As August rolls around, the Back to School signs start going up and recommended reading lists start coming out. Did you spend your summer on beach reads like Nicholas Sparks and World War Z? Time to get back in the scholastic mindset. Here's our list of Back to School Reading for Community Managers:
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin - Released in 2008, Godin's book on community to inspire leadership is still a great read for community managers. Leading a community is a symbiotic relationship: the leader needs the community just as much as the community needs a leader. A quick read, this is the perfect one to pick up when you're at work, but wishing you were still on vacation a little bit. It will remind you why you got into this business to begin with.
The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano - While technically The Power of Unpopular is a book about brands, it's a hidden gem for community managers as well. Napoletano, otherwise known as Redhead Writing, is not one to mince words so this isn't a book for those afraid of four letter words. Her straight-forward advice about how successful brands care less about being liked by everyone and more about finding the right people to like them is something that community managers of all flavors can learn from. By definition, our communities are not for everyone... focus on the people your community is for.
Buzzing Communities by Richard Millington - While we're partial to Richard Millington because he's a fantastic contributor here, we'd recommend this book even if he didn't do a series of great webinars for us. Richard's first book compiles lessons he's learned as a community consultant for brands large, small, local, and international. His wealth of experience and passion for finding the scientific, logical ways to make your community excel will have you buzzing (pun intended) with ideas to bring back to your community.
Groundswell by Charlene Li - Hear no evil, see no evil doesn't apply online - community conversations about brands are happening, whether the brand is present or not. Charlene Li used her 2008 book to teach companies how to move beyond fear or these conversations into active engagement with their customer communities. If you're getting pushback in your community initiatives, this is the book to memorize for go-to facts supporting your case. Another great read in that vein: The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.
What essential texts did we leave off our list? Share your favorites in the comments.