5 Books You Need to Read Right Now

Photos: (Getty, Amazon)

If you read this blog you prolly think about making a positive impact on the world. You might have a list of dream business partnerships. You might be dreaming of lunch meetings with Sir Richard Branson or fundraising tips from Ian Somerhalder — I know I am. But what’s on your bookshelf?

That’s right, y’all. It’s Thanksgiving weekend and we know you’re gonna have some downtime. So whip out your Kindle or represent at the local library — we got five books every world-changer needs to read and why:

Start Something That Matters. Blake Mycoskie, $9-$20 on betterworldbooks.com

If you own a pair of TOMS shoes or sunglasses, you’re supporting Blake Mycoskie’s story. In his book, the TOMS founder tells you how to find your story, rally people around it and start something that truly matters to you and your community.

If you need another reason to pick up a copy, the book includes interviews with other social entrepreneurs, including Lauren Bush of FEED Projects and Scott Harrison of charity: water. And for an added bonus, Mycoskie donates 50% of the book’s profits to “help others start something that matters.”

Screw Business As Usual. Sir Richard Branson, $9 to $24 on betterworldbooks.com

It’s really no surprise Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson is interested in “screwing” business as usual. In this book, you’ll learn about “Capitalism 24902” and how to embrace the idea of business as a force for good.

In his own words, Branson wrote the book for “those who, at the same time as wanting to develop a business and make a living, also want to do more to help people and the planet. It’s a vibrant sea change from the way business was always done, when financial profit alone was the driving force.”

Half the Sky. Nick Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn, $9-$25 on betterworldbooks.com

This book exposes the key to economic progress: ending the oppression of women and unleashing their potential.It might not sound like an inspiring read, but trust — there’s a reason celebs like Olivia Wilde. Eva Mendes and America Ferrera are embracing the movement and supporting the causes highlighted in the book. Kristof and WuDunn make the case for why women’s rights aren’t just a human rights issue, but an economic one.

Shake the World. James Marshall Reilly, $8-$23 on betterworldbooks.com

Confession: This is one book recommendation I picked up on Twitter thanks to activist/actress Sophia Bush. Reilly’s book profiles the new generation of business leaders –- game-changers who start businesses that “blur the boundaries between business and philanthropy.”

Like Start Something That Matters, this book features some must-read interviews, including Doug Ulman of LIVESTRONG and Tony Hsieh of the awesome shoe site, Zappos. This book is especially inspiring for those of us hoping to create a life that’s both fulfilling and successful.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephen R. Covey, $8-$16 on betterworldbooks.com

This is definitely a throwback, but that doesn’t mean this book isn’t worth a mention. After all, you’re going to need to be as effective as possible if you’re going to change the world, right?

Take Covey’s advice and focus on these seven habits -– no spoilers here -– and start creating the life you want to lead.

What you think of these books? Are there any we missed? And most importantly, what advice would you give to fellow world-changers if you were writing a book?

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