A captivating reading list is a great asset at the best of times, at the worst of times. This winter, as we look for ways to stay entertained indoors until warmer weather arrives, great books are especially welcome company.

The IVY Editorial Team collaborated on what books would add the most value to you — our readers — based on upcoming IVY programming in all seven cities this season. Elevate your experience at IVY Events in February and March 2018 with selections in the worlds of Arts and Culture, Social Impact, Thought Leadership, and IVY Travel excursions.

This library list includes reads ranging from Black History Month to ballet and travel tips for Arctic weather to the latest innovators in workplace diversity. We hope you enjoy and will join us at events near you.

Arts and Culture

Subversive Sounds: Race and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans by Charles B. Hersch

Book Description: Subversive Sounds probes New Orleans’s history, uncovering a web of racial interconnections and animosities that was instrumental to the creation of a vital American art form — jazz. Drawing on oral histories, police reports, newspaper accounts, and vintage recordings, Charles Hersch brings to vivid life the neighborhoods and nightspots where jazz was born.

Why You Should Read This: Jazz as an art form could not have come to be anywhere else but in America. Jazz is the musical intersection of slavery, race, class, sexuality, politics, and art both high brow and low brow. This book helps contextualize jazz music and allows you to learn about it through the lens of what was happening socially and culturally.

Attend a Related IVY EventIVY Culture Night | Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents a Mardi Gras Celebration: Fat Tuesday with Gotham Kings @ Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in New York City


Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

Book Description: Determination meets dance in this memoir by the history-making ballerina. In this instant New York Times bestseller, Misty Copeland makes history, telling the story of her journey to become the first African-American principal ballerina at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. When Misty became caught between the control and comfort she found in the world of ballet and the harsh realities of her own life, she had to choose to embrace both her identity and her dreams, and find the courage to be one of a kind.

Why You Should Read This: If you want a true Cinderella story, look no further. Misty Copeland  charts her unlikely story of becoming American Ballet Theatre’s first African-American principal ballerina in a memoir as “sensitive” and “clear-eyed” (The Washington Post) as her dancing.

Attend a Related IVY EventIVY Culture Night | Hubbard Street Dance 40th Anniversary Fall Series @ Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago

Social Impact

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss

Book Description: Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, shares the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure book — a compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from over 130 of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life.

Why You Should Read This: Tribe of Mentors is a reminder of all the wisdom to be found within a community of diverse and very talented individuals.


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Book Description: Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as “brave and bold,” this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signaled a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control — relegating millions to a permanent second-class status — even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.

Why You Should Read This: Taking a hard look at the criminal justice system, The New Jim Crow exposes the racial politics that are intertwined with 20th- and 21st-century mass incarceration.


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Book Description: In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men — bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Why You Should Read This: Coates offers readers  insights into various realities of the African-American experience. From Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder — Coates explores the revelatory experiences that have shaped his understanding of the relationship between himself and the world in which he lives.

Thought Leadership

Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World by Melissa A. Schilling

Book Description: What really distinguishes the people who literally change the world — those creative geniuses who give us one breakthrough after another? What differentiates Marie Curie or Elon Musk from the merely creative, the many one-hit wonders among us? Melissa Schilling, one of the world’s leading experts on innovation, invites us into the lives of eight people — Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Elon Musk, Dean Kamen, Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, and Steve Jobs — to identify the traits and experiences that drove them to make spectacular breakthroughs, over and over again.

Why You Should Read This: Thought Leader Melissa A. Schilling unwraps the common traits and quirks behind some of the most brilliant minds of our time.

Attend a Related IVY Event: IVY Salon Discussion | Creative Genius: 5 Key Traits of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World with Melissa A. Schilling, NYU Professor @ LMHQ in New York City


Iconic Advantage®: Don’t Chase the New, Innovate the Old by Soon Yu and Dave Birss (contributor)

Book Description: Modern business gurus all cry for the need to innovate, to disrupt, and to act like a startup. It’s hard to argue with that kind of thinking. It’s sexy and exciting. But it’s wrong. Iconic Advantage® is a different approach that allows companies to leverage what they already have to create lasting differentiation and deeper relationships with their customers. It generates disproportionate levels of profit and protects you against market fluctuations. Many of the world’s most successful brands have been using it for years.

Why You Should Read This: Thought Leader Soon Yu details the art of creating and innovating iconic products and brands.

Attend a Related IVY EventIVY Thought Leader Dinner & Discussion | How to Create an Iconic Brand with Soon Yu @ Osha Thai in San Francisco


The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaeli

Book Description: Giving voice to the voiceless, the Chicago Defender condemned Jim Crow, catalyzed the Great Migration, and focused the electoral power of black America. Robert S. Abbott founded The Defender in 1905, smuggled hundreds of thousands of copies into the most isolated communities in the segregated South, and was dubbed a “Modern Moses,” becoming one of the first black millionaires in the process. His successor wielded the newspaper’s clout to elect mayors and presidents, including Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, who would have lost in 1960 if not for The Defender’s support. Along the way, its pages were filled with columns by legends like Ida B. Wells, Langston Hughes, and Martin Luther King.

Why You Should Read This: Drawing on dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, Ethan Michaeli constructs a revelatory narrative of race in America and brings to life the reporters who braved lynch mobs and policemen’s clubs to do their jobs, from the age of Teddy Roosevelt to the age of Barack Obama. As important today is was decades ago, Thought Leader Ethan Michaeli paints a picture of the true story of the black press that fought for equality and justice for all.

Attend a Related IVY EventIVY Ideas Night | Power of the Pen: How the Legendary Black Press Transformed America with Ethan Michaeli, Darryl Holliday, and Tonika Johnson @ mHub in Chicago


Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will To Change by Jennifer Brown

Book Description: In the rapidly changing business landscape, harnessing the power of diversity and inclusion is essential for the very viability and sustainability of every organization. This book stands up and embraces what true diversity and inclusion represent to any organization in any industry — an opportunity. Open your heart and prepare to be inspired as award-winning entrepreneur, dynamic speaker, and respected diversity and inclusion expert Jennifer Brown shares proven strategies to empower members of your entire organization to utilize all of their talents and potential to drive positive organizational change and the future of work.

Why You Should Read This: As the heads of inclusion and diversity from organizations including Amazon and Lyft speak to IVY members this month, this book deep dives into the importance of an organizational culture that embraces diversity, and explains how this is a modern approach to building successful teams

Attend a Related IVY Event:

1. IVY Ideas Night with Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Lyft, Tariq Meyers @ EXYGY in San Francisco

2. IVY Ideas Night | Inclusivity: How to Build a Diverse Leadership Team with Adebola Morton and Mel Smith of Amazon @ Mindwarehouse in Miami


The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarctica’s Peninsula Region by Joan N. Boothe

Book Description: The Storied Ice dramatically retells the amazing story of Ernest Shackleton’s “Endurance” expedition, along with many other less familiar, but fascinating, adventures and tales of early explorers, sealers, whalers, pioneer aviators, and scientists right up to the latter part of the 20th century. All this is woven together into a coherent whole, placing the tales of individuals in a historical context, breathing new life into even the best-known stories. The books is enriched by abundant quotes from explorers, nearly 100 illustrations and more than 30 maps.

Why You Should Read This: Antarctica is one of the most exotic locations on the planet. IVY is heading to the Earth’s southernmost continent on an Extreme Polar Odyssey in February, and is taking this opportunity to learn about this destination that has bewitched and befuddled scientists, explorers, and sightseers alike for two centuries.

Attend a Related IVY EventIVY x Antarctica | Extreme Polar Odyssey


The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love: A Novel by Oscar Hijuelos

Book Description: It’s 1949 and two young Cuban musicians make their way from Havana to the grand stage of New York City. It is the era of mambo, and the Castillo brothers, workers by day, become stars of the dance halls by night, where their orchestra plays the lush, sensuous, pulsing music that earns them the title of the Mambo Kings. This is their moment of youth, exuberance, love, and freedom — a golden time that decades later is remembered with nostalgia and deep affection. Hijuelos’ marvelous portrait of the Castillo brothers, their families, their fellow musicians and lovers, their triumphs and tragedies, re-creates the sights and sounds of an era in music and an unsung moment in American life.

Why You Should Read This: Exuberantly celebrated from the moment it was published in 1989, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1990 (making Hijuelos the first Hispanic recipient of the award), and remains a perennial bestseller to this day.

Attend a Related IVY EventIVY x Cuba Cultural Expeditions: Spring 2018 & Fall 2018