Summer is coming up. If you haven't read many community books, here is a list that will help you get started (in order of priority too!)
1) Robert Kraut & Paul Resnick - Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-Based Social Design
This is a rare book in the community genre, one that combines data and theory into proven hypothesis which are then verified. This is the best community book we have. If you only read one book this summer, make it this one.
2) Dale Carnegie - How To Win Friends and Influence People
This is vital for day to day interactions with members. If you want a basics primer in building and sustaining positive relationships, this will explain how. It's long, so once you get the idea feel free to skip the examples.
3) Etienne Wenger - Cultivating Communities of Practice
Whilst this book is written for those growing and managing CoPs, most of its information is relevant to all types of communities. Pay special attention to the domain of knowledge sections.
4) Robert Putnam - Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community
This is a mind-boggling sociological study in the collapse of community in modern America. It's not an online community book, it's better. It's a terrific insight into the creation collapse of social capital.
5) Paul Adams - Grouped: How Small Groups Of Friends Are Key To Influence On The Web
This isn't the most advanced book on the topic, but it's certainly the most readable. Paul explains why it's important to treat a community not as a homogenous group of individuals, but as a cumulative number of small, distinctive, groups. The key to building communities is to be able to cultivate and work with those groups
6) Robert Cialdini - Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Most people have read this now, that's a good thing. Robert Cialdini's book defined how we think about influencing people. He outlines 6 clear paths to gaining influence amongst an audience. You need to select one of these paths to build influence in your community.
7) Al Ries & Jack Trout - The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing & Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
These books are a terrific read BEFORE you've launched the community. They will teach you about conceptualization, how to position the community within it's sector, competing against existing communities. Neither are about communities, but you'll get the idea.
8) Howard Kerzner - Project Management: A Systems Approach To Planning, Scheduling and Controlling
Any project management book will do, but this is one of the best and most detailed. If you can't follow through on a plan of action in your day, you're going to struggle to move to execute (or develop) a strategic plan of action.
9) Douglas Atkin - The Culting Of The Brand
Douglas' book is a fascinating account of cult-marketing. It explains how and why people begin to love a brand and the benefits that building a sense of community amongst your audience can provide. We needed a book to explain the importance of communities in the list, this is it.
10) Joshua Porter - Designing for the Social Web
Along with this presentations, Joshua's books are a terrific read on improving the design of community sites. This wont resonate with everyone, but should provide something of value to everyone that reads the material.
Some freebies you can download right now...
You can even get some great books for free, such as these:
- Jono Bacon - The Art Of The Community (The best community management book we had for a long time, the second edition came out this week)
- Howard Rheingold - Virtual Communities: Homesteading On The Electronic Frontier (Howard's original classic, more entertaining than educational - now for free!)
- Richard Millington - The Proven Path (our own free contribution to the field)
If you read one of these, you will be a better community manager. If you read them all, well, you will be terrific!