Quiip > Blog > At Work > Community Managers’ Reading List: 29 Books

Community Managers’ Reading List: 29 Books


I like big books and I cannot lie

Interested in online communities and community management? Here’s a list I recently compiled for an answer on Quora – good books for Community Managers (with a few more thrown in for good measure!).

  1. Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online CommunitiesAmy Jo Kim (2000)
  2. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic FrontierHoward Rheingold (2000)
  3. The Cluetrain Manifesto: 10th Anniversary Edition
    Rick Levine, Doc Searls, Christopher Locke, Jake Mckee (2009 – 10yr anniversary ed.)
    Amazingly these three are 11 years old but every bit relevant.
  4. Buzzing Communities Rich Millington (2012)
  5. The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation Jono Bacon (2009)
  6. Managing Online Forums: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Run Successful Community Discussion Boards Patrick O’Keefe (2008)
  7. Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities Etienne Wenger (2009)
  8. Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing KnowledgeEtienne Wenger, Richard McDermott and William Synder (2002)
  9. Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies Charlene Li & Joshua Bernoff (revised ed 2011)
  10. Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into CollaboratorsClay Shirky (2011)
  11. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without OrganizationsClay Shirky (2009)
  12. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning)(2009)
    (Particularly relevant if youth is your Community Management focus.)
  13. 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers OnlineAngela Connor (2009)
  14. Threadless: Ten Years of T-shirts from the World’s Most Inspiring Online Design Community(2010)
  15. Companies and Communities: Participating without being sleazyDawn M. Foster (2009)
  16. Online Community Management For DummiesDeborah Ng
  17. Social Networking for Nonprofits: Increasing Engagement in a Mobile and Web 2.0 WorldAndy Steggles (2010) < thanks to Anne-margaret Olsson for this addition.
  18. Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-Based Social DesignRobert E. Kraut and Paul Resnick. (2012)

    For Community Designers, Programmers, UI/UX peeps etc.
  19. Building Web Reputation SystemsRandy Farmer, Bryce Glass (2010)
  20. Design for CommunityDerek Powazek (2001)
  21. Design to Thrive: Creating Social Networks and Online Communities that LastTharon Howard (2010)
  22. Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improving the User Experience (Animal Guide)Cristian Crumlish and Erin Malone (2009) < another one from Anne, thanks!

    For MMO, Virtual Worlds & Gamers (but fascinating insight regardless)
  23. The Guild Leader’s Handbook: Strategies and Guidance from a Battle-Scarred MMO VeteranScott F Andrews (2010)

    Broader social media & marketing makes for a long list, but here are some popular ones with crossover below:
  24. Tribes: We Need You to Lead UsSeth Godin (2008)
  25. The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social WebTamar Weinberg (2009)
  26. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn TrustChris Brogan (2010)
  27. The Thank You EconomyGary Vaynerchuk (2011)
  28. The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your BusinessTara Hunt (2009)
  29. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and PurposeTony Hseih (2010) < thanks to @Nimapt for the addition :)

If you want to delve into further into designing for community, knowledge management, virtual worlds, gaming or another area there are plenty more to read. If you have any recommendations you’d like to have added, please drop me a comment. Thanks!


Article by Alison Michalk
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=539670739 Chris Boardman

    Excellent! Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=539670739 Chris Boardman

    btw- disqus is behind….this is not my current avatar.

    • http://www.quiip.com.au/blog Alison Michalk

      Hmm why is it so? Let me know if I can fix it somehow!

  • Anne-margaret Olsson

    This is GREAT!  Thank you! 

    Two more to add:  “Designing Social Interfaces” by Christian Crumlish & Erin Malone and “Social Networking for Nonprofits” by Andy Steggles.

    • http://www.quiip.com.au/blog Alison Michalk

      Brilliant, they’ve been added. Thank you! We’re up to 27 now.

  • http://www.ifroggy.com iFroggy

    Thanks for the mention, Alison. I appreciate it!

  • Nima

    Thanks for the shout-out Alison, appreciate it – you’ve cultivated a great list here!

    I just finished up (#9) Cognitive Surplus and definitely recommend it. Took 4 pages of notes and I think I still missed some gems. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathon.hutch Jonathon Hutch

    Here’s a few to add to the list that I found useful:

    Abraham, L & Behrendt, C 2010, Oh My God What Happened?, 1st edn, http://www.PaywithaTweet.com.

    Baym, NK 2000, Tune In Log On: Soaps Fandom and Online Community, New Media Cultures, Sage Publications Inc., London.

    Bruns, A 2008, Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage, Peter Lang, New York.

    Burgess, J & Green, J 2009, YouTube: online video and participatory culture, Polity Press, Cambridge.

    Green, J & Jenkins, H 2009, ‘The Moral Economy of Web 2.0’, in J Holt & A Perren (eds), Media Industries: history theory and method, Wiley-Blackwell, Maiden MA, pp. 213 – 25 & 31 – 44.

    Hartley, J 2009, ‘TV Stories: From Representation to Productivity’, in J Hartley & K McWilliam (eds), Story Circle – Digital Storytelling Around the World, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, p. 16.

    Hebdige, D 1979, Subculture, The Meaning of Style, 1st edn, Routledge, London.

    Hesmondhalgh, D 2007, The Cultural Industries, 2nd edn, Sage, London.

    Jenkins, H 2006, Convergence Culture – Where Old and New Media Collide, 1st edn, New York University Press.

    Leadbeater, C 2008, We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production, Profile, London.

    Malaby, TM 2009, Making Virtual Worlds, Linden Lab and Second Life, Cornell University Press, New York.

    Nightingale, V 1996, Studying Audiences: The Shock of the Real, Routledge, London & New York.

    Zittrain, J 2008, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it., 1st edn, Yale University Press, London.

    A little bit varied but all of this literature, I think, aids in the greater understanding of community management.


  • http://twitter.com/crustyadventure Christy McCarthy

    Hi Alison,
    Thanks for the list… I’ve been a community manager for 6 years but after a year of maternity leave have come back to work and need to sharpen up my brain!  I’ve got some Community Strategy documents to write in the next few months and need to go right back to basics.

  • http://twitter.com/SueOnTheWeb Sue

    Here’s one to add to the list that I’ve just started reading: “Building Successful Online Communities – Evidence-based Social Design.” Robert E. Kraut and Paul Resnick.

    • http://twitter.com/quiip Alison Michalk

      Thanks Sue! I’ve bought it on my Kindle but I’m only a few pages in. Interesting so far and seems to come recommended from CMs I’d admire. Like yourself! Now if I can just find some time to read it…

  • http://about.me/trib/ Stephen Collins

    I have, or have read, the majority of those. Excellent. I cannot recommend Amy Jo Kim and higher. Find and order it if you don’t have it.

    Can I also recommend:

    Open Community, Lindy Dreyer and Maddie Grant (2010)
    Humanize, Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant (2012)

    I’ve got an offensively large list of reading around more general organisational innovation and change, and a lot of what I read and own can be seen on Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/3178326

    • http://www.quiip.com.au/blog Alison Michalk

      Thanks @trib22:disqus! Totally agree – Amy Jo’s book is a stand out for me. Although the list isn’t in any order, there’s a reason it was first to mind.

      I’ve not read either of these, will add them to the list. Might be time for me to edit this post – we’re well over 30 books now.

  • http://www.quiip.com.au/blog Alison Michalk

    Hey it reverted my “at trib” to your full name, sounds a tad more formal than anticipated :)