The 10 Best CSR Books to Give as Gifts or Read Over the Holidays

We asked some leading CSR experts what books they recommend..
Dec 14, 2016 1:45 PM ET
Campaign: Getting to Impact

The Versaic Blog

The holiday season is here. Your gifts may be picked out and ready to go, but what about something for your CSR colleagues? And what about your own wish list? The holiday break is a great time to catch up on your reading. We asked some leading CSR experts what books they have recently read and why they recommend them. There’s plenty here to get you and your colleagues fired up for the year ahead..

1. The Handbook of Board Governance: A Comprehensive Guide for Public, Private, and Not-for-Profit Board Members by Richard Leblanc

“Riveting read for anyone interested in corporate governance and CSR/sustainability, this book includes dozens of chapters, each written by content experts. Topics range from board composition and the value of diversity, board responsibilities and effectiveness, to compensation, succession planning, and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and climate change.”

-- Alice Korngold, CEO, Korngold Consulting

2. The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti 

“The New Geography of Jobs shed a lot of light on how each information sector job supports two to five skilled and unskilled jobs - from waiters to landscapers to childcare - in cities around the country. A must-read if one is interested in community economic development and how systems grow.” 

-- Andrew Yang, Founder and CEO, Venture for America 

3. The Business of Good: Social Entrepreneurship and the New Bottom Line by Jason Haber

“Jason Haber does a great job of diving into the stereotypes of philanthropy and for-profit businesses. Jason also has identified several unknown case studies (we all know about TOMS already) of businesses who are choosing a socially driven for-profit business.”

-- Seth McGuinness, President and Founder, Giving Great

4. Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard

“This is a guidebook to corporate social responsibility and is the proof point that overcomes executives’ fears to ask the right questions that unearth difficult answers, answers that are supposedly costly in the short term yet the greatest cost is our planet and humanity. The free market system and capitalism actually hold the greatest ability to change the world for the better and this explains how.”

-- Christen Graham, President, Giving Strong, Inc. 

5. Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders from One of Philanthropy's Top Advisors by Kris Putnam- Walkerly 

“Giving asserts that a culture of philanthropy is nurtured by leaders who aren't afraid to leverage the strengths of those who surround them. Kris reminds the philanthropic community that transformational grantmaking is achieved through collaboration with grantees, partners, a community network, and consultants who bring focused expertise to bear on defining problems and designing solutions.”

-- Brian Sooy, Principal and Design Director, Aespire

6. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

“As the hustle and bustle between work-life balance continue to intersect, media mogul and former Editor-in-Chief, Arianna Huffington, believes there is more to life than just earning a big salary. With money and power, comes burnout and stress-related illnesses as well as the compromise of family and friends over our careers. In other words, what really matters in life? With her own personal wake-up call of sleep deprivation, Arianna talks openly about juggling the heavy demands of her business and the importance of unplugging from it all. Therefore, how we can redefine success in the world of accessibility and instant gratification.”

-- Charles Archer, CEO and Founder, The THRIVE Network

7. Dig Where You Are: How One Person’s Effort Can Save a Life, Empower a Community and Create Meaningful Change in the World by Nan Doyal

“The heroes of social innovation in Nan Doyal’s book have much in common with successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. Each has a high tolerance for self-disruption, discipline in execution, attention to detail, and a relentless focus on the end-user. But even more important than these traits, is their clear sense of purpose and their ability to involve others in defining it. Dig Where You Are casts an important framework for modern leadership and driving sustainable change -- in any kind of organization. It's an inspirational reminder of the power of purpose, conviction and customer focus.”

-- Rich Williams, CEO, Groupon  

8.The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationships with Money and Life by Lynne Twist

"Money is an essential part of our lives and society, and something most have hardly stopped to really think about what it is, what it means to us and another culture vastly different from yourself. This book helps you rethink how you relate to money and realize the energy it carries and how your relationship with money impacts how you are able to give."

 --Caroline Pinal, Founder, Giveback Homes

9. Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2017 by Lucy Bernholz

"A self-identified “philanthropy wonk,” Lucy reflects on politics and technology, and their influence on civil society and the evolution of philanthropy. She adeptly addresses recent political events in the US and shares concrete tips on how organizations can apply the Blueprint ideas at their organizations."

 -- Jennifer C. Weston-Murphy, Corporate Leadership, CECP

10. Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up For Itself and Really Change the World by Dan Pallotta by Dan Pallotta

"Dan Pallotta provides a radical rethinking of how we perceive and judge the work of charities. He exposes the undermining structures that confine charities working toward a world that works for everyone. "How do you monetize compassion and love?"

Philanthropy addresses markets that cannot always be measured. In this candid critique of the inequitable standards telling charities to "act more like a business - by businesspeople who refuse to allow them to use any of the real tools of business" is where Pallotta shines. A refreshing voice for those inside and outside of philanthropy and CSR alike."

--Elana Yonah, Chief Advancement Officer, Conscious Capitalism

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