5 Books To Read In 2015


Uh huh! It’s that time of year again! As usual, turning on to any site will give you best books from the previous year and some to put on your list for the coming one. There are so many great lists, especially for fundraisers or nonprofiteers. Instead of giving you a list that would probably look a lot like every other list, I thought I’d make another kind of list.

The following five books aren’t necessarily new, and most aren’t directly connected to fundraising. But I think that all five have something to offer you if you are working for or interested in the social sector.

In no particular order…

1) Philanthropy In America: A History

Just how closely tied are philanthropy and the development of American society? Have you ever really thought about the history of this mechanism in relation to what we do today? If you’re at all interested in history and politics and want a deeper understanding of how we got to where we are, this is an interesting read. I hope you’ll be prepared to read between the lines, too.

2) It Was Like A Fever: Storytelling in Politics and Protest

We are (FINALLY!) beginning to deeply understand just how important stories are in captivating the minds and hearts of our donors. This book explores a similar yet very different kind of storytelling. We have a lot to learn from this book and the stories shared between its covers.

3) Howard Zinn Speaks: Collected Speeches 1963-2009

If this doesn’t take your breath away and ignite a fire in your belly, I don’t know what will. If you don’t know much about Zinn, go ahead and watch You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train first. Then read this and be amazed at how his voice jumps from the page and punches your guts.

4) The No Asshole Rule: Building A Civilized Workplace And Surviving One That Isn’t

You may vaguely recall that I really can’t stand assholes. Indeed, one of my top books from last year was Assholes: A Theory (which you still should read if you haven’t.) For those who found A Theory to be a little dense, this book will offer a bit more of a practical explanation and some guidance for dealing with the office prick (or prickess.)

5) Logo Design Love: A Guide To Creating Iconic Brand Identities

What’s in a logo? Well, we know that a brand is so much more than its visual identity, but think about the clusterfuck that Airbnb went through when they released their new logo earlier this year (I’m refusing to link to a story because it’s ridiculous.) This book is excellent for anyone who wants to trace the steps of creating a stellar visual identity. It’s not just for designers – the book is written in wonderfully plain language and would be great for anyone interested in learning more about design.

I’m always looking to add to my reading list and I’d love to hear from you. What is on your list for 2015? And what were your top reads from the past year?