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Your Summer Reading List

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

It’s almost summer time and you know what that means – lazy days, vacation, and time to spare! Well, maybe not quite that much extra time, but the truth is, the summer months can often be the most productive time of year for fundraising professionals. It can be a time to get caught up, focus on tasks that don’t always get the attention they deserve, and most importantly, to invest time and resources into yourself. Reading is the least expensive and most accessible form of professional development for yourself or your team members. 

(And the most overlooked and procrastinated.)


The DRG team has compiled their favorite titles to help guide and inspire you in forming your own summer reading list. So whether you are an old-school lover of paper books, or don’t go anywhere without your favorites downloaded onto your Kindle, here are a few titles you may enjoy….


Matthew’s Current End Table Stack:



Never Check Email in the Morning by Julie Morgenstern

Julie is an organization wizard, and I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance my own efficiency to help stay on top of everything. This is a great read with so many tips to utilize immediately.


Originals by Adam Grant (also on Lynne and Angie’s lists!)

I LOVE this book, and it has been on my reading list every summer since its debut. Adam captures great stories of entrepreneurial thinking that led to disruptive innovation. It’s an inspiring read for those of us who are inclined to think differently. 


Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I first read this when assigning it for a leadership class I taught years ago. It’s a fascinating study of the commonalities in high levels of success. A terrific read over the summer to help boost my morale before tackling another academic year.


And a new addition to my list that I’m excited to finish:

The Invisible Leader by Zach Mercurio

My friend, Zach, penned this book based on his research into purpose as a motivating force for meaningful engagement in the workplace. I am all about purpose-driven work, and can’t wait to unlock some secrets to discovering greater meaning of my own.


Lynne’s Airplane iPad List:



Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Wonderful book about how businesses set themselves apart with amazing customer service.


The Givers: Money, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age by David Callahan

A compelling read about donors using their influence and combining that with their giving for specific agendas. Especially timely given the recent George Mason issues.


Creative Quest by Questlove 

A wonderful read if your creativity is a bit stifled and needs a reboot! 


The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle 

Wonderful book for those of you trying to figure out if the atmosphere in your current environment is healthy or broken and what good culture looks like.


Angie’s Nightstand Must-Reads:



The Little Book of Gratitude by Robert A. Emmons, PhD

Creating a life of happiness and wellbeing by giving thanks.


The Cathedral Within by Bill Shore

Transforming your life by giving something back.


Plant Yourself Where You Will Bloom by Jennifer G. Anderson

How to turn what makes you unique into a meaningful and lucrative career.


Sarah’s Pool and Beach Bag Faves:


The New Gold Standard by Joseph Michelli

Leadership principles for creating a legendary customer service experience courtesy of the Ritz Carlton. My VP gave this to me with a handwritten note – it’s the first on my list!


Drive by Daniel Pink

A really interesting look at motivation and what truly drives us at work and at home.


When by Daniel Pink

Exploring how perfect timing in life and your career is actually a science you can master.


Great at Work by Morten Hansen

How top performers do less, work better, and achieve more. I’m all about less is more!


The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell 

A classic staple on leadership and team building.

If you’re flying, road tripping, beach laying, or generally relaxing this summer, grab one of these titles and dedicate time to your inner compass. Wherever you may go this summer, find yourself through a good book. You’re well worth it.

Stay tuned for more “Must Watch/Read/Listen” lists in the future covering podcasts, blogs, TedX talks, and more! Looking for a couple of great donor relations reads? Check out one of Lynne's books, The Four Pillars of Donor Relations and T-Rexes vs. Kangaroos.

What else is on your summer reading list? We'd love to hear in the comments below!

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