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Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
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Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor

Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor - Sudhir Venkatesh If you're somewhat politically aware and concerned about urban issues, much of this book will not be new to you. It is, however, a great way to acquire better, more useful terminology as well as a conceptual framework for thinking about the entrenchment of a certain type of poverty. Plus, it's an ethnographic study, which means you get to read interesting stories. For me, the most informative sections discussed the complicated relationship between black churches, gangs, and the underground economy. I think many black progressives unfairly criticize pastors for their inability to do more organizing, and this book makes clear both the inaccurate ways that different types of preachers are lumped together as well as the historical factors that created such divisions. In fact, I felt implicated in how my family's upward mobility contributed to that schism and thus have been really unfair in my ignorant opinions. Plenty of pastors are heavily involved in grassroots efforts, and since they work in communities whose dominant forms of economic and political interactions are underground, there's no way of assessing their efforts with any degree of certainty.Lastly, for people who get upset at how the "ghetto" as an idea has been constructed, this book blows away many faulty assumptions about poor people's active, positive, intelligent engagement with their world.