15 books that every business professional should read

best books for professionals
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Veronika Belova
by Veronika Belova

2 Min. Read

A comprehensive reading list that all business professionals can learn something from: check here the best books for professionals

Some of these books are old classics, while others are recent “must-reads.” Broken down by category, this list covers a range of topics including

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Leadership
  • Productivity
  • Building relationships and Networking
  • Negotiation and Persuasion
  • Real world case studies

There’s something for everyone, no matter which field you work in – so browse through to see which ones appeal to you. Enjoy!


1. The Age of Influence: The Power of Influencers to Elevate Your Brand

Neal Schaffer’s The Age of Influence, commonly referred to as “the influencer marketing manifesto” is the go-to guide for those eager to expand their influence in the digital world. From building and managing symbiotic relationships with influencers (using an ROI-based approach) to leveraging that momentum to fuel your brand’s success, Schaffer breaks down everything that you need to know about creating AND executing a successful strategy for influencer marketing.

2. Performance Partnerships: The Checkered Past, Changing Present & Exciting Future of Affiliate Marketing

The digital marketing landscape is very dynamic, and Robert Glazer does an excellent job of taking readers through what affiliate marketing once was, currently is, and will eventually become. By integrating his personal experiences with marketing theory, Performance Partnerships is full of “aha!” moments that will leave you feeling confident and ready to build and grow a profitable business or brand online – using affiliate marketing as the fuel.


3. The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales

Let’s face it, sales is not always black and white. Strategies can vary drastically depending on your industry and target audience, but Anthony Iannarino successfully identifies sales formulas that are applicable to everyone in The Lost Art of Closing. This is truly a “no bulls***” read that is far from a boring, predictable sales guide. Iannarino provides a list of actionable changes that you can make to your sales approach which will leave you feeling (and performing) like a winner in no time. And if you are interested on sales success, don’t hesitate to check out our blog article!

4. Jeffrey Gitomer’s 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling: Proven Actions You Must Take to Make Easier, Faster, Bigger Sales – Now and Forever

A wise man once said, “The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see,” and that’s exactly what Jeffrey Gitomer does in his book, 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling. As a successful speaker and salesperson himself, Gitomer recounts observations that he’s collected throughout his career. Instead of simply telling readers what to do, Gitomer shows readers how and encourages his audience to apply what they’ve learned to their unique circumstances. Wondering how it’s possible to have ½ of a law? You will have to read to find out, definitively one of the best books for professionals!


5. Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

For so long, the business world has adopted a hierarchical approach that’s run from the top down, but times are changing and many companies are beginning to look at this authoritative style from a new lens. Don’t be fooled by author General Stanley McChrystal’s experience in the military; Team of Teams is not a book about combat protocol. Instead, he takes his audience on a journey through high pressure situations and encourages readers to challenge pre-existing belief systems. We highly recommend this read for managers and executives who are responsible for overseeing others. Do you want to know more about productivity hacks? Check out our article!

6. The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win

Being a leader inevitably comes with experience, but there are many character traits and qualities that the most successful leaders tend to have in common. The Dichotomy of Leadership begins by addressing what it means to be a leader from a conceptual standpoint, then shifts into the business landscape, one of the best books for professionals without doubts.


Jocko Willink and Leif Babin are vulnerable with their own struggles in leadership positions, making it easy for readers to resonate with what’s being said and learn from it. Readers have even reported getting promoted after integrating Willink and Babin’s advice into their daily routines. Who knows, maybe your next raise or job title is just a book away!


7. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World

Coming from a former Navy SEAL, Admiral William H. McRaven has mastered the art of discipline. Make Your Bed parallels his renowned speech from the University of Texas at Austin’s commencement ceremony in 2014 and serves as a refreshing diversion from typical “life changing” reads. By weaving humor and emotion into his personal experiences, McRaven has inspired millions around the world to become the best versions of themselves. Often referred to as “a must-read for all adults” and “one of the best books for professionals”, this one will not disappoint.

8. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

While everyone wants to achieve their goals, limiting thoughts and behavioral patterns can easily prohibit people from doing so. After suffering a tragic accident in high school, James Clear shares how shifting his daily routine forced him to overcome this setback in Atomic Habits, another one of our best books for professionals. Using a psychological approach, he explores many different components that influence our choices such as motivation and commitment, systems and goals, and rewards and satisfaction. Not only does Clear help readers discover the root of their bad habits, but he also provides actionable frameworks and behavioral models that yield substantial long-term results.

9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Reading books to improve yourself is great, but simultaneously engaging in activities that allow you to process what is being said is even better. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey integrates interactive exercises to assist readers with systematically identifying their weaknesses. He then guides them towards success with a theory-based framework that has been proven time and time again to make real change. This timeless classic was written more than 30 years ago but is still known as one of the best books for professionals as well as a great read for diverse audiences that hundreds of thousands of people swear by.

Building Relationships and Networking

10. How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success

You are bound to come across colleagues and managers that you don’t see eye to eye with, but disagreeing in a respectful way is not always as easy as it sounds. Not only does How to Win Friends and Influence People identify behavioral tactics that will make people like you, but it is also intended to help you connect with others. Dale Carnegie helps readers master their emotions through a series of guidelines that are bound to make you a better person, both inside and outside of the workplace. Although this book was written decades ago, the information is still relevant in the modern day.

11. Meaningful Alignment: Mastering Emotionally Intelligent Interactions at Work and in Life

Using a holistic approach towards mastering one’s emotions, Susan Steinbrecher takes readers on an eye opening journey in Meaningful Alignment. Written through the lens of a CEO who strives to create synergy in her team, this is a multifaceted read that all professionals can easily identify with. Whether it’s initiating that difficult conversation or interacting with complex personalities in the workplace, this book tells a captivating story that sheds light on common problems. You’d be surprised to see how many of us are struggling with the same things, definitively a must on our list of best books for professionals.

Negotiation and Persuasion

12. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

In Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss and Tahl Raz use their personal experiences to teach readers about building authentic relationships, empathizing with others, and reaching goals with minimal interference. From bank robberies in Brooklyn to gang activity in Haiti, this book will show you how to negotiate in the most difficult of situations and translate that understanding into your daily life (even if you aren’t robbing banks or involved with gangs). Whether it be your salary or your title, negotiation can be very intimidating, making this one of the best books for professionals and a must read for people in the workplace.

13. Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion

Influence is the most recent addition to Cialdini’s vast collection of books on persuasion (as well as one of the best books for professionals of our list). His diverse background ranges from working as a salesman to advising Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and he draws upon each step of his journey to identify systematic methods that have proven to influence the minds of others. By drawing upon case studies and analyzing them from a psychological standpoint, Robert Cialdini identifies 6 “weapons of influence” and how to leverage them – whether it’s for the better or worse. For those who prefer books that prioritize science over theory, this one’s for you.

Real World Case Studies

14. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

As one of the most successful brands in the world, Nike has broken boundaries in terms of sports and business. Written by Nike’s co-founder and previous CEO in the form of a memoir, Shoe Dog is much more than a sports story. In this vulnerable and honest recap of Nike’s rise to fame, Phil Knight covers everything from funding to going public and how he managed his pride and emotions throughout the journey. For anyone that is curious about starting their own business, Shoe Dog provides valuable insight towards the struggles that Knight encountered as an entrepreneur while building his billion dollar business – through an economic lens.

15. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

When startups perform well, you always hear about it, but when they perform poorly, they tend to disappear into the abyss. Bad Blood is a refreshing twist on the typical success story that we often hear out of Silicon Valley. This read is so captivating that it almost feels like a fiction novel and without doubts one of the best books for professionals. Whether you watched the Theranos story unfold as it happened almost a decade ago or are just now learning about the scandal, this book is nothing short of an educational thriller. Bad Blood will have you on the edge of your seat while exposing the harsh realities of the startup world. Did Elizabeth Holmes have good intentions or was this a money making scam from the start? Read to determine for yourself!