You Are Not Special, the title of David McCullough Jr.’s new book announces. As inspirational book titles go, this one is the epitome of counter-intuitive. But McCullough, the son of best-selling historian David McCullough and a high school teacher, has a good point (which went viral when he made it in a 2012 commencement speech): The cult of exceptionalism, McCullough writes, is draining us of our humanity and joy. Our starred review of his book says that he tackles the big issues “with searching sincerity, open-heartedness, and a deft, light touch.” This week, we give you a few inspiring books such as McCullough’s, some books of brilliant travel writing that let you feel as if you’ve traveled far even if you can’t make it to the actual locales, and some about characters who manage, against fateful odds, to make their way in the world.
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