#5 "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins
I have looked high and low for a book that could accomplish a few things when it comes to the theory of evolution; deepen my understanding, reaffirm my belief, provide clear evidence and help me easily debate key points. This book did all of those things and more. I walked away believing that we are wrong to call this a theory. Dawkins left me believing that evolution is law. I now feel more comfortable with the subject and see the evidence and proof all around me; an understanding I have struggled with since my first biology class.
#4 "The Road of Lost Innocence" by Somaly Mam
This was originally written as piece of nonfiction, but it was revealed late last year that Somaly Mam fabricated most of her story. For that reason alone, I hesitated including it on this list. What made me keep it in the fourth spot was, while Mam's story may have been stretched, I've read plenty to back up her claims about the conditions of young girls sexually exploited and trafficked in out of Cambodia's biggest city. I can hold onto that truth and allow it to galvanize my belief in the work I would like to accomplish with this life of mine.
#3 "First They Killed My Father" by Loung Ung
I read a lot of books about the history of Cambodia last year and this was by far the best. Written in the first person view of small child during the rise of the Khmer Rouge at the end of the 1970's, the book details the lengths she had to go to in order to survive. It was a heartbreaking read and a reminder that genocide didn't end with the closing of prisoner camps in Nazi Germany. No, these things are still occurring to this day. The question left to be answered is what we are going to do about, because we can no longer turn a blind eye.
#2 "Donor Centered Fundraising" by Penelope Burk
I would recommend this book to anyone starting out as a fundraiser for a nonprofit. Burk does a tremendous job explaining donor research, engagement, cultivation, appreciation and retention. It was the first book my boss handed me at Kent Youth and Family Services. I had to pick it up again in graduate school. Even the second time around it had a way of motivating me again. As I continue through my nonprofit career, I am sure I will come back to it over and over.
#1 "John Adams" by David McCullough
We all know the stories of prominent founders like Washington, Franklin and Jefferson. Somewhere in the course of history, we've lost the impact of John Adams. After reading this book, I was left with the belief that he should be credited for what is the United States of America. McCullough's attention to detail and research is nothing short of remarkable. He paints a picture of an Adams who is steadfast, political, loyal, but above all else, someone committed to the cause.
Thanks for entering my world,