Reading is power, because knowledge gives us the tools to think more widely about the things that confront us on a daily basis. In the aftermath of the presidential election many thousands of think pieces, blogs, articles, and much more have been written to rejoice, despair, cajole, criticize, and much else. Many of us read those pieces with minds perhaps already formed, or perhaps not completely open to new ideas. Such an approach is understandable; we seek out information that fits how we view the world or how we wish to view it. We don’t always seek out knowledge that pushes the boundaries of what we already perceive.
One of my jobs as marketing director is to introduce people to new information. Essentially, every time my team and I start marketing a new book we must seek a way to get someone to engage with content that they might not know about, be immediately interested in, or consider within the scope of their desire to know. Every book has a core audience, of course. Each author has written his or her book with that audience in mind. But there are often also audiences that do not immediately seem applicable. It is our job as marketers to find those people so that we can introduce them to the content and, we hope, expand their view of the world.
There are many hundreds of books that contend with subject matter that will give us knowledge with which to view the new political landscape with fresh eyes. Immigration, Medicare, race, class, war, and so much else have been focal points in the campaign season and now in the interim before the new president takes office. Without knowledge about these subjects, how do we best interpret that which surrounds us? We can read books. The careful, long-term research in which authors engage draws forward nuance and subtlety that is hard to impart through a newspaper article or blog post. Authors provide us with a longer-vision narrative and scope by which we can assess more data, allowing us to reconceive our notions on any given topic.
Thus we should turn to books in an effort to close the gap between our perception and reality. Books can provide us with knowledge by which we might find a way to more fully embrace our humanity and our society. They provide us with knowledge with which to see others’ viewpoints more clearly. Books can, if we allow them, give all of us the tools with which to craft a more broad and open ideology.
My job here as a marketer is to showcase books so that we can turn to them and learn from them. Perhaps then this short list of suggested reading will make the navigation of our world a little easier. Am I, in a sense, the GPS voice leading you toward your own knowledge growth? I hope so, even if I am simply pointing you in a new direction so that you might pursue a new route with the information found in these books.
Knowledge is key, so let’s all read a little more!
- Recapturing the Oval Office: New Historical Approaches to the American Presidency, edited by Brian Balogh and Bruce Schulman
- Immigrants and Electoral Politics: Nonprofit Organizing in a Time of Demographic Change, by Heath Brown
- Class Lives: Stories from across Our Economic Divide, edited by Chuck Collins, Jennifer Ladd, Maynard Seider, and Felice Yeskel
- Curing Medicare: A Doctor’s View on How Our Health Care System Is Failing Older Americans and How We Can Fix It, by Andy Lazris
- Mourning in America: Race and the Politics of Loss, by David McIvor
- The Racial Contract, by Charles Mills
- Deceit on the Road to War: Presidents, Politics, and American Democracy, by John Schuessler
- Who Cares? How to Reshape a Democratic Politics, by Joan Tronto
- From Predators to Icons: Exposing the Myth of the Business Hero, by Michael Villette and Catherine Vuillermot
- White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations, by Robert Vitalis
- Politics of Voter Suppression: Defending and Expanding Americans’ Right to Vote, by Tova Andrea Wang
Martyn Beeny is the Marketing Director at Cornell University Press. Follow him on Twitter @MartynBeeny