Every year around this time, I write a post about some books that should be valuable to those who work in the nonprofit and social good sector. Since my colleague , Marion Conway, prepares such a fantastic and focused list of nonprofit book recommendations and there are so many social media book lists, my list is eclectic. I’m also going to give away a copy of one of these books. If you are interested in any of these titles, please leave a comment about why you want to read the book. I’ll pick a winner by Dec. 18th.
1. Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims. I had the honor of keynoting the Social Good Brasil Conference with Peter Sims and had an opportunity to hear his talk about the ideas in his book which resonated. The book is about a concept called “Experimental Innovation” is a process of learning by doing, failing quickly to learn fast, being playful, immersing in a problem, gathering insights, and iterating many small experiments into big breakthroughs. Here’s a recent article in Forbes about the approach and how it is being applied in the nonprofit sector. It is well researched and beautifully written and easy to read and love.
2. Giving with Confidence: A Guide To Savvy Philanthropy by Colburn Wilbur with Fred Setterberg. Colburn Wilbur is the former CEO of the Packard Foundation and before we moved into the new building, I had the great luck of having my desk be near by. I had the chance to chat with him about social media, technology, and giving and hear his wisdom and stories first hand. The book is intended to help donors both big and small give more strategically. My favorite chapter is “Making Generosity Contagious” and the advice about including some “risky” donations into your mix (see the first book above).
3. Giving Back: Discover Your Values and Put Them Into Action Through Volunteering and Donating by Steven P. Ketchpel, Ph.D. This is a practical guidebook and especially useful for those of us who are parents and want to encourage kids to be lifelong givers. It is a good primer to harness what is in your heart and strategically give of your time and or money – and do it as a family.
4. The Power of Infographics: Using Pictures and Connect With Your Audience by Mark Smiciklas. I’ve been obsessing about visual marketing, infographics, and data visualization this past year. This is by far the best practical guide about understanding, creating, and using infographics. It is a like a field guide to infographics, includes lots of useful resources that help you do DYI infographics or find a designer who can create one for you.
5. The Art of Explanation: Making Your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand by Lee Lefever. If you ever tried to explain social media to someone who might not understand it, you probably pointed them to one of the Common Craft videos. Lee Lefever is the voice behind those videos that explain complex ideas and technology in a way that makes it easy to understand – and with humor and a distinctive style. In this book, Lee shares his best tips and practices.
6. HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte. I’m a huge fan of Nancy Duarte’s work and her two other books on presenting. This newest one is great desktop reference that gives you lots and lots of practical advice and tips for presenting in a variety of situations. I’m a very experienced presenter – and thought I knew it all. But after reading Nancy’s book, I learned a bunch of new tricks. I’m sure you will too.
7. The Wild Woman’s Guide To Social Media by Mazarine Treyz. This book is written for small business owners, but is also very useful for small nonprofits as well. It is very practical – filled with lots of tips and checklists and templates.
8. APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How To Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki. In 2011 the publisher of one of Guy’s books Enchantment, could not fill an order for 500 ebook copies. Because of this experience, he self-published his next book, What the Plus!, and learned first-hand that self-publishing is a complex, confusing, and idiosyncratic process. With Shawn Welch, a tech wizard, he wrote a book called APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur–How to Publish a Book to help people understand self-publishing. APE’s thesis is powerful yet simple: filling the roles of Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur yields results that rival traditional publishing. He calls this “artisanal publishing”–that is, when writers who love their craft control the publishing process and produce high-quality books.
And, of course, if you are looking for a book on measurement and learning, look no further than “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit.” (Here’s a recent review by a human and there are many more four-legged fans.)
Don’t forget about the book giveaway. Leave a comment and tell me what book you want to read. I’ll pick a winner by next week.