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General reading list

This was compiled by Tom Watson with a general shout out to people. (the running books are all mine, not sorry)

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TitleAuthorCover PhotoCategorySynopsisPersonal Notes
Be More Pirate
Sam Conniff Allende
PiratesSocial GoodCampaigningFacilitationStrategyPhilanthropy
"I'd rather be a pirate than join the navy" Rule breakers and instigators. Just because something is, doesn't mean it has to be. Be More Pirate draws parallels between the strategy and innovation of legends like Henry Morgan and Blackbeard with modern rebels, like Elon Musk, Malala and Blockchain, and reveals how to harness and apply their tactics to life and work today, and tomorrow.
I bloody love this book. It's great for business and strategy, but the themes in here work so well for those working in the Social Good space. Highly recommend. TW
The Organized Mind
Daniel Levitin
Strategy
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman
Strategy
Value Design Proposition
Strategyzer
Facilitation
Game Storming
Dave Gray
Facilitation
It's not really a "read" but its got around 80 facilitation ideas for workshops, away days etc. Some good, some ok.
Sprint
Jake Knapp
FacilitationStrategy
Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day: What's the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution? Now there's a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint. Designer Jake Knapp created the five-day process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X. He joined Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky at Google Ventures, and together they have completed more than a hundred sprints with companies in mobile, e-commerce, healthcare, finance, and more. A practical guide to answering critical business questions, Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits. It's for anyone with a big opportunity, problem, or idea who needs to get answers today.
Again not much of a "read" but I quite enjoyed the process
Social Labs Revolution
Zaid Hassan
Social Good
Current responses to our most pressing societal challenges—from poverty to ethnic conflict to climate change—are not working. These problems are incredibly dynamic and complex, involving an ever-shifting array of factors, actors, and circumstances. They demand a highly fluid and adaptive approach, yet we address them by devising fixed, long-term plans. Social labs, says Zaid Hassan, are a dramatically more effective response.
The Value of Everything
Mariana Mazzucato
Economics
Modern economies reward activities that extract value rather than create it. This must change to insure a capitalism that works for us all. In this scathing indictment of our current global financial system, The Value of Everything rigorously scrutinizes the way in which economic value has been determined and reveals how the difference between value creation and value extraction has become increasingly blurry. Mariana Mazzucato argues that this blurriness allowed certain actors in the economy to portray themselves as value creators, while in reality they were just moving existing value around or, even worse, destroying it. The book uses case studies–from Silicon Valley to the financial sector to big pharma–to show how the foggy notions of value create confusion between rents and profits, a difference that distorts the measurements of growth and GDP.
Eat and Run
Scott Jurek
Ultra Running/Adventure
n Eat and Run, Jurek opens up about his life and career as a champion athlete with a plant-based diet and inspires runners at every level. From his Midwestern childhood hunting, fishing, and cooking for his meat-and-potatoes family to his slow transition to ultrarunning and veganism, Scott’s story shows the power of an iron will and blows apart the stereotypes of what athletes should eat to fuel optimal performance. Full of stories of competition as well as science and practical advice—including his own recipes—Eat and Run will motivate readers and expand their food horizons.
Plant based food and ultra running....whats not to like??
Feet in the Clouds
Richard Askwith
DigitalUltra Running/Adventure
A chronicle of a masochistic but admirable sporting obsession, an insight into one of the oldest extreme sports, and a lyrical tribute to Britain’ s mountains and the men and women who live among them, this is the story of fell-running.
If you've ever thought about doing the Bob Graham, or just wonder why the idea of spending hours in the cold and mud is so appealing to people like me, read this.
The People vs Tech
Jamie Bartlett
DigitalEthics
The internet was meant to set us free. Tech has radically changed the way we live our lives. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists? And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information and artificial intelligence? In this urgent polemic, Jamie Bartlett argues that through our unquestioning embrace of big tech, the building blocks of democracy are slowly being removed. The middle class is being eroded, sovereign authority and civil society is weakened, and we citizens are losing our critical faculties, maybe even our free will.
Giving Done Right
Phil Buchanan
Social GoodPhilanthropy
In Giving Done Right, Phil Buchanan, the president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, arms donors with what it takes to do more good more quickly and to avoid predictable errors that lead too many astray. This crucial book will reveal the secrets and lessons learned from some of the biggest givers, from the work of software entrepreneur Tim Gill and his foundation to expand rights for LGBTQ people to the efforts of a midwestern entrepreneur whose faith told him he must do something about childhood slavery in Ghana. It busts commonly held myths and challenging the idea that “business thinking” holds the answer to effective philanthropy. And it offers the intellectual frameworks, data-driven insights, tools, and practical examples to allow readers to understand exactly what it takes to make a difference.
Just Giving
Rob Reich
PhilanthropyEthics
The troubling ethics and politics of philanthropy Is philanthropy, by its very nature, a threat to today's democracy? Though we may laud wealthy individuals who give away their money for society's benefit, Just Giving shows how such generosity not only isn't the unassailable good we think it to be but might also undermine democratic values and set back aspirations of justice. Big philanthropy is often an exercise of power, the conversion of private assets into public influence. And it is a form of power that is largely unaccountable, often perpetual, and lavishly tax-advantaged. The affluent-and their foundations-reap vast benefits even as they influence policy without accountability. And small philanthropy, or ordinary charitable giving, can be problematic as well. Charity, it turns out, does surprisingly little to provide for those in need and sometimes worsens inequality. These outcomes are shaped by the policies that define and structure philanthropy. When, how much, and to whom people give is influenced by laws governing everything from the creation of foundations and nonprofits to generous tax exemptions for donations of money and property.
Where Power Stops
David Runciman
Leadership
David Runciman tackles the limitations of high office and how the personal histories of those who achieved the very pinnacles of power helped to define their successes and failures in office. These portraits show what characters are most effective in these offices. Could this be a blueprint for good and effective leadership in an age lacking good leaders?
The Intrepid NonProfit
Tim Plumptre
Social GoodStrategyLeadership
The Intrepid Nonprofit is a playbook for nonprofit leaders to help them navigate the turbulent environment ahead. It examines difficult challenges facing nonprofits, such as shrinking or stagnating revenue sources, technological change, under-performing boards, staff turnover, mission drift, or measuring intangible results. Drawing insights from organizations that have not only prospered but sometimes achieved outstanding results, the book outlines practical strategies for success, including some out-of-the-box approaches to leadership. It also calls upon governments and foundations to do more to support the sector.
Measuring Social Change
Alnoor Ebrhaim
socialchange.jpg (https://dl.airtable.com/.attachments/99efffca80a9709b2f816a4b3417b2e4/e547f1d0/socialchange.jpg)
StrategySocial GoodLeadership"Research Measurement Impact"
The social sector is undergoing a major transformation. We are witnessing an explosion in efforts to deliver social change, a burgeoning impact investing industry, and an unprecedented intergenerational transfer of wealth. Yet we live in a world of rapidly rising inequality, where social sector services are unable to keep up with societal need, and governments are stretched beyond their means. Alnoor Ebrahim addresses one of the fundamental dilemmas facing leaders as they navigate this uncertain terrain: performance measurement. How can they track performance towards worthy goals such as reducing poverty, improving public health, or advancing human rights? What results can they reasonably measure and legitimately take credit for? This book tackles three core challenges of performance faced by social enterprises and nonprofit organizations alike: what to measure, what kinds of performance systems to build, and how to align multiple demands for accountability. It lays out four different types of strategies for managers to consider-niche, integrated, emergent, and ecosystem-and details the types of performance measurement and accountability systems best suited to each. Finally, this book examines the roles of funders such as impact investors, philanthropic foundations, and international aid agencies, laying out how they can best enable meaningful performance measurement.
The Finance Curse
Nicholas Shaxson
Social GoodEconomics
We need finance – but when finance grows too big it becomes a curse. The City of London is the single biggest drain on our resources; it sucks talent out of every sphere, it siphons wealth and hoovers up government time. Yet to be ‘competitive’, we’re told we must turn a blind eye to money-laundering and appease big business with tax cuts. We are told global finance is about wealth creation; the reality is wealth extraction. Tracing the curse back through economic history, Shaxson uncovers how we got to this point. He exposes offshore tax havens; the uncontrolled growth of monopolies; the myths around the Celtic Tiger and its low corporate tax rate; the bizarre industry of wealth management; the destructive horrors of private equity; and the sinister ‘Competitiveness Agenda’. Nicholas Shaxson revealed the dark heart of tax havens long before the Panama and Paradise Papers. Now he tells the explosive story of how finance established a stranglehold on society and points us towards a way out.
Nonprofits are Messy
Joan Garry
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LeadershipSocial Good
Nonprofits leaders are optimistic by nature. They believe with time, energy, smarts, strategy and sheer will, they can change the world. But as staff or board leader, you know nonprofits present unique challenges. Too many cooks, not enough money, an abundance of passion. It’s enough to make you feel overwhelmed and alone. The people you help need you to be successful. But there are so many obstacles: a micromanaging board that doesn’t understand its true role; insufficient fundraising and donors who make unreasonable demands; unclear and inconsistent messaging and marketing; a leader who’s a star in her sector but a difficult boss…
The Power of Just Doing Stuff: How Local Action Can Change the World
Rob Hopkins
Social GoodLeadership
Something is stirring. People around the world are deciding that the well-being of their community and its economy lies with them. They're people like you. They've had enough, and, rather than waiting for permission, they're rolling up their sleeves, getting together with friends and neighbours, and doing something about it. Whether they start small or big, they're finding that just doing stuff can transform their neighbourhoods and their lives. The Power of Just Doing Stuff argues that this shift represents the seeds of a new economy - the answer to our desperate search for a new way forward - and at its heart is people deciding that change starts with them. Communities worldwide are already modelling a more local economy rooted in place, in well-being, in entrepreneurship, and in creativity. And it works. Packed with inspiring real-life examples of how to change things, this book ties in with the increasing focus on community action during tough economic times.
It's Tough at the Top
Debra Allcock Tyler
Social GoodLeadership
Many people find themselves in a senior Director or Chief Executive role without receiving much training or guidance about what leadership means at that level. They may not need or have time for formal training, but would welcome practical advice that cuts the chase to help them avoid obvious pitfalls and common mistakes. Many books will tell you what to do; this one also so tells you how to do it.
Forces for Good
Crutchfield/Grant
Social GoodStrategy
What makes great nonprofits great? Not large budgets. Not snazzy marketing. Not perfect management. The answer is not what you might think. Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant spent four years surveying thousands of nonprofit CEOs, conducting hundreds of interviews, and studying 12 high-impact nonprofits to uncover their secrets to success. Their quest took them to the well-known (Habitat for Humanity), to the less-well-known (Self-Help) and to the unexpected (The Exploratorium). What the authors discovered surprised them, and is revealed in the original best-selling edition of Forces for Good published in 2007.
Why Most Things Fail
Paul Ormerod
BusinessStrategy
From the best-selling author of The Death of Economics and Butterfly Economics, a ground-breaking look at a truth all too seldom acknowledged: most commercial and public policy ventures will not succeed. WorldCom, Enron, Yamaichi, Equitable Life, Andersen, Parmalat, Shell . . . Around the world, corporate scandal - and full-scale collapse - has caught the headlines in a spectacular way, and investors avidly search for scapegoats. We all express surprise at such catastrophes - yet extinction is an inherent fact of life, and failure comes calling at the door of companies both gigantic and small. Over 17,000 companies will go bust this year in the UK alone. But is this a bad thing? And if so why does the US, with its hugely dynamic economy, see more than 10 per cent of companies disappear each year? In his inimitable fashion, Paul Ormerod draws upon recent advances in biology to help us understand the surprising consequences of the Iron Law of Failure. And he shows what strategies corporations, businesses and governments will need to adopt to stand a chance of prospering in a world where only one thing is certain.
Utopia For Realists
Rutger Bregman
Social GoodEconomics
We live in a time of unprecedented upheaval, with questions about the future, society, work, happiness, family and money, and yet no political party of the right or left is providing us with answers. Rutger Bregman, a bestselling Dutch historian, explains that it needn't be this way. Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilization - from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy - was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a 15-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime.
New Power
Henry Timms
Social Good
For most of human history the rules of power were clear: power was something to be seized, and then jealously guarded. Under this 'Old Power' we lived in a world of rulers and subjects. Now, we all sense that something has changed. From #MeToo to Harvey Weinstein; Corbyn to Trump; from YouTube sensations to darker phenomena such as the emergence of ISIS – in our new hyper-connected world, ideas and movements can spread and flourish with astonishing force and speed. In New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms confront the biggest story of our age and trace how New Power is the key to understanding where we are and will prosper in the 21st Century. Drawing on examples from business, politics, popular culture and social justice, as well as case studies of organisations like LEGO and TED, they explain the forces that are changing the course of our age. In a world increasingly shaped by New Power, this book will show you how to shape your future.
Black Box Thinking
Matthew Syed
Business"Research Measurement Impact"Strategy
A book for anyone wondering how to be more productive, and how to fail well.
How to be a Craftivist
Sarah Corbett
Social GoodCampaigning
How to Be a Craftivist is a manifesto for quiet activism: how to tackle issues not with shouting and aggression but with gentle protest, using the process of 'making' to engage thoughtfully in the issues we are about, to influence and effect change.
How We Win: a guide to non-violent direct action campaigning
George Lakey
Campaigning
The Networked Non-Profit: Connecting with social media to drive change
Beth Kanter
Campaigning
This groundbreaking resource offers a set of guiding principles to help nonprofit leaders navigate the transition from top-down organizations to a networked approach enabled by technology. The book contains specific strategies for implementation and secrets to success from nonprofits who have used new social media tools effectively themselves. It also offers effective exercises and how-to s for implementation. A key element of this book is interviews with current nonprofit managers who have learned how to jump into the social media fray without a net and thrived because of it.
Analytic Activism
David Karpf
CampaigningDigital
he first major study of how activist/advocacy organizations use digital tools for listening, monitoring, and strategy The first academic book to explore the inner workings of major organizations like Change.org and Upworthy.com Challenges two dominant trends in the literature: (1) the focus on/derision of "clicktivism," and (2) celebration of "spontaneous" or "viral" social movements that ignores the organizational work happening behind the scenes Discusses the "Media Theory of Movement Power," an argument for why we have to take the 1960s social movement tactics down from their pedestal Share:
How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations And Leadership In The 21St Century
Hahrie Han
how.jpg (https://dl.airtable.com/.attachments/f37659f1fdf5c3c3b54a88ae3c66e12e/e740db4f/how.jpg)
Campaigning
Why are some civic associations better than others at getting―and keeping―people involved in activism? From MoveOn.org to the National Rifle Association, Health Care for America Now to the Sierra Club, membership-based civic associations constantly seek to engage people in civic and political action. What makes some more effective than others? Using in-person observations, surveys, and field experiments, this book compares organizations with strong records of engaging people in health and environmental politics to those with weaker records. To build power, civic associations need quality and quantity (or depth and breadth) of activism. They need lots of people to take action and also a cadre of leaders to develop and execute that activity. Yet, models for how to develop activists and leaders are not necessarily transparent. This book provides these models to help associations build the power they want and support a healthy democracy. In particular, the book examines organizing, mobilizing, and lone wolf models of engagement and shows how highly active associations blend mobilizing and organizing to transform their members' motivations and capacities for involvement.
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
Caroline Criado Perez
EthicsSocial Good
Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women.
This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century
"Mark Engler, Paul Engler "
uprising.jpg (https://dl.airtable.com/.attachments/8dd1364d398bd25f4b00c5921bbac0c5/e81e2d6e/uprising.jpg)
Campaigning
From protests around climate change and immigrant rights, to Occupy, the Arab Spring, and #BlackLivesMatter, a new generation is unleashing strategic nonviolent action to shape public debate and force political change. When mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media consistently portrays them as being spontaneous and unpredictable. Yet, in this book, Mark and Paul Engler look at the hidden art behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest. With incisive insights from contemporary activists, as well as fresh revelations about the work of groundbreaking figures such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Gene Sharp, and Frances Fox Piven, the Englers show how people with few resources and little conventional influence are engineering the upheavals that are reshaping contemporary politics.
How to Resist: Turn Protest to Power
Matthew Bolton
CampaigningStrategy
This book is for people who are angry with the ways things are and want to do something about it; for people who are frustrated with the system, or worried about the direction the country is going. Maybe they've been on a march, posted their opinions on social media, or shouted angrily at something they've seen on the news but don't feel like it's making any difference. It is for people who want to make a change but they're not sure how.'
Hope in the Dark
Rebecca Solnit
CampaigningSocial Good
At a time when political, environmental and social gloom can seem overpowering, this remarkable book offers a lucid, affirmative and well-argued case for hope. This exquisite work traces a history of activism and social change over the past five decades - from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the worldwide marches against the war in Iraq. Hope in the Dark is a paean to optimism in the uncertainty of the twenty-first century. Tracing the footsteps of the last century's thinkers - including Woolf, Gandhi, Borges, Benjamin and Havel - Solnit conjures a timeless vision of cause and effect that will light our way through the dark, and lead us to profound and effective political engagement.
The Case for Community Wealth Building
"Joe Guinan, Martin O'Neill"
CommunityWealthBuilding_HI-RES-front-28Mar2019-e1555415911979.jpg (https://dl.airtable.com/.attachments/15ac11976f9a5caa74ab9dc79134909c/2a3429f2/CommunityWealthBuilding_HI-RES-front-28Mar2019-e1555415911979.jpg)
Economics
Our broken economic model drives inequality and disempowerment, lining the pockets of corporations while extracting wealth from local communities. How can we reverse this? Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill argue for an approach that uses the power of democratic participation to drive equitable development and ensure that wealth is widely shared. They show how this model – Community Wealth Building – can transform our economic system by creating a web of collaborative institutions, from worker cooperatives to community land trusts and public banks, that empower and enrich the many, not the few.This book is essential reading for everyone interested in building more equal, inclusive, and democratic societies.
How Democracy Ends
David Runciman
Democracy
Democracy has died hundreds of times, all over the world. We think we know what that looks like: chaos descends and the military arrives to restore order, until the people can be trusted to look after their own affairs again. However, there is a danger that this picture is out of date. Until very recently, most citizens of Western democracies would have imagined that the end was a long way off, and very few would have thought it might be happening before their eyes as Trump, Brexit and paranoid populism have become a reality. David Runciman, one of the UK's leading professors of politics, answers all this and more as he surveys the political landscape of the West, helping us to spot the new signs of a collapsing democracy and advising us on what could come next.
Hello World
Hannah Fry
DigitalEthics
You are accused of a crime. Who would you rather determined your fate – a human or an algorithm? An algorithm is more consistent and less prone to error of judgement. Yet a human can look you in the eye before passing sentence. Welcome to the age of the algorithm, the story of a not-too-distant future where machines rule supreme, making important decisions – in healthcare, transport, finance, security, what we watch, where we go even who we send to prison. So how much should we rely on them? What kind of future do we want? Hannah Fry takes us on a tour of the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us. In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations, and examines whether they really are an improvement on the humans they are replacing.
The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus
Hannah Fry
Christmas Maths!
How do you apply game theory to select who should be on your Christmas shopping list ? Can you predict Her Majesty's Christmas Message? Will calculations show Santa is getting steadily thinner - shimmying up and down chimneys for a whole night - or fatter - as he tucks into a mince pie and a glass of sherry in billions of houses across the world? Full of diagrams, sketches and graphs, beautiful equations, Markov chains and matrices, The Indisputable Existence of Santa Exists brightens up the bleak midwinter with stockingfuls of mathematical marvels. And proves once and for all that maths isn't just for old men with white hair and beards who associate with elves.
Very Niche, but if you love maths and christmas, this is the book for you!