Welcome to What We’re Reading. Each month, we’ll curate a list of books―from perennial classics to new releases―chat with authors, and review titles with the hope of co-creating a community of well-read makers. Discussions around work, creativity, and entrepreneurship are constantly evolving; here, we aim to create a space for different ideas and approaches to be in conversation with one another. Whether you’re already an avid reader or wish you read more, we hope you’ll feel inspired to read along with us.
This month, we’re reading three books about transcending scarcity, creating from struggle, and catalyzing career growth. Each selection takes a look at cultural narratives around resiliency and what it can look like to use every challenge as a catalyst for success.
Most of today’s popular examples of success suggest that achievement is a linear path from scarcity to abundance. Many of the stories we see in mainstream media further uphold the belief that prosperity should be earned as quickly as possible, and that any personal and economic obstacles must be overcome and forgotten—the quicker the better.
But what if, instead of regarding setbacks as unpleasant nuisances on the path to success, we embraced the idea that struggle is a necessary and important component of growth and positive change?
Generally, we are hardwired to avoid uncertainty and hardship. When we find ourselves in times of crisis, we tend to focus our attention on moving forward, wishing away our struggles and seeking escape from the pain we find ourselves facing. But rejecting the obstacles in our path can sometimes mean we’re unable to glean jewels from the rubble.
Resilience depends on developing and practicing a capacity to sit with struggle and uncertainty. As many individuals facing struggle know, setbacks can provide deep knowledge and, ultimately, build strength.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a sticky financial situation—maybe you’ve put your life’s savings into a venture that failed or quit a cushy job to chase a dream that didn’t exactly pan out—then these books might prove to be helpful guides in building a new relationship to success—one that sees hardship and success as interdependent.
These titles offer a very important reminder that obstacles are integral to (not separate from) the path of creative and professional abundance. We hope these books will inspire resilience in the wake of uncertainty as you grow towards your personal and professional goals.