11 Books That All Community Professionals Should Read


Note: While I share great blog posts from fellow community pros and bloggers on a fairly routine basis, it’s been awhile since I’ve shared a book list of many of the books that I have been reading. So, I thought I would share some of my faves in this post. To spice things up, I’m also doing my first giveaway on this blog. I’m going to give one lucky reader the full book bundle. Read on to enter. ¬†ūüôā ¬†

11 Books That All Community Pros Should


I read a lot. Like a whole lot. Be it blog posts, news article and lots of books. While the format and medium of what I’m reading changes by the month, err. week or just by the day. It doesn’t change the fact that I consume at least one hour of reading material day in and day out, including weekends. Often times more.

I struggle to think of a time where I wasn’t a voracious reader, dating way back to elementary school. I always had my nose in a book. Back then, it was usually a Goosebumps or Babysitter’s Club book. (What can I say, I’m a 90s kid through and through). And if I wasn’t reading, I was writing creative stories on Notepad on my mom’s Windows 95 computer.

If I’m perfectly honest with myself, there’s only two things that I never regret or feel guilty about buying: books and plane tickets. Because, reading and travel are the two things that I can always walk away knowing I learned more about myself and the world around me.

As a community manager, there’s a certain amount of our jobs that we can only get by learning by doing. But, there’s also an even larger amount that you can learn by reading and by studying other communities.

It’s easy to think that you have the world on your shoulders when you are tasked to build or grow a community. However, if you take a deep breath and just look around, you will see that there are thousands of communities that have been built before the one you were tasked with building.

No matter how challenging it may be. Or, how different your community is from x, y and z. Your community isn’t such a special snowflake that you can’t learn from other communities around you. It’s not just from other communities in your niche. You can actually learn even more from communities completely outside your specific niche. In fact, if you really want to learn about the deep roots a community can have, study a cult. (To be clear, study a cult. Please don’t try to build a cult or join one for that matter). Cults are communities taken to the extreme. Repeat: Build a community. Don’t build a cult. Cults are scary. For realsies.)

Not surprisingly,¬†I read a bunch of blogs from fellow community pros. Here’s a few of my favorites.

I learn a ton more from reading books (actual books not just blogs) not related to community building at all. Some of these books are customer support and marketing focused, but many more are related to my interests- including travel, entrepreneurship/small business, sports and entertainment. This makes sense. All the collective experiences we have help shape our opinions. This includes all the content we read.

While this is far from a conclusive list, I wanted to give you a sneak peek into some of the books that I’ve read and thoroughly appreciated over the last year. (Many of these books I’ve read multiple times. ūüôā )

1. Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build A Better Startup Faster –¬†Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz¬†

2. The Art of Being Unmistakable – Srinivas Rao

3.  Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion -Dr. Robert Ciadini  

4. Girlboss- Sophia Amoruso 

5. The Power of Unpopular РErika Napoletano  

6. Rework РJason Fried and David Helnemeler 

7. Choose Yourself РJames Altucher  

8.  The End of Jobs РTaylor Pearson 

9. Ctrl, Alt, Delete- Mitch Joel  

10. Bossypants РTina Fey 

11. How to Win Friends and Influence People РDale Carnegie 

As you can tell, most of these books aren’t your traditional ‚ÄĚňúmarketing” or ‚Äúcommunity building” books. While many of these books couldn’t be more different from one another, all of them left me with some new thoughts and experiences to pull from in my day to day. That’s the real sign of a great book.

I’ll be giving away this book bundle (Yes, all 11 books) to one lucky subscriber on Wednesday¬†September 16th.¬†

To enter to win a copy of all of these books, all you need to do is:¬†Sign up for my email list here.¬†¬†(No Spam guaranteed! I promise I won’t email you more than twice a month.)

I’ll choose and announce one lucky winner to my subscriber list via email on Wednesday September 16th.

With that, it’s only fitting to close out this book by allowing us to jet back in time to what inspired myself and so many other 90s kids to pick up books as kids. The one and only LeVar Burton. That’s right. It’s Reading Rainbow time. So pick up your favorite book and get reading.

About the author

Jessica Malnik