It was Dale Carnegie in 1936 who once said: “Even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15% of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge, and about 85% is due to skill in human engineering, to personality and the ability to lead people”.

Is that really true?

In studies conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Institute concluded that 85 percent of one’s future success depends on social skills, including the ability to put another at ease, while only 15 percent attributed to technical skills.

The bottom-line is your business communication skills are a critical part of your success in the business world.

When it comes to business advice, there is never a shortage of books outlining key strategies to help your career. The issue is, most books only touch on a subset of critical strategies needed to succeed in the business world today.

Top 26 business communication books of 2018

In this article, we’ve provided 5 sections that include 26 books designed to help you fast track that critical 85% needed to succeed in the business world this year.


Section 1: As a starting point to becoming a better communicator in your professional and personal life, you need to have a better understanding of yourself first. In this section, we’ve selected books designed to help you learn about yourself, how to become a better communicator internally, and most importantly how to build confidence in yourself immediately.


1. Awaken the Giant Within

Tony Robins is an expert in the psychology of change, Mr. Robbins provides a step-by-step program teaching the fundamental lessons of self-mastery that will enable you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life, and harness the forces that shape your destiny.


2. Positives Personality Profiles

Using the easily learned “D-I-S-C” system, Dr. Robert A. Rohm’s Positive Personality Profiles helps readers understand themselves and others. Dr. Rohm’s book will clearly describe key differences in basic personality types, give practical insights into how people respond, provide keys for understanding others, and explain methods for working with others.


3. Strength Finders

Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Chances are, you don’t. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths. To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment, Strengths Finder, in 2001 which ignited a global conversation and helped millions to discover their top five talents. 


4. Emotional Intelligence

It has been discovered that IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why. Daniel Goleman’s brilliant report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers startling new insight into our “two minds”—the rational and the emotional—and how they together shape our destiny.


5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This book explores the theory that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness, was created as a manual for performing better in both arenas.


6. Think and Grow Rich

In Think and Grow Rich, Hill draws on stories of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and other millionaires of his generation to illustrate his principles. This book will teach you the secrets of success. It will show you not only what to do but how to do it. 


7. The Four Agreements

This book reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.


Section 2: If you’re going to become a great communicator, you’ll need to master the art of influence and persuasion. In this section, we’ve selected books designed to help you understand how to connect with others faster and understand how to sell your point of view to get others to buy in.


8. Building Rapport in Business

It’s no secret that building rapport is considered the most important skill in business. It is the defacto for establishing a genuine relationship and building trust between people. In this curriculum, you’ll discover building rapport is a combination of several different communication skills that need to come together to create a mutual feeling of trust with the other person.


9. Influence

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book. You’ll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.


10. How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less

Nicholas Boothman shows exactly how to make the best out of any relationship’s most critical moment-those first 90 seconds that make up a first impression. Armed with his program, readers learn how to establish immediate trust by synchronizing voice tone and body language; the power of a Really Useful Attitude; and how to get people talking and keep them talking.


11. The Secret Language of Business

The Secret Language of Business reveals the secrets of body language and nonverbal communication. Successful professionals need more than just good communication skills, you also need the ability to interpret the nonverbal signals that everyone displays. 


12. Ziglar On Selling

With more than 40 years of sales experience, master motivator Zig Ziglar now provides a wealth of inspirational and practical information for making it in today’s fast-paced selling world. 


13. How to Master the Art of Selling

At the age of 26, Tom Hopkins was the #1 real estate agent in the US. This book he shows how you can succeed in the profession of selling.

  • How to create the perfect selling climate
  • Specific questions and tie-downs
  • Referral and non-referral prospecting
  • How to “sell” the most important people you know
  • Effective phone techniques


Section 3: In this section, we’ve selected books that will teach you the art of conversation. Knowing what to say and when to say it is critical to your success in the business world.


14. How to Win Friends & Influence People  

Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach you:

  • Six ways to make people like you
  • Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
  • Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment


15. First Impressions for the Business Professional

15 seconds can be the difference between fast-tracking your career or watching it stand still for years. Your business communication skills are critical in Corporate America and your first impression can make or break your reputation in the blink of an eye. Virtually everyone communicates with someone on a daily basis but very few of us are aware of the first impression we leave with others. 


16. Crucial Conversations

Learn how to keep your cool and get the results you want when emotions flare. When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences, or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most.


17. How to Talk to Anyone

In this book, Lowndes offers 92 easy and effective sure-fire success techniques– she takes the reader from first meeting all the way up to sophisticated techniques used by the big winners in life. 


18. Talk Like TED

In order to succeed, you need to be able to sell your ideas persuasively. This ability is the single greatest skill that will help you accomplish your dreams. TED Talks have redefined the elements of a successful presentation and become the gold standard for public speaking.


Section 4: A big part of business communication is understanding how to convey your message through, email, presentations, or papers. In this section, we’ve selected books to help you understand the art of communication through your writing.


19. Made to Stick

In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony—draw their power from the same six traits.


20. Writing That Works

The classic guide that helps you communicate your thoughts clearly, concisely, and effectively. Essential for every professional, from entry level to the executive suite, Writing that Works includes advice on all aspects of written communication—including business memos, letters, reports, speeches and resumes, and e-mail—and offers insights into political correctness and tips for using non-biased language that won’t compromise your message.


21. Stories for Work

Stories for Work walks you through the science of storytelling, revealing the secrets behind great storytellers and showing you how to master the art of storytelling in business. Stories hold a unique place in our psyche, and the right story at the right time can be a game-changer in business; whether tragedy, triumph, tension or transition, a good story can captivate the listener and help you achieve your goals.


Section 5: As a great communicator, you should always have a few interesting things to talk about. This section outlines books that will give you interesting topics and point of views to discuss in virtually any business situation on the fly.


22. Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.


23. Blink

Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept?


24. Outliers

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?


25. David and Goliath

Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, suffer from a disability, lose a parent, attend a mediocre school, or endure any number of other apparent setbacks.


26. Freakonomics

Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. 

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