9 Self-Help Books We'd Recommend to The Suicide Squad
In the new Warner Bros./DC blockbuster Suicide Squad, a ragtag team of comic book superbaddies are conscripted by the U.S. government to fight the next big extraterrestrial war fleet, superpowered god, or miscellaneous CGI effect. The roster includes Deadshot (Will Smith), a world-class marksman and gun-for-hire; Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), an unhinged supercriminal, and the Joker’s lover; Diablo (Jay Hernandez) an ex-gangster who can summon torrents of fire; and their commander-in-chief, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), a ruthless, pragmatic, hard-nosed government official who might be the most evil of the lot.
But the Suicide Squad isn’t all bad to the core. Family estrangement, toxic relationships, moral crises, and high-stakes life-or-death firefights really wear them down. The characters are lost – quite literally, dropped in the razed downtown district of Midway City, where battalions of rubbery zombies run rampant at the behest of a pair of ancient gods who threaten to destroy the Earth with a Big Death Spiral in the Sky. What’s more, if the Squad fails their mission, they’ll be instantly killed.
That kind of hostile office culture would stress anyone out. That’s why we put our heads together to recommend a really good list of books on self-help, advice, and practical philosophy to lighten their mental load a little bit. And if any of the Squad’s problems sound familiar, maybe you could get a good reading recommendation, too.
All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses--And How We Can Fix It Together, by Josh Levs
Deadshot, the de facto leader of the Squad, is a professional assassin with a reputation for laser-like accuracy matched only by his ruthless disregard for human life. So, completely heartless bad guy, right? Wrong. Deadshot adores his young daughter, but his work keeps them estranged. Working dads often have to juggle career and family, and the conflicts they face are explored and challenged in Josh Levs’ All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses – And How We Can Fix It Together. Levs has been an advocate for working families and fathers since a successful lawsuit against his employer for denying him paternity leave, and in All In, he explains the corporate, societal, and cultural systems that keep men from balancing work and family. Deadshot would probably see a lot of himself in Levs’ experience, and maybe he’d be inspired to spend more time with his daughter, find that elusive work-life balance, and speak out on behalf of fellow working fathers everywhere after this enlightening read.
For Harley Quinn:
You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero
Harley Quinn is this franchise’s loopiest, most entertaining character. She's completely unpredictable, unique, and stone cold awesome — not to mention, the only character in the film who’s actually shown reading a book! (Shout the title out in the comments if you spotted it.) Harley’s probably already read You Are A Badass, an exhilaratingly no-nonsense how-to guide about ditching self-sabotage and fear, loving who you are, and tapping into your inner BAMF to achieve great things. If Quinn’s high-flying verve and devil-may-care attitude have led her to greatness as the most feared woman in Gotham City, what could You Are A Badass do for you?
For Captain Boomerang:
The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life, by Piero Ferrucci
Career bank robber Captain Boomerang is a pretty rude guy: he’s loud-mouthed, foul, eager to abandon the Suicide Squad and punch a Marine in the face in equal measure. This troubled Aussie, who tosses a wicked bladed version of his namesake, could probably benefit from the lessons of The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life, by Piero Ferrucci. With a preface from the Dalai Lama, Ferrucci’s book explores how kindness isn’t just a trait that makes those around us happier – it makes us happier too, and more successful to boot. If you need a reminder of why kindness is so important in a world growing ever more impersonal and combative, look no further than The Power of Kindness. After all, if you do good deeds, they always come right back to you, a concept Captain Boomerang has a firm grasp on.
For Amanda Waller:
The Art of War, by Sun Tzu
How to give advice to Amanda Waller, one of the most confident, composed, and downright icy characters we’ve seen on the DC screen? With Viola Davis expertly filling the role, it’s impossible to think this Machiavellian honcho doesn’t have it all together. So we’ll recommend a well-thumbed book on Waller’s shelf: The Art of War, by Sun Tzu. This ancient Chinese text on military tactics has numerous applications to business, politics, and executive strategy, and its emphasis on guile, intimidation, and deception makes it a must-read for the modern cutthroat. And if Amanda Waller has any advice for us on how to get ahead in the field of book blogging, we’re all ears.
Awaken The Giant Within, by Tony Robbins
A Los Angeles ex-gang member with the ability to control flames, Diablo is one of the most powerful members of the Suicide Squad – except he’s sworn not to use his power again as penance for a past outburst that tore his life apart. However, he quickly comes under fire from his teammates, who need him to use his abilities again to overpower Enchantress’s henchmen. Every attempt to convince Diablo falls short. Maybe Deadshot should have lent Diablo a copy of Awaken The Giant Within, by the great motivational author Tony Robbins. In this inspiring book, Robbins walks readers through a plan to harness their full potential, overcome fear and doubt, and achieve amazing things. Other readers might find it useful for mastering their finances or following their dreams, but if Robbins’ work helps you summon jets of fire on command… hey, that’s a pretty good start too!
For The Joker:
Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
One of the the most iconic villains of all time, this Joker is always on the move, whether it’s breaking out of Arkham Asylum, flying a helicopter into a battle zone, or diving into a pit of chemicals after his beloved Harley Quinn. It’s fun to watch, but as you can imagine, some of those impulsive decisions get him into pretty serious trouble. The Joker could probably take a hint from Thinking, Fast and Slow, the acclaimed psychology book by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman classifies human thought into two categories: one automatic and emotional, the other rational and analytical. Our second system of thought is useful for making calculated decisions, but the trouble is, it’s also quick to fatigue. And when it flags, our first system – and all its biases – takes over. This fascinating read about human nature and our amazing, irrational minds is useful for anyone interested in making smart decisions, running a business, improving one’s personal life, or becoming a criminal mastermind while avoiding law enforcement, vehicular accident, and Batman.
For Enchantress/Dr. June Moone:
The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
Learning how we form habits, and how we can break them, is an incredibly important part of achieving success, according to Charles Duhigg’s transformative The Power of Habit. Maybe you smoke cigarettes. Maybe you play too much Pokemon Go. Or maybe, if you’re like Dr. June Moone, you go on an expedition to a tropical cave and break open a cursed artifact that releases a witch called Enchantress who habitually possesses your body. Look, it’s okay to have fun on vacation. But when Enchantress keeps taking over your mind whenever you say her name and teleporting you halfway around the world while talking about destroying the human race, then you know you have a real problem. Luckily, The Power of Habit outlines the results of new behavioral science experiments that inform how we can break bad habits and form positive ones in their place. We recommend this terrific bestseller for anyone who’s looking to increase productivity, understand the mind, or exorcise a 6,000-year-old evil god.
For Rick Flag:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking , by Susan Cain
Rick Flag, the salty Special Ops soldier who supervises the Suicide Squad in the field, isn’t exactly great at expressing himself. From his clipped “pep talks” to his gruff disrespect towards his charges, he seems withholding and overly guarded. Maybe he’s responding to the way our culture disempowers introverts like himself, a social phenomenon explored in the wonderful and inquisitive book Quiet by Susan Cain. Cain delves deep into the amazing contributions that introverts have made to our society and the reasons for their continued undervaluation. If Flag tries to tap into the introvert strengths of listening, observing, reflecting, and cooperation, maybe the Squad's next mission will go a little easier.
For Killer Croc:
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
Killer Croc is one mean monster. Covered in scales, big as a bear, and filled to the gills with razor sharp teeth, he’s a cannibal bruiser with no thought except to slake his insatiable hunger. He also lives in a sewer, and could stand to fix up his digs. A little cleanup can change one’s outlook for the better, as Marie Kondo explains in the illuminating The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Reducing clutter and chaos in your abode can eliminate disorganization, present a welcoming front, and bring peace of mind. Killer Croc doesn’t have many possessions – except the ones he forgot to digest – but the principles of cleanliness, order, and minimalism still apply. Maybe a tidy home would even inspire Croc to clean up his diet.
Got any other recommendations for the “who’s worst” of the DC universe? Share in the comments below, and maybe we normals can get a good tip out of it too!