The best books for enlightened nonprofit arts management

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

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The books I picked & why

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

Matthew Hinsley Why did I love 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.

By Don Richard Riso, Russ Hudson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Wisdom of the Enneagram as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first definitive guide to using the wisdom of the enneagram for spiritual and psychological growth

The ancient symbol of the Enneagram has become one of today's most popular systems for self-understanding, based on nine distinct personality types. Now, two of the world's foremost Enneagram authorities introduce a powerful new way to use the Enneagram as a tool for personal transformation and development. Whatever your spiritual background, the Enneagram shows how you can overcome your inner barriers, realize your unique gifts and strengths, and discover your deepest direction in life.

The Wisdom of the Enneagram includes:

Two highly accurate questionnaires…


Book cover of Power Plays

Matthew Hinsley Why did I love 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.

By Robert D. Mayer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Power Plays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A thorough guide to the art of negotiation shares a host of tips and strategies based on recent developments in psychology, linguistics, and communications and provides step-by-step tactics for dealing with a variety of common negotiating situations. 20,000 first printing.


Book cover of Good to Great and the Social Sectors

Matthew Hinsley Why did I love 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.

By Jim Collins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good to Great and the Social Sectors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'We must reject the idea - well-intentioned, but dead wrong - that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become "more like a business".'

So begins this astonishingly blunt and timely manifesto by leading business thinker Jim Collins. Rejecting the belief, common among politicians, that all would be well in society if only the public sector operated more like the private sector, he sets out a radically new approach to creating successful hospitals, police forces, universities, charities, and other non-profit-making organisations. In the process he rejects many deep-rooted assumptions: that somehow it's possible to measure social…


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

Matthew Hinsley Why did I love 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.

By Vivek H Murthy M.D.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Together as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller from Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy, MD.

“We have a massive, deadly epidemic hidden in plain sight: loneliness. It is as harmful to health as smoking and far more common. And as his gripping stories of the science and suffering make clear, we can do something about it. Together is fascinating, moving, and essential reading.”—Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal

“Together made me rethink much of what I believe about physical health, public policy, and the human condition. By revealing America’s epidemic of loneliness—and then offering an array of remedies for the condition—Murthy has done…


Book cover of The Infinite Game

Matthew Hinsley Why did I love 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. 

By Simon Sinek,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Infinite Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The New York Times-bestselling author of Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last, and Together Is Better offers a bold new approach to business strategy by asking one question: are you playing the finite game or the infinite game?

In The Infinite Game, Sinek applies game theory to explore how great businesses achieve long-lasting success. He finds that building long-term value and healthy, enduring growth - that playing the infinite game - is the only thing that matters to your business.


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Book cover of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Michael Bungay Stanier Author Of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Coaching is a wonderful technology that can help people be a force for change… and is often wrapped up in mystic and woo-woo and privilege that makes it inaccessible and/or unattractive to too many. I want being more coach-like—by which I mean staying curious a little longer, and rushing to action and advice-giving—to be an everyday way of being with one another. Driven by this, I’ve written the best-selling book on coaching this century (The Coaching Habit) and have created training that’s been used around the world by more than a quarter of a million people. I’m on a mission to unweird coaching.

Michael's book list on unexpectedly useful books about coaching

What is my book about?

The coaching book that's for all of us, not just coaches.

It's the best-selling book on coaching this century, with 15k+ online reviews. Brené Brown calls it "a classic". Dan Pink said it was "essential".

It is practical, funny, and short, and "unweirds" coaching. Whether you're a parent, a teacher, a leader, or even a coach, you can stay curious longer.

By Michael Bungay Stanier,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Coaching Habit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Look for Michael's new book, The Advice Trap, which focuses on taming your Advice Monster so you can stay curious a little longer and change the way you lead forever.

In Michael Bungay Stanier's The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact.

Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples' potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how-by saying less and…


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