Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has seen death, economic hardship, and anxiety on an unprecedented scale. But it has also witnessed self-sacrifice, courage and perseverance.

Over the 2021 Holiday season I read a number of books about resilience, grit, human connection, and compassion. I read these books to learn and to gain new perspectives.

A key theme in all of these texts is that empathy, which in its simplest form is the ability to sense and have awareness of the emotions of other people, is a crucial skill to develop and practice.

This is particularly true during hard times.

I enjoyed reading these authors and will take lessons from their writings with me as I start the new year.

If you are in the market for new books I hope that this list will help inspire you as well.

BookAuthorKey Notes / Learnings
Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness ItEthan KrossThe inner voice is a blessing and a curse, learn how to manage it
The Stoic ChallengeWilliam IrvineA Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient
Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved)Kate BowlerLife is short; bring humor and love to each day
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding JoySheryl SandbergManging life as one moves through grief; importance of resilience
Modern LoveDaniel JonesAll the different types of love bring meaing to life
The Art of Taking It EasyBrian KingReduce stress, seek happiness
GreenlightsMatthew McConaugheyAim for Greenlights, be authentic, keep going
Maybe You Should Talk to SomeoneLori GottliebSeek help, search within, listen, heal
When Breath Becomes AirPaul KalanithiBe grateful for your health and time on earth
How Will You Measure Your Life?Clayton ChristensenWhat is your North Star? How will you find and then move towards it?
Grit: The Power of Passion and PerseveranceAngela DuckworthThe secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence.