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Van Jones's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Van Jones recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Van Jones's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Natural Capitalism

This groundbreaking book reveals how today's global businesses can be both environmentally responsible and highly profitable. less

Joe GebbiaThis other way of thinking about how we consume things in the planet. (Source)

Ashton KutcherLatest winner I've read. (Source)

Van JonesThis book is the best combination of deep poetry and high theory that I’ve come across, and it’s a very close expression of my own views. (Source)

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Part literary criticism, part media analysis, and part marketing handbook, A Poetics of Resistance provides a refreshingly new take on the Zapatistas. While much has been written on the history of the Zapatista insurgency and on the communiqués of Subcomandante Marcos, very little has been said about Zapatismo: the ideologies, organizing methodologies, and communications strategies of the movement. The appeal of the Zapatistas, and their survival, has as much to do with their goals as with the compelling and wildly effective language and aesthetics they’ve used to convey...

Recommended by Van Jones, and 1 others.

Van JonesYes. I think it’s that they chose to create a myth in which they rooted their story. I’m very interested now in the deeper psychology of change. As Democrats, we don’t have a champion for change, but change is coming to people faster than they know what to do with. The question I think for a lot of Americans is what do you hold on to? Where do you stand? Where do you take your stand? (Source)

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With its radical ideology and effective tactics, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was the cutting edge of the civil rights movement during the 1960s. This sympathetic yet evenhanded book records for the first time the complete story of SNCC's evolution, of its successes and its difficulties in the ongoing struggle to end white oppression.

At its birth, SNCC was composed of black college students who shared an ideology of moral radicalism. This ideology, with its emphasis on nonviolence, challenged Southern segregation. SNCC students were the earliest civil...
Recommended by Van Jones, and 1 others.

Van JonesIn Struggle is about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC or Snick], and the young people who risked their lives as freedom writers and did the sit-ins and the voter registration. Snick, at its core, never really had more than 30 people, and their average age was somewhere between 19 and 22, but they broke the back of Jim Crow segregation after 244 years of enslavement and 100... (Source)

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No story has been more central to America’s history this century than the rise of Barack Obama, and until now, no journalist or historian has written a book that fully investigates the circumstances and experiences of Obama’s life or explores the ambition behind his rise. Those familiar with Obama’s own best-selling memoir or his campaign speeches know the touchstones and details that he chooses to emphasize, but now—from a writer whose gift for illuminating the historical significance of unfolding events is without peer—we have a portrait, at once masterly and... more
Recommended by Van Jones, and 1 others.

Van JonesPresident Obama’s stark victory in 2008 was one of the signal events, I think, in American history. While we’re very close to it right now – so we’re kind of worried about what’s happening in this subcommittee and that new cycle and this language in that bill – this is a watershed moment. America is a particularly interesting country in that it has a very ugly founding reality that’s very unequal... (Source)

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With this, the second volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro enters into the central narrative of his magisterial biography - one of the richest, most intensive and revealing examinations ever undertaken of an American President.

Here we have Johnson's service in the Second World War and the foundation of his long-concealed fortunes- as well as the facts behind the myths he created about them. But the explosive heart of the book is Caro's revelation of the true story of the fiercely contested 1948 senatorial election, for 40 years shrouded in rumor, which Johnson...
Recommended by Jim Collins, Van Jones, and 2 others.

Van JonesI’m always fascinated by people from humble beginnings in our country who rise up to do great things, whether that’s Lyndon Johnson or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama or even Jesse Jackson. It’s almost a common trope that you have kids who grow up in very humble, hard backgrounds, who in our country can rise to become tremendous champions. (Source)

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