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9 Books to Boost Your Communication Skills

Taryn Austgen
Taryn Austgen

November 06, 2014

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library filled with books

I received an awesome email from a reader the other day.

Before reading 11 Practical Ways to Sharpen Your Communication Skills, she thought being a good communicator was all about having the right genetics or personality. When she realized it’s possible to learn communication skills, an entire realm of possibilities opened up.

As a result, a fire was lit under her. She’s now enrolled in a public speaking course and sent me an email asking for a list of great books on the topic.

What about you?

Are you motivated to improve your communication skills too? If so, here are nine great books to help you boost them. These books will help you learn from the best, cultivating top-notch verbal communication skills which will set you apart.

1. The Art of Storytelling

by John Walsh

Suffering from a stutter as a child, John Walsh was deathly afraid of speaking in public. Since then, he has conquered this problem and wrote The Art of Storytelling, explaining how he learned to retell Bible stories in a beautiful oral style. If anyone can help you set aside your fears and insecurities to build your verbal communication skills, it’s John Walsh.

2. Made To Stick

by Chip and Dan Heath

If you wonder why even the best ideas can be quickly forgotten, this book is a fascinating study of the topic. Written by a brother duo, Made to Stick is filled with interesting stories of successful strategies on how to make ideas more memorable and “sticky.”

3. On Speaking Well

by Peggy Noonan

Noonan was a speechwriter for Dan Rather and Ronald Reagan. This instructional book simplifies the process of public speaking with the seasoned wisdom of an expert who has helped leaders and presidents get their ideas out to the world.

4. The Peacemaker

by Ken Sande

Peacekeeping is easy: just keep the warring parties away from each other. The lasting solution, though, is to strive for peace-making. This book discusses how to do that.

5. How to Speak, How to Listen

by Mortimer J. Adler

This book was Unbound COO Ryan Yamane’s contribution to the list. Another “oldie but goodie,” this book has practical application for anyone—from executive to student to parent and everyone in between!

6. How to Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

This one might seem like a no-brainer, due to its classic status. No list of books on communication would be complete without it, so here it is. Aptly named, this book discusses how to “express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.“

7. Writer’s Guide to Powerful Paragraphs

by Victor Pellegrino

Written and oral communication are closely related because paragraphs are the building blocks of successful ideas. Recommended by Andrew Pudewa, this book helps you begin to structure ideas more effectively.

8. Teaching To Change Lives

by Howard Hendricks

This book is small but chock full of practical wisdom on teaching people effectively. It should be toward the top of the reading list for anyone passionate about leading, especially in a religious setting.

9. Tongue Fu!: How to Deflect, Disarm, and Defuse Any Verbal Conflict

by Sam Horn

Funny title and cover straight from the 90s aside, this book is “exceptionally good for working on improving verbal communication skills,” according to one of our Unbound coaches.


Now that you have your list—where to begin?

Before you get all excited and order every book off this list, It’s important to remember learning verbal communication doesn’t happen by osmosis. You don’t get better by buying books on Amazon and putting them on your shelf. You have to actually read them. Better one book actually read than nine collecting dust on your nightstand.

And don’t forget you also need to develop your new skills with real, scary practice.

Whether through a local speech and debate club, Toastmasters, or a public speaking course, you need an outlet where you can receive constructive criticism as you’re applying what you have been reading about.

By listening to the wisdom of experts and then putting into practice what you learn, you’ll be well on your way to being an excellent communicator!

Enjoyed this post? You might also like Six Tips to Avoid Awkward Conversations.

Taryn Austgen
Taryn Austgen

Taryn is a lover of learning, great literature, a Capella music, writing, and singing and dancing wherever she goes. A California girl at heart, she now calls Texas home.

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