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20 Powerful Books to Win You Friends and Influence More People

20 Powerful Books to Win You Friends and Influence More People

Everyone knows communication is key, but every so often, we fail to communicate well on a daily basis. It could be catastrophic if we can’t communicate with others. So how can you and I improve our communication skills to have a significant leg up in all aspects of our lives?

Here is a list of 20 books to turn you into an expert in communication, with books ranging from best-sellers to less popular, hidden gems.

1. The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane

    People typically believe charisma is a trait you are born with. However, it is a skill you can learn. Cabane provides fantastic examples and practical advice anyone can use.

    Who should read this book?

    • Readers looking to improve their charisma.

    What will you learn?

    • The main components of charisma and techniques to improve them.

    “Whenever we use our brain, we fire certain neuronal connections, and the more these connections get used, the stronger they become.” – Olivia Fox Cabane

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

      In this powerful book, Simon Sinek helps readers identify an individual or organizations purpose… there Why.

      Who should read this book?

      • Readers seeking advice on how to become a great leader.

      What will you learn?

      • How to clearly identify the purpose of your organization.

      “Organizations know what they do, how they do it, but very few know why they do what they do.” – Simon Sinek

      3. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo

        Gallo uncovered 9 common elements to all TED talks and provides readers advice on how to adopt them. This book provides practical tips to improve your public-speaking skills.

        Who should read this book?

        • Readers who want to become a better public speaker.

        What will you learn?

        • How to improve the format of your speech or presentation, while telling a story that reaches the hearts and minds of your audience.

        “The first step to inspire others is to make sure you’re inspired yourself.” – Carmine Gallo

        4. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

          An amazing, yet short book. The story revolves around four characters: two mice and two little people living in a maze seeking the one thing that makes them happy… cheese! This book is a metaphor for the things we want most in life and the need for change.

          Who should read this book?

          • Readers seeking knowledge on how to deal with change in life or work.

          What will you learn?

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          • That change is the only thing which is constant and why we should look to the future instead of the past.

          “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” – Spencer Johnson

          5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

            Let’s start our list of well-known books with one of the all-time greats – How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This book is one of the most powerful books you can find in attempting to improve your communication skills. Warren Buffett discovered this book as a child and applied the techniques found in this book throughout his life.

            Who should read this book?

            • Readers interested in finding positive ways to influence other people.

            What will you learn?

            • Ways to win people to your mode of thinking.

            “The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.” – Dale Carnegie

            6. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

              The message in this book extends beyond business. Lencioni outlines the root causes (and of course dysfunction) of a team. He provides readers tips on how to effectively identify and beat dysfunction.

              Who should read this book?

              • Leaders seeking ways to identify and manage dysfunction in an organization.

              What will you learn?

              • How to mold a functional team.

              “Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team.” – Patrick Lencioni

              7. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton

                Getting to Yes is a powerful book on improving your negotiation skills. Ury advocates that we negotiate our entire life and we must learn to embrace and improve this skill. This book will show you how.

                Who should read this book?

                • Readers seeking ways to improve their negotiation skills.

                What will you learn?

                • Tips and techniques to become a highly effective negotiator.

                “Any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by three criteria: It should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible. It should be efficient. And it should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties.” – Roger Fisher

                8. Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done by David Allen

                  Productivity expert David Allen is best known for his book Getting Things Done, yet it is Ready for Anything that takes his advice on productivity to the next level. Learn how to make things happen and improve your life with less effort, less stress, and with more energy!

                  Who should read this book?

                  • Readers seeking tips on productivity.

                  What will you learn?

                  • How to reach new levels of productivity with practical tips and techniques.

                  “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” – David Allen

                  9. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

                    In this guide to success and salesmanship, Mandino tells a story of a poor camel boy who comes across ancient scrolls. Each scroll provides the reader a message. Actor Matthew McConaughey remarked that this book changed his life.

                    Who should read this book?

                    • Readers seeking breakthrough ways for success in their lives.

                    What will you learn?

                    • How to form good habits and take action in your life.

                    “Never feel shame for trying and failing for he who has never failed is he who has never tried.” – Og Mandino

                    10. How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes

                      Leil Lowndes provides an incredibly practical book on how to communicate, improve posture, and become a winner… the book even provides advice on how to make someone fall in love with you!

                      Who should read this book?

                      • Readers seeking practical tips on how to improve in their day to day interactions with other people.

                      What will you learn?

                      • 92 tricks to improve your communication skills!

                      There are two kinds of people in this life: Those who walk into a room and say, “Well, here I am!” And those who walk in and say, “Ahh, there you are.” – Leil Lowndes

                      11. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

                        Let’s start of the list of well-known, yet different books that will improve your communication skills. Labeled by Bertrand Russell as the handbook for gangsters, The Prince focuses on effectiveness, not morality. Some key takeaways from this book are: 1) Pay close attention to the qualities of those who work for you; 2) Your appearance matters; 3) Keep your enemies close; 4) Avoid people who flatter you; and 5) Prepare for bad things to happen.

                        Who should read this book?

                        • Readers looking for ways to influence other people.

                        What will you learn?

                        • Historical lessons and tips for influencing people, regardless of morality.

                        “If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

                        12. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

                          If you are a fan of the movie Office Space and are looking for a book to spark the “I just don’t give a f*ck” moment… look no further! Manson reminds us that we have a limited number of f*cks to give and we can’t go around giving them away to people that don’t matter.

                          Who should read this book?

                          • Readers seeking ways to stop caring so much what other people think of them.

                          What will you learn?

                          • That there are only a small group of people that truly deserve your time and effort.

                          “Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.” – Mark Manson

                          13. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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                            Confidence and composure are two extremely important skills in effective communication. Taleb provides readers a guide on how to become antifragile. This book will help readers find out where they are most exposed and identify where we can lose the most.

                            Who should read this book?

                            • Readers seeking knowledge on how to grow from disorder.

                            What will you learn?

                            • How we thrive from shock, volatility, and uncertainty.

                            “Trial and error is freedom.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

                            14. Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization by John Wooden

                              When it comes to winning in college basketball, there was no one better than legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. At UCLA, his teams won 10 national titles in 12 years! To be an effective communicator for an organization, you must also be an effective leader. Coach Wooden shows us how.

                              Who should read this book?

                              • Readers interested in developing a strong leadership philosophy.

                              What will you learn?

                              • How to lead and develop young men.

                              “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – Coach John Wooden

                              15. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

                                Inspired by The Prince, Robert Greene provides leaders historical lessons and practical ways to improve their communication skills through controlling anger and improving patience. His most important lesson is mastering your emotions.

                                Who should read this book?

                                • Readers seeking ways to influence other people, similar to The Prince.

                                What will you learn?

                                • 48 Laws to increase your power and influence over others.

                                “But the human tongue is a beast that few can master. It strains constantly to break out of its cage, and if it is not tamed, it will run wild and cause you grief. Power cannot accrue to those who squander their treasure of words.” – Robert Greene

                                16. Wink and Grow Rich by Roger Hamilton

                                  Finally, let’s take a look at those books you might not be familiar with. These are hidden gems. Wink and Grow Rich is one of my favorite books. It is a book with a hidden lesson behind the lesson! This is one of those books you will want to read over and over again. Each time you read, you will uncover something new.

                                  Who should read this book?

                                  • Readers seeking books with hidden meanings.

                                  What will you learn?

                                  • A true outside-the-box read on how to gain wealth and riches in multiple areas of your life.

                                  “To know and not to do is not yet to know.” – Roger Hamilton

                                  17. Quantum Memory Power: Learn to Improve Your Memory with the World Memory Champion by Dominic O’Brien

                                    Effective communicators must be good at remembering names and faces. The most effective way to improve your memory is to use techniques discussed in this book. Learn how to build memory palaces and improve your memory.

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                                    Who should read this book?

                                    • Readers seeking ways to improve their memory.

                                    What will you learn?

                                    • Shortcuts and techniques to improve your memory.

                                    “This is a great tool for students as the book gets right to the heart of learning how to learn and engaging your whole brain.” – Dominic O’Brien

                                    18. Go for No! Yes Is the Destination, No Is How You Get There by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

                                      Using fiction to impart knowledge upon their readers, Fenton and Waltz provide powerful lessons for readers by simply hearing the word No!

                                      Who should read this book?

                                      • People seeking a short inspirational read on how to realize your potential.

                                      What will you learn?

                                      • Why hearing no is a good thing!

                                      “Learning to hear no over and over again and to never quit… now that builds character and self-esteem. That’s empowering!” – Richard Fenton

                                      19. I Am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It by Donald Luskin and Andrew Greta

                                        This book was inspired by two of my favorite novels: Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. John Galt is the fictional character from Atlas Shrugged and embodies the characteristics some of our top CEOs and leaders strive to attain. This book compares the character’s (and characteristics) from Rand’s books with real people.

                                        Who should read this book?

                                        • Readers seeking a non-fiction comparison of Ayn Rand’s novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and the real world.

                                        What will you learn?

                                        • Who is the real world version of John Galt.

                                        “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

                                        20. Bill Snyder: They Said It Couldn’t Be Done by Mark Janssen

                                          The final book I will discuss is the first book I ever read to my beautiful daughter. In fact, I read (and finished) this book to her while holding her in the hospital the day of her birth.

                                          Legendary Kansas State University Wildcat coach Bill Snyder is a phenomenal leader and coach. In the spirit of John Wooden, Bill Snyder continues to coach and is the oldest active college football coach. This book chronicles his first stint in coaching (he actually retired once, then came back from retirement to coach the same team!). To be able to come back from retirement and coach young college kids at his age takes phenomenal leadership skills and even better communication skills. Take heed of Coach Snyder’s advice and learn how to be a lifelong communicator. I encourage you to take a look at Coach Snyder’s 16 Goals for Success. [1]

                                          Who should read this book?

                                          • Readers seeking the story of the greatest coach in college football!

                                          What will you learn?

                                          • The leadership philosophy from one of the all-time great coaches.

                                          “If you do pay attention to detail and the little things are important to you, you make them important to people.” – Coach Bill Snyder

                                          Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

                                          Reference

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                                          Dr. Jamie Schwandt

                                          Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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                                          Last Updated on February 18, 2019

                                          How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

                                          How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

                                          These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

                                          58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

                                          Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

                                          “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

                                          So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

                                          Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

                                          1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

                                          The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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                                          Encourage Your Employees

                                          When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

                                          Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

                                          Offer Rewards

                                          Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

                                          The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

                                          Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

                                          Give Autonomy

                                          Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

                                          Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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                                          Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

                                          2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

                                          I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

                                          Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

                                          For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

                                          We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

                                          Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

                                          A To Do Scheduling System

                                          Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

                                          The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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                                          I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

                                          With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

                                          Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

                                          3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

                                          The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

                                          “The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

                                          An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

                                          What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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                                          Ask If They like What They’re Doing

                                          If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

                                          There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

                                          “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

                                          Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

                                          For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

                                          Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

                                          More Resources About Team Management

                                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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