Best-Oral-History-Books-For-Every-Reading-List

7 Best Oral History Books For Every Reading List

What book — written in an oral history style narrative — would you recommend for an every day reading list?

To help you find a new and exciting read, we asked business leaders and book lovers this question for their best recommendations. From “The Art of War” to “The Body,” there are several great reads written in an oral history style narrative that may interest you.

Here are seven books that are written in an oral history style narrative recommended for an everyday reading list:

  • New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time
  • Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do
  • I Am Imperfectly Essential: Declarations Affirming Your Value in the Workplace as Leaders
  • The Art of War
  • Family History Told Around the Table
  • The Body: A Guide for Occupants
  • You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience

New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time

In today’s world, New York is a commonly romanticized city known to be full of possibilities. Craig Taylor’s “New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time” looks past the glittering night lights and bustling days to look into the reality of life in the sleepless city. Craig shares the stories of the essential workers in New York that keep the city running and the hardships that have been overcome by the ever-resilient New Yorkers. Touching on the realities of life for minorities and those moving from small towns, Taylor’s work breaks down life in huge American cities as more than just the overly glamorized version we all dream of.

Beth Baranski, Markitors

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do

With almost 700 pages of moving and intense interviews, the author, Studs Terkel, delivers eye-opening conversations with workers across all industries and income levels in “Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.” Therefore, the magic of this unique work lies in the historical and philosophical reflections one inevitably reaches while reading it. After all, trying to maximize our self-fulfillment and find an enriching career is surely one of the most frequent notions we all wrestle with. At best, this compendium can give you the insight you may be missing, while at worst, it’s a riveting overview of why people end up working the jobs they do. So for anyone with even a remote interest in humanities, this tome is highly worth it.

Jagoda Wieczorek, ResumeLab

I Am Imperfectly Essential: Declarations Affirming Your Value in the Workplace As Leaders

No matter how many times you read a declaration, it will have different meanings depending on what you’re navigating through. “I Am Imperfectly Essential: Declarations Affirming Your Value in the Workplace as Leaders” will encourage you, inspire you, uplift you, and remind you of the value you bring. The book provides daily pep talks for yourself to reignite your spark to shine like the rock star that you are!

LaShawn Davis, The HR Plug

The Art of War

The book I would recommend is Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” As a lawyer, business owner, and entrepreneur, I’ve found it very helpful. It gets you into the process of adapting to situations quickly and managing information as well as thinking through your competitors’ moves.

Ben Cook, Jr., Printed Kicks

Family History Told Around the Table

The best oral histories are found in cookbooks. We can experience generations of community and culture that define their authors’ lives. From M.F.K. Fisher’s “How to Cook a Wolf” telling the story of Depression-era domestic life to “Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer” from this year, oral history is readable… and best-shared around a table.

David Romako, Bright Brothers Strategy Group

The Body: A Guide for Occupants

I’m listening to “The Body: A Guide for Occupants” by Bill Bryson, and I absolutely love it. This novel dives into each part of our body and explores how it works, in a way that is not technical enough to get lost, but also makes me feel like I’m learning a ton about my own body. I finish each chapter in absolute awe of how amazing it is that our body functions and has evolved to where it is today. The author does a great job in explaining scientific concepts in layman’s terms so that I am able to understand how my body is working. I’m not a sciencey kind of person, so this is a great fit for anyone.

Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds

You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience

I’ve found Brene Brown’s work to be transformational for myself. With the different racial issues that have come up in our political spectrum, I have been reading more and more about systemic racial inequalities and have become curious about ways that I, as a parent and an educator, can help address some of these. Part of that journey has included really listening to, talking to, and having some uncomfortable conversations with people of color to try to understand how their experiences are different from mine. “You Are Your Best Thing” is really helping me to consider some new perspectives!

Bonnie Toth, Kids’ Co-op

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