• Veronica Young
  • Books That Will Change How You See Yourself and the World
Books That Will Change How You See Yourself and the World
Written by
Veronica Young
October 2011
Written by
Veronica Young
October 2011
Some of my top picks are...

The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison

Although I was very familiar with this book in many circles, I didn’t touch it until recently. This book, I met with a lot of resistance. I didn’t want to hear another tale about dark-skinned people versus light-skinned people. I think really, was my not wanting to confront my own issues of “light-skinned privilege” and not being “black enough.”

The Bluest Eye has so much more depth than what one could ever immediately discern. Pecola Breedlove is a black child who yearns for blue eyes and believes that if she attains them, they will rid her of all her problems and of her “ugliness.” Not only Pecola, but the entire Breedlove family has to confront their issues with color, beauty and identity.

Morrison uses the themes of race, incest, sexism, sexual identity, self-hatred, poverty and oppression weaving them throughout the family - showing how it affects them individually and as a family unit and brilliantly links them back to the one idea of “white beauty” as seen through blue eyes. You can’t get a full appreciation for this book and for Morrison’s story telling with just one read.

Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority

Tom Burrell

Running a similar vein as Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is Burrell’s Brainwashed, dealing with race, color and its distortions. Burrell’s argument is that even despite Black Emancipation, we still think and act like slaves due to the black inferiority/white superiority campaign in mass media.

Tom Burrell is a former advertising and marketing pioneer who has witnessed first hand the effects of how Blacks are targeted through mass media advertising and marketing campaigns, contending that the images portrayed are geared specifically to make us feel inferior.

I honestly couldn’t put this book down when I started reading it. This is a great read that offers an intriguing look at an old age problem. The final answer though, I’ll leave up to you.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

Dr. Lois P. Frankel

Dr. Frankel is a professional career and leadership coach who makes no qualms about the self-defeating, “female” behavior in the workplace. This book is not only practical for the burgeoning corportess, but for the seasoned executive wanting to take her career to the next level or for the female running her own ship! It talks about the image we subconsciously display through socially conditioned behavior and by what we’ve been taught about what it means to be a female and how this behavior seeps into the work environment impacting our chances for promotion, reaching our goals in the workplace and being taken seriously.

A few of the behaviors noted are: couching statements as questions, minimizing your work position, titling your head when you speak and taking full responsibility. Frankel comes up with 101 of these things! This book definitely empowers! So much so that it’s easy for a female to move from just growing in her assertiveness to becoming a full-fledged BITCH! Some feminists may see this book as disempowering but is definitely a call-to-action for women to take charge of their image and their careers.

What No One Ever Tells You About Starting Your Own Business

Jan Norman

Jan Norman polls 101 entrepreneurs on what they wish they knew before going into business. This book is not a step-by-step, how-to guide on how to start and run your business, but rather the musings and case studies of all the things that went wrong.

For those who feel they can learn something from the missteps of another and don’t mind a story format, this is a great read! Not more than a page and a half for each lesson, Mom and Pop shops to Fortune 500 owners elaborate on topics such as pre-business considerations, tapping money sources, marketing and management.

Especially useful are the checklists and resource guides at the end of the book - “Are You Fit For Entrepreneurship?” “What Business Should I Start?” “Money Sources” and “Pricing Your Product or Service.” Great lessons from people who have been there and done that!

Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook

June Hunt

This book I love! June Hunt is a professional counselor and lets her readers know that whatever their problem, there’s a biblical solution for it! And Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook is its accompaniment. Broken down by topic, readers can find relief for some of life’s toughest problems: Abortion Recovery, Drugs and Alcohol, Suicide, Grief Recovery, Sexual Addiction, Manipulation and Dysfunctional Families, just to name a few. Hunt gives context for the problem, the source, advice on how to combat it and checklists, all with scriptural references to back it up!

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank

This story is the account of 13 year old Anne Frank who tells of her and her family’s experiences living in hiding during the Holocaust, starting from the height of German invasion just before they are discovered and captured from their “Secret Annexe,” and sent off to concentration camps.

She documents these two years in hiding in her diary, whom she names “Kitty” - her only true companion during this time. Being Jewish restricts her from ordinary living and forces them to live in this arrangement surviving off the rations and provisions made by friends and associates.

Anne’s courage and heroism during this time makes even the most tragic story of the day seem trivial. Anne’s only hope is to return to school, rejoin her friends and make a future as a writer. Anne doesn’t live to see that dream materialize, but the world does.

What are your top picks? Have you read any books that have changed how you see yourself and the world?

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