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Knowledge is Power: My Impact Reading List

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

When was the last time you dived into a book to learn something new and challenge your way of thinking? No matter how much you know, there is always more to read and learn. I constantly strive to expand my knowledge, and this is why it is so important to read new books, especially those that address the biggest issues of our times. Plus, the more we know, the more we can do to deliver the most impact through the Impact Revolution. Today, I would like to share my book recommendations for those interested in learning more about impact and social change.

Reading List

· Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari

How can we create a better future if we don't know our history? Most books about the history of humankind pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Harari writes from an original angle that integrates both history and science. Beginning with the appearance of modern cognition about 70,000 years ago, Harari examines the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, by challenging accepted narratives, connecting past developments with contemporary dilemmas, and examining specific events within a more significant context of ideas.

In Sapiens, Harari compels us to examine how humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years in order to redesign both the world around us and ourselves. This book begs the question, "Where are we heading, and who do we want to become?" Once we understand how humankind has evolved, we will be better prepared to change the world around us, including our economic system.

In Morality, respected faith leader and public intellectual Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks traces the crises of the modern world to the loss of a strong, shared moral code and the elevation of self-interest over the common good. He states that we have outsourced morality to the market and the state, but neither can show us how to live by an honorable moral code. Sacks gives examples from ancient Greece to the Enlightenment to the present day to show that there is no liberty without morality and no freedom without responsibility, arguing that we all must play our part in rebuilding a common moral foundation. I found this work to be an inspiring vision of a world where we can all find our place and face the future without fear, and which can help us find a better balance between what we do for ourselves and what we do for others.

Michael Sandel, one of America’s most prominent college professors, wrote “Justice” based on his legendary Harvard course of the same name. The book, as well as the course, introduces moral and political philosophy through the discussion of contemporary dilemmas and controversies. Sandel uses a compelling and entertaining mix of hypotheticals, news stories, historical events, pop-culture tidbits, literary examples, legal cases and teachings from the great philosophers to shed light on modern controversies such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and affirmative action, forcing us to confront our assumptions, biases and thoughts. I found this book to be an interesting look at meritocracy’s shortcomings, but one which also sheds light on how we can live more justly and maintain dignity for all.

In her new book, Rebecca Henderson brings attention to how capitalism is on the verge of destroying the planet and destabilizing society as wealth rushes to the top. She provides a deep look at how companies must change as we usher in the “Age of Impact,” and debunks the worldview that the only purpose of business is to make money and maximize shareholder value. She argues that we must transform capitalism into an engine of prosperity and a system that is in harmony with environmental realities, the striving for social justice, and the demands of truly democratic institutions.

Henderson's deep understanding of how change takes place, combined with in-depth stories of companies that have made the first steps towards reimagining capitalism, provides great hope and insight into how capitalism can truly be transformed for the good. She discusses the important role of government and how the worlds of finance, governance, and leadership must also evolve. Ultimately, her book provides a foundation for navigating a world faced with unprecedented challenges and gives us an opportunity to get it right.

The Impact Revolution

Humankind has made enormous progress and change is at our fingertips. We have the tools to shift to a new system that distributes opportunity and outcomes more fairly and proposes effective solutions to our great challenges. This new system is impact capitalism. It aligns the private sector with government so that the two work in harmony rather than opposition, harnessing capital and innovation to solve social and environmental issues. In my book, IMPACT: Reshaping Capitalism to Drive Real Change, I describe how the Impact Revolution will enable us to achieve systemic social and environmental improvement and puts its progress into perspective. I examine the trends affecting different groups in our society and how they influence one another, creating momentum for change across our whole system.

I hope you enjoy these book recommendations, and that you’ll join me next time when we will discuss how the most innovative business leaders are proving that their companies can increase their impact and their profit at the same time.

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