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Why We Prioritize Reading at Buffer and the 19 Most-Read Books From Our Team

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. —Joseph Addison

We’re a remote team that loves reading (and self-improvement).

In fact, through the first nine months of 2018, we’ve read over 1,000 books!

So when International Literacy Day popped up on the calendar, we wanted to get involved. International Literacy Day, celebrated annually on September 8, is an opportunity to highlight improvements in world literacy rates and reflect on the world’s remaining literacy challenges.

Read on to learn more about how our team and community got involved with International Literacy Day this year.

Or click the link to jump to the top 19 books read by the Buffer team (so far) in 2018.

Why We’re Supporting International Literacy Day

Reading has always been an integral part of Buffer culture. One of our most popular benefits to working at Buffer is the perks for a free Kindle and no-questions-asked, unlimited Kindle books.

Reading is very much in line with our value to “Improve Consistently”.

We “desire to be better tomorrow than today,” and reading can be a very helpful step in self-improvement. Reading fiction makes us happier and more creative people, and reading makes us better writers.

This year we also coupled International Literacy Day with the opportunity to live by our value of “Act Beyond Yourself.” This is the newest addition to the Buffer values and one the whole team is excited to be aspiring to live by!

In the spirit of acting beyond ourselves and giving back, this year we encouraged our team and community members from around the world to participate in International Literacy Day by donating used books and hopefully making a positive impact on their local communities.

Getting the Buffer Team Involved in International Literacy Day

For International Literacy Day last year, we shared how we encourage employees to read. This year, we did things a little differently.

We prompted our team and community to get involved with in International Literacy Day by donating used books to charity, local schools, friends, strangers, libraries, or anywhere else where an extra book might make a difference.

Through the efforts of the Buffer team and community, we were able to donate a total of 189 books! 🎉

We were so happy with the opportunity for our teammates and community to have the chance to give back, especially since we’re all avid readers ourselves and know the joy in having a fresh book to read.

A big shout out to members of the Buffer community who donated books, Sandra Grauschopf, Emily Allen, Silvina Furnadzhieva, Florian MeissnerPaula Kiger, and Jessica Maybury. As well as the Buffer team members who donated, Arielle, Super, Courtney, Darcy, and Bonnie. 🤗

Where To Donate Books

If you’re inspired to go through your bookshelf and make a donation as well here are a few ideas.

Often times local libraries will take book donations, and that’s a really wonderful place to start.

Local schools and Little Free Libraries are two other great options.

Photo by Eliot Peper

There are also plenty of organizations around the world that take book donations, here are just a few:

Organizations in the US

Organizations in Canada

Organizations in the UK

Organizations in France

If you know of any other organizations that accept book donations and should be included here, let me know in the comments!

The Top 19 Books Read by the Buffer Team in 2018

Photo by Jade Stephens

If you’re looking to do more reading but unsure of where to start, here are the 19 most-read books by the Buffer team so far in 2018.

(In alphabetical order)

  1. Artemis
  2. Beneath a Scarlet Sky
  3. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
  4. Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change
  5. Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley
  6. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
  7. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
  8. High Growth Handbook
  9. Little Fires Everywhere
  10. Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World
  11. Principles: Life and Work
  12. Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: The Story of Clif Bar Inc.
  13. Ready Player One
  14. Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change
  15. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  16. The Book of Joy
  17. The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change
  18. The Three Body Problem
  19. You Are a Badass at Making Money

Check out the top 13 books the Buffer team was reading in 2017 here.

Over to You

What’s your philosophy on reading? Have any books you think the Buffer team should read? Let us know in the comments below! 📚

Cover photo by Angello Lopez

  • It’s so neat to compare this list to a few past years at Buffer! I notice a slow evolution towards reading a bit more fiction across the team, as well as a new focus on diversity and inclusion this year with Ellen Pao’s book and Emily Chang’s Brotopia (both great reads).

    • Hi Courtney and Hailley,

      I’ve said it before, but you guys are amazing, both in the way you run your business and how you share it with the world! The focus on reading as a learning tool for growing your company and yourselves is profoundly wise.

      I’m sorry for the gap in commenting, I had this post open when you first published, but it got shuffled and then lost. As luck would have it, though, now I’m in a better position to contribute, especially in light of Courtney’s mention of the diversity and inclusion theme. Both of my book suggestions came out late in 2018, so you may want to pass them on for this year: Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder, by Chip Conley (built around his role at Airbnb), and How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations, by Marc Freedman (founder and CEO of

      It probably sounds a bit like harping, but the Age chart on your diversity dashboard still looks weird in assuming nobody works past age 54! That’s about when the Airbnb founders brought Conley in to help them grow (in all that word’s nuances).

      The second upside of my delay is that I went first to the post on your overall 2018 review and saw the note that you’ve expanded beyond Kindle books to include print and audio in your benefits. Way to go!

      That prompted me to wonder if either of you would be willing to serve as a reader for the book I’m getting ready for publication, working title: Read ‘Em & Reap: 6 Science-Backed Ways Reading Puts You on the Road to Achieving More and Living Longer. I’ve included a chapter exploring the latest research on how digital vs. print formats affect our brains and our learning processes.

      I’d love to have your suggestions, corrections, and improvements before it goes to press. Can you help?

  • hellopetro

    I have been loving The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe. It’s worth checking out!

  • BROO

    the holy Quran it is for whole the people and it is the best in my opinin.

  • Megan Sparks

    Excellent article! Reading is a beautiful thing indeed.

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