Published: 2 August 2016

Summer reading: recommendations from our community

Summer is a great time to catch up on all the reading you’ve not had time for already. But put down that copy of the new Harry Potter book! We’ve got a list of comms-related reads you might want to check out instead. 

Recommended by our comms-savvy community, these books will give you fresh ideas, inspiration and an anecdote or two to put a kick in your comms after the summer holidays.  

1. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

Described as a self-help book for ideas, the Heath brothers examine why some ideas stick in the mind, while others don't. The prevailing theme of this book: keep it simple. Becca Hewitt Peters said:

Made to Stick gave memorable examples that related easily to my work and made me think differently about the human power of marketing.

2. Contagious by Jonah Berger

People don't listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. In this book, Berger considers the power of word of mouth and what makes it so contagious. Abby Wright-Parkes said:

A really practical walk-through why people share content – Berger's model has six elements. It reminds you how important word-of-mouth is – both on and offline.

3. Ireland says Yes by Gráinne Healy, Brian Sheehan and Noel Whelan

In 2015, Ireland became the first nation to vote for marriage equality in a referendum. The campaigners behind the campaign share their story in Ireland says Yes. Tom Baker said:

It's a page-turning account of a referendum campaign which successfully integrated brilliant messaging, powerful messengers and creative tactics to win.

4. Undercover User Experience Design by Cennydd Bowles and James Box

A handy introduction to user experience (UX) design, Undercover User Experience Design provides frank advice on making UX work in real companies with real problems. Charlie Peverett said:

This book will help you build user insights into your design without frightening the budget holder. Inspiration for anyone who wants to run a wiser web project.

5. The Political Brain by Drew Westen

Focusing on 50 years of American presidential and national elections, The Political Brain challenges the assumption that the mind makes decisions by weighing up evidence and instead looks at how emotions, principles and feelings influence voting and campaign success. Antonia Bance said:

It may be a few years old now, but the insight is still relevant. It borrows from neuroscience to remind us that people’s minds are changed by emotional resonance – how things look and feel – not by rational decision-making alone. It’s a great read for professional communicators who work for a better world. 

6. Effective Media Relations for Charities by Becky Slack

Packed with insight from charities large and small, Effective Media Relations for Charities provides communications professionals with the tools they need to develop a media strategy which presents a consistent message that’s heard by the right people at the right time. Annette Lewis said:

As a newbie to charity communications, this book helped me to have a clear understanding of what charity communications is, its importance and how to get it right. 

7. Make it Matter by Joe Barrell and published by CharityComms 

Crafting a comms strategy that works for your organisation isn’t a science. Joe’s book is packed with expertise, inspiration and insight, learn from the best in the sector. Victoria Smith said:

Did we miss your favourite? Add to the list in the comments below.

More like this
Check out Zoe Amar's summer reading list from last year
Get a copy of Make it Matter


Susheila Juggapah, senior digital supporter retention officer, Scope

Sushi joined Scope in October 2018 to support retention of Scope's monthly subscription product, Mindful Monsters, an exciting way for families to explore mindfulness. She previously worked at CharityComms and continues to host the CharityComms podcast with Robyn. Sushi has worked with various charities and non-profits for the past eight years, specialising in digital communications and supporter journeys.