Taproot Law

Taproot Law

Human-Centered Legal Advocates

With our roots in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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Taproot’s Favorite Things: Our 2023 book recommendations

We’ve written here before about the books and podcasts that shape our work and thinking here at Taproot. In the spirit of the season, this week’s blog post features a few of our favorite things that you might pick up for your holiday reading or gift to someone else!

Erica’s favorite thing: Lawyer Forward by Mike Whelan, Jr.  

For: Any professional (legal expert or not) interested in understanding the systems they are in and why they probably don’t feel so great working within them

Why it’s my favorite: I discovered Mike’s book about six months after a conversation I had with my doctor, which I’ve written about before:  

“You have to find ways to make your days less stressful, probably starting with your job. Even if it’s not a cause, it’s a trigger and is worsening your symptoms.”

 “Less stress? But I’m a lawyer, isn’t that the job?”

“Not sure. You’ll figure out a different way, I suspect. 

At the time, my confusion WAS legitimate because I learned to believe that being able to endure that stress was normal – if not a healthy way to attain success. It was part of the system I knew. 

Mike’s story challenges traditional systems to create a new model for legal practice focusing on (1) specialization and (2) collaboration. The underlying research in Mike’s book later became part of the blueprints for Taproot Law. Where Taproot differs is that we created a new model for legal practice focusing on (1) generalization to serve the majority of needs and (2) collaboration with our clients and other professionals. Both of our models seek to set ourselves apart from traditional models that are built upon the billable hour and monopolize access to information.

Earlier this summer, our team had the opportunity to chat Mike. I was a little starstruck because Mike’s work really changed my life. His work helped me create space for wellness and to trust my instincts in an environment encouraging everything but that. As we parted, Mike encouraged me to write a book, “You’re a perfect illustration, Erica,” Mike said. “You never know where your book will end up and who it will impact. That alone is worth the endeavor.” It’s in-progress, Mike!

Ann’s Favorite Thing: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

For: Whether you’re an entry-level employee or in a leadership position, Dare to Lead offers helpful blueprints for leading and fostering a team. 

Why it’s my favorite: I’ve picked up Brown’s book for a variety of reasons from collaborating with my Taproot team about building the business or guiding students through giving and receiving feedback. 

Dare to Lead takes a different approach to leadership that aligns with Taproot’s mission to do human-centered work. Brown argues, “Daring leaders work to make sure people can be themselves and feel a sense of belonging.” This is our work every day at Taproot and Brown’s work is a book I’m constantly pulling off the shelf for reference.

In addition to the book, Brown also has a comprehensive companion website full of free resources. Check out this packet of exercises you can practice with your own team in whatever context you’re in.

Josie’s favorite thing: Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

For: Anyone at any stage in their life or career interested in taking practical steps to curate a life driven by specific values and aspirations 

Why it’s my favorite: This book was inspirational for me. A reminder to dream big and do the work required to make those dreams a reality. And in the meantime enjoy the journey!

I love this excerpt: “Choosing happiness is all about seeing the adventure in whatever life we are currently building and living.”

Dawn’s favorite thing: What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

For: Fans of historical fiction, time travel, and fantastical adventures! 

Why it’s my favorite: We’re not all non-fiction here at Taproot. In fact, fiction not only provides an escape sometimes, but a recent New York Times article suggests that reading fiction requires active engagement that builds memory skills–something really important for me on the job. Harmon’s novel absolutely kept me engaged by weaving together history, fantasy, and engaging characters! 

One more favorite thing from our new team member to be officially announced in 2024! 

In 2024, Taproot will welcome a new team member. We’re so excited to officially welcome this person in the new year. Before we reveal who it is, here’s a sneak preview of their favorite thing. 

Zero to One by Peter Thiel 

For: Anyone interested in exploring the relationships between business and tech

Why it’s my favorite: Originally a Stanford lecture series, this book questions conventional wisdom and accepted business theory on how to make exponential improvements instead of incremental and how technology is disrupting companies throughout history. Applying these lessons, we’re building innovative products that are human centered for your solution. 

We’re building our team and our library!

We’re building quite the library here at Taproot to constantly improve our services and do the human-centered work we value. What’s your favorite thing? If you have a book, article, or podcast recommendation you think we should check out, let us know!