Best Business Books: Deborah C. Wright's Picks
My management style and perspective on the stresses of the people who work with me have changed dramatically. I've been a single, stereotypically driven individual and have never been able to relate to the real-life stresses and the complete lack of predictability that comes into your life with a child. It's taken a lot of pressure off my team because people can be honest now. I can come in and say my daughter had a bad night, so I had a bad night."
Meditations of the Heart by Howard Thurman (1953)
The civil rights-era minister who cofounded the first interracially copastored church in the United States reflects on prayer, community, and the rituals of life.
Why it's a must-read: "We have four generations of ministers in my family, which probably explains a lot about why I'm at Carver. This theologian was one of my dad's favorites, and he often quoted Howard Thurman from the pulpit. At our Thanksgiving dinners, we all read a part of this particular book. There's a section in there called 'A Litany of Thanksgiving.' It's this beautiful prayer about the ups and downs of the course of a person's life, and the many opportunities to be thankful for the gift of being young and the gift of being old.
He writes in very short chapters, two pages, that are really about something short and sweet. When you're exhausted after a long day, and don't have time to read a 400-page novel, you can read that, two pages of something, and it just helps."
The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours by Marian Wright Edelman (1992)
The founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, who was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi bar, describes her 25 lessons for life.
Why it's a must-read: "First of all, Marian is my aunt. I view this book as one of those anchor books that remind you always where you came from and what is most important. She talks about some of the choices we have in terms of how we're spending our time on Earth, getting back to some basics around children at the forefront and what you're going to leave behind as your contribution.
Whenever I feel a little tossed and torn in a given month or week, it's comforting to go back to that book because it reminds me to keep somewhere in the frontal lobe why you're doing all this. The quarterly earnings and the analyst meetings and the shareholder demands, the SECwhen you get through with all of the various points of demand and pressures, sometimes you just need to get recentered."