End of year book roundup

Readers, we’re so close to the end of 2020. Maybe there have been points this year where you’ve thought “gosh, I wish I could remember that book Rachel mentioned in that one blog post, but it’s just too [gestures broadly at everything] for me to go back and look for it.” Maybe not! Either way, I’m here for you.

In this post, I’ve gathered a list of all the books I referred to on the blog this year. Please consider buying them from your local independent bookstore or requesting them from your local library, and as you do, remember that their staff is also experiencing this 2020 holiday season, so be gentle about delays.

In order of appearance on the blog, here we go:

Lara Hogan, Resilient Management

Don’t be put off by the focus on tech teams – Resilient Management is great for understanding what your team members need from you, individually and as a group, and creating frameworks to meet those needs consistently.

Alison Greene and Jerry Hauser, Managing to Change the World

Required reading for all managers in nonprofit or for-impact organizations. If you’ve got a management question that starts with “How do I…”, chances are this book answers it well.

Shawna Potter, Making Spaces Safer

Learn about tactics for intervening when you see something happening that isn’t right. Not work-focused particularly, but the principles apply at work, especially if you’re on a small team without formal HR processes.

Karen Catlin, Better Allies

Hands-on, practical tips for being a better ally to all kinds of underrepresented groups in the workplace. Required reading for white folks, especially cis men.

Minda Harts, The Memo

Written by and for Black women in particular, and required reading for anyone who wants to understand how to do better at supporting and advancing the careers of the Black women in your org and your life (if you’re reading this blog, this is you).

Jennifer Brown, How to Be an Inclusive Leader

Helpful in breaking down the stages of understanding and action that we all go through, over and over again, in our efforts to become more inclusive leaders. If you’ve ever been frustrated because your team doesn’t look exactly the way you want it to right now, this book might be for you.

Christina Wodtke, Radical Focus

The definitive guide to OKRs (objectives and key results) as a way of framing goals for your org/team.

Brene Brown, Dare to Lead

Honestly? The hardest one on this list for me, reminding us of the importance and value of being vulnerable as a leader.

Carson Tate, Work Simply

This book had an outsized impact on my ability to collaborate with folks who don’t share my productivity style. Also, don’t miss the chapter on effective email writing.

Jeff Toister, Service Failure

Ostensibly focused on customer service operations, this book introduces the concept of maintenance and recovery anchors that have been key for me in framing what healthy teams look like.


I’m thinking about including some full book recap/review posts in 2021 – leave a note in the comments or email me to know what you’d like to see covered! (“Please cover my management book” is a very acceptable request, especially if you’re from a group that’s underrepresented in leadership!)

Have a safe New Year, all, and I’ll see you in January.

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