1. When the Heavens Went on Sale: The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach by Ashlee Vance
When the Heavens Went on Sale tells the remarkable, unfolding story of this frenzied intergalactic land grab. Through his trademark immersive reporting, Ashlee Vance follows four pioneering companies—Astra, Firefly, Planet Labs, and Rocket Lab—as they build new space systems and attempt to launch rockets and satellites into orbit by the thousands. While the public fixated on the space tourism being driven by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, these new companies arrived with a different set of goals: to make rocket and satellite launches fast and cheap, thereby opening Earth’s lower orbit for business—and setting it up as the next playing field for humankind’s technological evolution, where we can connect, analyze, and monitor everything on Earth.
2. Lessons From the Edge: A Memoir by Marie Yovanovitch
By the time she became U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch had seen her share of corruption, instability, and tragedy in developing countries. But it came as a shock when, in early 2019, she was recalled from her post after a smear campaign by President Trump’s personal attorney and his associates—men operating outside of normal governmental channels, and apparently motivated by personal gain. Her courageous participation in the subsequent impeachment inquiry earned Yovanovitch the nation’s respect, and her dignified response to the president’s attacks won our hearts. She has reclaimed her own narrative, first with her lauded congressional testimony, and now with this memoir.
3. And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle by Jon Meacham
Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Jon Meacham chronicles the life of Abraham Lincoln, charting how—and why—he confronted secession, threats to democracy, and the tragedy of slavery to expand the possibilities of America.
This book tells the story of Lincoln from his birth on the Kentucky frontier in 1809 to his leadership during the Civil War to his tragic assassination in 1865: his rise, his self-education, his loves, his bouts of depression, his political failures, his deepening faith, and his persistent conviction that slavery must end. In a nation shaped by the courage of the enslaved of the era and by the brave witness of Black Americans, Lincoln’s story illustrates the ways and means of politics in a democracy, the roots and durability of racism, and the capacity of conscience to shape events.
4. The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments by Hadley Vlahos
Talking about death and dying is considered taboo in polite company, and even in the medical field. Our ideas about dying are confusing at best: Will our memories flash before our eyes? Regrets consume our thoughts? Does a bright light appear at the end of a tunnel? For most people, it will be a slower process, one eased with preparedness, good humor, and a bit of faith. At the forefront of changing attitudes around palliative care is hospice nurse Hadley Vlahos, who shows that end-of-life care can teach us just as much about how to live as it does about how we die.
Written with profound insight, humility, and respect, The In-Between is a heartrending memoir that shows how caring for others can transform a life while also offering wisdom and comfort for those dealing with loss and providing inspiration for how to live now.
5. The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from The Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year Old Man by David Von Drehle
When a veteran Washington journalist moved to Kansas, he met a new neighbor who was more than a century old. Little did he know that he was beginning a long friendship—and a profound lesson in the meaning of life. Charlie White was no ordinary neighbor. Born before radio, Charlie lived long enough to use a smartphone. When a shocking tragedy interrupted his idyllic boyhood, Charlie mastered survival strategies that reflect thousands of years of human wisdom. Thus armored, Charlie’s sense of adventure carried him on an epic journey across the continent, and later found him swinging across bandstands of the Jazz Age, racing aboard ambulances through Depression-era gangster wars, improvising techniques for early open-heart surgery, and cruising the Amazon as a guest of Peru’s president.
David Von Drehle came to understand that Charlie’s resilience and willingness to grow made this remarkable neighbor a master in the art of thriving through times of dramatic change. As a gift to his children, he set out to tell Charlie’s secrets. The Book of Charlie is a gospel of grit—the inspiring story of one man’s journey through a century of upheaval. The history that unfolds through Charlie’s story reminds you that the United States has always been a divided nation, a questing nation, an inventive nation—a nation of Charlies in the rollercoaster pursuit of a good and meaningful life.
6. Surf When You Can: Lessons in Life, Loyalty, and Leadership From a Maverick Navy Captain by Captain Brett Crozier
Amid one of the darkest times in American history, it was a moment that captured the attention of the nation. Brett Crozier, captain of the most powerful and prestigious aircraft carrier in the United States Navy, walked off his ship for the last time while thousands of his sailors saluted and chanted his name in admiration.
This remarkable moment occurred after Crozier made the decision to try to protect his sailors by pleading with his superiors for help when COVID-19 swept through the vessel. Two days later, he was relieved of command.
Now, Crozier reflects on his life, career, and commitment to doing the right thing in a book that celebrates the power of kindness, the importance of teamwork, and the value of standing up for what you believe in. Through a series of captivating stories set all around the world, Crozier takes us along on the grand adventures of his extraordinary career and introduces the incredible people he met along the way.
7. Never Give Up: A Prairie Family’s Story, by Tom Brokaw
Never Give Up: A Prairie Family’s Story by Tom Brokaw is a poignant account of the author’s parents and their journey through the challenges of life on the prairie during the early 20th century. Tom’s father, Red, dropped out of school at a young age to work in the family hotel, but his hard work and determination led him to develop a remarkable talent for machines. Tom’s mother, Jean, hailed from a family that faced immense adversity during the Great Depression. Despite their financial struggles, Red’s unwavering philosophy of “Never give up” guided them through tough times. Eventually, Red’s career breakthrough came after World War II, when he joined the Army Corps of Engineers and contributed to the construction of significant dams. The book draws inspiration from Red’s recorded memories of his early life, showcasing the resilience and respect for others that shaped this American family.
Red’s “never give up” philosophy serves as a guiding principle to remain steadfast in the face of challenges and setbacks. This inspiring story encourages leaders to draw strength from the past, honor the fortitude of previous generations, and apply these timeless values to overcome present-day challenges.
Question: What books are you looking forward to reading this summer?