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10 Books To Motivate & Inspire Your Career Glow-Up

Add these reads to your list for advancement, leadership, occupational self-care and more.

Good Reads

As much as we all love a good Netflix binge, diving into a great book never gets old. Many of us are stuck dealing with the unique issues that come with managing a remote team, trying to virtually impress a boss who holds the keys to your job's future, conducting meetings while needy kids, pets, (and even hubbies) play the background, and doing magic with bank accounts that are literally on their last legs.

Sis, we all need to take a moment of silence and get our read on. Here are 10 career advancement, job hunting, leadership and motivational books to help you tap into a bit of calm and upgrade your boss moves, one step at a time.

The Negotiation Workbook: Don't Leave Money on the Table by Jacqueline Twillie

The Negotiation Workbook: Don't Leave Money on the Table by Jacqueline Twillie

This is the perfect companion to the Twillie's best-selling guide, Don't Leave Money on The Table: Negotiation Strategies for Women Leaders in Male-Dominated Industries. It's one thing to just read something that offers strategy and what-you-need-to-be-doing directives, but being able to put words into action is the key to real growth.

$19.99

Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders


Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders

Whether you're a person of Christian faith or not, the insights in this book on servant leadership are amazing and can apply to any industry. This read breaks down the foundational aspects of leadership that many successful people embody---faith-based or not---and it's an easy read where you can reflect via questions at the end of each chapter.

$13.69

Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women by Otegha Uwagba

Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women by Otegha Uwagba

The great thing about this book is it includes direct, no-nonsense tone of advice on subjects including productivity, time management, creativity processes, and entrepreneurship. It's basic, foundational insights packaged very conveniently in a read that can easily be completed on a road trip or while waiting for your last load of laundry to finish.

$10.99

After the Rain: Gentle Reminders for Healing, Courage, and Self-Love by Alexandra Elle

Amazon

After the Rain: Gentle Reminders for Healing, Courage, and Self-Love by Alexandra Elle

This book is clearly a manifestation of the peaceful yet definitively impactful self-care vibe of her online platform. (Sis has more than 900,000 followers on IG who are blessed with a healthy daily dose of hope and positivity.) Alex Elle shares super-relatable stories from both her personal and professional life---all eloquently illustrating how to overcome issues that challenge self-confidence, abundance and self-love.

$16.39

The Leader You Want to Be: Five Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self -- Every Day by Amy Jen Su

The Leader You Want to Be: Five Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self -- Every Day by Amy Jen Su

It's never a bad idea to strengthen your foundational thinking on what dynamic leadership actually entails. Su, a successful executive coach and business leader in her own right, shares insider tips from her work with high-earning and high-achievement investment industry professionals. She also includes specific leadership scenarios, case examples and processes you can analyze and learn from.

$19.29

From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein

Amazon


From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein 

Dorey-Stein's story of her time as a millennial stenographer working at the White House during the Obama administration continues with more intrigue: She got the gig after answering a Craigslist ad. She further writes about traveling on Air Force One, recording and transcribing the former president's speeches, and navigating the culture on the Hill. It's a humorous, inspiring ride that will remind you that anything is possible.

$14.99

The Memo: What Black Women Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table by Minda Harts

Amazon

The Memo: What Black Women Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table by Minda Harts

Harts offers a roadmap to success that does not glaze over challenges black women continue to face in corporate America---the microaggressions, workplace snafus and disrespect and the complications of office politics. It's strategy you can actually use and take to the bank from someone who has the experience and maturity to back up her words.

$19.89

How to Lead: Wisdom From the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders and Game Changers by David M. Rubenstein

Goodreads

How to Lead: Wisdom From the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders and Game Changers by David M. Rubenstein

This book includes Q&A interviews with people who have reached the top of their industries and have impacted generations across the globe. The conversations go beyond the usual encyclopedia vibes of some leadership books that profile successful CEOs, and there are takeaways for budding bosses who have diverse interests and leadership styles.

$21.99

From Ball Girl to CMO by Melissa M. Proctor

Proctor,

From Ball Girl to CMO by Melissa M. Proctor

Proctor's journey from being a team attendant AKA "ball girl" for the Miami Heat to chief marketing officer for the Atlanta Hawks was creative and out of the box. She provides yet another started-from-the-bottom-now-we're-here success story to remind anyone that progress is inevitable when you throw comparison to the wind, embrace your uniqueness, work hard, and enjoy the ride.

$24.99

Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene

Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene

The authors---best friends of Nigerian descent who grew up in the UK---include interviews with dozens of female powerhouses, offering insights that will ensure you won't play small in whatever you choose to do. Adegoke and Uviebinene press a few buttons with this one, highlighting the relationship between culture, education, upward mobility, and discrimination that might trigger a few sighs, side-eyes, mmm-hmmms, or grimaces, but if you need a swift kick in the butt to elevate and push harder---or at least a great book for your next debate on leadership and career advancement---give this read a try.

$17.99

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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