Communication: Recommended Reading

All links are Associate links – if you buy from this link, I get paid a little bit of money.  If you don’t – that’s fine too!  Every book in my Communication Recommended Reading is on my bookshelf.

 Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny, by Tony Robbins

You might be wondering what the self-help coach Tony Robbins has to do with communication?  The answer is a lot.  Much of his process revolves around ensuring that the language you use internally – how you describe events that happen to you, how you describe your emotional state, how you relate to others – supports your success and happiness in life.

I found this book incredibly useful for connecting with the language of my thoughts and for ensuring that I am asking high-quality questions of myself.

How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

An oldie but a goodie!  First published in 1937, this really is a must read.  Carnegie sets out – in no nonsense terms – how to understand and handle other people, how to get people to like you, how to persuade people, and ultimately, how to be a leader.

I’m relieved I found this book in my early twenties.  It truly has shaped most – if not all – of how I engage with other people.  From my days in sales, training, and retail, to now as a leader and influencer.  Keep this one close and refer to it often.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert B. Cialdini

Centred around six key principles – Reciprocation, Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity – Cialdini walks us through how to influence others… and how to avoid falling under the influence of others.

See as one of the pre-eminent models behind how marketing works, this is a great book if you’re in the business of persuading anybody about anything.  And if you don’t want to buy things you don’t really need!


The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative, by Stephen Denning

A dense read, but fairly practical.  I’m a firm advocate for storytelling as a primary tool of leadership, and this book sets out why, how and what – so that you can get started.

People don’t want to read your graphs, charts and data sets – they don’t even want to read your strategy or your reports…  They want to understand who you are and what you stand for – they want you to tell your story.

On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition and Fiction, by Brian Boyd

This is a delightful book, albeit much more academic and philosophical than some others recommended here.  But any book with entire sections dedicated to the genius of Dr. Seuss gets my vote!

This is a deep look at the social origins of storytelling, and how it relates to the evolution of humankind.  A good book for broadening your understanding and deepening your reflections on communication as a tool for connecting us together in a common purpose.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

And if you don’t know what your why is, you need to find it…  Quickly.

If you’re still not convinced, watch Sinek’s TED talk.



Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts, by Jonathan Powell

True, most of us don’t need to do this in our day to day lives, but I’m glad somebody does.

This book builds a strong case for the ultimate  power of communication to change the course of conflict.  If Powell believes it works in that environment, I’m convinced I can make something happen in my comparatively sedate life!

Not your typical business/leadership reading, but worth the ride.

Talk Like TED: The 9 Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds, by Carmine Gallo

If you harbour secret (or not so secret) ambitions to give a TED talk at some stage in your lifetime, you need to read this.

This book does exactly what it says on the cover – walking you through the nine things that all the great TED talks do so well.

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Recommended Reading