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Shaka Senghor recommends

From Plato's Republic to Malcolm X's autobiography, the activist recommends eight books that had a profound impact on his life and journey back from the dark side.

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    The Autobiography of Malcolm X

    Malcolm X and Alex Haley
    Ballantine Books, 1999

    This book pricked my consciousness and showed me the power of transformation and personal accountability.

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    As a Man Thinketh

    James Allen
    Cosimo Classics, 2005

    This was the first book that helped me explore the idea of positive thinking and thinking into existence the future we want for ourselves.

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    Plato's Republic

    Plato
    Hackett Publishing Company, 1992

    Socrates' dialogues opened up my mind to the power of questions and examining our lives.

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    The New Jim Crow

    Michelle Alexander
    The New Press, 2012

    Alexander tackles the hard-hitting issues of race, power and the historical context of the prison system. Her acute analysis of race and sentencing disparities cuts to the heart of the prison boom.

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    The Miracle of Mindfulness

    Thich Nhat Hanh
    Beacon Press, 1999

    This book has been an invaluable tool during my transition back into society, reminding me to be present in the moment, even when those moments are uncomfortable.

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    How To Be Black

    Baratunde Thurston
    HarperCollins, 2012

    This refreshing and super funny take on race is very inspiring, insightful and funny enough to make you read it over and over.

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    Houses of Healing

    Robin Casarjian
    The Lionheart Foundation, 2001

    This book guided and supported me in confronting issues I struggled with in my personal life, like child abuse, being a victim of gun violence, and drug addiction.

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    The Prisoner's Wife

    Asha Bandele
    Washington Square Press, 2000

    A very inspiring story about love and relationships that develop under dire circumstances. A beautiful expression of the human spirit and heart triumphing.