After months of writing, editing, copy-editing, reviews and production, I am pleased to announce the general availability of The Art of Community! The book is printed and on its way to bookstores – it may take a few days for it to hit your local bookstore or regional online store.

This is a book that I have been working on since November, designed to provide a solid guide to building, energizing and enabling pro-active, productive and enjoyable communities. The book covers the major areas of community leadership, distilling a set of best practices and experiences, illustrated by countless stories, anecdotes and tales.

While the book draws from my experience in Open Source and cites the experience of others in other communities, the book is not explicitly designed for technical communities and the content is applicable to any community of any size. This has been a deliberate decision: I am really keen that anyone from a knitting group to a neighbourhood watch group to a political activism group to a globally distributed Open Source project can get some real value from the book.

Throughout the eleven chapters and 360+ pages the book covers the major elements of building strong community:

  • Foreword by Leo Laporte – emmy award-winning broadcaster and founder of the TWiT Network provides a thoughtful foreword, complete with his expected wit and repartee.
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1The Art of Community – We begin the book with a bird’s-eye view of how communities function at a social science level. We cover the underlying nuts and bolts of how people form communities, what keeps them involved, and the basis and opportunities behind these interactions.
  • Chapter 2Planning Your Community – Next we carve out and document a blueprint and strategy for your community and its future growth. Part of this strategy includes the target objectives and goals and how the community can be structured to achieve them.
  • Chapter 3Communicating Clearly – At the heart of community is communication, and great communicators can have a tremendously positive impact. Here we lay down the communications backbone and the best practices associated with using it.
  • Chapter 4Processes: Simple Is Sustainable – We then move on to focus on putting the facilities in place for your community to do great things. In this chapter we build simple, effective, and nonbureaucratic processes that enable your community to conduct tasks, work together, and share their successes.
  • Chapter 5Supporting Workflow with Tools – We continue our discussion of community facilities to build workflows that are driven by accessible, sensible, and rock-solid tools that enable your contributors to do great work quickly and easily.
  • Chapter 6Building Buzz – With a solid foundation in place, we move on to build excitement and buzz around your community and encourage and enthuse every man, woman, dog and pony to get involved and participate.
  • Chapter 7Measuring Community – Although many consider community hand-wavey and unmeasurable, this chapter confronts the myth and guides you in tracking, monitoring, and otherwise measuring the work going on the community so it can be optimized and simplified.
  • Chapter 8Governance – Our next stop is the wide-ranging and seemingly complex topic of governance. We explore what options are available for a low-friction, capable, and representative governance strategy for your community.
  • Chapter 9Handling Conflict – One of the most sensitive topics in community leadership is handling conflict. In this chapter we explore how to identify, handle, and prevent irksome conflict; handle divisive personalities; and unblock problems.
  • Chapter 10Creating and Running Events – Events offer an excellent opportunity for your community to bond, be productive, and have fun, and this is where we cast our beady eye in our penultimate chapter.
  • Chapter 11Hiring a Community Manager – Finally, we close The Art of Community with some advice and guidance for organizations who want to hire a community manager to conduct and implement the wide range of topics that we have discussed throughout the book.
  • Index
  • Colophon

The book is further augmented with an active website complete with discussion, articles and updated news and content about The Art of Community. You can find out more at www.artofcommunityonline.org.


I am proud to see that the The Art of Community has already received some glowing reviews and it got a great response from everyone we put the book in front of as part of the review period. Here are some of the reviews:

“In the age of participation, there is no better tour guide than Jono Bacon. The Art of Community teaches leaders how to increase collaboration and authenticity to build belonging. This isn’t just for technology leaders; anyone who wants to harness community for their cause should read this book.”

— Amanda McPherson, The Linux Foundation

“The Internet provides the potential to separate us into a cacophony of discordant voices or to congregate us as purpose-driven communities. Jono Bacon, in his insightful ‘The Art of Community’, teaches the latter path, detailing the principles of successful community-building in a way that will appeal to both neophyte and expert alike. Given the increasingly critical role of community managers in the technology industry and beyond, ‘The Art of Community’ should find a place on any businessperson’s bookshelf, not to mention that of the PTA president, book club organizer, or union activist. Yes, it’s that good”.

— Matt Asay, Alfresco and C|NET

“Jono Bacon truly understands communities–and more importantly, how to build communities that thrive. This is the definitive guidebook to building successful communities–definitive because it is based on Jono’s extensive experience as community manager for Ubuntu, a product that inspires an Apple-esque devotion in very large part because of its vast and dedicated community. For developers and entrepreneurs who want to learn how to tap into the power of community, as Ubuntu has done so masterfully, this book is a must-read”.

— Ian Murdock, founder of Debian and Vice President of Emerging Platforms at Sun

“One thing that’s impressed me about Jono Bacon, something one can notice back when he and others were building a community around their pioneering Linux podcast, is that he simply gets the concept of community. It comes out in most everything he says, and most every decision he makes. This is the kind of a person you want writing a book on the topic. open source community building cannot be boiled down to a formula. It’s a constant effort, a soft science, an art, and Bacon is an ideal art teacher”.

— Dan Goldstein, Professor of Marketing, London Business School and Principal Research Scientist, Yahoo! Research

“The success of the open source software movement demonstrates that no obstacle is insurmountable when people come together around a shared vision. In ‘The Art of Community’, Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon gives readers a profound glimpse into his hands-on experience as the orchestrator of one of the movement’s most powerful communities. His book offers valuable lessons on effective leadership and community building. Its compelling combination of useful theory, real-world best practices, and instructive personal anecdotes make it a richly comprehensive guide for both aspiring and experienced community leaders”.

— Ryan Paul, Ars Technica

There are many more reviews available on this page , including reviews from:

  • Danese Cooper, Open Source Diva and OSI Director
  • Mark R. Hinkle, Vice President of Community, Zenoss Inc.
  • Pete Kronowitt, Linux and Open Source Strategist, Intel
  • Jeremy Garcia, Founder of LinuxQuestions.org
  • Irina Slutsky, geekentertainment.tv
  • Don Marti, Conference Chair, OpenSource World and Organizer, Windows Refund Day, Burn All GIFs Day, Free Dmitry, and FreedomHEC.
  • Paul Cooper, Moblin UI & Apps Engineering Manager, Intel
  • Seif Lotfy, GNOME Foundation, Zeitgeist Co-Founder and Team Leader
  • David Schlesinger – Director, Open Source Technologies, ACCESS Co., Ltd.; GNOME Foundation Advisory Board Member”
  • Amber Graner, Ubuntu Community Member

As the book gets more reviews I will be updating that page. But you, dear reader, would you like to write a review of The Art of Community? If so, send the review text with your name and affiliation to jono AT jonobacon DOT org!


The book is available from all good bookshops and should start appearing in your local bookshops soon. You can also buy the book online from a variety of stores. Many of you use Amazon, so here are some links to the product pages:

The book is also available in electronic book format:

(prices may have changed when you visit these websites)

The book will also be freely available shortly under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike Non-Commercial license. It’s availability will be announced soon.

Build Some Book Buzz

If you would like to seat yourself firmly in the complete and totally frikken awesome person category and would like to help spread the word about the book, it would be fantastic if you could Twitter / identi.ca / Facebook / blog about the book, and importantly, provide a review for the book on Amazon. We also have some buttons available for your website too:

Art Of Community Website Button Art Of Community Website Button

Official button.

Add the following code to your website to add this button: <a href="http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3597/3516061651_8910ba25c9_m.jpg" alt="Art Of Community"></a>
Art Of Community Website Button Art Of Community Website Button

Official button.

Add the following code to your website to add this button: <a href="http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3310/3516110235_bc1c0116e2_m.jpg" alt="Art Of Community"></a>

Thanks to everyone who was involved in making this project a reality. I am really excited about this 1st Edition and I look forward to hearing your stories about how it has helped energize your communities – do let me know! 🙂

Also, if you use IRC, do come and join us in #artofcommunity on irc.freenode.net and join in the fun. 🙂

Go and Digg this!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This