Books are a window into the world of amazement and self-discovery. For generations, literature in the form of poetry and prose has empowered and inspired millions on their path to success. As I write my stories that I hope will shape your children’s future, I also wanted to share with all parents some of the inspiring books that have shaped my journey so far. I hope you enjoy my selection, and please share with me any books that have inspired you!
WILD SWANS: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
This is a memoir chronicling three generations of daughters’ struggles and resurgence in modern China who fought social injustice. The author, Jung Chang, starts the narration with her grandmother’s story Yu-Fang, who was given as a concubine due to poverty against her will. Yu-Fang, as one among many wives, endures a long unfulfilling and caged life before escaping from it days before the death of her husband to save her only daughter from that gruelling life. De-Hong, the second wild swan and Yu-Fang’s daughter, gets attracted to then uprising Communist party and devotes her life and work, along with her husband, for its establishment. Despite their loyalty, due to political conflicts, both get arrested by their own party and sent to thought reform centres ultimately realising the betrayal of their own. Jung, the last wild swan and the author, gets castigated for her parent’s work and her own disinterest in politics. After a series of challenges she earns a scholarship in England and leaves for her new home.
Wild Swans demonstrates the honour of standing up for oneself and justice and the 3 stories of the women living through their share of societal and cultural battles teach us the power of independence and self-respect.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is no stranger to the world. If becoming the first African-American first lady of the United States made her create history, her thought-provoking initiatives and strong personality set her apart from the slew of first ladies that preceded her. Most of us learned about her genius only during the presidential term from 2009 to 2017 but through her autobiography, Becoming, Michelle invites us into her life story that includes hardships, perseverance and compassion that moulded her into the present person. In openly confessing about difficulties in her relationship with Barack Obama and maternity miseries with miscarriages and her daughter’s, Malia, health issues that evoked the campaign “Let’s Move”, she reminds us that she is no superhuman but an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey.
Becoming is an excellent read for parents who want to teach their kids that no one is perfect in this world but the willingness to grow and to discover and embrace one’s unique abilities is what device success stories.
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Call it culture or society, discrimination against working women is multi-dimensional. Women at all ranks face bias even after achieving great successes and reaching higher milestones and, for that very reason, the percentage of women in executive or leadership level roles is still jittering at less than 10%. Sheryl Sandberg as Time’s 100 most influential people in the world who held influential positions at Google, World Bank and the US Treasury Department before becoming the COO at Facebook in 2008 can be termed as the vanguard of promoting women’s status from desk to board room. Through Lean In, she describes the prevalence of gender inequality at the workplace, evidently and indistinctly, and how equal opportunities can be created with the participation of all genders in this next wave of feminism.
For parents, Lean In can provide ideas on structuring conversations around proactive partnership and parenting. Only with an equal share in marriage and parenting can a couple support each other’s career and life goals.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
How do you perceive the word “Feminist”? How do you explain when one of your kids ask for its meaning? From a very young age, Chimamanda had to tolerate backlash from her friends and family for her unapologetic association with the feminist movement. In a series of personal accounts, she presents the extent stereotypes are ingrained in our culture that some times unwittingly we take it for granted as a norm. According to her, many tag being feminist to man-haters, no make up freaks and sorrow seekers and this perplexed her as she possesses none of these qualities yet calls herself a feminist. With her honest narration, Chimamanda urges everybody, irrespective of any gender, to adopt feminism because its absence makes men, the so-called stronger ones, to suppress their true potential.
WSABF is a book to delve in to learn the ways we can incorporate equality in our manner, relationships and in all other human transactions.
SHE SAID by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
Sexual harassment and misconduct are the most prominent issues women have to deal with at least once in their life in any environment. In the majority of cases, these are also the incidents that evade justice for the victims censor themselves in reporting to the right authorities or even if they do, they get shut down by the corrupted system. But, how long can a volcano be muted? It will explode eventually. That’s exactly the backdrop of this controversial exposé by two women journalists that shook the entire Hollywood.
She said can be the right tool for parents who hesitate to communicate with their children about the importance of speaking up in such dire circumstances. With vignettes from famous figures in the industry like Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow, it unveils the susceptibility and helplessness hiding behind success and fame.
50 Amazing Swiss Women by various authors
A group of passionate authors decided to celebrate the 50th anniversary of women’s right to vote in Switzerland by presenting to the world a list of strong and brave yet, not widely known women in February 2021. This brilliant book targets the younger generation to give them a glimpse into the diverse lives of these fierce personalities and inspire them with their accomplishments, struggles and never giving up attitude.
It consists of legendaries like Tilo Frey, Ruth Dreifuss, Tina Turner, Abassia Rahmani among others. The book is released on Feb 7th, 2021 and is available in 3 languages English, German and French.