The best books for enlightened nonprofit arts management

Matthew Hinsley Author Of Creativity to Community: Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time
By Matthew Hinsley

Who am I?

I’ve been a community leader in the arts for more than twenty-five years. In raising millions of dollars, advocating for arts in our schools and communities, and teaching arts administration at the university level, I’ve had countless opportunities to witness the energy in people’s hearts that turns into action, growth, and success. What I’ve learned is that success in this arena involves things you can’t see or measure, like kindness, gratitude, and wonder. When we harness those elements of Essence, however, we can change the world.


I wrote...

Creativity to Community: Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time

By Matthew Hinsley,

Book cover of Creativity to Community: Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time

What is my book about?

Creativity to Community: Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time is both an inspiring and practical guide for anyone who values the role of art in their community. Written by Dr. Matthew Hinsley, a successful arts administrator who managed the growth of an arts nonprofit from its infancy to become the largest of its kind in America, Creativity to Community is an approachable yet detailed guide that addresses the most important issues facing community arts organization leaders.

The books I picked & why

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The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

By Don Richard Riso, Russ Hudson,

Book cover of The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

Why this book?

I was thirty years old before I began to realize that people are wildly different. I don’t mean different culturally or linguistically, I don’t mean different in terms of interests or preferences. I mean different in terms of core motivations. Personality is a profound part of every human. It’s a critical thing to understand if we are going to occupy the personal or professional space of anyone else for any reason. There is no better book than Riso/Hudson’s masterful book on enneagram.


Power Plays

By Robert D. Mayer,

Book cover of Power Plays

Why this book?

Early in my career, I came into conflict with a prickly character who was known to bully his adversaries. Colleagues had told me tales of angry rants and threatened lawsuits, and eventually, there came a time when I found myself in the crosshairs. I was young, inexperienced, and scared, and I was dealing with an older person who had plenty of tricks. So I started casting around for resources that would help me up my negotiation game. I stumbled onto Power Plays, by Robert Mayer, a famous LA-based lawyer who had represented and negotiated for clients ranging from famous actors, to major corporations, to foreign governments. It changed my life.


Good to Great and the Social Sectors

By Jim Collins,

Book cover of Good to Great and the Social Sectors

Why this book?

One of the best-known business books of our time is Good To Great by Jim Collins. The book has sold millions of copies and is quoted in classrooms and workplaces all over the world all the time. But far fewer people know about Collin’s Good To Great and the Social Sector. It’s a critical work by one of the great business minds about the profound differences between for-profit and non-profit worlds. Every board member needs a copy.


Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World

By Vivek H Murthy M.D.,

Book cover of Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World

Why this book?

Vivek Murthy has been Surgeon General of the United States in both the Obama and Biden administrations. Together is a book about the health crisis of loneliness facing America. When you go deep as the leader of an arts organization, no matter what your organization does, I think you’ll realize that what you do has the potential to address this crisis in powerful ways.


The Infinite Game

By Simon Sinek,

Book cover of The Infinite Game

Why this book?

Most people first met Simon Sinek through his immensely influential 2010 Ted Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, when the bestselling business guru introduced his communication theory called the Golden Circle. In The Infinite Game, Sinek opens our eyes to a transcendent vision for the role of business in the world that will change the way you think about commerce. 


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