Sunday, May 24, 2009

If you only have time to read two books this summer...

Traditionally in May I see lots of lists of summer reading in Newsweek, Business Week, Wired, the New York Times, etc. It seems that many serial authors (as in authors who release one book a year) do it either for the summer or during the holiday shopping period in the fall. So, I'll browse through the lists, see if there's new stuff from authors I know, or highly lauded new authors that I might want to try.

This includes, for me, fiction and non-fiction, since I try to read both in about equal amounts. Regular readers know I ran a book club for CEO's and one for Emerging Leaders for years and recommend such clubs highly as methods of personal growth as well as organizational leadership development and improvement.

We all know that, of all the summers of the past few years, nonprofit staff have less time than ever to read; we've cut back employees and are scrambling to fill funding holes. But even in a financial crisis, we need to be thinking about new ways of doing things, of methods to improve employee morale, of how to grow our next generation of leaders.

So, of the more than 50 management/leadership books I've read in the past three years I want to give you a short summer reading list. One book is for you, and one for your organization. They are both from proven authors who have a long, long reading list if you like the book listed here.

For Your Organization: The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, by Pat Lencioni
This book is a business fable (like all of Lencioni's work) and thus an easy read, even for people on your team who don't like books, or are severely time limited. There is more organizational improvement wisdom here in than in most other books ten times the length. Actually, if you only read one book this summer, make this the one.

For You: If you are a Senior Leader (CEO/COO, VP): Developing the Leaders Around You
If you are an Emerging Leader: Developing the Leader Within You
both by John Maxwell. All of Maxwell's books are excellent, with good writing, well thought out examples and diagrams, and good solid leadership philosophy behind them.

Enjoy your reading, and if you have other books you'd like to share with nonprofit leaders here, post a comment.

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