What to Read Today Before the Internet Makes Your Head Explode

What to Read Today Before the Internet Makes Your Head Explode

Aka, 55 books to read to slow yourself down and reimagine yourself as part of the creative, fun, difficult, and beautiful new/old resistance. The story of creating the list follows the list. I’m refusing to organize or categorize this list. The point is to explore, find something important to you, leave the Internet, and go find some books to read!

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning. Viktor Frankl.
  2. The Slave Ship. Marcus Rediker.
  3. The Half has Never Been Told. Edward E. Baptist.
  4. The Civil Disobedience Handbook: A Brief History and Practical Advice for the Politically Disenfranchised. James Tracy, Editor
  5. A Fighting Chance. Elizabeth Warren.
  6. Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Tom Friedman.
  7. Poetry as Insurgent Art. Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
  8. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist. Sunil Yapa.
  9. Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self. Danielle Evans.
  10. Teaching the Cat to Sit. Michelle Theall.
  11. We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For. Alice Walker.
  12. Overcoming Speechlessness. Alice Walker.
  13. Silent Spring. Rachel Carson.
  14. Ishmael. Daniel Quinn.
  15. A Chinamen’s Chance. Eric Liu.
  16. The Other One. Hasanthika Sirisena.
  17. Culture Jam. Kalle Lasn.
  18. Power. Linda Hogan.
  19. Mean Spirit. Linda Hogan.
  20. Solar Storms. Linda Hogan.
  21. Republic of Outsiders. Alissa Quart.
  22. The Twentieth Day of January. Ted Allbeury.
  23. Deceit and Other Possibilities. Vanessa Hua.
  24. Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Charles M. Blow.
  25. Unbought and Unbossed. Shirley Chisholm.
  26. The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010. Lucille Clifton.
  27. Popular Songs: The Political Poems of 1890-1820. Percy Bysshe Shelley.
  28. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Joseph Cambell.
  29. Women, Race, & Class. Angela Davis.
  30. Don’t Bite the Hook. Pema Chondron .
  31. When Pain is the Doorway. Pema Chondron.
  32. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. Pema Chondron.
  33. The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. Pema Chondron.
  34. The Left Hand of Darkness. Ursula K. Le Guin.
  35. Four Ways to Forgiveness. Ursula K. Le Guin.
  36. Tehanu. Ursula K. Le Guin.
  37. Sun Dogs. Lee Maracle.
  38. Daughters. Lee Maracle.
  39. Ravensong. Lee Maracle.
  40. Perma Red. Debra Magpie Earling.
  41. Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith. Edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks with Barbara Smith.
  42. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought. Beverly Guy-Sheftall.
  43. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. Melissa Harris-Perry.
  44. Divine Rebels: Saints, Mystics, Change Agents – And You. Caroline Myss.
  45. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Audre Lorde.
  46. Wretched of the Earth. Franz Fanon.
  47. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. Sebastian Junger.
  48. Indian Killer. Sherman Alexie. (to start)
  49. Demand the Impossible. Bill Ayers.
  50. Rules for Radicals. Saul Alinsky.
  51. Ten Days in a Mad-House. Nellie Bly.
  52. India’s Struggle For Independence. Bipin Chandra.
  53. Non-Violent Resistance (Satyagraha). M. K. Gandhi.
  54. Emotional Agility. Susan David.
  55. Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto. Jessa Crispin.


This week I asked my 500ish online friends for recommendations for books to read. These are people I trust, not strangers. A diverse group, although as a middle aged white woman I know I will always be pushing to do better–no friends with disabilities responded, for example.

I need to get off the Internet more often right now, so that I don’t continue to get sucked into the complete partisan hell circus my country is unleashing every single day at us now. I want to more fully join the new creative, fun, difficult, and beautiful new resistance. Be a better accomplice and friend. I will still be online sometimes. Yet, as a creator I need big infusions of slowing down, resting, listening, wandering, and inspiration to be myself and to do my work well. Outrage helps my work too, but not all outrage all the time. That’s just not me. I’ve aged out of being able to sustain rage. When I don’t demand these other things, I become a reactor, not a creator. I become unrecognizable to myself. I end up sharing “news” that is actually lies. (Yep, I did that just yesterday. Thank God for smart friends who check when in my outrage I forget to!) I don’t think that being just another reactor and tantrum thrower is what we need right now (although I really needed to be that for a while this week). I think we need to remember who we really are. And by “we” I mean me and most of the people I know.

I asked specifically for creative, inspiring, resistance books. Both fiction and non-fiction. This is what I heard back in 3 days! Wow. I forgot what a deeply curious and gloriously book nerdy group of humans my friends are. Yay! The numbers in the list just represent the order in which I received the recommendations from various parts of my online world. I am not categorizing them–the point is to explore the list and find something new and important to you. Personally, since I want to read all these books, I will be reading them out of order in whatever order I can borrow the books from others, check them out of our library, afford to purchase them (some came very highly recommended), and find them personally inspiring. I own the Viktor Frankl book and all the Ursula K. Le Guin books if you live nearby and want to borrow them. Also, if you’re a friend and you notice that we’ve missed a creative resistance book that you love (in our few days of collective online brainstorming), please share it with me and I’ll add it to my reading list.

If you don’t have time to read 53+ resistance books this year, then follow me on FB or Twitter. I will be reading and sharing excerpts from these books online in 2017 and beyond. Trying to recommend specific books for specific friends. And hopefully, one day soon, I’ll find myself writing a book of creative resistance too. But this is not that year for me. This is a year of listening even more closely to my/our ancestors. To all of the people and groups who have already been doing this for a long time. Some for a very long time.

Note: I occasionally update this list with new books as trusted people and authors recommend them to me.

Birth Announcement: Year 1 Poet is here!

Birth Announcement: Year 1 Poet is here!

We would like to announce the arrival of our new baby, aka, our new book, Year 1 Poet.

She was born in paperback form at 2 p.m. on November 30, 2014, weighing 100 pages.

3d Year 1 poet

She is a little genre-bender already. She tells the true story of a writer getting lost and becoming a poet. She also contains 32 poems and 15 beautiful accompanying illustrations. Near the end, she also contains tips for writers becoming poets (tips I had to create for myself to undo my training as a writer) and tips by emerging artists for other emerging artists from both me and her three illustrators (aka, her aunties and uncle).

Starting tomorrow, she will be available at Open Books: A Poem Emporium, my favorite bookstore in Seattle. She’s also available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. She’ll be available on Whidbey Island soon too.

We intended to get this announcement out weeks ago, when she first arrived in the world, but we were swamped with new-book-parent things. She keeps us up at night, planning for and imagining her future. She keeps us scurrying here and there, learning how to create e-book and audio book forms, how to best share her with the world, and meeting local book sellers.

Here’s me—exhausted, unkempt, and glowing—holding her for the first time. Notice that her professional-photographer father was so excited that he forgot entirely about proper lighting. Oh well, if book parenthood is about anything at all, it’s about humility, about not being able to do it all, and about falling more deeply in love with yourselves: eye bags, unwashed hair, and all.

Year 1 Poet and Lori

Her auntie Tabitha made a whole bunch of birth announcements for us in the form of postcards, e-postcards, flyers, and bookmarks. Thanks Tabitha! Distant friends, you’ll see them on social media for the next month. Forgive our oversharing. We really love her and we think everything she does is adorable and world-changing. Nearby friends, you may encounter her birth announcements on community boards, in coffee shops, and in bookstores.



In lieu of cards and gifts, please purchase a copy for yourself or friends, write a review on Amazon.com or Goodreads (her baby books), and/or tell those you love about her so they can find her for themselves. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do this without you.




A Travel Guide for Transitions – now in hard copy!

A Travel Guide for Transitions – now in hard copy!

I’m excited to announce that the hard copy of A Travel Guide for Transitions is now available on Amazon. Woo hoo!

The book has 45 full-color illustrations accompanying the stories and quotes from our journey…


Here is their proud father…

Photo 16-08-13 16 20 49

We also just made four promotional postcards for the book featuring mini-me and mini-Bas from the book. If you live in the Seattle, USA or Zandvoort, The Netherlands areas, and would like some of these awesome postcards to share with others, give us a shout and we’ll get them to you. We crazy self-publishing types need all the help we can get!

postcard postcard postcard postcard

Different Work: Moving from I Should to I Love My Work

Different Work: Moving from I Should to I Love My Work

Bas and I spent the past 7 months playing/working to create a storybook together. And it’s now finished! Woo hoo! Read it for free here:

Different Work: Moving from I Should to I Love My Work

Optimized for the iPad, the book at the link above also works on smart phones and most browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox at the moment). Kindle people can also purchase the book for $0.99 (US) on the Kindle. Proceeds go to KIVA to help small business people on the road to work they love.

Please share the book with anyone you think could use it. Our marketing plan = relying on the abundance that is our communities.

Bas gets 100% credit for the fact that the book works in different places and devices, is easy to use and visually beautiful, and has audio and video woven into and co-telling many of the stories. On my own, written stories within a Word doc is as high-tech as I get. 🙂

I created the book because I knew it’d be fun to do, and I strongly suspected it’d be fun to work with Bas despite our 9-hour time difference and even though we’d just met.

I created the book for the stream of people in my life whose stories feel stalled in a loop of “I hate my job/employer/work” and who are trying to figure their way out of that loop. Friends. Family members. Community members. Neighbors. I wanted more stories than just my own to tell people, because my story doesn’t work for everyone.

When Bas and I started last fall, it didn’t occur to me that this book would be where I myself turn when I have a bad day. That these stories would help me fall asleep on the nights I think “What the hell am I doing? This is stretching me too far. This is crazy. I can’t do this!” Didn’t know that it would be these voices reminding me that I’m more than the scared little individual I sometimes imagine I am. That they’d remind me we are all more than we can imagine and make real on our own. I spend time with these stories to remember who I am. And to remember who we are together. And to watch myself say “Wow” again and again and again. As my dear partner Daniel said, “You say ‘Wow’ a lot!” Yes, I do. For me, that’s different work. That’s recognizing that you love the people you’re with right now. That I love the work I’m doing. Right. Now.

The e-book is a collection of stories from people who deeply love their work (most days). People who are working beyond their own “I Shoulds” and who are changing what work looks and feels like for themselves and their families, organizations, and communities. For example, bike messengers serving their neighborhood and honoring their own love of riding bikes. A rabbi, a pastor, and an imam who are best friends, working together, arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders. Several different independent consultants and speakers who love their work and their communities. An indie lounge pop duo listening to the creative muses within themselves. A non-profit CEO who helps others laugh out loud and battle addiction. A conflict mediator and an artist who love their work and each other. A businessman/avid learner making friends all over the planet through his love of learning. Factory workers free to become and do what they want. And more!

I was going to stop there. But I just read Bas’ blog post about the book, and he said that the book changed him. Actually, he said it twice:

This changed me.

So I’ll add this last part to my story here:

This work changed us.

As my friend Doug Nathan said in the book, doing work you love keeps you on your learning edge. As Chas said, beyond work, this is a LIFE-changing company for us. As the amigos said, we continue to go deeper into relationship, into friendship, into our stories and into what we believe. As Wendy said, it isn’t easy, but its worth it. It can add up to a really meaningful life. As Diaz said, most of the time, JOY is the last of it all.

In my own life now, there are still moments where my I Shoulds rule. Moments when the story I’m telling myself isn’t really my own story. Moments when work sucks.

But most days now, these moments are just that. Moments. A few seconds or minutes, nothing more. Most days I can even see these moments as the gift they are: points of potential closer connection between me and others. “My work $#%*!@ sucks!” used to be my story for weeks and even months at a time. That’s not my story anymore. This is.


Photo by Simone Peerdeman.

Recommended reading for those studying self-organizing work groups in organizations

I recommend participating in and learning with self-organizing groups themselves. You’ll find some of your group members in the pages of a book, article, or blog: a physically distant author whose experience and ideas so mirror your own yet expand your own that it gives you goose bumps. But those of us inclined to read first and hang out with real human beings later can’t stop there. Spend more time with and pay more attention to your own self-organizing groups and to nearby groups that you can personally see demonstrating energy, excitement, passion, creativity, and apparent relative fearlessness. What do you notice in these groups? What do you notice about yourself when you’re with them? From my perspective today, these local (close to us physically and/or close to us emotionally) groups of learners are the only experts we need to change our individual selves. As individuals, all we’re asked to do is change ourselves. As we change, we notice everything changing around us. It was as my self-organizing groups that I first noticed this and I just kept on noticing it until I believed it.

Here are a few books, articles, and blogs—those that have supported me and other self-org group members as we seek to understand our own experiences as self-organizing groups. I only update the list three or four times a year at this point, and today I only update it with the people and published works of groups and people I personally know, respect, love, and trust or with suggestions from my own self-organizing groups (which amounts to the same thing). Those I find most useful—because they significantly challenge and expand what I know as a group member and yet confirm our experiences as group members—are marked with an asterisk (*). You’ll notice that I’ve begun to add real human beings to this reading list. Reach out to those still alive. What have you got to lose? Don’t speak the same language? Then reach out clumsily, they’ll forgive you. Reach out with your heart and mind if the person is no longer living. They’ll still help. Most people are far less busy after death. 
From the Organizational Development, Leadership, Business, and Management Fields

  • Argyris, C. (1003). Knowledge for action: A guide to overcoming barriers to organizational change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.
  • Bas de Baar’s blog, Project Shrink, making complex people stuff less complex: http://www.basdebaar.com/
  • Bellman, G. & Ryan, K. (2009). Extraordinary groups: how ordinary teams achieve amazing results. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2003). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Bresnen, M., Goussevskaia. A., & Swan, J. (2005). Organizational routines, situated learning, and process of change in project-based organizations. Project Management Journal, 36(3), 27-41.
  • Collins, J. (2001). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap and others don’t. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Contractor, N. S. (1999). Self-organizing systems research in the social sciences: Reconciling the metaphors and the models. Management Communication Quarterly, 13(1), 154-166.
  • Dave Snowden comes highly recommended by one of my self-organizing group members. Haven’t read formal published works by him yet, but I trust this group member. What’s in his blog is pretty good, but he doesn’t blog nearly often enough! Come on Dave! http://www.cognitive-edge.com/blogs/dave/index.xml
  • Druskat, V. U. & Wheeler, J. V. (2003). Managing from the boundary: The effective leadership of self-managing work teams. Academy of Management Journal, 46(4), 435-457.
  • *Geoff Bellman. I recommend spending time with him. You’ll be happy you did. One of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. He’s written a ton of books. His latest book is recommended above.
  • Hackman, J.R. (2002). Leading teams: Setting the stage for great performances. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.
  • Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C. K. (1994). Competing for the future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
    Heifetz, R. (1998). Leadership without easy answers. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
  • Holman, P. (2010). Engaging emergence: turning upheaval into opportunity. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  • *Kane, L. (2008). Fostering the emergence of self-organizing work groups. Seattle, WA: Seattle University. (This was an important 500+ page experience for me. Recommend for academically minded folks. For everyone else, I recommend the Collective Self blog instead. I’m getting less longwinded, and more brave, on a weekly basis now. My doctoral dissertation and my blog together prove this, if nothing else.)
  • Lichtenstein, B. M. B. (2000). Emergence as a process of self-organizing: New assumptions and insights from the study of non-linear dynamic systems. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 13(6), 526-544.
  • McDaniel, R.. (2007). Management strategies for complex adaptive systems: Sensemaking, learning, and improvisation.  Performance improvement quarterly,  21-41. (Recommended by self-org group member Suzette Sparks)
  • *Morgan, G. (1997). Images of organization. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • *Nonaka, I. (2001). Creating organizational order out of chaos: Self-renewal in Japanese firms. California Management Review, 30, 57-73. (Love him!!! What a generous soul. Five seconds of talking to him put Japan on my bucket list.)
  • *Peggy Holman. Spend time with her and her ideas. Her latest book is above. Think she’s smart and generous, and she rivals Karen Anderson for world’s best smile and kindest eyes.
  • *Saarel, D. A. (1995). Triads: Self-organizing structures that create value. Planning Review, 23(4), 20-25.
  • Smith, C., & Comer, D. (1994). Self-organization in small groups: A study of group effectiveness within non-equilibrium conditions. Human Relations, 47(5), 553-581.
  • Stacey, R. D. (1996). Complexity and creativity in organizations. San Francisco: Berret-Koehler Publishers.
  • *Wheatley, M. J. (1999). Leadership and the new science: Discovering order in a chaotic world. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  • *Wheatley, M. J. (2005). Finding our way: Leadership for an uncertain time. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • Wheatley, M. J. (2006). Relationships: The basic building blocks of life. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from http://www.margaretwheatley.com/articles/relationships.html
  • Wheatley, M. J., & Kellner-Rogers, M. (1996). The irresistible future of organizing [Electronic Version]. Retrieved March 6, 2007, from http://www.margaretwheatley.com/articles/irresistiblefuture.html
  • Whetten, D. A., & Cameron, K. S. (2007). Developing management skills. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

From the Field of Education

  • Ayers, D. F. (2002). Developing climates for renewal in the community college: A case study of dissipative self-organization. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 26, 165-185.
  • Bower, D. F. (2006). Sustaining school improvement. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 3(1), 61-72.
  • Burrello, L. C., Lashley, C., & Beatty, E. E. (2001). Educating all students together: How school leaders create unified systems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.
  • Goldman, P., Tindal, G., McCullum, N., & Marr, J. (1999). Organizational learning and the culture of reform: Operationalizing the “organizations as brains” metaphor. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • Goodman, J., Baron, D., & Myers, C. (2001). Bringing democracy to the occupational life of educators in the United States: Constructing a foundation for school-based reform. International Journal in Education, 4(1), 57-86.
  • Kruse, S. D., & Louis, K. S. (1997). Teacher teaming in middle schools: Dilemmas for a school wide community. Educational Administration Quarterly, 33(3), 261-289.
  • Louis, K. S., Marks, H. M., & Kruse, S. (1996). Teachers’ professional community in restructuring schools. American Educational Research Journal, 33(4), 757-798.
  • *Zellermayer, M., & Margolin, I. (2005). Teacher educators’ professional learning described through the lens of complexity theory. Teachers College Record, 107(6), 1275-1304.

From Additional Fields and Disciplines (e.g., chemistry, communication, community organizing and advocacy, biology, physics, psychology, social psychology, health and medicine, and communications)

  • *Arrow, H., McGrath, J. E., & Berdahl, J. L. (2000). Small groups as complex systems: Formation, coordination, development, and adaptation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • *Bateson, G. (1979). Mind and nature: A necessary unity. New York: E. P. Dutton.
  • *Bohm, D. (1980). Wholeness and the implicate order. New York: Routledge.
  • *Bach, J. (2002). Evolutionary guidance system: A community design project. World Futures, 58, 417-423.
  • Burls, A., & Caan, W. (2004). Networking—social inclusion and embracement: A helpful concept? Primary Health Care Research and Development, 5, 1991-1992.
  • Crowell, D. M. (1998). Organizations are relationships: A new view of management. Nursing Management, 29(5), 28-29.
  • Gleick, J. (1987). Chaos: Making a new science. New York: Viking.
  • Glenda Eoyang. Anything really. Nice collection of articles here: http://www.hsdinstitute.org/learn-more/library/articles.html
  • *Humberto Maturana. Anything from him at all. Beyond genius in my book.Very, very dense reading (as a good academic should be, IMO), and worth the wade through. Every single time I read something of his, I am changed for the better (which, I am learning, is both inevitable and the point). Wow. Read this one recently: http://gfbertini.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/autopoiesis-structural-coupling-and-cognition-a-history-of-these-and-other-notions-in-the-biology-of-cognition/#comment-847
  • *Kare Anderson. Anything from her really–twitter, facebook, linked in, etc. Blog is here: http://www.movingfrommetowe.com/. Unbelievably well connected to valuable ideas. Kind eyes. Emmy-winning smile.
  • *Kauffman, S. (1995). At home in the universe: The search for laws of self-organization and complexity. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • *Kauffman, S. A. (1993). Origins of order: Self organization and selection in evolution. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  • *Maturana, H. R., & Varela, F. J. (1980). Autopoiesis and cognition: The realization of the living (Vol. 42). Boston: D. Reidel Publishing Company.
  • McClure, B. A. (2005). Putting a new spin on groups: The science of chaos. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
  • Nicolis, G., & Prigogine, I. (1989). Exploring complexity: An introduction. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company.
  • *Prigogine, I. (1996). The end of certainty: Time, chaos, and the new laws of nature. New York: The Free Press. (I understand about 1/100th of what he says, but for me that’s plenty. He’s not with us, physically, anymore, yet he just keeps on helping me. His generosity knows no limits.)
  • Sen, R. (2003). Stir it up: Lessons in community organizing and advocacy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • *Stempfle, J., Hubner, O., & Badke-Schaub, P. (2001). A functional theory of task role distribution in work groups. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 4(2), 138-159.
  • *Taylor, J. R. (2001). The ‘rational’ organization reconsidered: an exploration of some of the organizational implications of self-organizing. Communication Theory, 11(2), 137-177.
  • Waldrop, M. (1992). Complexity: The emerging science on the edge of order and chaos. Simon and Schuster. (Recommended by self-org group member Suzette Sparks, a true peach of a human being.)