Six Books Local Government Leaders Have on Their Summer Reading Lists

Local government summer reading list

We’re getting deep into August and fall is just around the corner. But there’s still time to get some more summer reading done before things kick back into high gear in September. 

The question is, what to read? By this time of the year, your reading list may be getting thin. So we reached out to some local government leaders who have been our webinar guests over the past year to ask them to send us their book recommendations, so we could share them with you.

They sent us some great selections on a variety of topics. We hope you’ll find them both interesting to read and useful in your role as you head back to work in the fall. Enjoy!

1.) Power to the Public: The Promise of Public Interest Technology

By Tara Dawson McGuiness and Hana Schank

Recommended by Nicolas Diaz Amigo, Chief Innovation & Data Officer — City of Syracuse, NY

As the speed and complexity of the world increases, governments and nonprofit organizations need new ways to effectively tackle the critical challenges of our time—from pandemics and global warming to social media warfare. In Power to the Public, Tara Dawson McGuinness and Hana Schank describe a revolutionary new approach—public interest technology—that has the potential to transform the way governments and nonprofits around the world solve problems. Through inspiring stories about successful projects ranging from a texting service for teenagers in crisis to a streamlined foster care system, the authors show how public interest technology can make the delivery of services to the public more effective and efficient.

(Source: Princeton University Press)

View our webinar with Nicolas, How to Harness the Power of Data: Techniques for Local Governments

2.) The Premonition 

By Michael Lewis

Recommended by David Eaves, Lecturer of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

For those who could read between the lines, the censored news out of China was terrifying. But the president insisted there was nothing to worry about.

Fortunately, we are still a nation of skeptics. Fortunately, there are those among us who study pandemics and are willing to look unflinchingly at worst-case scenarios. Michael Lewis’s taut and brilliant nonfiction thriller pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19. (Source: Penguin Random House Canada)

View our webinar with David, How to Harness the Power of Data: Techniques for Local Governments


 3.) The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters

By Priya Parker

Recommended by Sherry Yano, Director, Grants and Community Engagement at real Estate Foundation of BC 

In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lacklustre and unproductive–which they don’t have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centred approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play. (Source: Penguin Random House Canada)

View our webinar with Sherry, How to keep your climate action plan on track throughout COVID

4.) Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias In A World Designed For Men 

By Caroline Criado Perez

Recommended by Rebecca Alty, Mayor, City of Yellowknife

Celebrated feminist advocate Caroline Criado Perez investigates this shocking root cause of gender inequality in the award-winning, #1 international bestseller Invisible Women. Examining the home, the workplace, the public square, the doctor’s office, and more, Criado Perez unearths a dangerous pattern in data and its consequences on women’s lives. Product designers use a “one-size-fits-all” approach to everything from pianos to cell phones to voice recognition software, when in fact this approach is designed to fit men. Cities prioritize men’s needs when designing public transportation, roads, and even snow removal, neglecting to consider women’s safety or unique responsibilities and travel patterns. And in medical research, women have largely been excluded from studies and textbooks, leaving them chronically misunderstood, mistreated, and misdiagnosed. (Source: Abrams Books)

View our webinar with Rebecca, Adapting your municipality’s budget in a time of crisis

5.) The Power Manual: How to Master Complex Power Dynamics 

By Cyndi Suarez

Recommended by Andrea Reimer, former Vancouver City Councilor and host of the eDemocracy Webinar Series 

All social relations are laden with power. Getting out from under dominant power relations and mastering power dynamics is perhaps the most essential skill for change agents across all sectors seeking to ignite positive change in the world. This concise action manual explores major concepts of power, with a focus on the dynamics of domination and liberation, and presents methods for shifting power relations and enacting freedom. (Source: New Society Publishers)

View our entire eDemocracy Webinar Series with Andrea here

6.) City of Edmonton’s award-winning new public engagement policy

Recommended by Ben Henderson, Edmonton City Councillor

The findings of the Council Initiative on Public Engagement provides a path forward for public engagement at the City of Edmonton. This report sets a new course for public engagement through leading practice. It describes how this course aligns with the City’s strategic direction, a new Public Engagement Policy, Public Engagement Procedure and Public Engagement Framework, and an Implementation Roadmap for Public Engagement. This initiative garnered the City of Edmonton an IAP2 award as the 2018 International Organization of the Year.  

View our webinar with Ben, How to keep your climate action plan on track throughout COVID

We hope you enjoy these reads! Have you read any books over the summer that really had an impact that you think your colleagues should check out? Share it on your preferred social media channel, or reach out to us and let us know at

August 17th, 2021 | | 0 Comments