Guides 6 Best books on community building

6 Best books on community building

Last updatedJune 11, 2024
AuthorKai Forsyth

A vibrant community fosters customer loyalty, drives innovation, and fuels growth. But creating a thriving community is easier said than done. So how do you build a community that delivers real value? We’ve rounded up reviews of six must-read books that offer expert insights and practical strategies for community building. Whether you’re a seasoned community manager or just getting started, these titles will help you take your skills to the next level.

1. Build Your Community by Richard Millington

In this comprehensive guide, Millington breaks down the science of crafting communities that stand the test of time. Packed with real-world examples and actionable advice, Build Your Community is an essential roadmap for navigating every stage of the community-building journey. You’ll learn how to define your community’s purpose, create an engaging member experience, and measure your impact. Read our review of Build Your Community.

2. Building Brand Communities by Carrie Melissa Jones and Charles Vogl

Jones and Vogl argue that in an age of isolation, brand communities can be a powerful antidote – if you know how to build them right. Through vivid case studies from companies like Sephora and Airbnb, they demonstrate how to cultivate authentic connections that boost innovation, loyalty, and advocacy. The practical worksheets and templates make this an indispensable field guide. Read our review of Building Brand Communities.

3. Buzzing Communities by Richard Millington

Don’t let the publication date fool you – Millington’s 2013 classic is still a must-read for anyone serious about community. While the tools may have evolved, the core principles Millington shares for sparking engagement and handling common challenges are as relevant as ever. His warm, conversational style and real-life examples make even the most technical aspects of community-building accessible. Read our review of Buzzing Communities.

4. People Powered by Jono Bacon

What if you could 10x the value of your community? That’s the promise of People Powered. Drawing on over 20 years of experience with communities like Ubuntu and GitHub, Bacon provides a clear framework for harnessing the “lightning in a bottle” of human connection. If you want to supercharge your business through community, this energizing read will show you how. Read our review of People Powered.

5. The Business of Belonging by David Spinks

Spinks, co-founder of community industry pioneer CMX, makes a compelling case for putting community at the heart of your business strategy. The Business of Belonging is a detailed, practical playbook for aligning your community efforts with concrete business outcomes across support, product, marketing, and more. The SPACES model alone is worth the price of admission. Read our review of The Business of Belonging.

6. The Indispensable Community by Richard Millington

In his latest work, Millington tackles the holy grail of community-building: creating a community so valuable that members and organizations alike can’t imagine living without it. The Indispensable Community reveals the secret to avoiding the “engagement trap” of vanity metrics, and focusing instead on driving the high-impact behaviors that make communities an irreplaceable asset. Required reading for taking your community to the next level. Read our review of The Indispensable Community.

Building a thriving online community is no easy feat, but with the right roadmap, it’s within reach. These six books, written by some of the most respected voices in the industry, are a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for community builders at any stage of their journey. So whether you’re looking to kickstart your community strategy or take your existing community to new heights, dive into these pages.

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