The summer is a time to relax, to enjoy the sun, a vacation, or the quiet of the kids being away at camp. It’s also a time to catch up on all the reading we have been putting off. To help our readers get inspired, we asked various community members what they are currently reading.
The Good Ancestor, A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking, by Roman Krznaric
Description: The most important question we must ask ourselves is, "Are we being good ancestors?" So said Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine in 1953 but refused to patent it, forgoing profit so that more lives could be saved. Salk's radical generosity to future generations should inspire us. But when leading philosopher Roman Krznaric examines society today, he sees just the opposite: Our short term, exploitative mindsets have "colonized the future."
The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking: Krznaric, Roman: 9781615198337: Books - Amazon.ca
Outlive, The Science & Art of Longevity, by Peter Attia, MD
Description: Wouldn’t you like to live longer? And better? In this operating manual for longevity, Dr. Peter Attia draws on the latest science to deliver innovative nutritional interventions, techniques for optimizing exercise and sleep, and tools for addressing emotional and mental health.
Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity: Attia MD, Peter, Gifford, Bill: 9780593236598: Books - Amazon.ca
These books are recommended by Sandy Pollack, chair of the Board of the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation, who says “I am an avid reader with these two books currently on the go. I’m through the first chapter of The Good Ancestor and it’s a philosophical approach, revealing six profound ways in which we can all learn to think long. Whereas Outlive is more in tune with what we see going on today as it pertains to longevity. Dr. Attia translates longevity to the quality of longevity and what one can do to ensure one ages well both physically and mentally.”
Dandelion by Jamie Chai Yun Liew
Description: When Lily was eleven years old, her mother, Swee Hua, walked away from the family, never to be seen or heard from again. Now a new mother herself, Lily becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Swee Hua.
Dandelion: Liew, Jamie Chai Yun: 9781551528816: Books - Amazon.ca
Moonshot: Inside Pfizer's Nine Month Race to Make the Impossible Possible by Dr. Albert Bourla
Description: A riveting, fast-paced, inside look at one of the most incredible private sector achievements in history, Moonshot recounts the intensive nine months in 2020 when the scientists at Pfizer, under the visionary leadership of Dr. Albert Bourla, made “the impossible possible”— creating, testing, and manufacturing a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine that previously would have taken years to develop.
Moonshot: Inside Pfizer's Nine-Month Race to Make the Impossible Possible: Bourla, Dr. Albert: 9780063210790: Books - Amazon.ca
Adam Dodek, a Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa had this to say about his selections: “Dandelion is a beautiful story of the complex relationship between mother and daughter set against the Canadian immigrant experience and diasporic communities. It’s a compelling story with universal appeal and I’m enjoying the journey. Moonshot was written by the Pfizer President and CEO and I’m moved by the story of inspiring leadership during a trying time.”
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Description: Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World: Newport, Cal: 9781455586691: Books - Amazon.ca
Nurture Their Nature by Rabbi Dr Yosef Lynne and Rabbi Jack Cohen
Description: When our children and students ask: What makes me unique? How do I find my path in life? Can I make a difference in the world?...they are poised to flourish. Our job, as parents and teachers, is to guide them on their journeys of self-discovery.
Nurture Their Nature: The Torah's Essential Guidance for Parents and Teachers: 9781952370311: Books - Amazon.ca
Rabbi Aryah Kravetz of Congregation Beit Tikvah of Ottawa sees the summer as a chance for some personal and professional development. “I'm always trying to improve myself professionally and maximize my efficiency. In Deep Work, Cal Neport explores how to find and dedicate serious, uninterrupted time to focus on the important areas of what we do and to become experts in those fields. It will ultimately lead to the generation of new ideas. In addition, as a parent, I'm always looking for how to improve my parenting. Rabbis Lynn and Cohen have drawn from classic Torah to encourage parents see their role as guides and role models in helping their children find their unique place as connected Jews who contribute to today's world.”
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 by William Manchester
Description: When Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace in 1874, Imperial Britain stood at the splendid pinnacle of her power. Yet within a few years the Empire would hover on the brink of catastrophe. Against this backdrop, a remarkable man began to build his legacy.
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932: Manchester, William: 9780385313483: Books - Amazon.ca
An Emergency in Ottawa: The Story of the Convoy Commission by Paul Wells
Description: On February 14, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made what might be the most controversial decision of his tenure, invoking the Emergencies Act to end a three-week occupation of downtown Ottawa by truckers protesting mandatory COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
An Emergency in Ottawa: The Story of the Convoy Commission: Wells, Paul: 9781990823251: Books - Amazon.ca
Laurence Wall is a news presenter at the CBC. While currently on holiday he “has at least five books on the go. My aim is to finish them all before I head back to work.” Of his selections, he says, “Churchill is one of my heroes, a man who persisted against impossible odds to help win the Second World War. Volume 1 includes his childhood up to the end of First World War and is a reminder just how long Churchill was in the public eye in one role or another. Bonus: I'm listening to the audiobook which gives even more insight through the narrator's skilled read. Paul Wells’ book is a brilliant look at the truck convoy that paralyzed downtown Ottawa for weeks on end. Paul also covered the inquiry set up to look at the federal government's handling of the crisis. I'm fascinated to read this take on one of the biggest events in recent Ottawa history.”
To make your search for a great read easy, Carlie McPhearson, Senior Librarian of the Greenberg Families Library has curated a list of books that can be found in the library. “I have read several of the books from the list. Without a doubt, the Mel Brooks memoir is one of the best things I have read this year. For me, it’s the best memoir I have ever read. Brooks has led a very interesting life and the book is full of his personality and feels like he’s just sitting with you telling you hilarious stories.
From the fiction list, Mount Chicago is a great book about a Jewish comedian, his most devoted fan, and the city’s mayor who struggle to move forward while the world—quite literally—caves beneath their feet. This is second only to Lessons in Chemistry. Set in 1960s California, this book features the singular voice of Elizabeth Zott, a scientist whose career takes a detour when she becomes the star of a beloved TV cooking show. Rounding out my top 3 is The Midnight Library. The books in The Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. I found it whimsical and thought provoking.”