We’ve had a few requests for book lists, so here are our favorite courageous reads of 2014! Use the index below to see books under each topic (the order is random).

2014 Books for Everyone

sallyhare_book_2014Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do: Stories of Living Divided No More – Quilted together by the Writers Circle of Trust
by Sally Z. Hare and Megan Leboutillier (Eds.) with contributions from Parker J. Palmer
An extraordinary glimpse inside the human journey to live with integrity, with wholeness by 21 diverse people who share their stories with stunning honesty and openness… In his contribution to the book, Parker J. Palmer writes: From the moment I began writing fifty years ago, I’ve known that my ideas wouldn’t matter much if they simply sat there, inert, on the printed page. So I am deeply grateful for people who “put wheels” on those ideas… The contributors to this book have done exactly that. Here they share their stories of what it means to decide to “rejoin soul and role” and live “divided no more…” All of these people are participants in what I have called the “movement model of social change.” … It is the ancient movement to fulfill the human possibility, a movement that’s forever calling us to embody what it means to be truly human.

Healing the Heart of Democracy: Now available in paperbackHealing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit (paperback re-release)
by Parker J. Palmer
In the same compelling, inspiring prose that has made him a bestselling author, Palmer explores five “habits of the heart” that can help us restore democracy’s foundations as we nurture them in ourselves and each other. This 2014 paperback edition includes TWO NEW FEATURES: (1) A chapter-length Introduction in which Palmer explores his political experience since the book first came out in 2011, including a new way to understand “the great divide” in our political life. (2) A detailed Discussion Guide with links to online resources—including 40 brief video interviews with the author—to facilitate more dialogue across political lines of the sort the book has inspired since it was published.

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible
by Charles Eisenstein
In a time of social and ecological crisis, what can we as individuals do to make the world a better place? This inspirational and thought-provoking book serves as an empowering antidote to the cynicism, frustration, paralysis, and overwhelm so many of us are feeling, replacing it with a grounding reminder of what’s true: we are all connected, and our small, personal choices bear unsuspected transformational power. By fully embracing and practicing this principle of interconnectedness—called interbeing—we become more effective agents of change and have a stronger positive influence on the world. With chapters covering separation, interbeing, despair, hope, pain, pleasure, consciousness, and many more, the book invites us to let the old Story of Separation fall away so that we can stand firmly in a Story of Interbeing.

The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be
by Mark Nepo
Called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time,” this beloved teacher explores what it means to become our truest self through the ongoing and timeless journey of awakening to the dynamic wholeness of life, which is messy and unpredictable. Nepo navigates some of the soul’s deepest and most ancient questions, such as: What does it mean to inhabit the world? How do we stay vital and buoyant amid the storms of life? What is the secret to coming alive? Nepo affirms that not only is the soul’s journey inevitable, it is essential to our survival. The human journey is how the force of life grows us, and no matter where we go we can’t escape this foundational truth: What’s in the way is the way. As Nepo writes, “The point of experience is not to escape life but to live it.”

On Purpose Before Twenty
by Adam Cox
On Purpose Before Twenty tells a story of youth in which young people want to participate in making the world, discovering their significance and purpose through myriad forms of doing and creating. These non-negotiable needs develop by kindergarten, and are the essence of shaping a purposeful and focused life. Our serious regard for the potential of young people makes the world a more welcoming place. It is as much an essential form of stewardship as protecting forests, and creatures living on the brink of extinction.

Man’s Search for Meaning (gift edition re-release)
by Viktor Frankl
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir of life in Nazi death camps has riveted generations of readers. Based on Frankl’s own experience and the stories of his patients, the book argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward. Man’s Search for Meaning has become one of the most influential books of our times, selling over twelve million copies worldwide. With a foreword by Harold S. Kushner, Frankl’s classic is presented here in an elegant new edition with endpapers, supplementary photographs, and several of Frankl’s previously unpublished letters, speeches, and essays.

The Art of Communicating
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, bestselling author of Peace Is Every Step and one of the most respected and celebrated religious leaders in the world, delivers a powerful path to happiness through mastering life’s most important skill. In this precise and practical guide, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh reveals how to listen mindfully and express your fullest and most authentic self. With examples from his work with couples, families, and international conflicts, The Art of Communicating helps us move beyond the perils and frustrations of misrepresentation and misunderstanding to learn the listening and speaking skills that will forever change how we experience and impact the world.

Developing Cultural Humility: Embracing Race, Privilege and Power
by Miguel E. Gallardo
Developing Cultural Humility offers a unique look into the journeys of psychologists striving towards an integration of multiculturalism in their personal and professional lives.  Contributing authors—representing a mix of “cultural backgrounds” but stereotypically identified as “White”—engage in thoughtful dialogue with psychologists from underrepresented communities who are identified as established and respected individuals within the multicultural field. This text is useful for stimulating discussions about privilege, power, and the impact race has on either bringing people together or creating more distance, whether intentionally or unintentionally. It demonstrates to readers how to engage in the process of examining one’s own “culture” in more intentional ways, and discusses the implications as we move towards engaging in more dialogue around multicultural issues.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks
by Jeanne Theoharis
The definitive political biography of Rosa Parks examines her six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement. Presenting a corrective to the popular notion of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who, with a single act, birthed the modern civil rights movement, Theoharis provides a revealing window into Parks’s politics and years of activism. She shows readers how this civil rights movement radical sought—for more than a half a century—to expose and eradicate the American racial-caste system in jobs, schools, public services, and criminal justice.

Tears of Silence (paperback re-release)
by Jean Vanier, Foreword by Parker J. Palmer, Photographs by Jonathan Boulet-Groulx
Acclaimed as a man “who inspires the world” (Maclean’s) and a “nation builder” (Globe and Mail), Jean Vanier has made a difference in the lives of countless people — including those with disabilities and the many people who have been moved by his life’s work. Rereleased to commemorate the 50th anniversary of L’Arche Internationale, an international network of communities for people with developmental disabilities, Tears of Silence is an inspiring book of poems on the topics of alienation and belonging, featuring intimate, never-before-published black and white photographs from L’Arche communities around the world. This edition includes a new introduction by Jean Vanier and a foreword by author and education activist Parker Palmer.

How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice
by Pat Schneider
“When I begin to write, I open myself and wait. And when I turn toward an inner spiritual awareness, I open myself and wait.” With that insight, Pat Schneider invites readers to contemplate their lives and deepest questions through writing. In seventeen concise thematic chapters that include meditations on topics such as fear, freedom, tradition in writing and in religions, forgiveness, joy, social justice, and death, How the Light Gets In gracefully guides readers through the artistic and spiritual questions that life offers to everyone.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
by Robin Wall Kimmer
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take “us on a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert). Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.

2014 Books of Poetry

teachingwithheartcoverTeaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach
by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner (Eds.) Foreword by Parker J. Palmer, Introduction by Taylor Mali, Afterword by Sarah Brown Wessling
Each and every day teachers show up in their classrooms with a relentless sense of optimism. Despite the complicated challenges of schools, they come to and remain in the profession inspired by a conviction that through education they can move individuals and society to a more promising future. In Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach a diverse group of ninety teachers describe the complex of emotions and experiences of the teaching life — joy, outrage, heartbreak, hope, commitment and dedication. Each heartfelt commentary is paired with a cherished poem selected by the teacher. The contributors represent a broad array of educators: K-12 teachers, principals, superintendents, college professors, as well as many non-traditional teachers. They range from first year teachers to mid-career veterans to those who have retired after decades in the classroom. They come from inner-city, suburban, charter and private schools. The teachers identified an eclectic collection of poems and poets from Emily Dickinson, to Richard Wright, to Mary Oliver to the rapper Tupac Shakur. It is a book by teachers and for all who teach.

A Permeable Life: Poems & Essays
by Carrie Newcomer
A Permeable Life: Poems & Essays is Carrie Newcomer’s first book, and it’s a cause for celebration. For over two decades, Carrie has gathered a legion of fans who know and love her work as a mindful, soulful singer-songwriter. In this book she reveals herself to be a first-class poet and essayist as well, showing us the aquifer of intuition and insight from which her music and lyrics flow. Read this book, and find your heart and mind opening to a more permeable life.” – Parker J. Palmer

Steppingstones
by Judy Brown
These poems are part of an inner dialogue about transitions and turnings, and the lessons the natural world can offer us. In Judy’s leadership work, she invites folks to detail the steppingstones that have brought them to where they are in their work and their life. It is that process from which this collection takes its name: steppingstones. Mark Nepo writes: “Judy Brown’s poems are subtle, like rain on the surface of stillness inviting us to wait for the ripples to clear. In Steppingstones, she explores the solidity of presence and our capacity to hear ourselves within the gift of Nature; so we might better meet this life.”

Blue Horses: Poems
by Mary Oliver
In this stunning collection of new poems, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has defined her life’s work, describing with wonder both the everyday and the unaffected beauty of nature. Herons, sparrows, owls, and kingfishers flit across the page in meditations on love, artistry, and impermanence. Whether considering a bird’s nest, the seeming patience of oak trees, or the artworks of Franz Marc, Oliver reminds us of the transformative power of attention and how much can be contained within the smallest moments. At its heart, Blue Horses asks what it means to truly belong to this world, to live in it attuned to all its changes. Humorous, gentle, and always honest, Oliver is a visionary of the natural world.

This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems
by Wendell Berry
For nearly thirty-five years, Wendell Berry has been at work on a series of poems occasioned by his solitary Sunday walks around his farm in Kentucky. From riverfront and meadows, to grass fields and woodlots, every inch of this hillside farm lives in these poems, as do the poet’s constant companions of memory and occasion, family and animals, who have with Berry created his Home Place with love and gratitude. With the publication of this new complete edition, it has become increasingly clear that The Sabbath Poems have become the very heart of Berry’s entire work. And these magnificent poems, taken as a whole, have become one of the greatest contributions ever made to American poetry.

2014 Books for Leaders

laloux-bookcoverReinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness
by Frederic Laloux
In this groundbreaking book, the author shows that every time humanity has shifted to a new stage of consciousness in the past, it has invented a whole new way to structure and run organizations, each time bringing extraordinary breakthroughs in collaboration. A new shift in consciousness is currently underway. Could it help us invent a radically more soulful and purposeful way to run our businesses and nonprofits, schools and hospitals? The pioneering organizations researched for this book have already “cracked the code.” It’s hard not to get excited about this finding: a new organizational model seems to be emerging, and it promises a soulful revolution in the workplace.

Flourishing Enterprise: The New Spirit of Business
by Chris Laszlo and Judy Sorum Brown, with John R. Ehrenfeld, Mary Gorham, Ilma Barros Pose, Linda Robson, Roger Saillant, Dave Sherman, and Paul Werder
Drawing together decades of research along with in-depth interviews, Flourishing Enterprise argues that strategic, organizational, and operational efforts to be sustainable reach the potential of flourishing when they incorporate one additional ingredient: reflective practices. Offering more than a dozen such practices, this book leads readers down a path to greater business success, personal well-being, and a healthier planet.

Authentic Leadership: Clashes, Convergences, and Coalescences
by Donna Ladkin and Chellie Spiller (Eds.)
The majority of authentic leadership literature focuses on the individual leader. However, the authors in this volume expertly focus on the premise that leadership is a relational phenomenon and not something that can be distilled down to the actions of one leader, be they authentic or not. What is authentic leadership? Does it require a leader to express his or her true self even if that true self is less than ‘wonderful’? How do followers know the difference between real and fake leaders anyway? What happens when cultural expectations of what constitutes authenticity clash? Can a leader be ‘authentic’ within virtual contexts? International scholars and practitioners from the fields of philosophy, sociology, psychology, leadership, business and the arts address these and other provocative questions, often with surprising results, in this cutting-edge update of the theory and practice of authentic leadership.

The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
by Professor Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi
Over the past thirty years, a new systemic conception of life has emerged at the forefront of science. New emphasis has been given to complexity, networks, and patterns of organisation leading to a novel kind of ‘systemic’ thinking. This volume integrates the ideas, models, and theories underlying the systems view of life into a single coherent framework. Taking a broad sweep through history and across scientific disciplines, the authors examine the appearance of key concepts such as autopoiesis, dissipative structures, social networks, and a systemic understanding of evolution. The implications of the systems view of life for health care, management, and our global ecological and economic crises are also discussed. Written primarily for undergraduates, it is also essential reading for graduate students and researchers interested in understanding the new systemic conception of life and its implications for a broad range of professions – from economics and politics to medicine, psychology and law.

2014 Books for Educators

teachingwithheartcoverTeaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach
by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner (Eds.) Foreword by Parker J. Palmer, Introduction by Taylor Mali, Afterword by Sarah Brown Wessling
Each and every day teachers show up in their classrooms with a relentless sense of optimism. Despite the complicated challenges of schools, they come to and remain in the profession inspired by a conviction that through education they can move individuals and society to a more promising future. In Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach a diverse group of ninety teachers describe the complex of emotions and experiences of the teaching life — joy, outrage, heartbreak, hope, commitment and dedication. Each heartfelt commentary is paired with a cherished poem selected by the teacher. The contributors represent a broad array of educators: K-12 teachers, principals, superintendents, college professors, as well as many non-traditional teachers. They range from first year teachers to mid-career veterans to those who have retired after decades in the classroom. They come from inner-city, suburban, charter and private schools. The teachers identified an eclectic collection of poems and poets from Emily Dickinson, to Richard Wright, to Mary Oliver to the rapper Tupac Shakur. It is a book by teachers and for all who teach.

The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School
by Valerie L. Brown and Kirsten L. Olson
For educational leaders who feel overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, this book offers explicit practices to help readers avoid burnout and become the mindful, poised, effective leaders they were meant to be. The book also offers real-time encouragement with portraits of educational leaders who are incorporating mindfulness practices, like attentive breathing, mindful walking about the school building, or calming pauses in the office throughout the school day into their leadership portfolios and everyday lives. Chapters present a brief overview of school culture and climate, research that describes the effectiveness of mindfulness practices, and helpful tips for incorporating mindfulness in daily life.

chip-wood_teaching_for_equityTeaching for Equity
by Linda Crawford and Chip Wood
Teaching for Equity returns teaching and learning to the primary relationships between the teacher and student, student and student, school and family. The book outlines an array of applicable practices to help you personalize students’ learning. Parker J. Palmer says in his review, “Here’s a vital book on a critical topic by two of our wisest, most experienced and devoted educators. New standards and more testing will not cure education’s ills. But by building “relational trust,” teachers, leaders, students, and families can return our schools to full health. This book is just what the doctor ordered.”

2014 Book for Health Care Professionals

Rehumanizing Medicine. Pre-order at Amazon.Re-humanizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice, and the Culture of Medicine
by David R. Kopacz
Physicians and professionals train extensively to relieve suffering. Yet the systems they train and practice in create suffering for both themselves and their clients through the neglect of basic human needs. True healthcare reform requires addressing dehumanization in medicine by caring for the whole person. Re-humanizing Medicine provides a holistic framework to support human connection and the expression of full human being of doctors, professionals and patients.

The Ecology of Wellness for Nurses: A Personal and Professional Resource
by Sharon Olson
The Ecology of Wellness for Nurses encourages compassion, courage, and self care for nurses of both genders and all levels of experience, from nursing students to skilled R.N.s. Sharon’s comprehensive ecological wellness model speaks to readers with meaningful insights and compelling encouragement for making positive changes in their lives—changes that can help spark a much0needed renaissance in nursing and in the hearts of those who choose, or have chosen, to be nurses.

2014 Books for People of Faith

Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith
by Erin S. Lane and Enuma C. Okoro (Eds.) Foreword by Andrew Marin
The latest book in the I Speak For Myself series addresses the experiences of faith, gender, and identity that remain taboo for American Christian Women Under 40. Is it our desire to remain childless in a Catholic tradition that largely defines women by their ability to reproduce? Is it our struggle with pornography in an evangelical subculture that addresses it only as the temptation of unsatisfied men? From masturbation, miscarriage, and menstruation to ordination, co-habitation, and immigration, this collection of essays explores the most provocative topics of faith left largely unspoken in 21st century American faith life.

How Do You Pray?: Inspiring Responses from Religious Leaders, Spiritual Guides, Healers, Activists and Other Lovers of Humanity
by Celeste Yacoboni (Ed.), Foreword by Mirabai Starr
How Do You Pray? was born from a vision in which Celeste Yacoboni was told to ask the world, “How Do You Pray?” She reached out to leading spiritual, shamanic, scientific teachers, guides, and activists and asked for their response. Culled from those responses is an original and deeply personal collection of essays. Talking intimately and candidly about how they pray, these personalities encourage the reader to contemplate the intention of prayer in their own life. This collection speaks to the reader’s heart and asks What is your soul’s expression? How do you dance in ecstasy, bare your soul to the divine? Bow in gratitude? Merge with nature? Cry out for guidance? How do you pray?

The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Inspiration of His Life, Thought, and Writing
by Daniel P. Horan
Millions of Christians and non-Christians look to Thomas Merton for spiritual wisdom and guidance, but to whom did Merton look? In The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton, Franciscan friar and author Daniel Horan shows how, both before and after he became a Trappist monk, Merton’s life was shaped by his love for St. Francis and for the Franciscan spiritual and intellectual tradition. Given recent renewed interest in St. Francis, this timely resource is both informative and practical, revealing a previously hidden side of Merton that will inspire a new generation of Christians to live richer, deeper, and more justice-minded lives of faith.

From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace
by Amy Eilberg
“A pioneer in the work of Jewish chaplaincy, healing and spiritual direction, Eilberg has spent the last seven years stretching her heart and mind to answer the call of peace building in our world. In this much anticipated book, she inspires and defines yet another new field, inviting Jews to join her on the spiritual adventure of the twenty-first century: encountering the “other” with curiosity and compassion. Digging deeply into her knowledge of Jewish text and tradition, Rabbi Eilberg gently but firmly shows us what it might mean to become rodfei shalom–pursuers of peace. I cannot imagine a more important journey, nor could I hope for a wiser guide.” —Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer

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