We’re building our culture at CCIJ, and reading and learning are at the core of it.
I send out a weekly email to team members updating them on what’s happened within the organization during the past week. This year, I’ve started including some of the books i’ve read in order to learn more about leadership, organization building, how to work more effectively, access to clean water, and the countries in which our members live, among other topics.
Here are five of my favorites thus far, with brief descriptions from the publishing house or another source.
There Was A Country
by Chinua Achebe
For more than forty years, Chinua Achebe maintained a considered silence on the events of the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Decades in the making, There Was a Country is a towering account of one of modern Africa’s most disastrous events, from a writer whose words and courage left an enduring stamp on world literature. A marriage of history and memoir, vivid firsthand observation and decades of research and reflection, There Was a Country is a work whose wisdom and compassion remind us of Chinua Achebe’s place as one of the great literary and moral voices of our age.
What You Have Heard is True
by Carolyn Forche
Carolyn Forché is twenty-seven when the mysterious stranger appears on her doorstep. The relative of a friend, he is a charming polymath with a mind as seemingly disordered as it is brilliant. She’s heard rumors from her friend about who he might be: a lone wolf, a communist, a CIA operative, a sharpshooter, a revolutionary, a small coffee farmer, but according to her, no one seemed to know for certain. He has driven from El Salvador to invite Forché to visit and learn about his country. Captivated for reasons she doesn’t fully understand, she accepts and becomes enmeshed in something beyond her comprehension.
The Culture Code
by Daniel Coyle
In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations—including Pixar, the San Antonio Spurs, and U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind.
by Cal Newport
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship.
Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol
by Nell Irvin Painter
Nell Irvin Painter goes beyond the myths, words, and photographs to uncover the life of a complex woman who was born into slavery and died a legend. Inspired by religion, Truth transformed herself from a domestic servant named Isabella into an itinerant pentecostal preacher; her words of empowerment have inspired black women and poor people the world over to this day. As an abolitionist and a feminist, Truth defied the notion that slaves were male and women were white, expounding a fact that still bears repeating: among blacks there are women; among women, there are blacks.
We welcome any suggestions of books you like and that we should be considering.