My Beach Reading List

Books I Read When Not Wiping Out

When not wiping out, I read some good books at the beach.

I spent the first two weeks of July on Ocracoke Island, part vacation and part book writing retreat.

I always read a ton when I’m on vacation and this trip was no different.  I love my job, so I always read a mix of nonfiction that is at least tangentially related to nonprofit marketing, along with some pure pleasure reads too.

Here’s what I read . . .

The Business

The End of Fundraising: Raise More Money by Selling Your Impact. I found this one very interesting, and will probably quote parts of it in my book. It talks about marketing your organization to whom Jason Saul calls “psychic donors” — the people who give based on emotional responses to your cause, or what we would consider traditional fundraising tactics — versus marketing to “impact buyers” — organizations that benefit from the work that your nonprofit does and can therefore make a business decision to invest in your work. Saul’s criticisms of how nonprofits screw up when they confuse the two is really compelling.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. Nice little inspirational pick-me-up with some good reminders about nourishing your creativity. Trying to implement a few of the tips.

Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand. Joe Pulizzi is Mr. Content Marketing in the business world, and since I’m writing a book about it for nonprofits, I wanted to see how he approached it and what might translate and what wouldn’t, to our sector. All of the business content marketing books, including this one, are all about lead generation and sales, and the goals in the nonprofit world are a bit more complicated and diverse than that. I do think some of the process and team advice will translate.

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. The subtitle is A Step by Step Guide for Anyone with Something to Say or Sell and it’s full of lots of great tactical advice for online marketing. Great book for newbies; those of you with more experience may pick up a few tips here and there, like I did. It does read like a series of blog posts, which reminded me that while I am blogging a lot of my book as I go, I need to spend a lot of time pulling it all together so it makes sense and reads as a book.

Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World. Still reading this, but really enjoying it. Important lessons for all communicators on how your relevance or irrelevance, and whether your messaging works or not, are very dependent on the context.

The Pleasure

Every Last One. I love Anna Quindlen, and this was another great, albeit devastating, story from her. Was in a funk for 24 hours after reading it though. Recommend, but not during happy family vacation time.

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship.  I just recently discovered Ann Patchett when State of Wonder came out, and I love her style. Enjoyed this memoir about her friendship with Lucy Grealy. For you writers, I also really liked her other memoir, The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life (Kindle Single).

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir). I saw the line “For fans of Tiny Fey and David Sedaris” on the review, and bought it without reading another word. Jenny Lawson is The Bloggess. If you are sensitive about language, this is NOT the book for you (one peek at her blog will give you a sense for the book). Still reading, but so far it’s hilarious.

Got any good book recommendations to share in the comments?


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  • Lswayze

    Hi Kivi.  I love your recommendations, especially Truth and Beauty.  I have loved that book for a while, and not many people know about it.  Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face is also great.  Glad you enjoyed Ocracoke – it’s a favorite spot for our family as well.  

  • http://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/blog Kivi Leroux Miller

    Yeah, I think I want to read Autobiography of a Face to see the story from her side.

  • Annmarie

    A great book recommendation is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Suspenseful until the end.

  • Sandy

    Good grief!  I thought I read a lot.  That’s an impressive list for a week! 

    I read “Enchantment” by Guy Kawasaki recently and it was great to get me thinking about how to talk about an organization’s work in a way that enchants the listener.  Good food for thought.

    Sandy Rees

  • http://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/blog Kivi Leroux Miller

    It was over two weeks. :)

  • Kris

    Kivi, I love Anna Quindlen and Ann Patchett also. Have you read Run by AP and Rise and Shine by AQ??

    Really appreciate your professional reading recommendations.

  • http://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/blog Kivi Leroux Miller

    Yes, liked Run a lot. Rise and Shine was good too, but I think I like some others better.

  • http://www.connectioncafe.com/authors/cheryl-black.html Cheryl

    Excited to see Platform on your list. I just bought it and will now make a point of cracking it open this weekend.

  • AJ

    I’ve grown to like Ann Patchett this summer as well- I recently read both State of Wonder and The Magician’s Assistant and loved both! Also just read Situations Matter and loved it- thanks for all the great recommendations! Particularly looking forward to The End of Fundraising :)