GMN’s Summer Reading List

The summer reading list is a tradition for school-aged kids and there’s no reason why adults can’t keep learning throughout the summer vacation months, too. Here are some recommendations; tell us what you’re reading and recommending in the comments below. And GMN is happy to publish book reviews on these or other books of interest to our members.


The Human Face of Big Data (Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt)

The Human Face of Big Data captures, in glorious photographs and moving essays, an extraordinary revolution sweeping, almost invisibly, through business, academia, government, healthcare, and everyday life. It’s already enabling us to provide a healthier life for our children. To provide our seniors with independence while keeping them safe. To help us conserve precious resources like water and energy. To alert us to tiny changes in our health, weeks or years before we develop a life-threatening illness. To peer into our own individual genetic makeup. To create new forms of life.  And soon, as many predict, to re-engineer our own species. And we’ve barely scratched the surface.


Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World (Leslie R. Crutchfield, John V. Kania and Mark R. Kramer)

Do More Than Give provides a blueprint for individuals, philanthropists, and foundation leaders to increase their impact. Based on Forces for Good, this groundbreaking book demonstrates how the six practices of high-impact nonprofits apply to donors aiming to advance social causes. Rather than focus on the mechanics of effective grantmaking, reporting, or evaluation, this book instead proposes that donors can become proactive catalysts for change by rising to meet the challenges of our increasingly interdependent world. Key principles include: going beyond check writing/traditional volunteering; advocating for change; leveraging business; forging peer networks; empowering individuals; leading adaptively; and developing learning organizations.

The Business of Giving: The Theory and Practice of Philanthropy, Grantmaking and Social Investment (Peter Grant)

The Business of Givingd escribes the systems and processes philanthropists need to adopt in order to achieve their goals. It provides a “toolkit” for philanthropic investment taking the reader through each stage of their decision making. Its techniques are equally applicable to whatever investment vehicle is being utilized from traditional grants to new products such as social bonds and impact investing. Unlike many texts on the subject, the tools and processes described have been used and tested across hundreds of different programs and in making thousands of investment decisions.


Effective Grants Management (Deborah Ward)

Grantees must understand that managing grants effectively is a critical step of the grantsmanship process. Improper management of grants can make it difficult to secure continuation or new funding from a grantor¬ or, in the worst case scenario grantees may be asked to return grant funds due to mismanagement. As the only book of its kind, Effective Grants Management covers the entire grants management process which begins once an applicant has been awarded private or public funding. Ideal for courses in philanthropy and development or non-profit management programs, this book is also a useful reference for practitioners and consultants who work with organizations that pursue grant funding to support their missions. Key Features: Captures the managerial aspect of grants from a professional perspective, rather than just grant writing and grant proposals; Looks at many real-world examples of grants that were not managed effectively to give the reader a clear understanding of what can go wrong; Contains key terms, case studies, and useful sample forms and templates to enhance learning.


The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice (Todd Henry)

“You go to work each day tasked with (1) inventing brilliant solutions that (2) meet specific objectives by (3) defined deadlines. If you do this successfully you get to keep your job. If you don’t, you get to work on your resume. The moment you exchange your creative efforts for money, you enter a world where you will have to be brilliant at a moment’s notice. (no pressure, right?)” 

It isn’t enough to just do your job anymore. In order to thrive in today’s marketplace, all of us, regardless of our role, have to be ready to generate brilliant ideas on demand.  The Accidental Creative teaches effective practices that support your creative process. You’ll discover how to:

    • Focus in on your most critical work and reclaim your attention.
    • Develop stimulating relationships that will lead to creative insights.
    • Effectively manage your energy so that you are always ready to engage.
    • Curate stimuli that help you stay mentally focused.
    • Leverage your hours wisely and effectively to eliminate creativity drains.

The Accidental Creative is your guide to staying fresh and doing your best work each day.

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (Adam M. Grant, Ph.D.)

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.

Using his own pioneering research as Wharton’s youngest tenured professor, Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. Combining cutting-edge evidence with captivating stories, this landmark book shows how one of America’s best networkers developed his connections, why the creative genius behind one of the most popular shows in television history toiled for years in anonymity, how a basketball executive responsible for multiple draft busts transformed his franchise into a winner, and how we could have anticipated Enron’s demise four years before the company collapsed-without ever looking at a single number.


Social Media for Social Good: A How-to Guide for Nonprofits (Heather Mansfield)

Based on more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit communications and 15,000+ hours spent utilizing social and mobile media, Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits is a comprehensive 256-page hardcover book packed with more than 100 best practices covering Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0 nonprofit communications and fundraising. From building your e-newsletter list to finding your “Twitter voice” to launching a mobile website and texting campaign on a small budget, this guide presents a step-by-step strategic plan for launching and maintaining successful social media and mobile marketing campaigns.