This piece originally appeared on GoodReads.
In these uncertain times, when so many social problems are not only persisting, but in many cases, worsening, we need every bit of creativity and determination to find better solutions. The good news is that we can all play a part to make the world a better place. These books both inspire us as well as provide practical tools that we can all use to give back to our local and global community.
1. The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change, by Adam Braun
In this gripping story, Braun recounts how one interaction on a study abroad trip completely transformed his life. This book is an inspiring guide for how to transform serendipity into action.
2. The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, by Nadine Burke Harris
A remarkable account of Dr. Burke Harris’s journey to find a cure for toxic stress in children, and a compelling case for how we can all be advocates for the rights of children.
3. I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education And Was Shot By The Taliban, by Malala Yousafzai
A extraordinary story about a girl who took a stand for what was right, and inspired a generation of women and girls globally by her actions.
4. The Life You Can Save, By Peter Singer
Peter Singer reminds us that eradicating world poverty is within our reach, and makes a strong case for why we should all be doing more for those who are suffering most in our world.
5. Giving 2.0, by Laura Arrillaga Andreessen
By showing us the full gamut of the ways that we can give back with lively stories and practical advice, Laura Arrillaga Andreessen reminds us that giving starts with all of us, right now.
About the Author
Kathleen Kelly Janus is a social entrepreneur, author and lecturer at Stanford University. She is the co-founder of Spark, the largest network of millennial donors in the world. Based in the heart of the Silicon Valley, her forthcoming book, Social Startup Success, features best practices for early stage nonprofit organizations based on a five-year research project interviewing hundreds of top-performing social entrepreneurs.