Summer Reading List for Success in the Public Sector

This summer, rather than dragging out the insipid beach-friendly reads with sand in their spines, why not bone up on practical skills and knowledge that can help you in your work?

Many of these books are so brand-spankin’ new that I haven’t had a chance to read them yet. If this list isn’t enough, check last year’s GovLoop’s previous reading list. If you find yourself inspired by one of these books this summer, be sure to come back here and let me know.

Everything-Connects-Faisal-Hoque-cover Everything Connects: How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation, and Sustainability
Faisal Hoque with Drake Baer (January 2014)
Faisal Hoque and Drake Baer hold up a mirror to society, business, and human beings, and shows how they interrelate. Part philosophy, part business theory, and part history, Everything Connects is a kaleidoscopic view of the way humans—by being able to think out of the box—have been able to achieve greatness for themselves, their companies, and the world at large. Value creation, says Hoque, is “a continuous conversation between inside and outside. As individuals and as organizations, we need to devotedly cultivate resources in ourselves.”

Communicat-to-Influence-Decker-cover Communicate to Influence: How to Inspire Your Audience to Action
Ben Decker and Kelly Decker (April 2015)
Management demands effective communication, from the meeting room to the water cooler, as well as during speeches, quarterly reviews, presentations, and even internal project discussions with peers and staff. Drawing on case studies, hands-on experience, research validation, and proven tested concepts, Communicate to Influence shares practical tools that readers can immediately implement.

Social-Media-Local-Governments-coverSocial Media and Local Governments: Navigating the New Public Square Paperback
Patricia E. Salkin and Julie A. Tappendorf (December 2013)
This book provides practical information to government attorneys and officials in their use of social media in the government context. The authors provide examples of how communities across the country implement social media; explore First Amendment issues, Sunshine Laws, and copyright and privacy concerns, among other legal considerations; examine public employee usage of social media, whether at or away from the workplace; and explore ethical issues faced by public officials. It concludes with sample social media policy forms and a checklist for creating and implementing a new social media policy.

Race-Talk-Derald-Wing-Sue-coverRace Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race
Derald Wing Sue (January 2015)
A guide for facilitating and participating in difficult dialogues about race, author Derald Wing Sue—an internationally recognized expert on multiculturalism, diversity, and microaggressions—explores the characteristics, dynamics, and meaning behind discussions about race as well as the hidden “ground rules” that inhibit honest and productive dialogue. This book explains why conversations revolving around racial issues are so difficult, and provides guidelines, techniques, and advice for navigating and leading honest and forthright discussions.

Phishing-Dark-Waters-Hadnagy-coverPhishing Dark Waters: The Offensive and Defensive Sides of Malicious Emails
Christopher Hadnagy & Michele Fincher (April 2015)
Phishing is a social engineering technique through email that deceives users into taking an action that is not in their best interest, but usually with the goal of disclosing information or installing malware on the victim’s computer. Phishing Dark Waters explains the phishing process and techniques, and the defenses available to keep scammers at bay. This book provides insight into the financial, corporate espionage, nation state, and identity theft goals of the attackers, and teaches how to spot a spoofed e-mail or cloned website.

Customer-Experience-for-Dummies-coverCustomer Experience For Dummies
Roy Barnes and Bob Kelleher (November 2014)

A positive customer experience is absolutely essential to keeping your business relevant. Today’s business owners need to know how to connect and engage with their customers through a variety of different channels, including online reviews and word of mouth. Customer Experience For Dummies helps you listen to your customers and offers friendly, practical, and easy-to-implement solutions for incorporating customer engagement into your business plans and keep the crowds singing your praises.

Dog-Whistle-Politics-Lopez-coverDog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class
Ian Haney López (January 2014)
I spotted this book when looking up the sold out 2015 Governing for Racial Equity (GRE) Conference, for which author Ian Haney López is the keynote. In Dog Whistle Politics, the author offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. The book will generate a lively and much-needed debate about how racial politics has destabilized the American middle class—white and nonwhite members alike.

Starting-Strong-Zachary-Fischler-coverStarting Strong: A Mentoring Fable
Lois J. Zachary and Lory A. Fischler (October 2014)

A tale about the concepts, highlights the dynamics, and outlines the issues involved in mentoring relationships. The authors, Zachary and Fishcler, use the form of a fable to tell the story of a budding mentoring relationship filled with possibilities, problems, and triumphs.

Alignment-for-Success-Katharine-Halpin-coverAlignment for Success: Bringing Out the Best in Yourself, Your Teams, and Your Company
Katharine Halpin (November 2014)
A book that explains practical, easy-to-implement habits that will bring out the best in yourself, your teams and your organization. Based on a methodology for transforming people’s careers and workplaces.author Katharine Halpin is a former CPA and business analyst and has spent the past 20 years as a strategic thinking partner to leadership teams of complex organizations of all sizes.

Cereal-Wars-George-Franklin-coverRaisin Bran and Other Cereal Wars: 30 Years of Lobbying for the Most Famous Tiger in the World
George Franklin (August 2014)
An inside look at the life of a corporate lobbyist from someone who lived it. The book takes you from fundraisers, to the halls of Congress, to the White House and on to China, South Africa and Mexico with a stop at ground zero just days after 9/11. George Franklin provides insights into the widely misunderstood role of corporate government relations and how it affects public policy. It’s a book for anyone interested in learning more about the complex and stimulating confluence of business, law, lobbying and politics.

What books are on your summer reading list that can help you succeed at work? Share them in the comments.

Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and trainer. Find her on Twitter at @girardinl.

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Avatar photo Leah Anderson

Great blog post, Lauren! Totally agree with your first choice by the way – “Everything Connects” by Drake Baer and Faisal Hoque. Big fan of Mr. Baer’s as I think he has a knack for simplifying how we interact with each other in a very frank and truthful manner.

Denise Kiley

If your agency has access to Safari Books Online, you can read several of these books there. They include Everything Connects, Phishing Dark Waters, Customer Experience and Starting Strong.