The world has experienced singularly difficult times the last year and a half or so, and we have collectively had to confront the unprecedented obstacle of the coronavirus pandemic, and learn to cope with quarantining, job loss or burn out, the death of loved ones, working and schooling from home, etc. We have all had to be more resilient this past year, and with the Delta variant of COVID-19 threatening to curtail our progress in defeating the coronavirus, it is as good a time as any to learn to utilize the tools we have to help build the psychological muscles we require to keep going. Below are five books that will help you build resilience in these difficult times:
Becoming by Michelle Obama
The story of the first African American first lady on the life experiences that shaped her journey from the south side of Chicago to the White House. Obama titled her book Becoming because she is constantly evolving, “becoming” the woman she aspires to be. She said in an interview with Oprah, “My journey is the journey of always, continually evolving, that there is never a point where you arrive at a thing. And if you do, that’s kind of sad, you know?” said Obama. “If you think there is a point in your life when you stop growing or stop learning, that’s kind of sad, because what else is left? “
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
Raised in the mountains of Idaho by her Mormon fundamentalist family, Tara Westover was homeschooled until the age of 17. She had never been in a classroom or seen a doctor, even when an immediate family member got violent got violent. When a different older brother got into college, she saw a different life for herself and tested into BYU. Going to college changed the course of her life, and Westover earned a scholarship to Cambridge then went on to Harvard. Her life story is a testament to the human capacity for resilience and perseverance.
Drawing on research and her years of consulting, Dr. Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School to explain how we “navigate our inner world-our every day self-stories-is the single most important determinant of our life success.” Do we let insecurities, shame, failings or fear hold us back? Dr. David explains that emotional agility allows us to navigate our inner life, and therefore allows us to adapt to changing circumstances.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
The New York Times bestseller, Grit, by psychology professor Angela Duckworth is the culmination of years of research. Duckworth defines grit as “a blend of passion and persistence,” and her research shows the road to achievement is not talent, but grit.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
After 15 months of tragedy and loss, Option B is a must read for anyone navigating grief. Sandberg wrote the book with Grant in the aftermath of her husband’s unexpected death, how she coped with her suffering and found joy again. The book also includes strategies and insight from Grant and other social scientists on confronting adversity and building resilience.
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