 'And then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped' - Harriet Tubman Jesmyn Ward's acclaimed memoir shines…

Operating Instructions

By Anne Lamott,

Book cover of Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year

Susan C. Conley Author Of Landslide

From the list on boy moms and their connection to teenage boys.

Who am I?

I'm a fourth-generation “Mainer” and the mother of two boy “wolves,” and I have a deep well of respect for boys and their imaginations in the masculinized culture we swim in. I've seen how much rich thinking is going on in the inner lives of boys. The teenage boy rendered in literature can be a stock character, and I was determined to give them more respect on the page and to explore what’s not said between boy moms and their sons that deeply connects them. I teach widely and write non-fiction as well as fiction and am a founder of a creative writing center in Portland, Maine for kids called the Telling Room. 

Susan's book list on boy moms and their connection to teenage boys

Why did Susan love this book?

This is the Mother of all boy mom books. It’s required reading for anyone learning to speak boy. Equal parts despair—Lamott is a single mom who sometimes wants to leave her crying boy outside on the stoop—and equal parts gut punches of hilarious wisdom and ardor about boy life and mom devotion.

By Anne Lamott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the journal of the birth of Anne Lamott's son Sam, and their first year together. Coping with being a recovering alcoholic and a single mother, Anne had to face the fact that her best friend since childhood was dying of cancer.


By Isabel Wilkerson,

Book cover of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Melinda Lewis Author Of Social Policy for Effective Practice: A Strengths Approach

From the list on igniting students’ passions about policy change.

Who am I?

I am a policy advocate, grassroots activist, university professor, and author committed to social change—at scale—to advance social work values of racial, economic, environmental, and social justice. Recognizing that most social workers are drawn to our profession because they want to make a difference in the lives of their clients, one by one, I invest my energies and skills to making policy study and practice accessible, relevant, and urgent. My students quickly get used to noting the book recommendations I sprinkle throughout class discussions and in assignment feedback, because when you see the world through a social policy frame, everything has a policy implication! 

Melinda's book list on igniting students’ passions about policy change

Why did Melinda love this book?

Wilkerson’s scholarship on race and injustice is certainly not a secret, but I still find some colleagues who have not yet read this book.

To convince people to pick it up, I promise that its language is poetic and imminently accessible, and I share the two pieces that have remained top of mind for years: first, Wilkerson’s research about the lessons Nazi Germany took from the racial caste system of Jim Crow United States, and second, the way she crafts an analogy of a crumbling house to make the case for reparations for racist harm, which—like cracks in the foundation of a house you just bought—may not be your fault but are still your problem.

I am forever grateful to Wilkerson for gifting us her insights and rhetorical tools, conveyed so skillfully in this tremendous contribution.

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


"Powerful and timely ... I cannot recommend it strongly enough" - Barack Obama

From one of America's most celebrated and insightful writers, the moving, eye-opening bestseller about what lies hidden under the surface of ordinary lives

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human…

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