• Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

    Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

    Wilkerson, Isabel

    The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not. Wilkerson explores how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. She discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. -- adapted from jacket

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  • Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

    Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

    Oluo, Ijeoma

    A history of American white male identity by the author of "So You Want to Talk About Race" imagines a merit-based, non-discriminating model while exposing the actual costs of successes defined by racial and sexual dominance.

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  • The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

    The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

    McGhee, Heather C.

    "Heather C. McGhee's specialty is the American economy--and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. As she dug into subject after subject, from the financial crisis to declining wages to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common problem at the bottom of them all: racism--but not just in the obvious ways that hurt people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It's the common denominator in our most vexing public problems, even beyond our economy. It is at the core of the dysfunction of our democracy and even the spiritual and moral crises that grip us. Racism is a toxin in the American body and it weakens us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out? To find the way, McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Mississippi to Maine, tallying up what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm--the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she collects the stories of white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams and their shot at a better job to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country--from parks and pools to functioning schools--have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world's advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare. It's why we fail to prevent environmental and public health crises that require collective action. But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee also finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: gains that come when people come together across race, to the benefit of all involved"--

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  • A Promised Land

    A Promised Land

    Obama, Barack

    Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency--a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

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

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

    Grant, Adam M.

    "The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your beliefs and to know what you don't know, which can position you for success at work and happiness at home. The difficulty of rethinking our assumptions is surprisingly common-- maybe even fundamentally human. Our ways of thinking become habits that we don't bother to question, and mental laziness leads us to prefer the ease of old routines to the difficulty of new ones. We fail to update the beliefs we formed in the past for the challenges we face in the present. But in a rapidly changing world, we need to spend as much time rethinking as we do thinking. Think Again is a book about the benefit of doubt, and about how we can get better at embracing the unknown and the joy of being wrong. Evidence has shown that creative geniuses are not attached to one identity but constantly willing to rethink their stances, that leaders who admit they don't know something and seek critical feedback lead more productive and innovative teams, and that our greatest presidents have been open to updating their views. The new science of intellectual humility shows that as a mindset and a skillset, rethinking can be taught, and Grant explains how to develop the necessary qualities. The first section of the book explores why we struggle to think again and how we can improve individually, and argues that such engines of success as "grit" can actually be counterproductive; the second section discusses how we can help others think again through the skill of "argument literacy"; and the third looks at how institutions like schools, business, and governments fall short in building cultures that encourage rethinking. In the end, it's intellectual humility that makes it possible for us to stop denying our weaknesses so that we can start improving ourselves."--

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  • Braiding Sweetgrass

    Braiding Sweetgrass

    Kimmerer, Robin Wall

    "An inspired weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished professor of science and a Native American whose previous book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as "the younger brothers of creation." As she explores these themes she circles toward a central argument: the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world. Once we begin to listen for the languages of other beings, we can begin to understand the innumerable life-giving gifts the world provides us and learn to offer our thanks, our care, and our own gifts in return"--

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  • How to Avoid A Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

    How to Avoid A Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

    Gates, Bill

    "Bill Gates shares what he's learned in more than a decade of studying climate change and investing in innovations to address the problems, and sets out a vision for how the world can build the tools it needs to get to zero greenhouse gas emissions. Bill Gates explains why he cares so deeply about climate change and what makes him optimistic that the world can avoid the most dire effects of the climate crisis. Gates says, "We can work on a local, national, and global level to build the technologies, businesses, and industries to avoid the worst impacts of climate change." His interest in climate change is a natural outgrowth of the efforts by his foundation to reduce poverty and disease. Climate change, according to Gates, will have the biggest impact on the people who have done the least to cause it. As a technologist, he has seen firsthand how innovation can change the world. By investing in research, inventing new technologies, and by deploying them quickly at large scale, Gates believes climate change can be addressed in meaningful ways. According to Gates, "to prevent the worst effects of climate change, we have to get to net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases. This problem is urgent, and the debate is complex, but I believe we can come together to invent new carbon-zero technologies, deploy the ones we have, and ultimately avoid a climate catastrophe""--

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  • Keep Sharp: Build A Better Brain at Any Age

    Keep Sharp: Build A Better Brain at Any Age

    Gupta, Sanjay

    "Throughout our life, we look for ways to keep our mind sharp and effortlessly productive. Now, globe trotting neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta offers insights from top scientists all over the world, whose cutting-edge research can help you heighten and protect brain function and maintain cognitive health at any age. ...Debunks common myths about aging and cognitive decline, explores whether there's a "best" diet or exercise regimen for the brain, and explains whether it's healthier to play video games that test memory and processing speed, or to engage in more social interaction. Discover what we can learn from "super-brained" people who are in their eighties and nineties with no signs of slowing down-and whether there are truly any benefits to drugs, supplements, and vitamins. Dr. Gupta also addresses brain disease, particularly Alzheimer's, answers all your questions about the signs and symptoms, and shows how to ward against it and stay healthy while caring for a partner in cognitive decline. He likewise provides readers with a personalized twelve-week program featuring practical strategies to strengthen your brain every day. ...The only owner's manual you'll need to keep your brain young and healthy regardless of your age!"--

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  • Breath: The New Science of A Lost Art

    Breath: The New Science of A Lost Art

    Nestor, James

    "No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how resilient your genes are, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you're not breathing properly. There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Science journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong with our breathing and how to fix it. Why are we the only animals with chronically crooked teeth? Why didn't our ancestors snore? Nestor seeks out answers in muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He tracks down men and women exploring the science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe. Modern research is showing us that changing the ways in which we breathe can jump-start athletic performance, halt snoring, rejuvenate internal organs, mute allergies and asthma, blunt autoimmune disease, and straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again"--

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  • The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

    The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

    Isaacson, Walter

    "The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how the pioneering scientist Jennifer Doudna, along with her colleagues and rivals, launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and enhance our children"-- (4/18/2021 4:39:00 PM)

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