Power Shift Project Book Club

Power Shift Project Book Club

The Power Shift Project is curating a list of books, documentaries and podcasts for aspiring allies who are dedicated to learning.

We’ve tapped the wisdom of our Power Shift Project board members, summit participants and Workplace Integrity trainers for their recommendations.

These recommendations include works that some have found transformational, and that many consider essential for those committed to diversity.

The list will continue to grow as we continue to reach out for new selections.

Recommendations are listed here with a personal note from each person who nominated a selection about why they chose it.

DB PSP Book Club Sort by Topic

Canary: The Washington Post Investigates

podcast by Amy Brittain

Recommended by Patty Rhule, Freedom Forum

Investigative journalist Amy Brittain’s reporting on a woman who was sexually assaulted by a chef in Washington, D.C., leads to a 60-year-old woman in Alabama with a terrible connection to the judge who meted out a light sentence for the chef. Brittain’s sensitive interviews of the women and their families, including the Alabama woman’s octogenarian parents, reveals the patience, diligence and humanity that went into this 3-year reporting project. A haunting and potent depiction of the impact sexual assault has on people, many decades later. And a complex portrayal of the man at the center of the story.

Dare to Lead: Brené Brown with Aiko Bethea on Inclusivity at Work: The Heart of Hard Conversations

podcast by Brené Brown

Recommended by Stephanie Hedrick, KWQC-TV

I appreciated Aiko’s insight into transactional leadership versus transformational leadership. She also wrote an article (an open letter to Corporate America) which gave great insight into how to put beliefs into actions. You can find part two of their conversation here.


podcast by Nikole Hannah-Jones

Recommended by Alicia Shepard, Cal Poly State University

“If you didn’t have time to wade through all the well-researched material in the magazine version of 1619, the podcast is an easily accessible way to learn about the critical, unacknowledged role African American slaves played in our country’s development and how the brutality and discrimination then plays out today. Wish there were more than six episodes.”

“A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler”

book by Jason Roberts

Recommended by Ellen Rofles, Newsy

“A page-turner that explores the exaggerated preference society often places on sight as the primary way to confirm and convey truths and facts.”

“Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation”

book by Latasha Morrison

Recommended by Dana Ritter, CBN News

“This is specific to my world, inside the Christian bubble. Some unique circumstances. This book is great at equipping individuals and teams to have conversations about race, racism, privilege, and diversity in a non-intimidating way.”

“Behind the Seen”

podcast by Mark Bauer and Branden Polk

Recommended by Beth Francesco, National Press Club Journalism Institute

“Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder”

book by Reshma Saujani

Recommended by Sue Ramsett, KWQC-TV6

“Bundyville: The Remnant”

podcast by Peter Frick-Wright and Robert Carver

Recommended by Mackenzie Warren, Gannett

“Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents”

book by Isabel Wilkerson

Recommended by Jill Geisler, Freedom Forum/Loyola University Chicago

“The terrific reviews “Caste” is getting are justified!”

“Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators”

book by Ronan Farrow

Recommended by Terri Shaw, Terri Shaw Language Services

“Hidden powers of serial abusers.”

“Data Feminism”

book by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein

Recommended by Dr. Courtney Radsch, Committee to Protect Journalists

This thought-provoking book delves into the power dynamics behind data science and data ethics that compels the reader to reconsider what they think they know and how they know it. With stunning visualizations pulled from a range of disciplines and footnotes that actively go beyond the canon, this is a must-read for journalists, academics, and lay people alike, especially if we seek to build a more just and equitable world.

“Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger”

book by Rebecca Traister

Recommended by Mary Nahorniak, USA TODAY

“Powerful background on feminism and gives language to women’s anger at oppression.”

“Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration”

book by Alfredo Corchado

Recommended by Ricardo Sandoval, PBS

“After almost 40 years in professional journalism, I am more convinced that two critical words — history and context — are too often ignored by mainstream and legacy publishers. What’s left after distillation by stereotype and conventional wisdom are wafer-thin stories and truncated narratives. This is damaging to people whose stories are not told often enough and who remain outside the mainstream.

“Homelands” is among the books that can help us understand immigrants — in particular, Mexican immigrants, who account for a significant portion of the American demographic pie. We think we know so much about them because of the ubiquitous coverage given to Mexican food and music. Yet so much of what we think we know about Mexicans is actually leftover misconception. What “Homelands” does is explore the why of immigration, the how of assimilation, and depth of change that results — both in the immigrants depicted and in their new communities.

I am an immigrant, and I came away from the read feeling like I saw something familiar in these stories. Yet I felt like I learned something new about the highs and lows of our collective experiences. And, I came away wholly satisfied with Alfredo’s entertaining, non-fiction storytelling.”

“How I Built This with Guy Raz”

podcast by Guy Raz

Recommended by Gloria Riviera, Press Forward ABC News

“Both podcasts profile companies (Raz) and female business leaders (Jarvis) with great advice.”

“Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong — and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story”

book by Angela Saini

Recommended by Sandeep Ravindran, freelance science writer

“Provides an excellent history of gender and race science and an overview of what we know now.”

“Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro”

book by Rachel Slade

Recommended by Charlotte Carroll, freelance sailor

“Mentions many of the same problems in the workplace from a mariner’s environment.”

“Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men”

book by Caroline Criado Perez

Recommended by Jill Geisler, Freedom Forum/Loyola University Chicago

“In a data-driven world, with artificial intelligence making ever more decisions for us, how valid is our data? The author points out case after case in which data-driven decisions about products or processes are based on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and the one size is male, not female. She shows the consequences. It’s a great call to action.”

“Language of Appeasement”

article by Dafina-Lazarus Stewart

Publication: Inside Higher Ed

Recommended by Amy Wielunski, WBEZ Chicago Public Media

“As a colleague once said, this article helped reorganize my brain.”

“Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace”

book by Christine Porath

Recommended by Jill Geisler, Freedom Forum/Loyola University Chicago

“This Georgetown University professor of management puts a clear, research-based stake in the ground for the business value of a civil workplace. The book also speaks to the role of each of us in creating positive workplace cultures, with self-assessments and strategies for improvement.”

“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”

book by Carol S. Dweck

Recommended by Mary Nahorniak, USA TODAY

“The book teaches the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, which effectively boils down to: Anything can be learned. We can always change and grow. I think that’s an inspiring perspective in any industry and including how it relates to diversity and changing people’s M.O.”

“Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town”

book by Jon Krakauer

Recommended by Stephanie Zepelin, WISH-TV

“No Limits With Rebecca Jarvis”

podcast by Rebecca Jarvis

Recommended by Gloria Riviera, Press Forward ABC News

“Both podcasts profile companies (Roz) and female business leaders (Jarvis) with great advice.”

“Presumed Incompetent II: Race, Class, Power and Resistance of Women in Academia”

book by Yolanda Flores Niemann, Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs and Carmen G. Gonzalez

Recommended by Dorothy Bland, University of North Texas, Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism

This book is recommended reading for anyone considering a career in academia as it shares the experiences of more than 30 women of color. They offer advice, strategies and tactics to survive and thrive. Those considering careers in corporate America and other fields also can benefit from the many lessons in this book.

“Race/Gender/Class/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers”

book by Rebecca Ann Lind

Recommended by Gracie Lawson-Borders, Howard University

“Lind provides a broad range of research and essays to examine the intersectionality of race, gender, ethnicity, class and media.”

“Radical Candor”

book by Kim Scott

Recommended by Sara Goo, Axios

“Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger”

book by Soraya Chemaly

Recommended by Kate McCarthy, Women’s Media Center


podcast by PRX and The Center for Investigative Reporting

Recommended by Marcia Allert, The Dallas Morning News

“Impactful journalism with deep reporting.”

“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”

book by Yuval Noah Harari

Recommended by Leslie Hill, former Freedom Forum/Newseum trustee

“Evolution of humans and why we are how we are.”

“She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement”

book by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

Recommended by Stephanie Zepelin, WISH-TV

“This book shows just how tough the topic is and how brave victims of assault are.”

“So You Want to Talk about Race”

book by Ijeoma Oluo

Recommended by Jill Geisler, Freedom Forum/Loyola University Chicago

“When we talk across difference, we often operate on assumptions and simplistic theories. The author tackles all of this head on, with the goal of helping people go beyond the superficial, think critically and speak with clarity. It can be humbling for a person of privilege to read, which is exactly why it is so important.”

“Success Through Diversity: Why the Most Inclusive Companies Will Win”

book by Carol Fulp

Recommended by Jade Forman, Gannett

“Diversity, inclusion, and its impact on business, revenue, and culture.”

“Superior: The Return of Race Science”

book by Angela Saini

Recommended by Sandeep Ravindran, freelance science writer

“Provides an excellent history of gender and race science and an overview of what we know now.”

“Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities”

film by Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams

Recommended by Shirley Carswell, Howard University

“Provides loads of information and history about the important role of HBCUs in creating an African American middle and professional class.”

“That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together”

book by Joanne Lipman

Recommended by Christine Paige Diers, Public Media Journalists Association

“Great research and interesting information about gender inequality.”

“The Asshole Survivor Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt”

book by Robert I. Sutton

Recommended by Amy Simons, Missouri School of Journalism

“This book offers advice on how to neutralize bullying behaviors and communication.”

“The Girls in the Balcony: Women, Men, and The New York Times”

book by Nan Robertson

Recommended by Jody Beck, Scripps Howard Foundation

“This book tells the story of women in the 1970s brave enough to sue former employer to stop discrimination.”

“The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars: Henry M. Jackson, Forrest J. Gerard and the Campaign for the Self-Determination of America’s Indian Tribes”

book by Mark Trahant

Recommended by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Indian Country Today

“For anyone who wants to report on Indian country, this book covers federal Indian policy making.”

“The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — and Divided a Country”

book by Gabriel Sherman

Recommended by Kathleen Graham, Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing

“The Medici Effect: What Elephants & Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation”

book by Frans Johansson

Recommended by Joy Lin, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

“Shows how diversity and inclusion go hand in hand.”

“The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t”

book by Robert I. Sutton

Recommended by Jill Geisler, Freedom Forum/Loyola University Chicago

“This was Dr. Sutton’s groundbreaking book that looked at the business impact of bullying, and the companies that are no longer putting up with it. It builds on his depth of knowledge and research in Graduate School of Business at Stanford.”

“The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”

book by Charles Duhigg

Recommended by Beth Francesco, National Press Club Journalism Institute

“The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle and the Awakening of America”

book by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff

Recommended by Jill Geisler, Freedom Forum/Loyola University Chicago

“This Pulitzer Prize–winning, deeply researched book should be must-reading for every journalist. It chronicles the coverage (for better and worse) of the civil rights movement, the role of the black press and the power of imagery. It reveals how racism was institutionalized and rationalized and helps readers understand the how the past connects to present systemic racism.”

“There’s No Crying in Newsrooms: What Women Have Learned About What It Takes to Lead”

book by Kristin Grady Gilger and Julia Wallace

Recommended by Amy Eisman, American University

“Know and trust the authors who did amazing interviews that were refreshing and profound.”

“Trailblazer: A Pioneering Journalist’s Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America”

book by Dorothy Butler Gilliam

Recommended by Terri Shaw, Terri Shaw Language Services

“Struggles of first black woman reporter at The Washington Post.”


film by Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman; based on Pulitzer Prize–winning reporting by ProPublica and The Marshall Project

Recommended by Jane Elizabeth, The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun

“Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience”

book by Jill Nelson

Recommended by Sherri Williams, American University

“Explains some of the unique challenges that black women journalists face in mainstream newsrooms.”

“What Works: Gender Equality by Design”

book by Iris Bohnet

Recommended by Kate McCarthy, Women’s Media Center

“White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism”

book by Robin DiAngelo

Recommended by Traci Schweikert, POLITICO

“This book gave me perspectives to check my own privileges and more importantly, how to use it to help others.”

“Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language”

book by Amanda Montell

Recommended by Maria Harrigan, POLITICO

“Empowers women to challenge how we criticize the language of women and use inclusive language for gender identity.”

“Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know”

book by Jill Geisler

Recommended by Julie Moos, National Press Club Journalism Institute

“I own two copies of “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know” and keep one at work and one at home so I can refer to it wherever I am. As I tweeted in December, it is the best resource on leading and coaching that I know, and I turn to it every time I fall short. When I visit newsrooms, it is the one constant I see in editors’ offices, on aspiring editors’ desks, and on bookshelves. This workshop-in-a-book provides practical tactics for accomplishing our most important work as leaders: helping others succeed. Full disclosure: I worked with Jill Geisler on the podcast and columns that inspired the book, so some might say I’m biased. I say I’m incredibly fortunate. Since it’s impossible to bottle Jill and carry her around in our pockets, this is the next best thing.”

“You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters”

book by Kate Murphy

Recommended by Caroline Comport, Narrative Quest Leadership Coaching

“Journalist Kate Murphy weaves together science, stories and the power of silence to help readers deepen their ability to tap into curiosity and learn to become better listeners. This book also offers practical ideas and exercises to master this critical component of communication and key to change.”