When I read Doing Good Better, I was looking for this. That isn’t a knock on Doing Good Better, it’s a kudos to Simple Giving and Jennifer Iacovelli. And I guess that’s an even bigger kudos to Tarcher/Penguin (publisher’s site) for sending me a copy because I would never have found sought it out, even though philanthropy is what I do for a living.* Simple Giving comes out next week October 27, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Where Iacovelli succeeds in the breadth of which she covers in this rather short book. She talks about individual and crowd sourced philanthropy, she talks about volunteering and socially conscious purchases and businesses and she spends time talking about how you can engage even the youngest of philanthropists in volunteering their time.
I’m a little torn on this book. At the same time that it reminded me of some fascinating books I’ve read over the past few years (Geraldine Brook’s March and William MacAskill’s Doing Good Better) I couldn’t help but compare it to Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. And unfortunately for Aptowicz, it wasn’t that great of a comparison. Don’t get me wrong, this was a very interesting read and I enjoyed the book. I’m sure this book had its own set of challenges in the research done, but I still can’t quite put my finger on why I wasn’t as much a fan of this.
At first I thought it was because Aptowicz was super young and this was her first book. Her writing style felt a bit like student-work, which she admits is when she got the idea and started writing originally, but I found out pretty quick I was wrong on this one. And it’s not her first book, but it is her first work of nonfiction. (Thanks Wikipedia.) Either way, I’m grateful to Avery, a Penguin Books imprint, for providing a copy.* And the best part is, if you’re interested in the book it’s just been released in paperback at the beginning of September! (AKA Yay for more affordability!; Publisher’s website.)
My final foray, at least for the time being, into professional development was Badowski’s Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship with Those Above You, and if I’m completely honest it’s the only one I should have read.
I enjoyed the “theory” and the “professional opinions” in the Harvard Business Review compilations I read, Managing Up (The 20-Minute Manager Series) and HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across, but neither of them had the wit, the humor or the charm of this book. Seriously, there is something to be said about reading a book that could be an incredibly boring (or pedantic) subject that makes you laugh out loud or giggle to yourself on public transportation. They all provide great advice, but this book offered the advice through the art of storytelling and not the other way around.
I’m torn on this one and not for any obvious reasons. I think MacAskill does an excellent job laying out the foundations of “effective altruism” and I think this is something fundraisers and nonprofits need to be aware of for the future. However, I feel like there wasn’t enough to convince me 100% that this is the best way to move forward, probably because I had questions about MacAskill’s own nonprofits and experience.
Let’s start with the good. MacAskill has created a solid evidence-based way of helping alleviate some of the world’s biggest problems. Learning what a Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY, pronounced kwalee) challenged my perception of how to rate a nonprofit, but more importantly raised questions about whether things should be comparable when you’re talking about life-saving research. The answer is yes, with a bunch of caveats.
If you follow the blog you’re aware I’ve been having a mini-professional identity crisis. Earlier this week I wrote about What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016 where I found tips and tricks to focus on my strengths and professional interests. I also wrote about my first forays into the idea of managing up with Harvard Business Review’s Managing Up, in their 20-Minute Manager Series. I was interested in finding out more after I read it and luckily I already had a copy of this from my local library.
As I read Managing Up (The 20-Minute Manager Series), I realized I’ve had great managers at all of my positions. Each one of them has encouraged me to explore my interests and to develop skills that will help me throughout my career. What I’ve also learned is that knowing a lot about your own personality, work style and needed support are vital to success.
I wanted to look into the idea of “managing up” because every job I’ve held my direct manager has gone out for maternity or medical leave and this has thrown me into a different management structure than what I was used to. And then when my manager has returned it was yet another adjustment.
My immediate response to this book: They were not lying when they said 20 minutes! I actually read this book twice before I sat down to write my response. The good part is, that where I felt this book kept me wanting, they recommend reading the HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across, also by the Harvard Business Review and I already have a copy from the library!
When I first received a request from the publisher, Ten Speed Press, to look at this book I was a bit hesitant. The primary reasons was that I’m not looking for a new job.
After checking out the press release and reading a bit more about the book’s history I realized this would be an excellent resource regardless of employment status and I’m so glad I read it. I did receive a copy from the publisher and I received no compensation in return for an honest response.
Overall, I found this book very informative. I think it’s useful regardless of employment status, especially if you want to learn more about yourself professionally. I wish I could write about everything I found useful in the book, but I’m only going to touch on a few specific topics. This being said, the tips in the book work.