- Many books on communication skills are readily accessible to people on the internet.
- Some communication books come only in a paperback edition, whereas others are available as audiobooks.
- Top communication book writers include Carnegie, Gladwell, Goleman, Gallo, and Hasan.
- To find the best book for communication skills, look into all-time top book lists from reliable sources such as Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, etc.
Dr. Seuss once said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” We believe that to be entirely true. Books allow people to expand their minds and adopt broader views of the world while improving various life skills as they read stories and learn more about other people’s experiences.
Self-help books have also become quite popular over the years. Many of those books focus solely on communication skills and how a person can improve those skills by understanding the psychology behind them. After thorough research, we narrowed our search to the 20 best books on communication skills we believe everyone should read. If you want to learn about those 20 books, stick around for the rest of the review.
List of Top 20 Books on Communication Skills
1. How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was published in 1936 and has since sold over 30 million copies. A later version of the book divides the contents into several parts, including one on leadership abilities, one on techniques for handling people, and one explanatory section on how the book can help the reader.
At one point, the book was so popular that it was overconsumed and appeared in various newspapers. It made it to the New Your Times best-seller list the same year it was published and has since been included in most top self-help book lists. It is still widely sought after as the advice provided by the author is just as relevant today as it was back in 1936.
2. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know – Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell has several successful books, but his best conversation skills book is “Talking to Strangers.” In it, he talks about how people often go wrong in their assumptions about strangers, creating space for conflict or misunderstanding.
With this book, he hopes to show everyone how not to go about meeting new people, and he does it extremely creatively. He interviews scientists and psychologists and discusses court or criminal cases involving Fidel Castro, Neville Chamberlain, and Sylvia Plath.
In addition to the paperback edition, Gladwell has also put out an audiobook version of the book that includes reenactments of the mentioned court cases and the actual interviews he conducted when preparing to write the book. If not a way to better your communication skills, this book is undoubtedly enough to show how not to communicate with people, especially with strangers.
3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek
If you are looking for books on communicating effectively, Sinek’s “Start With Why” should be among your top choices. This book discusses real-life events and deepens how world-renowned leaders approach their businesses and followers.
Sinek’s book also talks about the “Golden Circle,” a framework that can help anyone build a successful business or movement, an idea that a leader can use to learn how to inspire others. Sinek developed this concept after losing his passion for his work, prompting him to look into WHY that happened.
The book is written in a simple, conversational tone, allowing readers to go through all 256 pages quickly. If you find the book helpful, you can also look into Sinek’s Find Your Why, a companion to Start with Why.
4. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman
Goleman’s book was published in 1995 and included in various best-selling books. It focuses more on the brain than on exploring real-life events and the ways of business leaders. The writer takes a scientific approach to emotional intelligence and discusses how the emotional and rational mind can shape a person’s destiny. According to the book, IQ is not a predetermining factor for a successful life.
In a little over 350 pages, Goleman discusses five crucial components of emotional intelligence that people should be aware of. When reading the book, one can learn more about self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy, and internal motivation. Each component is discussed in great detail, enough for a person to realize how it works and how they can employ it.
5. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman uses this book to discuss two different thought systems each person has. According to him, one of the systems is based on fast and emotional thinking, whereas the other is more deliberate and logical. These two systems always work together to shape how we think about everything – from the most mundane things like what to eat to more serious things like investment planning.
“Thinking, Fast and Slow” is a great book to improve communication skills because it helps readers be more mindful of how they act, think, and let themselves react to certain situations. If you do not have time to read this 499-page book, you can always look into the separate sections and focus on the one that piques your interest most – the Two systems, Heuristics and Biases, Overconfidence, Choices, and Two Selves.
6. The Science of Effective Communication – Ian Tuhovsky
Tuhovsky’s “The Science of Effective Communication” is a relatively short book published in 2017. As the extended version of the title says, the book focuses on improving a person’s social and small talk skills while teaching them to talk to anyone and improving their charisma.
Many say this is one of the best books on improving communication skills because it helps people realize that they have all the communicative people’s skills – they just need to work on them a bit more. Considering that the book is relatively short, it will not take you more than a few days to go through it, but it will immediately improve how you talk to people and help you realize you are not the ‘outsider’ in every situation.
7. Unleash the Power of Storytelling: Win Hearts, Change Minds, Get Results – Rob Biesenbach
Biesenbach believes stories are not only meant for books – people can use them to negotiate, earn trust, promote, rally, etc. His “Unleash the Power of Storytelling” is more than a book about conversation skills. It is also a deep dive into the best ways to form a story and the key features each story needs to have.
Across nearly 180 pages, Biesenbach discusses forming relatable characters in stories that connect us to others, show what we stand for, and trigger emotional responses. According to the writer, once you know how to form a good story, you can use the knowledge to achieve any goal you set for yourself successfully.
8. Surrounded by Idiots – Thomas Erikson
The best books for effective communication must have some humor, as humor can drive a conversation. As you can tell from this book’s title, there is enough humor here to help you go through the pages with a breeze while also helping you learn more about communication, particularly in the workplace.
Erikson focuses the narrative on most people’s four personalities or behaviors. There are the dominant red, social yellow, friendly green, and analytical blue personalities. Using this color-coding method, he says that we can fit every person in our lives in a specific group and effectively communicate with them by using a unique approach for that kind of personality.
9. Simply Said: Communicating Better at Work and Beyond – Jay Sullivan
Sullivan’s “Simply Said” shared countless tips on effective business communication. If you have ever thought that you have difficulties putting your thoughts into words, you should read this book on how to communicate better with every person in your company.
The book is divided into several sections and a total of 19 chapters. Each chapter focuses on various aspects of workplace communication, such as conveying clear messages, body movements, storytelling, writing professional emails, sharing feedback, making introductions or toasts, brainstorming, vulnerability, etc.
After improving your communication skills, it would also help to look into best-rated time management books and learn more about prioritizing tasks and meeting deadlines so you win even more points at your workplace!
10. How to Talk to Anyone – Leil Lowndes
Lowndes’s “How to Talk to Anyone” was initially published in 1999. Soon after its publishing, it was deemed one of the best books for communication skills because it talks about many different types of communication. In this book, you can find tips on relationships, business, social conversations, etc.
Each communication technique discussed in the book has an interesting name that makes it easy to remember. Even though the title says there are 92 tricks for building successful relationships, you will get much more from this book. You get essential knowledge on communication and how to use it to your advantage in any given situation.
11. Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence – Shelle Rose Charvet
Charvet’s “Words that Change Minds” is an interesting 350-page book on effective communication. It is based on the LAB or Language and Behavior Profile. The profile is based on 14 different patterns you can use to learn more about what motivates and influences you to do certain things and how you can motivate others to do things without crossing the line into manipulation.
Charvet believes that this profile can help people decode the language used by certain individuals to see their intents and purposes. Similarly, they can use the profile to form their own statements to achieve their desired outcome.
12. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High – McMillan, Switzler, Patterson, Granny
“Crucial Conversations” is one of the best books about communication. It outlines the key components and principles for successful conversations in any environment. The authors believe anyone can lead a successful, meaningful discussion using these components and principles, even if the discussion involves a complex topic.
The key components laid out in the book are high stakes, strong emotions, and differing views. The authors explain how they influence conversations while laying out the principles one must follow when having crucial conversations, such as listening and exploring the other person’s opinion, sharing their opinions, and finding a way to resolve the conversation.
13. Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear – Dr. Frank Luntz
Frank Luntz is a controversial figure in the US because of his involvement in politics, but even those who do not agree with his political involvement or stance cannot deny his way with words. “Words that Work” is another testament to that fact, and it is deservingly named one of the best books on communication skills.
In this book, the writer discusses the importance of clarity in conversations and how people can tactically use words to achieve the desired outcome. Considering that Luntz has worked with various Fortune 500 companies and helped them grow exponentially, it is a good idea to take a page from his book when developing a business.
14. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It – Chris Voss, Tahl Raz
Have you ever thought of the negotiating techniques the FBI uses whenever they have a serious situation on their hands, like a kidnapping? To know the favorite negotiating tactics of FBI agents, you must read this book by former FBI kidnapping negotiator Chris Voss. Together with Tahl Raz, they introduce strategies anyone can use to negotiate their way to the top successfully.
The book has received praise from various readers who say it is a great communication skills book. Within 270 pages, it lays out the fundamentals of any negotiation. It also shows you how to select and pose the right questions to get the desired outcome, whether it is your workplace, home, or an actual kidnapping situation that you are a part of.
15. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
Susan Cain’s “Quiet” is one of the best communication skills books for introverts. Introverted people are generally considered outsiders, unfriendly, grumpy people. While they might not be as talkative as extroverts, introverts can also have many valuable things to say because creativity and worthwhile ideas do not only come from people who talk a lot.
In the book, Cain talks about famous introverts such as Rosa Parks or Steve Wozniak and their importance to history to show other introverts that significant contributions can also be made in silence. Considering that the book was on the New York Times best-seller list for eight years, we consider it a must-read for any introvert.
16. Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone – Mark Goulston
Goulston’s “Just Listen” book can help you break down anyone’s walls and get them to trust and talk to you. Whether at a job interview, negotiating with a client, talking to a stranger, or doing something else, this book can help you learn the basics of effective communication.
The book is centered on nine rules and twelve techniques people need to follow to get through to someone. The rules include learning how to make people feel understood and appreciated, being interested instead of interested, and approaching any situation with an open mind. As for the techniques, you will learn valuable information on empathy, posing questions, showing appreciation, apologizing whenever needed, cooperation, etc.
17. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds – Carmine Gallo
TED Talks are informative videos that feature one or more key speakers that present an idea in about 18 minutes. Usually, the speakers invited to these events and conferences are some of the most brilliant minds in the world. Being as elaborate and eloquent as them is anyone’s dream.
If you want to learn with public speaking books, you should look into Gallo’s “Talk Like TED,” one of the best books about communication and public speaking. The book looks into nine secrets to successful public speaking, some of which come directly from these top minds. So, it is an interesting read.
18. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive, and Others Die – Chip and Dan Heath
Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made to Stick” book improves communication skills and turns your ideas from regular to memorable ones. Even though the book is about 300 pages long, it does not go into these elaborate rants on principles and features you need to remember. It only points to one thing – the importance of being concrete.
If you want your idea to be the one to “stick,” you need to make it a memorable one that people can feel, understand, and resonate with and that can bring emotions to someone. If you achieve that, you will have a conversational partner or audience in your hand.
19. I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships – Michael S. Sorensen
Sorensen’s “I Hear You” is barely 150 pages long, but it is so interesting to read that you cannot put it down. It should be on everyone’s reading list as it highlights one key aspect we can use to improve our relationships – validation.
Sorensen talks about validation and its importance in any relationship, including work, family, and relationships with friends. It is very to the point and includes examples and explanations that could make everyone see the importance of vulnerability, asking and giving validation, asking for permission, providing feedback, etc.
20. Win Every Argument: The Art of Debating, Persuading, and Public Speaking – Mehdi Hasan
If there is anyone who can teach people about debating and arguments, it is Mehdi Hasan. He has been working as a journalist and interviewer for quite a while now. His position at MSNBC requires him to often debate with politicians, military or law enforcement officials, celebrities, and people from all spheres of life.
In his book “Win Every Argument,” Hasan describes the best way to confidently communicate with someone and how preparation is vital to a successful debate. It is undoubtedly the best book on improving communication skills, focusing on discussions and persuasion as part of public speaking.
A person’s entire life is based on learning. One does not learn only when part of the educational process – they continue learning life lessons and valuable skills. There is no shame or blame in not being good at something as long as you are willing to improve it.
If you have poor communication skills, you can always look into some of the best books for communication. After reading a few such books, we do not doubt you will have a clear idea of what causes poor communication skills and how to eliminate the problem and become a better communicator.
Whenever you decide to get into effective communication books, we encourage you to look into the 20 best-sellers listed in this review. If you know any other good books on communication, do not hesitate to share them with us!
FAQs About Communication Books
1) Which book should I read to improve my conversation skills?
All books in this review can help you improve your conversation skills, but the one we recommend you start with is “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” by writers McMillan, Switzler, Patterson, and Granny.
2) What are some good communication books for working professionals?
For working professionals who want to improve their communication skills, we recommend three of the books listed above: Biesenbach’s “Unleash the Power of Storytelling,” Sullivan’s “Simply Said” and Erikson’s “Surrounded by Idiots.”
3) Which is the best-selling communication book for students?
Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Hasan’s “Win Every Argument,” and Cain’s “Quiet” are the best goal-setting books for youngsters and students as they can improve their conversation skills and teach them valuable life lessons.
4) Can I read books daily for better communication?
You can read communication skills books as often as you would like. The books will help you develop better conversational skills, improve your focus, and enrich your vocabulary. You can always start with one of the books listed above.
5) What are the possible reasons for poor communication?
Poor communication can result from ignorance, ego, a feeling of superiority, disinterest in the person or conversation, or an inability to focus on the conversation. It can also result from anxiety or feeling uninteresting or funny enough.