Books on diversity and inclusion can be excellent resources for DEIB professionals — or any inclusion-minded workplace leader — to supplement their existing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging knowledge. They provide not only a conceptual foundation for DEIB work, but also practical guidance on creating policy in the workplace.
A study of DEI professionals found that 57% had no specific education or training to prepare them for their DEI role, and 40% assumed their DEI role by having responsibilities added onto their existing position. Clearly, DEI professionals are often educating themselves about important DEI issues.
Luckily, there are plenty of fun and engaging books on diversity and inclusion that focus on topics relevant to the professional world. But with so many books on diversity and inclusion available, it can be hard to know where to start. This list is an excellent starting place, especially if you’re looking for the most current and best books on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Here are our top 24 books to pick up this quarter.
Age and Ageism
1. Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End It by Tracey Gendron
This book helps readers understand how ageism exists in policy and institutions, towards both young and old. It gives recommendations on how we can challenge ageism and create a new concept of aging.
2. I'm Not Done: It's Time to Talk About Ageism in the Workplace by Patti Temple Rocks
With the boomer generation aging, there are more older workers than ever before who are experiencing age discrimination. From microaggressions to policy, books on diversity in the workplace like I’m Not Done help readers by offering practical solutions to combating ageism.
3. You Don't Look Your Age...and Other Fairy Tales by Sheila Nevins
With humor and refreshing frankness, Nevis explores what it’s like to be an aging woman in a world where beauty and youth are synonyms for societal value.
Bias in technology
4. Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry
Hannah Fry is the hilarious and entertaining math teacher we wish we all had. In this book, Fry talks about how code is used to make decisions in everything from combating crime to healthcare.
5. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble
Search engines and the algorithms that drive them don’t offer a level playing field for everyone. Safiya Umoja Noble explores the different factors that privilege Whiteness and discriminate against others in our online life. These concepts are important to consider when delving into ChatGPT and AI use in the workplace.
6. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez
Data drives decision-making in every field, from education to business. But Caroline Criado Pérez argues that the default for data is based on men – and how important it is to take gender into account.
7. Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century by Alice Wong
The best diversity books for adults are written by people from diverse communities. This book is a collection of heartfelt and beautifully-written essays by people with disabilities.
8. Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
This collection of nonfiction essays by activist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha will challenge your ableist assumptions. It’s also an important tool kit for anyone working towards disability justice.
9. Being Heumann by Judith Heumann
Groundbreaking disability rights activist Judith Heumann recalls her lifelong fight for inclusion and access, including the 1977 occupation of federal offices in San Francisco, an act of defiance that would pave the way for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Heumann’s story is also featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution.
10. Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings
This compelling work by Sabrina Strings delineates how contemporary fatphobia is tied to racist ideology. She explains how European- and Anglo-American-developed racial concepts idealize thin, White women’s bodies while depreciating Black women’s bodies.
11. The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health by Rheeda Walker
Psychologist Rheeda Walker helps readers identify mental health issues for Black people and understand how these issues impact their lives, and it also provides a guide to seek help in a health system laden with bias.
Immigration and Nativism
12. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
Native American history didn’t end with the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890. In this New York Times bestseller, Truer combines researched reporting with storytelling to explore how Native Americans have resisted, protested, and fought for their existence.
13. Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
Through a collection of personal essays, Cathy Park Hong examines Asian American identity. She connects her own personal struggles with shame, identity, and depression as a Korean-American to broader social struggles for Asian Americans.
14. Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America by María Hinojosa
Readers may recognize María Hinojosa from NPR’s Latino USA program. In Once I Was You, Hinojosa ties her own story growing up Mexican American with broad issues surrounding U.S. immigration policy.
15. Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker
Insightful, clear, concise, and with stellar illustrations, Queer: A Graphic History is a must for anyone interested in the historical and philosophical underpinnings of queer studies.
16. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
17. The Stonewall Reader by New York Public Library (Editor)
Know your queer history with this collection of firsthand accounts from times leading up to, during, and after the Stonewall Riots in 1969.
Race and Ethnicity
18. Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo
Sometimes books on diversity and inclusion can make us uncomfortable, and that means we are learning. The New York Times best-selling author of So You Want to Talk About Race follows up with this indictment of how America’s growth and development has been shaped and controlled by White men.
19. The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
McGhee uses economic and sociological investigation to outline the cost of racism in America. She challenges the zero-sum game that pits us against each other and shows how racism damages us all.
20. The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
If this one isn’t in your book club diversity and inclusion, it should be. Wilkerson won a Pulitzer Prize for this beautifully written and researched book about the exodus of Black Americans from Southern states across the country in pursuit of better lives.
21. For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez
This book is a collection of essays written from the experiences of a Latinx American, but accessible for all to read. It addresses colonialism, toxic masculinity, and more.
Sex and Gender
22. Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World by Zahra Hankir (Editor)
Nineteen different Arab women journalists contribute essays to this work. Their daring and heartfelt stories challenge what you think you know about the region.
23. Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks
Anyone interested in feminism or social justice has to read the late, great bell hooks. This book is especially good for those who claim that feminism is no longer necessary.
24. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Understand the causes and devastating, long-term consequences of being evicted. A New York Times bestseller.
Where to find books on diversity and inclusion
Remember that DEIB represents a set of values that informs actions. Rather than shopping online with a multinational e-commerce site, take this opportunity to support your local BIPOC-owned bookstore. Let them know that your organization values and supports local businesses. Find them using an online map or searching “[your city name] bookstore”.Whether you're interested in beauty standards, technology, LGBTQIA+ history, or immigration, there are books on diversity and inclusion available for you to learn from. While most of these works are nonfiction, all include powerful stories of people from diverse backgrounds. Books on diversity and inclusion are well-researched sources that inform us on how to understand and empathize with perspectives that are not our own.