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One Book One San Diego 2023/2024: Home

This guide includes information on Ryan Library's programming around the One Book One San Diego book of the year, in addition to resources for further study related to the book's themes. This year's guide focuses on racism's impact on society.

One Book One San Diego

One Book One San Diego in Partnership with Ryan Library

In this year's One Book One San Diego title The Sum of Us Heather McGhee, McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Maine to Mississippi to California, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm—the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country—from parks and pools to functioning schools—have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world’s advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare.

If you would like a copy of the book, contact librarian Robin Lang at You may also borrow a copy of The Sum of Us from Ryan Library.

For more information, see the publisher's book summary and reading guide

For information on how to borrow the ebook or audiobook edition of The Sum of Us from San Diego County Library, see the box at the bottom of this page.

About Heather McGhee

"Heather McGhee is an expert in economic and social policy. The former president of the inequality-focused think tank Demos, McGhee has drafted legislation, testified before Congress, and contributed regularly to news shows, including NBC’s Meet the Press. She now chairs the board of Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. McGhee holds a BA in American studies from Yale University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

-Biography from

The Sum of Us Podcast with Heather McGhee

The Sum of Us Podcast: Listen Here

"On the heels of her bestselling book, Heather McGhee embarks on a road trip across Covid-era America, unearthing stories of American solidarity and hope in a time of great division and peril for our democracy.

Join Heather as she travels from rural Maine to the California coast and everywhere in between, meeting extraordinary Americans who are crossing demographic, cultural, and political lines to build a better future for all of us." -About the Podcast from

About One Book One San Diego

One Book, One San Diego is our region's premier literary program, presented in partnership between KPBS and over 80 public libraries, service organizations, universities, and other educational institutions. Now in its 17th year, the purpose is to bring our community closer together through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book. Ryan Library is a proud partner. For a calendar of events, visit

Author Heather McGhee will give a free author talk at the San Diego Central Library on Tuesday, September 26th, at 7:00PM. Reservations are free, but please RSVP.

Author Reactions and 2023 OBOSD Selections

Accessing the eBook for Free

San Diego County Libraries (SDCL) has generously provided free access with no wait-time to the electronic copy of The Sum of Us. If you don't already have a SDCL library card, signing-up for one is easy.

To sign up for an electronic library card using your mobile number, your mobile number must have an area code from San Diego County. Once you're registered for a library card, use the instructions below.

Instructions to Access eBook 

  1. To borrow a free electronic copy, click here:
  2. Click the teal Borrow button
  3. Click on the hyperlink that says "Need a library card? Get a free one instantly using your mobile number." 
    1. Or if you already have a San Diego County Library card, type in your card number and pin.
  4. Once borrowed, choose to read the ebook on a Kindle, the Kindle app, or in a browser such as Chrome.
  5. You'll have 14 days to read the book before your loan will expire and the ebook will automatically disappear from your account.