Dodge staff summer reads: 45 books, articles, or podcasts to add to your list

July 31, 2019


Dodge staff recently started an office book club to read adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy, and began compiling a list of the books, articles, and podcasts to read and discuss together.

With summer upon us, we are excited to share that list, and more pieces that have been delighting, challenging, and sharpening our minds, many that address issues of racial equity as Dodge staff are developing program-level theories of change and new grantmaking processes after releasing a strategic plan and vision for an equitable New Jersey.

We invite you to tell us what books you are reading in the comments.

An American Marriage
By Tayari Jones
Recommended by: Victoria Russell

Tayari Jones’s captivating novel explores ambition, love, fidelity, and loss. While the context of racism and a broken justice system is weighty, Jones’s style sparkles with life, charisma and even humor. The intimate portraits she paints of the three main characters, connected by love, friendship, and loss are deeply intimate and human — the landscape is devastating. This one is difficult to put down.
—Victoria Russell

The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead
By Warren Berger
Recommended by: Margaret Waldock

Self-described “questionologist,” Warren Berger advises us to re-learn to ask questions like a 3-year-old child. The humble, beautiful question leads to more creative ideas and better solutions, and supports stronger, more trusting relationships. This book draws from the world’s foremost creative thinkers and provides practical tools – including a treasure trove of beautiful questions to draw from.
—Margaret Waldock

The Case for Reparations
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Recommended by: Sharnita Johnson

This essay is essential reading for every American. If you’re taking a road trip, you can listen to it in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ own voice. Maybe you should do both.
—Sharnita Johnson

Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
by Richard Rothstein
Recommended by: Marisa Benson

The Color of Law details how government action, policies, and laws within the United States has contributed and continues to perpetuate systemic racial inequities and segregation including fostering discriminatory practices in housing, education, income, loan terms, taxes, wealth, among other areas. The book provides a powerful overview of this history and is a great read for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of systemic inequities.
—Marisa Benson

Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
By Zaretta L. Hammond
Recommended by: Wendy Liscow 

Okay, I know this may not sound like beach reading, but if you are thinking ahead about September and the new school year, you might be wanting to add some new approaches to your teaching practice or get a new prospective on what school can look like. Dr. Hammond connects the importance of culturally responsive teaching to building stronger learning relationships between teachers and students and how this approach can help students become independent learners.
—Wendy Liscow 

“The End of Empathy”
from NPS podcast Invisibilia
Recommended by Victoria Russell

This episode explores the dangers of empathy by showing how two different radio producers created two very different stories from the same interviews conducted with a man who claims to have renounced his affiliation with the Incel movement. The episode raises questions about whom we empathize with, and why, and how, and where we should draw the line. The producers’ transparency and self-reflection provide a powerful example of how we as individuals and organizations can employ curiosity and self-reflection to grow and adapt.
—Victoria Russell

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us
By Hanif Abdurraqib
Recommended by: Meghan Van Dyk

They Can’t Kill Us is a joy, a collection of essays you can read enthusiastically in small bites. Having once dreamed of a career as a music journalist, I was excited to dive into Hanif Abdurraqib’s essays blending music journalism, cultural critique, and race, where the author challenges readers to experience a Bruce Springsteen concert at Prudential after having just visited Michael Brown’s memorial plaque in Ferguson and more. My copy is filled with triple underlines, stars, boxes, and exclamation points marking beautiful, succinct, poignant language that seems to perfectly capture this moment we find ourselves in in America.
—Meghan Van Dyk

White Fragility: Why It Is So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
By Robin J. DiAngelo, Michael Eric Dyson
Recommended by: Marisa Benson, Cynthia Evans, Wendy Liscow, Meghan Van Dyk, Margaret Waldock

White Fragility is a great book for anyone interested in examining white culture, which is defined by its ever-present dominance and insistence that it not be named, recognized, or acknowledged. The book offers language to describe many familiar experiences I’ve found myself in growing up in suburban New Jersey as a white woman navigating mostly predominantly white spaces, and has helped me reflect and understand how and why white people talking about race are unique, but not special.
—Meghan Van Dyk

Who Belongs? Targeted Universalism
By Haas Institute with guest john a. powell
Recommended by Kathleen Hofmann

The Who Belongs? Podcast is produced at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. This episode features the Institute’s director, john a. powell. Renowned for his ability to act as a bridge between people with differing backgrounds and worldviews, powell explains the targeted universalism approach in a way that is easy to understand. Well worth a listen.
—Kathleen Hofmann

Why Is This Happening? Building a movement with Rev. Dr. William Barber II
By Chris Hayes
Recommended by Naeema Campbell

In this episode, Chris Hayes talks with Rev. Dr. Barber about how and why he is working across racial and economic lines to spur a movement towards a multiracial democracy. If you have heard of the Poor People’s Campaign and the Moral Mondays, this will be right up your alley. It is a thought-provoking and approachable — and funny — discussion on complex issues such as voter suppression, voting rights, systemic racism, and poverty.
—Naeema Campbell


  1. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gaye
  2. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
  5. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
  6. Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization? by Aaron Digman
  7. Citizen by Claudia Rankine
  8. Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Delgado, Jean Stefancic
  9. Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance by Edgar Villanueva, Jennifer Buffett
  10. Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown
  11. Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count by Phil Buchanan, Darren Walker
  12. Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
  13. Hunger by Roxane Gaye
  14. Invasive Species by Marwa Helal
  15. Just Giving, Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better by Rob Reich
  16. Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color edited by Christopher Soto
  17. New Power by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms
  18. Odd Boy by Martin Jude Farawell
  19. On Intersectionality: Essential Writings by Kimberle Crenshaw
  20. Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg
  21. Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Institutions, Values by Rob Reich, Chiara Cordelli
  22. Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society by john a. powell
  23. Radical Transformational Leadership: Strategic Action for Change Agents by Monica Sharma
  24. The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist
  25. The Power Manual: How to Master Complex Power Dynamics by Cyndi Suarez
  26. The Soul of America by Jon Meacham
  27. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  28. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  29. Torch by Cheryl Strayed
  30. Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai
  31. Waking Up White by Debby Irving
  32. When My Brother Was An Aztec by Natalie Diaz
  33. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  34. Wild Invocations by Ysabel Y. Gonzalez
  35. Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas