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Oprah Sending 500 Copies of Isabel Wilkerson's Book 'Caste' to Hundreds of CEOs and Leaders

The critically-acclaimed look at America's racial hierarchy could inspire a season of change.

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August 20 sees the hardcover release of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson's Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, a researched psychoanalysis of America's longstanding racial hierarchy that has already been deemed an "instant classic" by the New York Times. (You can read an adapted excerpt from it via the Times here, and it is available now in its entirety as an eBook or audio title via Apple Books.) And now Oprah Winfrey has announced that not only is Caste the latest selection for her eponymous Book Club, but she plans on distributing 500 copies to some of the most influential leaders in business, political and academic life.

Boston Globe | Getty Images
Isabel Wilkerson's 'Caste' is the latest acclaimed book to address the depths of racial inequities head-on.

“This might be the most important book I’ve ever chosen for my book club,” said Oprah Winfrey in a press release. “‘Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents provides a new way of seeing racial inequality, giving rise to countless aha moments and helping us truly understand America as it is now and how we hope it will be.”

Related: A Brief Guide to Letting Black Entrepreneurs Be Entrepreneurs

On CBS This Morning today, Winfrey further detailed her passion for the book, explaining "All of humanity needs to read this book," adding, "I'm buying 500 books of my own and I'm sending them to every governor in the United States. I'm sending them to the top 100 mayors in the United States. I'm sending them to the 100 top CEOs of companies ... and college professors [at] the top 100 colleges ... because it is necessary for people who are leaders in our country to understand the origins of our discontents and what 'caste' really means."

As has been reported by Entrepreneur, company founders and executives — as well as those with the platform to reach them — have been searching for ways to remedy legacies of racially biased inequities amid nationwide calls for reform in everything from police conduct to corporate personnel policies. 

"I present our country as an old house," Wilkerson explained on CBS This Morning. "And when you have an old house, you know that there's always work to be done on it. After a rain, you do not want to go into that basement sometimes because you don't want to know what you might face there, but whatever is there, you're going to have to deal with, whether you wish to or not. It's never going away until you address it."

Related: 8 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read About Dismantling Racism in Business

Kenny Herzog

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Kenny Herzog is currently Digital Content Director at Entrepreneur Media. Previously, he has served as Editor in Chief or Managing Editor for several online and print publications, and contributed his byline to outlets including Rolling Stone, New York Magazine/Vulture, Esquire, The Ringer, Men's Health, TimeOut New York, A.V. Club, Men's Journal, Mic, Mel, Nylon and many more.