We've reached the end of not just the year, but a decade. If you're a reader like me, it's a time to look forward to some great lists of must-reads. I’ve been asking people for their list of books most important to them from the past decade. What are yours? (Simply reply to this email.)
My own list includes the following books, all of which were a factor in my decision to run for office. These books reflect many truths I’ve seen working in the philanthropic sector, and collectively they pushed me to look for a way to make a bigger difference. I also love these books for reaffirming the faith I still have in government for large-scale change.
1. Architecture of a Technodemocracy ([link removed]) by Jason Hanania
Running for office to replace a Representative within a system I consider fundamentally broken was not an easy decision. The author is an FBI whistleblower and lawyer who saw a similarly broken system; his response was to run for office, and write this book, a technologically-informed and legally-sound roadmap to disrupt and upgrade the system within the current legal-political framework. Bonus: an excellent history of United States independence, transitioning from the rule of one person (King George III) to the rule of the 1% (Congress and money). 230 years later, we can now do better and politically empower 100% of Americans. Note: this book is free on kindle on January 1!
2. I Will Be Complete ([link removed]) by Glen David Gold
This memoir is among my favorite books about San Francisco. At nearly 500 pages it hasn’t made many must-read review lists, but I loved it for reinforcing my connection to and love of the city. The book takes place in the 70’s highlighting the countercultural spirit of a city where “expressing fear at the unfamiliar and threatening would have been inelegant."
3. The Sun Does Shine ([link removed]) by Anthony Ray Hinton
The author is one of the most famous clients of Bryan Stevenson, author of another favorite on this list and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, ([link removed]) an organization I have been privileged to work with. Anthony spent thirty years on death row for a crime he did not commit. Last year I had the honor of meeting Anthony and hearing him speak. It was an unforgettable moment, and once you read his powerful story you may, like me, feel you have no choice but to do something about it.
4. The Crossroads of Should and Must ([link removed]) by Elle Luna
For me, running for Congress became something I must do. After years of being proximate to the inequality at the root of so many of our ills, I had to do something that reflected the emergency we are in. Of course, doubts and excuses popped up, but through it all, this book has been an important touchstone to keep going
5. Silicon City: San Francisco in the Long Shadow of the Valley ([link removed]) by Cary McClelland.
Filled with interviews and personal vignettes of people from all walks of life in San Francisco, this book helped me define my campaign as the merging of Silicon Valley tech and the Bay Area’s roots in protest politics and social justice.
Also noteworthy: Winners Take All ([link removed]) by Anand Giridharadas, Loaded ([link removed]) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Just Mercy ([link removed]) by Bryan Stevenson, and Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen ([link removed]) by Jose Antonio Vargas.
Please share your favorites!
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