2019 Summer Reading Picks

July 12, 2019
pictured: person reading on a beach

Get to know the Washington Nonprofits Board and Staff members by hearing what we’re reading this summer. Maybe your next favorite book is on this list!

From the Washington Nonprofits Board:

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Connie Burk and Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

This book is written for anyone who is doing work with an intention to make the world more sustainable and hopeful—all in all, a better place—and who, through this work, is exposed to the hardship, pain, crisis, trauma, or suffering of other living beings or the planet itself.

Laura Armstrong, Yakima

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki

This book looks at the economic and politic history of people of color in America. It also presents information from personal quotes and specific event in history that have not been discussed.

Terrie Ashby-Scott, Spokane

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A reminder of issues that are still current about the presence of racism, intolerance and bias. This is a story that seeks to convey the importance of courage, compassion and openness while trying to understand the difficult issues around us and finding our place in dealing with them.

Sandy Gill, Spokane

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

Hidden in a light-hearted story about a young boy’s summer road-trip and adventure are the reminders of resilience, creativity, and risk-taking as we face adversity. When the decisions made by adults have a direct impact on young Donny, he finds a way to navigate the challenges he faces. It reminds me of how we as nonprofit leaders need to be compassionate about the life journeys of those we serve and also be strategic and adaptable as we navigate the challenges in our work.

Sandy Gill, Spokane

Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

This book gives a framework for how to have compassionate yet difficult conversations as a leader, all in a very readable, digestible way. And we can all use practice developing those skills!

Erick Seelbach, Tacoma

From the Washington Nonprofits Staff:

Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen

We teach people stuff everyday, whether it is a formal part of our job or not. We often find ourselves needing to present information in ways that leads to a change in action or behavior. Dirksen does a nice job synthesizing adult learning research and giving practical tips and tools to help us design for how people learn.

Nancy Bacon, Associate Director

Invisible Women: Data Bias in A World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez

I’ve always wanted to know more about what it actually means when we talk about data bias and decolonizing data—can numbers be that misleading? We know that nonprofits often rely heavily on data, which is why it’s important to understand how data can be biased. Feminist advocate Caroline Criado Perez outlines how data can fail to take gender into account, including copious examples and anecdotes. Get a preview by listening to this 30-minute 99% Invisible podcast episode featuring Perez and her book.

Julia Hunter, Membership Manager

Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva

The author of this book is smart. Not only because he was the plenary speaker at this year’s Washington State Nonprofit Conference, but because he brings a new perspective to something we are all familiar with in the nonprofit sector: philanthropy. How can we acknowledge our history and create a better system for the future? That’s a question that society is asking in so many places right now – why not in our sector as well?

Tom Lang, Director of e-Learning

Simple Habits for Complex Times:  Powerful Practices for Leaders by Jennifer Garvey Berger and Keith Johnson

This is a readable, thought-provoking book about dealing with complexity and uncertainty. The authors develop fictitious characters and a case study to illustrate the concepts in action. In our current era, figuring out how to lead in an uncertain environment seems like a requirement.

Laura Pierce, Executive Director

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman’s explanation of “fast” and “slow” thinking provides a useful framework to use when making decisions. His framework has helped me evaluate my decision making process so that I can adjust my assumptions in order to avoid making a flawed decision. Kahneman’s framework has also helped me think about others’ decisions so that I can understand how decisions were made or where I can provide input to shape the outcome. This is particularly useful for public policy, but Kahneman makes it clear through many examples that his framework can fit with just about any situation. I strongly recommend the book because even years after reading it for the first time I still find its analysis and arguments relevant both personally and professionally.

David Streeter, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Brené Brown explores how do we become courageous, bold, creative, caring leaders at work? Using research and real life examples, the book empowers leaders to foster authentic connections and changes the way we look at people management. It was especially refreshing to read on how embracing discomfort and vulnerability can have a positive effect on relationship building in the workplace. This is great resource for both experienced and emerging leaders.

Uyen Vu, Administrative Assistant

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