I typically steer clear of book reviews or suggested readings. Posts like these can be valuable; however, I think we’ve all had our share of “what I read on my summer vacation.” I’ll also assume we’re relatively adept at identifying what we’d like to read professionally with the help of countless lists i.e. What are CEO’s Reading? and other shopping tools and apps. I’m making an exception here...
Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help by Larissa MacFarquhar is easily the most provocative book on helping I’ve read in years. I use the term “helping” here because identifying this book as one on nonprofits, volunteerism, philanthropy or social justice is too limiting to cover the scope of ideas presented. It touches on all of them and much more. Equally important: In a world of books offering tidy endings and top 3 (5, 10 or some other number) things You Need to Do When You Put Down This Book, Strangers Drowning leaves all that behind. Rather, it raises judgement-free questions, challenges and thinking around the people that populate the world of help; particularly several at the far extreme.
If I’m late to the game and you’ve read the book, stop here. If you haven’t, consider a few of the questions raised:
This is just a sampling of course. What I appreciated was that the author doesn’t allow for or even attempt to offer simple answers or solutions. Rather, Strangers, through its blend of bios and philosophy, may intrigue, confuse, provoke and even inspire you. Since I don’t want to appear to be directly marketing the book, I’ll leave it to you to find the book (a simple search will get you there). If you take my suggestion and read it, I’d welcome your thoughts. Email me at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com
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