The Tribal EM Summer Reading List

What’s on your summer reading list?

Recently our Tribal EM Book Club read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, which the New York Times called “the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.” The book examines the 8 pillars of modern caste divisions, including the impact of racism and caste on healthcare. Eloquent and profound, the book made a deep impact on everyone here who read it – especially our healthcare pros who serve disadvantaged populations. It was eye opening, beautifully written, and left all of us with a better understanding of race, class, and American history.

In other words, we really recommend it! But at Tribal EM, we are voracious readers – so we’ve now moved on to other books. Here’s what our team members are reading this summer:

Healthcare and General Topics

Life on the Line: Young Doctors Come of Age in a Pandemic

The story of 6 young physicians who go straight from med school to the front lines of COVID-19 crisis in New York hospitals: “An unforgettable depiction of a crisis unfolding in real time and a timeless and unique chronicle of the rite of passage of young doctors.”

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

This winner of the 2019 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award and 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize looks at how gender data gaps disadvantage women in everyday life, business, and healthcare, “leaving them chronically misunderstood, mistreated, and misdiagnosed.”

Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care

Dayna Bowen Matthew explores why more than 84,000 black and brown lives are needlessly lost each year due to health disparities – including “cultural and physician biases and the negative impact on health care delivery.”

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman whose cancer cells founded one of the most important cell lines in medical research. In this epic best-seller, “the story of modern medicine and bioethics—and, indeed, race relations—is refracted beautifully, and movingly.”

The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World

Michael Marmot, president of the World Medical Association, presentscompelling evidence for a radical change in the way we think about health and indeed society, and inspires us to address the societal imbalances in power, money, and resources that work against health equity.”


There There

Tommy Orange’s best-selling debut novel, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, tells the story of a group of “urban Indians” and their trek to the Big Oakland Powwow.

The Egyptian

Mika Waltari’s rediscovered classic of a young ambitious Egyptian physician in the time of the pharoahs was first published in the U.S. in 1949 and condemned as obscene; today “readers worldwide have testified to its life-changing power.”

The Marrow Thieves

In a world destroyed by climate change, the Indigenous people of North America are being hunted for their bone marrow, which gives people the ability to dream—a trait humanity has lost. Cherie Dimaline’s dystopic novel has been adapted as a TV show, currently in production.

Interior Chinatown

Charles Yu’s National Book Award-winning novel is “infinitely inventive and deeply personal, exploring the themes of pop culture, assimilation, and immigration.”

The Night Watchmen

Louise Erdrich’s latest book was inspired by her grandfather’s 1950s campaign to protect Native Americans from losing the benefits guaranteed to them in treaties with the federal government.



Crazy Brave

Poet Joy Harjo’s memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, describes her journey from escaping her abusive stepfather to developing her spiritual life to her career as a musician, poet, and Native American activist.

The Happiest Man on Earth

Eddie Jaku’s NYT Bestseller: “In this uplifting memoir in the vein of The Last Lecture and  Man’s Search for Meaning, a Holocaust survivor pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom, and living his best possible life.”

Notes on Grief

The new “exquisite meditation on remembrance and hope” from literary superstar Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi was written after her father’s unexpected death in the summer of 2020.

The Secret to Superhuman Strength

Alison Bechdel’s exploration of her fascination with decades of different fitness crazes also touches on Eastern philosophers, Jack Kerouac, coming out, and the intersection of spiritual growth and physical fitness.


Now an Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary, Michelle Obama’s memoir chronicles “the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.”


Indigenous Themes

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

David Treuer’s classic is “a powerful challenge to the persistent and pernicious idea of the ‘vanishing Indian,’ replacing it with a far more accurate story of Indian people’s repossession and restoration of sovereignty and dignity.” 

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States

This history of the United States is told from the perspective of Indigenous people; it won the American Book Award and is now an HBO series.

A Two-Spirit Journey: Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder

Ma-Nee Chacaby’s memoir of childhood racism and abuse, alcoholism and sobriety, and coming out as a lesbian is “a story of endurance and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism.”

Braiding Sweet Grass

From scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer: “In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, an Indigenous scientist circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.”

Becoming Two-Spirit: Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country

Brian Joseph Gilley based the first in-depth look at contemporary American Indian gender diversity on interviews, oral histories, and ceremonies.


Workplace/Skill Development

Getting Things Done

David Allen’s guide teaches us how to identify and track the next action on all our tasks and projects while unleashing our creative potential.

Start with Why

Simon Simek explains the concept of The Golden Circle, a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired.

The 5 Languages of Appreciation

Gary Champman and Dr. Paul White explain how to communicate appreciation in an authentic way, decrease burnout and cynicism, and encourage a positive and engaged workplace culture.

The Productivity Project

Chris Bailey shares best practices and lessons learned after a year of productivity experiments that measured the impacts of sleep, caffeine and sugar, social isolation, phone use, 90-hour work weeks and other factors.

Atomic Habits

James Clear, a speaker whose work is used in the NFL and NBA, spells out 4 simple rules to set and maintain life-changing habits.

Outwitting the Devil

An oldie but a goodie: “Using his legendary ability to get to the root of human potential, Napoleon Hill digs deep to reveal how fear, procrastination, anger, and jealousy prevent us from realizing our personal goals.”

Who Moved My Cheese?

This classic on change management and acceptance asks the perennial question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”


What are you planning to read this summer? Share your suggestions and reading list!

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