Summer Reading List Series: 7 Books to Inspire You to Give Back

A bunch of people getting plant handouts

Summer is a time for vacations and an opportunity to enjoy a little extra daylight savings time on the porch. It’s also a great time to curl up with a good book that motivates us to be bolder and better. Naturally, books about giving back can help us be our best as they show us how others have accomplished this goal. It is precisely these types of inspirational books that not only improve our lives but those around us. Therefore, the following is a list of seven inspiring books about giving back you might want to include in your summer reading list. Their powerful messages are just what you might need to redefine your values and refocus your priorities.

  1. Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and How You Can Make a Difference – William MacAskill

When it comes to giving back and philanthropy, we often let our emotions guide our actions. If something feels good, we assume it is. But unfortunately, when it comes to charity, that’s not always the case. In Doing Good Better, MacAskill injects data driven insights into the process and encourages us to approach giving back differently. As an associate professor in philosophy at Oxford University, he applies evidence to the process. Or in other words, applies the head to the heart in one of the most inspirational books about charity. The result is one of the best books about giving back you’ll find this summer.

  1. Change Your World: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make a Difference – John C. Maxwell and Rob Hoskins

As gurus in leadership and change transformation, this is one of the most welcomed inspirational books of late. Both authors are well known for their unique insights and Change Your World will not disappoint in this regard. In addition to factoids and inspiring stories, the book provides a guide for giving back. Plus, it also provides a Transformation Table to assist with the process. In essence, the authors outline a value-based strategy for maximizing your returns for your efforts. It certainly deserves to be included among the books about giving back that you might consider.

  1. The Red Bandana: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy. – Tom Rinaldi

Not all the books about giving back on the list is a guided instruction on effective altruism. Some of these are simply inspirational books designed to motivate you to do more. The Red Bandana is precisely this type of book as you will be truly moved by its contents. Rinaldi details stories of a young man (identified only by his red bandana) who saved many during 9/11. Refusing to leave the World Trade Center himself, Welles Crowther repeatedly went back in to help others. It’s his fearless choice to make a difference in the face of his own demise that will inspire you to do more. And it will also prove that heroes are everywhere even though we may not realize it.

  1. Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love – Katie Davis Majors

Kisses from Katie is another one of the more inspiring books you might want to read. As a teen graduating from high school, few of us would choose to leave friends, family, college and career behind. But Katie did just that when she left for Uganda shortly after her graduation. Having visited there during a missionary trip, Katie believed her calling was to help the Ugandan children. As such, she established a ministry that educated and fed these children in need. She even adopted 13 of them over time. As a Christian-focused story of female charity, it has to be considered one of the most powerful books about giving back.

  1. Do More Good – Bill McKendry

While this book is geared toward nonprofits and those leading organizations, it’s one of the more inspirational books around. McKendry explores the motivations within us that makes us want to do more and make a difference. Ultimately, he believes, it comes down to knowing our own selves and then being able to effectively communicate this. In the process, he shares many incredible stories of charity and helping others that molding his beliefs today. Thus, for anyone wanting to start a nonprofit or accomplish much, it is one of the best books about giving back.

  1. HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Step at a Time – Brad Aronson

It’s amazing how life events take you in different paths. For Brad Aronson, his life changed when his wife was diagnosed with leukemia. Without question, the ensuing two years were challenging. But the outpouring of human kindness his family received inspired him to write this book. HumanKind is full of stories about how the simplest acts of generosity can have tremendous effects on others. It is truly one of the most moving and inspirational books on the market today. And its lessons provided about random acts of charity also makes it one of the best books about giving back. As is evident from the tales, the impact we have on others is nearly always underestimated.

  1. Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count – Phil Buchanan

While this may not be among the most inspiring books about charity, it certainly packs a punch. Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, shares insights about how to get the most out of philanthropy efforts. He dispels the notion that business models are required to be responsible in one’s giving. But at the same time, he also shows how to be data-driven, practical and value-focused. As one of the most practical books about giving back, Buchanan helps his readers avoid common mistakes. And by applying his techniques, you’ll be much less concerned that your philanthropy is going for naught.

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