Communication tips & more

Top Books: Persuasion, Psychology, Comms

Harry S. Truman had it right…

‘Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers!’

What price an idea? One good idea can set you up for life. And the lack of them sends careers and companies to their graves.

Here are some of my all-time favourite books. Many of them I’ve read several times over. And some I haven’t read at all — I’ve listened to them (usually several times over) as audiobooks. (I use Audible and their smartphone app.)

So take a deep breath, whip out your Kindle and feast your mind on these. Your career will thank you.

P.S. We’re always looking to grow our bookshelf and brain. Got a favourite? Tell us.


Persuasive, engaging communication


Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die, Chip and Dan Heath

Resonate: Present visual stories that transform audiences, Nancy Duarte

HBR Guide to Better Business Writing (HBR Guide Series), Bryan A. Garner


General influence


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition, Robert Cialdini

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive,  Noah J. Goldstein Ph.D., Steve J. Martin, Robert B. Cialdini Ph.D.

The small BIG: Small Changes that Spark Big Influence, Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein, Robert B. Cialdini

How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie

Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion, Updated Edition, George J. Thompson, Jerry B. Jenkins


Behavioural economics


Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely




Getting to Yes: Negotiating an agreement without giving in, Roger Fisher, William Ury

Never Split the Difference, by ex-FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, gives crucial insights into what really drives human decisions.
While ‘Getting to Yes’ is great, it focuses more on rational arguments. Voss’ book shows how to get past your target’s (usually huge) emotional barriers first, so they can start processing your rational arguments.




SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham

Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar


Motivating people (& yourself)


Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, Chip and Dan Heath

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink

The Game Changer: How to Use the Science of Motivation With the Power of Game Design to Shift Behaviour, Shape Culture and Make Clever Happen, Jason Fox


Tough conversations

Crucial Conversations — Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler




Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman

50 Psychology Classics, Tom Butler-Bowdon (good writers are good psychologists)

People Styles at Work…And Beyond, Robert Bolton & Dorothy Grover Bolton. One of the best books on understanding personality types we’ve read. It helps you adapt your communication to suit your reader’s preference.


Business smarts

The Personal MBA — Master the Art of Business, Josh Kaufman (this book is full of smart influence and comms ideas)


Clear, correct writing


On Writing Well, by William Zinsser, deserves every one of its five-star reviews on Amazon. It’s one of our all-time favourite books on writing. It covers writing in general, and delves into the specifics of business writing, science and technology writing, travel writing, and much more.

The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White. Most writers and editors simply call this ‘Strunk & White’. It’s a classic. Read it; it’ll change how you communicate.
(P.S. Does the name ‘E.B. White’ ring a bell? He also wrote Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.)

Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss, has made big money from little marks – punctuation marks, to be precise. A New York Times bestseller, this book is an entertaining way to slash the time you spend wondering if you should use a slash, dash or interrobang?!

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