August 12, 2020
Dear Colleagues & Community,
As the summer progresses into its last few weeks, there’s still the hope that we can squeeze out the time to read, watch or listen to something meaningful before returning to the grind of September. We reached out to our small but mighty team, who are working from home across North America, and asked what they’ve seen, or heard to recommend. They sent back the intriguing collection below of books, films and podcasts. Enjoy!
Best, The 21/64 Team
P.S. If you’re starting to plan your fall calendar, we’d love to see you at one of our Upcoming Events.
Danielle Oristian York: Executive Director & President
Book: I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
What it’s about: I’m Still Here is a personal account of Austin Channing Brown’s experience as a Black woman growing up in a white community and her journey working to advance racial inclusivity in society.
Why I recommend it: Written as a personal narrative, it’s authentic and illuminates racial injustice. This 2018 book tells many stories, including one about Channing Brown’s own name, given to her in part to avoid preconceived ideas about black-sounding names.
My takeaways: As a result of reading this, I’m left with wider eyes, an open heart, and motivated to be a part of the change needed for a more just world. I read this book and was motivated to take actions that align with my values, which parallels our approach to values and decision making at 21/64. Channing Brown’s newsletter, Roll Call, is also a great resource for practicing anti-racism.
Sharna Goldseker: Founder & Vice President
Audio Book: More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys
What it’s about: More Myself is an autobiography about Alicia Keys’ journey, which “shares her quest for truth―about herself, her past, and her shift from sacrificing her spirit to celebrating her worth.”
Why I recommend it: It’s a beautifully written book, each word chosen like a lyric in one of Alicia’s songs. And her storytelling is candid, vulnerable and from the heart. It is a treat to hear Alicia narrate her own story, including performing songs and hosting special guests.
My takeaways: Alicia’s ongoing journey of self-discovery, understanding where she comes from, becoming her true self, and having the courage to listen to her own voice was incredibly powerful. I appreciated hearing how she navigates her many roles as a performer, businesswoman, mother, daughter, wife and philanthropist. It was a joyful read.
Robyn Schein: Senior Director
Podcast: Million Bazillion by Jed Kim
What it’s about: Million Bazillion is a new podcast by American Public Media. The content is about money for kids and their families. My kids are ages 7-12, and I’ve been listening to the podcast with them in the car.
Why I recommend it: In just the first few episodes Kim has raised big topics such as where does money come from and developing negotiating skills. The content resonates across my kids’ age range well, with each child taking away a different lessons from the podcast.
My takeaways: As a parent, I appreciate that the podcast is introducing foundational lessons for financial literacy discussions and have helped stimulated more conversations about money for our family. For my kids, they appreciate hearing what other kids have to say about money and are drawn in by both the silliness and interesting content.
Jennie Zioncheck: Senior Director
Book: A Failure of Nerve by Edwin H. Friedman
What it’s about: It presents a model of leadership that focuses on defining one’s own beliefs and thinking before looking to lead others.
Why I recommend it: It challenges many commonly held beliefs about leadership and presents a model that goes against the idea of a quick fix.
My takeaways: I have learned that clearly defining my own beliefs, priorities and vision is the first step to leading others. In addition, I’m reminded to resist the urge to change others and, instead, focus on my own behaviors and the things that I can control.
Barbara Taylor: Senior Director
What it’s about: Creating meaningful and intentional gatherings online, even while we have to be apart.
Why I recommend it: I’ve found both her book, The Art of Gathering, and her podcast, Together Apart, inspired. They sparked my creativity for designing personal and professional gatherings.
My takeaways: I learned a number of key concepts, such as: “Make purpose your bouncer. Let it decide what goes into your gathering and what stays out”; the role of “generous authority” as host/facilitator to protect attendees; and, how to set boundaries to enliven your participants and allow them to express themselves.
Andine Sutardaji: Director of Next Gen Initiatives
Book: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
What it’s about: This is a novel written in the form of a letter from a Vietnamese-American son to his illiterate mother.
Why I recommend it: This is a great read for those who would like to broaden their perspectives on the beauty, struggle and triumphs of the multigenerational immigrant experience.
My takeaways: For me, it further emphasizes the power of telling one’s own story and affirms the importance of feeling seen and heard as a way to bridge generations.
Sara Finkelstein: Manager
Documentary: Dealt directed by Luke Korem
What it’s about: This documentary follows Richard Turner, one of the world’s best and most renowned card magicians—and he also happens to be blind.
Why I recommend it: I was drawn to this film at the beginning of the pandemic because it’s a story about someone who completely reimagined how to live a new life without sight. Experiencing Turner’s journey and how he created a place for himself in the world was a helpful model, as I try to navigate and problem-solve during these unpredictable times.
My takeaways: I was galvanized by the tips and tricks that Turner uses to help with everyday life. It emphasized for me that simple solutions can make significant impact; it just requires creativity.
Erin Trottier: Operations Analyst
Book: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven
What it’s about: Based on a Navy Seal’s commencement speech given at the University of Texas at Austin in 2017, this book explains how anyone can use these ten lessons in everyday life.
Why I recommend it: I enjoyed hearing General McRaven’s chronicles from his training and think this would be a great and quick read for my preteen son.
My takeaways: My favorite lesson is from Chapter Two: You Can’t Go At It Alone. It was a wonderful reminder never to forget that your success depends on others.
Darby Lasky: Program Coordinator
Book: Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende
What it’s about: A small-town obituary writer shares the stories and wisdom from the lives of her community and from her own experiences to illuminate a powerful lesson: there is always positivity, even in the toughest of situations.
Why I recommend it: This book is especially refreshing in these times. It as a bright and motivating example of how to intentionally seek out the good and true in all that is around me.
My takeaways: This book reminds me of the responsibility we all have to live a life we are proud of and to recognize and honor those who matter to us while they’re here to appreciate it. Find the Good encouraged me to look at my current relationships, priorities, work and world from a fresh perspective.