Rob Jackson: Five summer reads for leaders of volunteers

The books our columnist thinks you should take on holiday with you in 2019

Rob Jackson
Rob Jackson

During the summer holidays many of us take a week or two off to rest and recharge the batteries. For some this means burying themselves in a good book by the pool. This year, why not make it a book to help you kickstart the second half of 2019?

After my volunteer management reading list for last summer, here is a revised list for 2019, outlining five recommended reads for leaders of volunteers.

1 Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

A fascinating insight into the history and development of Pixar, the studio behind much-loved animated movies such as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles and Up. Ed Catmull was one of the founders of the company and he tells the story of the studio, how it achieved what many said was impossible, its continued innovation and the leadership and creativity lessons behind its success, which we can all apply.

2 How To Write A Lot by Paul J Silvia

Written by a psychology academic, this book is aimed at getting the author’s peers into better writing discipline. Some elements are more applicable to the academic world, but most of this short book is valuable for those who write in other contexts. Personally, having applied some of the lessons in this book, I have significantly improved my approach to writing.

3 Work Fuel by Graham Allcott and Colette Heneghan

Allcott’s book Productivity Ninja appeared on my list last year. He makes a return appearance in 2019, along with co-author Colette Heneghan, as they explore how what we eat and drink affects our productivity. It's full of practical advice and scientific insights on diet, and you’ll be amazed at how the accepted wisdom about what we eat isn’t necessarily helpful when it comes to managing our attention at work.

4 New Power by Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms

One of the best non-volunteer management books I have ever read that has lots to say about volunteering. Since its publication last year, this book has been inspiring people and organisations to think differently about the power of people and institutions in modern society. From #MeToo to Black Lives Matter and Boaty McBoatface, the insights here will change the way you think about volunteering.

5 The Changing Face Of Volunteering In Hospice And Palliative Care edited by Ros Scott and Steven Howlett

A fascinating insight into hospice and palliative care volunteering around the world. Scott and Howlett concisely present the challenges facing volunteer involvement in a way that is applicable in other settings, while the contributing authors say much that challenges the UK orthodoxy that volunteers don’t do important and significant work and only really have value when working alongside paid staff.

What would be on your top five list? Tweet your best reads using the hashtag #5summerreads.

Rob Jackson is a volunteer consultant

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