Recommended Books

In my previous roles as front line staff and then a junior manager, I could have greatly benefited from books and resources that could support my professional development. It was not until I went back to school that I became familiar with the works of Senge, Drucker, Covey…. Late into my own leadership journey I thought about creating a book club at at my workplace. The book club opened up the door to previously untapped talents and important dialogues. After the first book we added a potluck session to share what we had learned which increased staff engagement. The monthly potluck gathering also became a useful tactic to support the strategic priority of supporting a culture of learning and wellness. Key was however, that no one was forced to read the books chosen. Yet they attended the discussion sessions and learned from the exchanges of their colleagues.

Now that I am in this new role of consultant, I hope to support you and your organization’s leadership and development journey. That is why I have created this page to share these books and resources with you. I hope you find these resources helpful and maybe this will inspire you to start your own book club at your organizations.

Pany Aghili

Personal Growth

The Power Of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness Emily Esfahani Smith draws on philosophy, research, and human stories to bring home her message: Pursue meaning to live a fulfilled life. Although this message is not new, what I appreciated was how Smith presents a holistic picture of how we veered off the road to chase happiness and how we can get back on the right path by pursuing meaning. Easy and interesting read.

Man’s Search for Meaning This is the original work that would have inspired many writers like the author mentioned above. A survivor of Nazi death camps, Viktor E. Frankl chronicles his story of spiritual survival and argues for pursuit of meaning over happiness. The book is riveting, a testament to the power of human spirit, and strongest argument for human’s potential for living with purpose and responsibility.


The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization In my opinion this book is a must read for every leader. Peter Senge does not just open our eyes to how organizations must learn and grow to stay competitive and relevant; he also opens our eyes to the workings of the macro systems we live in.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think This is by far the most influential and important book I have read, and I am planning to read it again. This is an especially important book for those in the social services sector. This book dives into why so many of our perspectives and beliefs about the world may be wrong and how we can increase our knowledge by using facts and data. Ultimately, life is not getting worse and the world is improving everyday! This book is a must read.


Learning in Relationship : Foundation for Personal and Professional Success Communication is one of the most significant competencies for success in life. Yet so often our shortcomings in having difficult conversations, and presenting our ideas clearly and concisely gets us into trouble. Ronald R. Short provides the readers with simple yet practical tools to improve their communication and learn from their relationships.

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) I enjoyed this book a lot and had so many aha moments! Gretchen Rubin breaks down how different personalities respond to expectations. This book discusses personality type, only, as it relates to expectation. However, it is eye opening and increases self awareness which is a must for everyone, especially leaders. Knowledge is power after all.

Want to measure your impact?

Getting to What Matters: How to Design and Develop Evaluation If you, like many other non-profit and social serving organizations, want to effectively measure the impact of your work this is the book for you. Dr. Patty, breaks down what impact means and how to effectively evaluate and communicate the impact of your work. The book is easy to read, is engaging, and offers a meaningful and useful approach to impact evaluation.

The Goldilocks Challenge: Right-Fit Evidence for the Social Sector Want to dig deeper into the world of measurement and evaluation? This book does not offer simple solutions but it provides the reader with a strong foundation and understanding of evaluation tools. I still left believing in Dr. Patty’s method for measuring impact, but I learned so much more about evaluation after reading this book.

More to come soon….