Lynnwood’s youngest City Council member publishes self-help book

Josh Binda, elected at age 21, wants to use his experience as a young Black politician to inspire others in “Breaking Barriers.”

The book cover of “Breaking Barriers: Unlocking your inner potential to achieve success” by Lynnwood City Council member Josh Binda. (Photo provided)

The book cover of “Breaking Barriers: Unlocking your inner potential to achieve success” by Lynnwood City Council member Josh Binda. (Photo provided)

LYNNWOOD — Washington’s youngest elected Black politician can add another achievement to his resume: self-published author.

In his first literary endeavor, Lynnwood City Council member Josh Binda, 24, published a book this week titled, “Breaking Barriers: Unlocking your inner potential to achieve success.”

The paperback can be purchased on Amazon for $24.99.

“Breaking Barriers” is a firsthand account of Binda’s personal growth and experience in local government. He wants the book to serve as a guide for readers to turn challenges into successes.

In the first chapter, Binda discusses growing up in poverty and how the trauma of that among other things left him at a crossroads.

“I had a choice to make,” he wrote. “I could let my trauma define me and limit my potential, or I could use it as a catalyst for growth. I chose not to be a victim of my circumstances.”

He continued: “Today, I stand as proof that trauma can be transformed into triumph.”

For the first month, 25% of the book’s sale profits will go to Clothes for Kids, a local nonprofit providing free clothing to children, Binda said.

Since his election in 2021, Binda’s tenure on the City Council has made headlines — sometimes not favorable. He has faced a series of controversies, including his misuse of campaign funds and use of a shirtless photo to promote a speaking tour at public schools.

His nine-chapter, 90-page self-help workbook explores themes such as dealing with mental health, facing criticism and roadblocks.

“We all have barriers we need to break through that are hindering us from being where we want to be,” Binda said in an interview. “This book is there to help people learn how to break through those barriers.”

Binda was raised on the East Coast and moved to Washington with his family about a decade ago.

He’d always been interested in activism, but became especially engaged in 2020, leading a number of local Black Lives Matter protests after police officers killed George Floyd in Minnesota.

He noticed a lack of diverse voices in local government. And he decided he didn’t want to wait for someone else to challenge the status quo. He decided to run for council.

Binda self-published the new book, but he did have editors review it for grammar, he said.

Each chapter is followed by a few lined pages for readers to write how they plan to implement the advice. He began writing the book around the time he was elected.

“I think anyone can write a book,” he said. “I’ve always been a strong storyteller, so a book has always been on the agenda.”

Binda said people have been inspired by his activism and work in local government. Another goal of “Breaking Barriers” is to open doors for others, Binda said.

“People see my achievements and ask me, ‘How can I do that?’” he said. “So this is a way … people can see for themselves what it took for me to be where I’m at and how it’s feasible for them too. I think my qualifications is being someone people are genuinely inspired by and want to emulate.”

The city did not comment on Binda’s book. Other council members did not respond to requests for comment.

Binda said he has felt added pressure in elected office.

“There’s all these expectations put on me,” he said. “People say, ‘He must be the next Obama if he got elected as a young person of color.’”

He acknowledged he has made mistakes since taking office.

“Learning is a part of the position, and we’re always learning,” he said. “Whatever people’s opinions are, whether they’re good or not, I take that into consideration and find ways to be the best person I can be.”

He continued: “You’re always going to have people that disagree with you and don’t support the things you do. But they’re still my constituents and I’m still gonna do my best to serve them because that’s what I was called to do.”

Ashley Nash: 425-339-3037; ashley.nash@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @ash_nash00.

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