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The 15 Best Books For How To Build A Community (Part 1)

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You have a vision. An important message to spread. There's an audience who will benefit from hearing what you have to say. But it’s a noisy world out there, over-saturated with ads and marketing messages.

So how do you connect with your ideal audience?

You need to focus on your values, commit to what you stand for, broadcast your message and build trust with each member of your tribe.

The question is how?

Here in Part 1, we cover the 9 best books for how to build a community.

Then in Part 2, we cover the 6 best books you’ll need for spreading your message and building relationships. Read here.

Together these 15 books cover everything you need to connect to and grow a tribe of loyal fans.

Before we start...

Have you seen the dancing man at the Sasquatch Festival? He goes from crazy man to visionary leader by staying committed and building trust with his first members. He demonstrates the underlying principles in building a tribe in only a few minutes. Watch here.

Now onto the books...


1. TRIBES by Seth Godin

Tribes by Seth Godin book cover

Just like the dancing man at Sasquatch, if you have a passion for what you want to do there's a tribe out there waiting to be led by you. Seth Godin shows that humans have an instinct to belong and if you give people the tools to join they'll keep joining. You just have to stand for something and communicate those values to the right people.

To watch a book summary on the 2000 Books YouTube channel, click here.


2. THE ART OF COMMUNITY by Charles H. Vogl

The Art of Community by Charles H. Vogl book cover

For much of his life Charles Vogl felt like an outsider. The low point came in a church where the 1000 strong congregation turned against him. All he’d done was to sit instead of remain standing like everyone else. He realised the congregation would do anything for their community and he wanted to find his own. For this book, Vogl studied 3000 years worth of communities to see what makes them thrive. He researched spiritual traditions and religions to come up with 7 principles of belonging - boundaries, initiation, rituals, temple, stories, symbols, the inner rings.

To watch Charles H. Vogl speaking at Google, click here.


3. GET TOGETHER by Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh and Kai Elmer Sotto 

Get Together by Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh and Kai Elmer Sotto book cover

You’re not the first person to want to build a community. Fortunately for you, Bailey, Kevin and Kai studied community builders to see how they did it. In 'Get Together' they share how other community builders started out including how to rally the first people, how to get people talking and how to expand globally.

The authors started out with a podcast interviewing how people built their tribes and you can listen here.


4. CULT STATUS by Tim Duggan

Cult Status by Tim Duggan book cover

A cult is a group of people who are fiercely loyal, will defend the beliefs of the group and support other members through good and tough times. Want a reminder of how that works? Try this 1995 Pepsi TV ad (created by ad agency BBDO). Tim Duggan studied hundreds of entrepreneurs to uncover how to build a business with fierce levels of loyalty and how to create a passionate community that will rally round you even in tough times.

Interview with Tim talking about the book on YouTube, click here


5. CULTING OF BRANDS by Douglas Atkin 

The Culting of Brands by Douglas Atkin book cover

Yes, this book uses the word cult, but most cult members aren’t emotionally unstable, they’re just like you. What binds a cult together is their belief in something so strong they’re prepared to fight for it. The title suggests this is a book for brands but it’s really about creating a dedicated audience around a set of values. Douglas Atkin spent years researching diverse groups like Hare Krishna, Harley Davidson riders and eBay users to uncover how they created unbreakable loyalty in their fans.

To watch Douglas Atkin talking about key lessons from his book, click here.


6. THE CULTURE CODE by Daniel Coyle

The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle book cover

How do the best teams in the world function seamlessly and efficiently? Pixar, Google, even the Navy SEALs. Each of these groups Daniel researched for this book mastered trust and a willingness to collaborate. He shares how great teams encourage collaboration and build trust. Above all, he shows the extraordinary power of a group that cooperates effectively and the power it has to make a difference in the world. This is a book about team efficiency but many of the principles apply to growing a highly engaged audience.

To watch a Quickread audiobook summary on YouTube, click here


7. BUILDING BRAND COMMUNITIES by Carrie Melissa Jones and Charles H. Vogl

Building Brand Communities by Carrie Melissa Jones and Charles H. Vogl book cover

Brands like Airbnb, Sephora and Patagonia have all managed to build a connection with an audience who are critical for their success. This book takes you through what’s required to create fiercely loyal groups. Communities strong enough to lead to movements that change the world. The authors cover innovation, recruitment, marketing, customer service, creating community forums all the way from freshly started audience to critical mass.

To see Carrie Melissa Jones discussing the book in a YouTube interview, click here.


8. PEOPLE POWERED by Jono Bacon

People Powered by Jono Bacon book cover

This book is a very practical guide to building a highly engaged audience. Jono Bacon looks at how to align your community around your values. A community that will help you build your reputation, create content for your audience and build fiercely loyal fans. The author studied brands like PayPal, Fitbit and Microsoft to learn what’s worked for them and shows how you can use their methods in your community-building strategy.

To listen to a podcast interview with Jono Bacon discussing the book, click here.


9. 1000 TRUE FANS by Jongo Longhurst

1000 True Fans by Jongo Longhurst book cover

You may have heard the expression “1000 True Fans”. It originated from Kevin Kelly in 2008. This book talks about the principles, which Kelly outlined in his 1000 true fans blog post. Showing you how an audience of 1000 people is all you need to create a life you love. You don’t necessarily need to attract millions of people to your tribe to put a dent in the world. But you do need to convert those fans to superfans.

To read the original 1000 True Fans blog post written by Kevin Kelly, click here.


In summary

The authors of all these books studied what brings communities together so they could share their information with you. There's enough knowledge here to start you on your journey to build your community.

Click here to read Part 2 which covers spreading your message to the right people.



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