9 Community Book Recommendations

9 Community Book Recommendations

Note: This post originally appeared in the Gather Community Consulting Newsletter. Get future newsletters by subscribing at the form below this post.


As a community builder, your work spans across so many different disciplines it can make your head spin. For professional development's sake, you can't only stay informed about community management-related topics. But where do we begin learning new skills without getting overwhelmed? I find it's best to start with a simple list and see where it takes me.  

With that in mind, I put together a short list of my favorite books I read in 2018 that will spark inspiration (if not all-out joy) for you in your work this year. These books are not about community management. Most of them are not even about community at all, per se, but rather about allied topics, including product management, ethics, behavioral science, and leadership. 

I hope these can help fuel your fire this year. 

  1. Custodians of the Internet by Tarleton Gillespie. A deep sociological (but also political, ethical, legal) look at content moderation at scale. 

  2. Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks. This book tackles the ethical implications of the algorithms we interact with hundreds of times per day. 

  3. New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World by Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans. The most powerful narrative I've found about what power means today (hint: community is power).

  4. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink. A quick read that helped me build some great work habits in 2018. 

  5. The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker. An indispensable guide to gathering people offline -- with purpose. 

  6. Crucial Conversations by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan. An old standby and helpful guide for any kind of conversation, from moderation to negotiation. 

  7. The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World by Laurence Scott. A tongue-in-cheek look at how our digital selves actually form a new reality -- and separate us from one another. 

  8. User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton and Peter Economy. An introduction to user story mapping, a framework for designing all kinds of experiences and applications. 

  9. The Practice of Adaptive Leadership by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow and Marty Linksy. Adaptive Leadership will serve you well if you struggle with internal organizational politics at work (and who doesn't?) and want to get to the root of tough problems. 


If you decide to pick up one of these titles, let me know. I'd love to chat with you about what you learn. Have other books to suggest? Comment below.

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