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  • 08.17.10

What CSR and Nonprofit Leaders Are Reading – Part I

It’s always fun to find out what others are reading and peruse their book shelves. Here’s a glimpse at the summer reading lists of a variety of people from business, nonprofits, and corporate social responsibility.

It’s always fun to find out what others are reading and peruse their book shelves. Here’s a glimpse at the summer reading lists of a variety of people from business, nonprofits, and corporate social responsibility.

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The Big Short, by Michael Lewis. It’s one of those books you have to be able to say you’ve read – everybody’s talking about. Perfect for a cocktail party or cautionary tales for a Board meeting. A must read for any investment professional who is frustrated by markets and at times thinks the world has gone insane. A true testament that logic, common sense and hard work will ultimately pay huge dividends even when the world seems crazy and the cards seemed inexplicably stacked against you.”

The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore. I saw a blurb on The Other Wes Moore in The New York Times and thought that it was such an amazing coincidence that I needed to know more. There is a reggae song called “Circumstances,” that has always stuck with me. One of the verses says ‘Circumstances made me what I am.’ I’ve never been really sure if that is 100% true. The Other Wes Moore is one of those cautionary tales about how the decisions one makes impact the circumstances in which one finds oneself. Those of us who make the right decisions should always remember, ‘Therefore but for the grace of God go I.'”

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Bottlemania, by Elizabeth Royte. Through specific local stories, the book sets forth challenges we will all face due to the shortage and problems of providing sufficient clean drinking water to our growing population. Despite the anti-corporate undertone, the book raises compelling issues that inevitably will define our and our children’s future. As my firm is currently raising capital to make investments in the water services and products sector, the book was especially timely and compelling.”

Mr. Brown can Moo, Can You? By Dr. Suess. The amazing Mr. Brown can make the sounds of a cow, bee, owl, rooster . . . you get the idea. (My one-year old really seems to like it…)”

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“On the pleasure side, I’ve consumed the three Stieg Larsson books, starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They were a little like Abba music: formulaic and nonetheless (or probably therefore) highly addictive. I found the Swedish-ness quirky and oddly compelling (tons of coffee consumed, cigarettes, motorcycle clubs, wholesome multi-gender sex–what’s not to like?). Finally, I have just started an old translation of one of my very favorite books, The Iliad, by Homer, translated by William Cowper. It’s terrific but, of course, not for the faint of heart! Lots of highly emotional and very violent guys tromping around the battlefield, interrupted from time to time by noble speeches and some very arbitrary gods (and goddesses).”

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The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change, by Beth Kanter and Allison H. Fine. A compelling book on how nonprofits can effectively utilize social media to help organizations to grow, change, and succeed. With deep knowledge and experience, the authors use narrative and examples to show how nonprofits can become networked and also engage people in shaping and sharing their work. By becoming organizations that are easy for outsiders to get in and insiders to get out organizations are able to accomplish their missions far more effectively and at scale.”

Technology at the Margins: How IT Meets the Needs of Emerging Markets, by Sailesh Chutani, Jessica Rothenberg Aalami, and Akhtar Badshah. Published by Wiley and due out in late Fall, the book highlights through rich examples how existing information technology can be used effectively to address the most pressing needs of humanity in education, health, finance and environment.”

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Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children by John Wood, the founder and executive chairman of Room To Read, a non-profit organization the Clifford Chance Foundation is partnering with in Vietnam to improve access to education. It’s an inspirational story. I am also reading Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. It provides a fascinating look at how different leaders successfully communicate ideas so they gain traction no easy feat today. We live in a time when the amount of information absorbed each day makes you feel like you’re drinking from the proverbial fire hose; this book provides helpful tips for breaking through the clutter and getting your points to take hold.”

While you’re waiting for Part II feel free to share what you’ve read and what you recommend in the Comments section below.

About the author

Korngold provides strategy consulting to global corporations on sustainability, facilitating corporate-nonprofit partnerships, and training and placing hundreds of business executives on NGO/nonprofit boards for 20+ years. She provides strategy and board governance consulting to NGO/nonprofit boards, foundations, and educational and healthcare institutions.

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