Discover your next must-read book

University colleagues recommend books that made an impact on them.
Discover your next must-read book

With nearly two dozen titles submitted by University faculty and staff members in June, there are a number of great recommendations to help you choose your next book. Whether you prefer self-help books and nonfiction or love to get swept away with a novel, browse the list below to find your next must-read tome. 

Additionally, explore more resources curated by the University’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, including books, articles, films, and organizations.

48 Laws of Power
Robert Greene
“A powerful self-help book that teaches you how to understand interpersonal and social dynamics.”—Naomi Aganekwu, undergraduate student
Genre: Self-help book

Are Prisons Obsolete?
Angela Y. Davis
“This book encourages readers to challenge their own assumptions about the prison and Prison Industrial Complex. It offers a lot of resources that give historical context that help explain the unnecessary prison boom and why corporations prioritize profitability over human lives and restorative justice solving the social ills prison has historically argued it fixes.”—Evan Garcia, multimedia specialist, University Communications
Genre: Non-fiction

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Articulate, well-written personal reflections of being African-American in America.”—Darren Roach, senior manager, Application System Development, UHealth Information Technology
Genres: Biography, Autobiography

Black and Blue: The Origins and Consequences of Medical Racism
John Hoberman
“First systematic description of how American doctors think about racial differences and how this kind of thinking affects the treatment of their Black patients.”—Nanette Vega, executive director, Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement
Genre: Non-fiction

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
Richard Rothstein
“This book explains the tragedies and intentional inequalities rooted in FDR's New Deal policy. It is arguably because of this policy that we are currently experiencing the social upheaval and unrest in this country.”—Tywan Martin, faculty member, School of Education and Human Development
Genre: Non-fiction

Coronavirus and Christ
John Piper
“This book provides faith-based answers to the uncertain times we are all experiencing as a result of the pandemic.”—Evelyn Izaguirre, asset property control specialist, Controller’s Office
Genre: Christian literature



The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
Daniel Coyle
“A great guide that identifies three key skills to build high performing, happier teams.”—Matt Smale, associate athletic director, Athletics Business Operations
Genre: Self-help book

Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism
Anne Case, Angus Deaton 
“This book is a compelling case for why we need to reform capitalism and the health care system.”—Isaac Prilleltensky, vice provost for Institutional Culture
Genre: Non-fiction

Democracy, Civic Engagement, and Citizenship in Higher Education: Reclaiming Our Civic Purpose
Katrina S. Rogers, William V. Flores
“This gives a great insight into higher education and the importance of our work and how we educate students to be citizens of the world.”—Andrew Wiemer, director, Butler Center for Service and Leadership
Genre: Non-fiction

Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction
Thomas M. Siebel
“A primer for the need for all organizations in industry and higher education to ‘digitally transform’ themselves in order to increase their effectiveness and future relevance. Particularly relevant as we reflect on what UM will look like post-COVID-19.”—Charles Eckman, dean of Libraries
Genre: Non-fiction

Dreams from the Monster Factory: A Tale of Prison, Redemption, and One Woman's Fight to Restore Justice to All
Sunny Schwartz
“I love true story books. This book raises important questions about how we deal with prisoners and restorative justice and the authors profound belief that people can change.”—Carol Shipman, engagement officer, Office of University Development
Genres: Biography, Autobiography

From Prison to PhD: A Memoir of Hope, Resilience, and Second Chances
Jason Sole
“This is a great read for anyone with a checkered past. It proves that your past does not determine your future.”—Eric Randolph, Ph.D. candidate in the marine biology and ecology program
Genre: Non-fiction


The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone's Well-Being
Richard G. Wilkinson, Kate Pickett
“This book provides compelling empirical evidence on the benefits of fairness for wellness.”—Isaac Prilleltensky, vice provost for Institutional Culture
Genre: Non-fiction

Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care
Dayna Bowen Matthew
“This book discusses the unconscious racial and ethnic biases held by physicians, providers, and patients.”—Nanette Vega, executive director, Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement
Genre: Non-fiction

The Last Train to Key West
Chanel Cleeton
“If anyone is looking for a ‘summer read’ to transport them to another time and place, Chanel Cleeton's latest novel has just the right mixture of drama, historic references, and compelling female characters. It is a stand-alone read, but her other two novels—‘Next Year in Havana’ and ‘When We Left Cuba’—should also be read!”—Megan Ondrizek, executive director, University Communications
Genre: Fiction

My Sister, the Serial Killer
Oyinkan Brathwaite
“For those who like suspense, mystery, or crime novels, this book follows the story of an older sister having to pick up the mess of her younger sister after she murders her boyfriend. While she thinks this was a one-time thing, the younger sister starts a pattern.”—Karina Quiñones, graduate student
Genres: Novel, Satire, Thriller, Domestic Fiction

The Obstacle Is the Way
Ryan Holiday
“The past few months have brought numerous challenges and this book serves as a guide on how to perceive, act, and overcome challenges.”—Matt Smale, associate athletic director, Athletics Business Operations 
Genre: Self-help book

Once Upon a River
Diane Setterfield
“From the very first page, I felt as if I were sitting spellbound at the feet of a master storyteller.”—Mary Larrick, administrative assistant, Office of Law Development and Alumni Relations
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller


The Priory of the Orange Tree
Samantha Shannon
“It's a fantasy of epic proportions. Queendoms, kingdoms, good and evil dragons, spies, adventure, myth, mystery, and battles—everything someone who loves fantasy looks for in a classic.”—Mary Larrick, administrative assistant, Office of Law Development and Alumni Relations
Genres: Fairy tale, Novel, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Coming-of-age story, Lesbian literature, High fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Gay Fiction

Candice Carty-Williams
“Excellent character development and insight into family dynamics and impacts on a young woman learning to navigate the world. Incredibly engaging and well-written.”—Jen Posner, program manager, Office of Civic and Community Engagement 
Genres: Novel, Psychological Fiction

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Lisa See 
“This book is a wonderful story of two women's friendship (that began in childhood) in 19th-century China. The book is rich with history and detailed facts about foot bindings, arranged marriages, and living as a Chinese woman during that era. I plan to read more by this author.”—Carol Reynolds-Srot, university editor, University Communications
Genres: Novel, Historical Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Domestic Fiction

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
Michael A. Singer
“It is one of the most compelling books that deliberately speaks to the spiritual awakening of human beings. For instance, ‘Learn to stop resisting reality, and what used to look like stressful problems will begin to look like the stepping-stones of your spiritual journey.’"—Tywan Martin, faculty member, School of Education and Human Development
Genre: Self-help book

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
Beverly Daniel Tatum
“This book contains conversations about race.”—Nanette Vega, executive director, Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement
Genre: Non-fiction

Is there a book that has impacted you? Complete this short form to submit your title suggestions to participate in our next recommended reading list. For questions, contact our team at