9 Books, Articles, Videos, and Podcasts to Add to Your Holiday List

The holidays are the perfect time to rest, reflect, catch-up on what you’ve waited to do all year, or get ahead for next year. Whether you’re looking for a break in the chaos or a thought-provoking discourse, pulling up on the beach somewhere or cozying up at home, we hope there’s something on this list of our favorites from 2019 to keep you company. We’ll see you in 2020!


1. How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh

Well known for his nomination for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, Hanh writes How to Sit as another of his many ventures into mindfulness.  Many of us on the Building Impact team find mindfulness to be a critical tool in enabling us to both be present in our work as well as have the space and clarity of thought to contemplate our impact over time. (Read here)

2. This Changes Everything: Capitalism v. The Climate by Naomi Klein

In this provocative take on climate change, Klein challenges her readers to reconsider this existential threat through a lens of the systems we’ve built, mainly capitalism, and how it, and we, must change to save the planet. It was lauded by the New York Times as “the most momentous and contentious environmental book since ‘Silent Spring.’” Critical and hopeful, Klein outlines the challenges we face and ways to tackle them, but not without explaining that “Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.” (Read here)

3. Frederick Douglass: Profit of Freedom by David W. Blight

Acclaimed biography author Blight pulls together previously unavailable historical texts to bring Frederick Douglass’s life into cinematic focus in this new biography. Sharp and engaging, it authentically depicts Douglass as a complex human being in addition to arguably the greatest orator in American history. Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History. (Read here)


4. What Does It Mean to Be an Ally in Efforts to Transform Public Education? The Answers Threaten to Tear the Movement Apart by Robin Lake

Robin Lake shares her thought-provoking reflections on leadership development, acting with courage, and values tensions. (Read here)

5. Philanthropists Bench Women of Color, the M.V.P.s of Social Change by Vanessa Daniel

Daniel spends this insightful op-ed outlining the ways that women of color are left out of modern philanthropy, and why, as well as a powerful call to action for change. (Read here)


6. Free Yourself When Conflict Resolution Fails from Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler at TEDxChelseaPark

In her TED talk, Goldman-Wetzler outlines how to move past entrenched conflict and achieve productive collaboration. We’re also awaiting her upcoming book on the subject. (Watch here)

7.  How Families Will Transform Our Broken School System from Veronica Crespin-Palmer at TEDxMileHigh

For a great example of what community-driven, system change looks like, watch this TED talk from Veronica Crespin-Palmer, the CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit organization RISE Colorado, which empowers low-income families and families of color to fight for educational equity. In one of our favorite quotes, Veronica celebrates how “Low income families and families of color are proving time and time again that they are architects not just objects of policy.” (Watch here)


8. 1619 Project Podcast

The highlight anticipated podcast, born out of the New York Times’ The 1619 Project, outlines the impacts of the institution of slavery that arrived as a slave ship on American shores 400 years ago in 1619. The podcast includes archival audio and expert writing, and outlines the legacy of slavery and how it impacts today’s society, from music to the economy and everything in between. (Listen here)

Case Study

9. Surge: Building a Pipeline of Diverse Educational Leaders

This case study from the Harvard Education Press outlines the growth and development of the Surge Institute, a nonprofit program working to build up leaders of color in the education system. Additionally, it is one of the few case studies both authored by and featuring a black leader. (Read here)