When I finish one book and am deciding what to read next, there usually isn’t always rhyme or reason to what I pick. Sometimes I’ll read one great book and get inspired to read several more about the same subject. Other times I am eager to follow a recommendation from someone I respect.
Lately, though, I find myself reaching for books about the complicated relationship between humanity and nature. Maybe it’s because everyone’s lives have been upended by a virus. Or maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time this year talking about what we need to do to avoid a climate disaster.
Whatever the reason, most of the books on my summer reading list this year touch on what happens when people come into conflict with the world around them. I’ve included a look at how researchers are trying to undo damage done to the planet by humans, a deep dive about how your body keeps you safe from microscopic invaders, a president’s memoir that addresses the fallout from an oil spill, and a novel about a group of ordinary people fighting to save the trees. (There’s also a fascinating look at the downfall of one of America’s greatest companies.)
Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric, by Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann. How could a company as big and successful as GE fail? I’ve been thinking about that question for several years, and Lights Out finally gave me many of the answers I was seeking. The authors give you an unflinching look at the mistakes and missteps made by GE’s leadership. If you’re in any kind of leadership role—whether at a company, a non-profit, or somewhere else—there’s a lot you can learn here.