May 19, 2009

Summer Reading List

Nonprofit Management is a relatively young field of study. Because of that, there plenty of people out there theorizing on the subject. Plenty.

They are asking questions like, "What financial impact does the sector have on communities?" "Where does it end, and the business or government sector begin?" "What role should the federal government play in the oversight of the sector?" and "Who the heck is Alexis de Tocqueville?"

Point is, we haven't really gotten to a place where the intellectual chaff has been separated from the wheat and left an agreed upon body of knowledge. For instance, take our name. Instead of the Nonprofit Sector, some prefer Social Sector, some say Citizen Sector, while others go with Independent Sector or Civil Society.

Side bar - if you hyphenate "non-profit" or use the phrase "not-for-profit," please stop. Thanks.

No doubt, there are well-respected academic luminaries in the field that the rest of us look to for guidance on the big issues of the day. But what Galileo was to astronomy the Nonprofit Sector is still searching for.

All of this academic adolescence boils down to one thing - studying the sector means that I have to read a ton (literally, I'm certain, if I printed all of it out) for class. Books, articles, journals, blog posts, context, subtext, and pretext. It also means that I don't get to read what I want during the school year. Case in point, check out this post about the book, Team of Rivals. Notice anything odd? Yep, I wrote it in August.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to a good 10 or 12 weeks to dig into the few books that have nothing to do with the nonprofit/citizen/social/independent sector on my nightstand at the moment:

Despite the fact that these titles don't have much to do with what I'm learning about in class (save for the last one) - be sure that you'll read a few attempts to stretch the content into something blog worthy. In the meantime, I would love to hear what you're reading over the summer.

"In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end."
Alexis de Tocqueville


win said...
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Elizabeth Clawson said...

Great list, Sam! I have a few books stacked up, including The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer, which may be somewhat relevant to my nonprofit work (gasp, no), but I picked it up because I studied his work on ethics in school a few years ago and even though he's a little extreme for me, the way his mind works is fascinating.

Now I may have to pay homage to your idea with a list of my own...

Lewis Cash said...

Survivor is Palahunik's best book and Brave New World is an absolute classic. Good choices.

Stephanie said...

I'd love to see a reading list of some of your top picks on the nascent nonprofit sector topic - my reading list this summer includes Dead Aid and The White Man's Burden.