What Are You Reading?

– Sep 06, 2017

What Are You Reading?
James Topham

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James Topham

It’s National Read A Book Day, so we thought we’d join in the fun. Here are some of the books that having been preoccupying us over the summer.

Nikki Whaites, Deputy Director, International Programs

Escape from Camp 14 – I love non-fiction and this is a fascinating story of the first known person to be born in and escape from a prison camp in North Korea.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – this is the incredible story of the immortal cell line called HeLa and the ethical issues around medical research. I’m realize this isn’t the most riveting description, but if you like non-fiction and incredible life stories, this is a true must read.

Unbroken – Probably more known for being a film directed by Angelina Jolie, as with all great stories the book came first. Unbroken is the true story of an American Olympian who was captured and held as a prisoner of war during World War II.

Michael Dodsworth, Director, Human Resources

I have been reading “The Road To War” by Richard Overy and Andrew Wheatcroft.  The book examines the reasons why each of the major participants in World War II went to war.  It’s a fascinating account (to me at least) of the international political and economic landscape in the early 20th century, the aftermath of World War I, the crumbling of the old colonial/imperial world order, massive social change on a global scale and the mavericks who tipped the scales towards global conflict.

I didn’t really decide to read this book over the summer; it’s just coincidence that it resonates with the work we do.  It speaks to the notion that nothing justifies war, and that those behind wars are blinded by their own self-serving rationalizations of the world around them and megalomaniac tendencies.  It does so in a stark, factual manner without labouring over moral issues or value judgments.

Roberto Estrada, Grants Manager

I am currently reading Passion Capital by Paul Alofs. It is not a new book but a friend suggested to read it. I found it an excellent one and I can highly recommend to everyone. It is a book that  describes success stories from companies, not for profit organization, etc.  that have based their success from the term passion capital that has a formula of energy + intensity + sustainability and are concepts that good leaders use to create long lasting value.  The term passion capital is based on seven principles: creed, culture, courage, brand, resources, strategy and persistence. Organizations that survive over the long term are the ones that have passion capital.

Brock Warner, Senior Manager, Development

“Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World” by Steven Johnson

I’ve been a big fan of Steven Johnson’s since seeing his PBS show How we Got to Now, then reading Where Good Ideas Come From. He uses an engaging storytelling style to bring to life examples of how play and playfulness set in motion some of the most innovative technology we use every day. There’s also a great podcast by the same name to accompany the book.

Francois Kenny, Communications and Research Assistant

I’ve read a couple of books this summer, More Good News by David Suzuki and Holly Dressel. Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London. Walden by Henry David Thoreau. On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

James Topham, Director of Communications

For me, the dark politics of this summer – culminating in Charlottesville – have strongly influenced my reading. Earlier in the summer I read Toni Morrison’s beautiful Song of Solomon and James Baldwin’s essential Another Country. They are both fantastically well written novels with America’s racial intolerance as an ever present backdrop. In the wake of the overt displays of racism that we have seen in recent weeks, I turned to White Rage by Carol Anderson. It is a clear-headed and traumatic history of the systematic oppression of black people in America since the Civil War, and speaks to how the Black Lives Matter movement today is not so much a result of black rage but rather a response to white anger at black achievement. To understand the present, as they say, you need to know the past.

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