37 Books to Better Your Mindset and Personal & Professional Practices

*Disclosure: Just so you know, I only recommend products I have or would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links by which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. 

Must-Reads on Consulting, Entrepreneurship, IT, Strategy, Agility, Project, Product, Psychology, Sales, Leadership & Life

  1. Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great – Carmine Gallo – Great tips for speaking, writing, and communicating by the guy who wrote Talk like Ted
  2. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges – Amy Cuddy – Fantastic read about overcoming “impostor syndrome” and bringing an authentic personal power into your interactions
  3. To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others – Daniel H. Pink – Not in sales? Think you don’t have to sell? Think again.

  4. Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World – Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodall – Sometimes, basic truths are unexpectedly counter-intuitive. These are the ones about work.

  5. Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career and Liking Your Life – Patty Azzarello – Some of the best practical career advice you can get, especially for those just starting out or making a switch.

  6. How to Persuade and Get Paid: The Sales Workshop for Everyone – Phil M. Jones – This one’s an audiobook. A wonderful workshop on how to organize your approach to persuasion and sales. As you can imagine: it’s delivered very well, too.

  7. Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact – Phil M. Jones – I recommend audio for this one, too. It offers some quick hit concepts on how to leverage language to influence.

  8. Never Split the Difference:  Negotiating as if your Life Depended on It – Chris Voss – Learn about the psychology behind negotiation and practical tactics to use in a variety of scenarios (and hear some neat FBI stories, too).

  9. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown – More practical than “minimalism”, this looks into how we can prioritize better.

  10. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about DevOps, IT and Helping Your Business Win – Gene Kim, Kevin Behr & George Spelford – Are you in IT? The story starts off with a scene that will make you sweat. Then, follow the characters as they learn some important principles and ways of working.

  11. EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches – Dave Ramsey – from the finance guy who started from scratch, this has some great entrepreneurship and leadership (get it? EntreLeadership?) stories and lessons learned

  12. Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love – Marty Cagan – New to agile and product? Start here. Experienced in this area? Read it anyway.

  13. Move: How Decisive Leaders Execute Strategy Despite Obstacles, Setbacks, and Stalls – Patty Azzarello – Leading a large initiative, transformation, or project? This one has insights and tactics you won’t want to miss.

  14. Tools of Titans: Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers – Tim Ferriss – Exactly as the title suggests. A good one to have for some quick-hits.

  15. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea – Bob Burg & John David Mann – A narrative about not just doing business well, but doing business right.
  1. The Age of Agile: How Smart Companies are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done – Stephen Denning – How organizations are effectively leveraging Agile concepts to perform (the second half is a little heavy on shareholder issues and shortcomings, read the first half for the good stuff).

  2. Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success – Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness – Another one where the title says it all.

  3. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen – A classic. Great method for, well…GTD.

  4. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box – The Arbinger Institute – another great lesson-via-narrative about leadership beyond what you think it means.

  5. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation – Tim Brown – Involved in innovation? This one’s great to kick off any quest in design thinking.

  6. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? – Seth Godwin – Another classic, one of Seth’s best. Learn about the role that truly runs in between.
  1. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – Gary Keller & Jay Papasan – An idea about how focus yields success.

  2. The Five Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur – Ryan Westwood & Travis Johnson – Research-based insights about the tough qualities it takes to be an entrepreneur.

  3. Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday – History and philosophy teaches us that our Egos won’t necessarily help us win and might even cause us to lose big.

  4. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel H. Pink – The psychology behind our motivations and a look at concepts like Autonomy, Master, and Purpose.
  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman – A compilation of the work by who is arguably one of the most impactful contributors to psychology and economics in the modern age. (You’ll want to get a physical copy, there’s a lot to unpack here).

  2. The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business – Josh Kaufman – I didn’t go to business school, so this one’s a nice reference to have on hand.
  1. The Formula: The Universal Law of Success – Albert-Laszlo Barabasi – Success isn’t simple, but awareness of the laws governing success can help us achieve it.

  2. Principles – Ray Dalio – This is one you’ll want for the physical library or easy to reach on your coffee table.

  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen R. Covey – Covey gives us the basics in this classic.

  4. The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness – Stephen R. Covey – But wait, there’s more! Being successful is a personal endeavor, not just a professional one.
  1. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles – Steven Pressfield – Practical thoughts on doing, building, creating…and getting past “The Resistance”.
  1. The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Career of Your Dreams on Your Terms – Sara Horowitz – Starting your own thing? Start here.

  2. Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis – Ellen Gottesdiener & Mary Gorman – When I started out as an agile business analyst, Ellen and Mary’s approach was really helpful…and still is today.

  3. Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction – Chris Sims & Hillary Louise Johnson – Using Scrum in your Agile practice? Leading a transformation? Coaching or teaching the tactics? Grab a copy of this simple, pocket-sized book to get your beginners started.

  4. Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches & Project Managers in Transition – Lyssa Adkins – Serving an Agile Team? Read this first.

  5. Perfect Strangers: How Project Managers and Developers Relate and Succeed – Justin Browder & Bryan Schoeff – Practical advice in a fun format from a couple of my super-smart friends and colleagues at AXIA Consulting.

Happy reading!

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