As summer approaches and vacation time is on the horizon, I typically start a list of books I’d like to tackle before the busy fall season. I certainly include my share of lighter fare, but I usually try to throw in a few reads that will exercise my mind, and, as an added bonus, help me grow in my career.
If like me you’re looking for some picks for this summer, here are a few I’d suggest checking out. And stay tuned for more recommendations from YNPNers in June and July!
Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
You’ll want to buy this book brand new, as it comes with a unique log-in for an online assessment questionnaire designed to help you determine your strengths, as well as action steps for how to make the most of them. After you take the online questionnaire, you’ll receive a personalized Strengths Insights Report and Action-Planning Guide. A #1 Wall Street Journal and Businessweek bestseller, the book offers additional insights into your strengths, information about working with others with your strengths, and also ideas for action. Rather than focusing on fixing your shortcomings, this book emphasizes developing your strengths as a way to find fulfillment in your career. It’s an eye-opening exercise and a rewarding read.
How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar by Trista Harris and Rosetta Thurman
This do-it-yourself map helps you navigate the nonprofit sector and offers tools that you need to move from entry level to leadership. The book is based on the authors' experiences as well as interviews with “nonprofit rockstars” who have quickly accelerated their careers. Topics covered in the book are how to develop meaningful nonprofit experience, build a strong network, establish a strong personal brand, achieve work/life balance, and move up in your career. Author Rosetta Thurman actually visited Atlanta back in November for a free nonprofit career workshop at the Foundation Center.
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
As the subtitle suggests, this book is about “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.” A nonfiction book that reads like a page-turner, this one is a recent favorite. Gladwell focuses on how a seemingly small or insignificant idea, trend or behavior can trigger a social epidemic, worldwide fashion trend, or drop in crime rate. As I read this book, I often got inspiration for new ways to approach my own professional development as well as nonprofit marketing and fundraising.
The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs
This memoir by NPR contributor and magazine editor A.J. Jacobs tells the somewhat ridiculous and often hilarious story of the author’s quest to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. With chapters titled A to Z, the book is full of interesting facts and truly amusing tales of Jacobs’ determination to finish all 33,000 pages. I had a blast reading this book and even more fun impressing (or annoying) my friends with quirky bits of info I may never have known if I hadn’t picked it up.