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Melissa M. Firman

The Nonprofit Strategist’s Summer Reading List

Jun 11 2013, 03:00 AM by


As you’re reading this column, I’m preparing for our annual vacation to a small, barely-on-the-map island on the real-life Jersey shore. Our family’s cottage is the sort of place where Internet access is spotty, at best. For a week, that’s how I like it. Immobile and unplugged, with only the ocean and a book by my side.

Forget the sunscreen. Books are the most important item that I need to pack.

(I kid. Clearly, sunscreen is a must.)

Books are a close second. Note the plural, because one must always have a Plan B … and C and D, if the first book doesn’t work out.

I can be an anomaly when it comes to vacation reading. Although I love literary fiction, more often than not I’m the one on the beach reading something related to business or philanthropy or social media.

Perhaps you also shun the pulpy paperbacks and are looking for a few intelligent reads this summer. Here, then, are five titles that have made it onto my radar for the hazy, crazy days to come.

Hello, Goodbye, Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings, by Craig Brown
I tend to believe that we meet everyone in our lives for a reason. We may not know that reason at the time, but it’s there – and there aren’t any coincidences. “Hello, Goodbye, Hello” looks fascinating for this reason; it’s a glimpse into 101 meetings among famous authors, entertainers, politicians, etc. If you like the whole concept of six degrees of separation, this book is for you.
Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% Live in the Great Recession, by Barbara Garson
Recessionary journalism is a trend – practically its own genre – with the devastating economy affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans, myself included. I’m interested to read Ms. Garson’s take on our modern-day society with its stagnant wages, long-term unemployment and underemployment, and how everyday people are coping.
Blogging for Badass Small Businesses, by Shawn Graham
Fans of Seth Godin will probably like what Shawn Graham has to say. And if this e-book is anything like the smart, thought-provoking, strategic advice Shawn offers on his excellent blog, this promises to be one of the business bibles of blogging. This comes at a perfect time for me, with a few new business-related projects happening.
To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel H. Pink
Regardless of what we do for a living, Daniel Pink says we’re all in sales. He’s absolutely right. I’m a fan of his work (I reviewed “Drive” on my website and loved it) and this one looks like another great blend of Pink’s thinking.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
This one has been almost unanimously praised on the book blogs, and has been on my to-be-read list for a while. It also seems to be a nice complement to the Daniel Pink book, which posits that extroverts may not be the best salespeople after all.

I’ll tell you about these in future Nonprofit Strategist columns. In the meantime, what books should I add to my ever-growing summer (or all year-round) reading list?

Posted in Tech Editorial, Presence for Non-Profits

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