12 Inspiring Books for a New Decade

Published: March 21, 2020

Notley Co-Founder, Dan Graham, shares his recommendation of 12 books to inspire us in 2020 and beyond. We’d love to hear in the comments below what you suggest we add to our team’s bookshelf!

Never Split the Difference:Probably the best book on negotiation I’ve ever read. Full of great tactics, strategies and easy to use techniques. Told through the use of narrative and case study, it’s an entertaining as well as practical guide to getting more and coming out ahead in transactions of all kinds.

Reconciliation:A thoughtful and very different perspective about Pakistan and the Muslim world than we get through media and the news. Assassinated just months after the books release, the author bravely lays out her journey and hopes for her country.

Just Mercy:The criminal justice system is just one of the many ways society systematically continues to exercise discrimination and unfair treatment of large groups of black Americans. Just Mercy is a deep dive into a slice of our population receiving the most extreme form of punishment and breaks down how many parts of this system work to maintain that system.

Thirst:From concert promoter to global nonprofit leader, the author gives us Thirst: part business book, entrepreneurial journey and non-profit mission statement. An incredibly entertaining read from one of the most innovative and successful nonprofit fundraising machines from startup to huge success.

Sisters in Law:The Supreme Court will never be the same after the first two women were appointed to the bench. This book provides an insightful view into just who these women were and what it took for them to achieve the highest court position in the country and become two of the most powerful individuals on earth.

White Rage: From the Civil War to today, America has continuously created policies and systems to maintain an unbalanced racial power dynamic, all the while encouraging the ruling class to feel defensive, angry and entitled when those systems are threatened. The author, Carol Anderson, does a great job reframing the race conversation and looking at the building blocks and historical continuum that bring us to today.

Bad Blood:One of the most exciting venture backed startup companies in the last 10 years, with the most promising medical advancements of our time turns out to be a fraud. How did we let it happen and how did it come to light? A fun read for anyone who is interested in how “unicorns” are formed and where some of the holes are in our corporate governance policies and systems.

Why We Sleep:It turns out, sleep is the most important thing. ever. From science, to anecdotes, to studies, the author, Matthew Walker, gives us a full and expansive view of sleep and its many purposes in keeping us healthy, alive and productive. Tons of new and interesting facts presented in a highly entertaining way.

Give Us the Ballot:The Voting Rights Act was a huge success…at first. Since the passage of that law, states, municipalities and court decisions have worked to chip away at providing voting rights access to huge swaths of the population across the country, mostly minorities.The title of the book references a speech from Martin Luther King Jr. and walks us through how these rights have been unwound systematically and purposefully over the last 50 years.

The Color of Law:Geographic and financial segregation are obvious facts of todays society but are often described as accidental side effects or correlations to differences in non-racial characteristics like wealth. The Color of Law destroys that line of thinking by walking us through the history of segregation and laws meant to systematically strip wealth and opportunity away from black Americans up to and including the present day.

A River in Darkness:A riveting read and auto-biography following the author, a Japanese boy who moves to North Korea as a child, grows up trying to stay alive and feed himself and his family, and who ultimately escapes into China. A fascinating read giving a glimpse into the mentality and conditions within North Korea against the backdrop of humanity and man’s fight to stay alive.

Super Pumped:An almost unprecedented and meteoric success, Uber built its business on a strategy and policy of openly breaking the law in cities across America. This book follows the startup, growth and ultimate fall of Travis Kalinick as the founder and CEO. How did they grow so fast? What was the culture like? What went wrong and what went right? A great business bio read.