8 Great Questions: Sally Kohn

The author and political commentator reveals the book that helps her navigate the challenges of work, and reminds us of the pleasures of revisiting childhood classics anew.

Sally Kohn

Sally Kohn’s The Opposite of Hate draws upon cutting-edge research from psychology, sociology, and the neurosciences, and even today’s Twitter trolls, to uncover the evolutionary and cultural roots of hate in its most subtle and obvious forms—from implicit bias to racism and genocide. At a moment when bitter partisan politics have divided Americans, The Opposite of Hate provides a thought-provoking, ultimately hopeful look, at one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Recently, Sally spoke with Read It Forward about the rapturous book she reads before bedtime, the genre that nourishes her spirit, and the value of living with intentionality.

Featured Illustration: Lorenzo Gritti

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What’s the book on your bedside table?

I have an advance copy of Glynnis MacNicol’s memoir No One Tells You Thisand it’s rapturous. Enjoying every line!

What’s the one book you tell everyone to read?

Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures by Jennifer Romolini which, honestly, I’ve only skimmed but I keep hearing how much it’s helped so many women and men navigate the challenge of being themselves at work and in the world. Her insights are so valuable, I want more.

Name three characters from literature or authors (dead or alive) that you’d want in your ideal book club?

Patrisse Khan-Cullours, Nilofer Merchant, and Naomi Klein—smart women with sharp perspectives who I would love to keep learning from.

What word do you love and why? What word do you hate and why?

I love the word “intentionality”—I think it’s the key to all of us noticing how we move through the world, relate to others and make our lives and the lives around us better. And I hate the word hate—or at least, everything it represents in our world. But you probably could have guessed that.

What’s the one book you love to give as a gift and to whom do you give it?

Lately, I’ve been giving Anjali Kumar’s Stalking God to everyone. It’s such a moving and meaningful—but also funny-as-hell—journey memoir, and I got so much out of it.

What’s the one book that never fails to delight or inspire you?

The Phantom Tollbooth, which I just reread with my daughter and fell in love with all over again.

If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Narrative nonfiction. It’s my wheelhouse. It nourishes my spirit and challenges my mind.

What’s the last book you read on a long flight?

I just read Amy Chua’s new book Political Tribes on my last long flight and was riveted, as I always am, by her smart writing and analysis.

SALLY KOHN is a CNN political commentator, activist, and the author of The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity. She is also the host of the State of Resistance podcast. 
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