Last month, we asked Vanguard staff about books that made them want to be a better communicator. Then, we asked our InSites readers to help us narrow our list to a Top 5.
Check out those special few who made the cut, books that inspire us to do our jobs better and even live our lives better. Pick up a few of them and be prepared to reshape how you work for social change:
Community: The Structure of Belonging, by Peter Block
Our Vice President of Account Services Brenda Foster recommended this book. In her words, here’s why:
Our modern lives are fragmented, with obligations to many mini communities that don’t work together. Schools, churches, work, charities and governments compete for our attention, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and isolated. In this modern classic, author Peter Block suggests that most Americans don’t know what community looks like anymore — and as such — they have no idea how to participate. Block outlines simple ways for organizations to rebuild a sense of community, with an eye toward building public interest and increasing meaningful civic engagement.
The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, by Jonathan Gottschall
Interested in storytelling? Brenda Foster also recommended this book. Read what she has to say about it:
Storytelling is all the rage these days. Even President Obama has mentioned its importance to meaningful dialogue and policy-making. Jonathan Gottschall’s intriguing and original premise is that storytelling, like other human traits, has evolved to ensure our survival. Based on decades of scientific research, Gottschall outlines how stories influence our interests, our empathy and our behavior. Stories can affect our moral compass for better or worse, such as positive yarns that sustain our faith or propagandized myths that lead to dangerous, negative social movements.
The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell
Account Supervisor Crystal Borde recommended Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Read her take on it:
As social change communicators, we are always trying to figure out how to get people to take action or change behavior. In this book, Malcolm Gladwell shares research and insights into how the little things that people need or desire can motivate them to transform their lives and/or behavior. His concepts will help you identify the people to help you champion change and how to develop messages that translate into action. Gladwell wants us to think of messages, ideas and behaviors as epidemics and through his examples and wisdoms, we all can learn how to make them spread. Don’t be surprised after reading this book if you see the world and how people act much differently.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip and Dan Heath
Communications Assistant Kirana Bammarito recommended this book and here’s why:
Everyone wants to have the good ideas —the ones that illustrate your points and stay with people far after you’ve told them. Chip and Dan Heath show that these ideas aren’t necessarily the work of a genius — they all contain six elements to make people remember them. The book explains each trait and how to revise one’s idea to make it more “sticky”—– showing how any communicator can better highlight their ideas and selling points, whether in politics, public health, advertising or a completely different arena.
Nine Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People, by Jeff Haden
Event Coordinator and Account Executive Brittany Vanderpool recommended this short, but powerful article. Read why:
The most successful people in business approach their work differently than most. Jeff Haden outlines nine beliefs that you can use to change your work habits every day to push you toward innovation, creativity and success.
Does this list include your favorites? Do you have another book or article that informed the way you think about communicating for social change? Tell us about it on Facebook.