I am a sales trainer. I’ve invested the last two decades of my life helping salespeople and sales leaders become more successful working with companies from $2 million to $2 billion in sales. One of the privileges, from which I derive great joy, is recommending good books.
Below are the 10 books that I recommend the most to people. I’ve found that in professional selling, like in life, certain books transcend our occupations and get right to heart of what it means to be human. They guide us to overcome obstacles and live richer, fuller lives. Ironically, only one of my top 10 most recommended books is about sales.
Authors: Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
My most recommended book of all time. Understanding and establishing healthy boundaries is a critical element to a successful and fulfilling life. The authors make a clear case for the need for personal boundaries and how they empower us.
Quote: “Boundaries are a ‘litmus test’ for the quality of our relationships. Those people in our lives who can respect our boundaries will love our wills, our opinions, our separateness. Those who can’t respect our boundaries are telling us that they don’t love our nos. They only love our yeses, our compliance.”
2. The E-Myth
Author: Michael Gerber
This classic is for every entrepreneur who faces the conundrum of working in their business versus working on their business. Too often we get trapped under the weight of delivering for our clients, rather than delivering for our clients through other people, using processes and systems.
Quote: “If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!”
3. The Good Marriage
Authors: Judith Wallerstein, Sandra Blakeslee
In a culture of divorce, along with the devastating consequences, the authors set out to discover what the secret is to a good marriage. From their extensive research, they reveal the nine tasks that each couple must undertake to create and sustain a good marriage. Chock full of practical insights from long-term successful marriage partners, you’ll greatly benefit from the research and anecdotes provided within these pages.
Quote: “Coupleship can be weakened by over focusing on children, pets or other relations. The coupleship needs to be valued as much as children, employment and friends.”
4. As a Man Thinketh
Author: James Allen
Written at the dawn of the 20th century, very little is known about the author. However, his very short book is a treatise in how the mind works and the effort we must invest in tending to our thoughts. Taken from the Book of Proverbs 23:7 in the Bible, it states: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” These few words form the basis of a literary classic in the realm of personal development. I read it at least once every year.
Quote: “Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.”
5. The 5 Love Languages
Author: Dr. Gary Chapman
What is the best way to show love to your spouse? Ask them what they want, why they want it and then give it to them. Dr. Gary Chapmans international bestseller teaches you how to speak the language of love to your spouse in ways they will understand and appreciate… in their language.
Quote: “I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday. They insist on bringing into today the failures of yesterday and in so doing, they pollute a potentially wonderful day.”
6. Thinking Fast and Slow
Author: Daniel Kahneman
Excellent book! Dr. Kahneman introducers us to the concept of System 1 and System 2 thinking. Uncovering this he reveals the power one has when they use and apply both systems appropriately. We can also guard against mental glitches that get us into trouble. A must read for anyone who wants to lean how the human brain truly works.
Quote: “Cognitive ease is both a cause and a consequence of a pleasant feeling.”
7. Love is a Choice
Authors: Dr. Robert Hemfelt, Dr. Frank Minirth, Dr. Paul Meier
This book is the gold standard on the issue of co-dependency. I find many people suffer from this issue, yet can have hope that they can break the habits that hold them back. Chapter 2 is an eye-opening account of the harmful conditions the co-dependent person experiences. Fortunately, the rest of the book helps the reader to overcome these issues and learn to lead a more productive life.
Quote: “You can reject misery and choose love instead. But there will be a heavy price to pay in pain before the deep wounds are exposed and healed.”
8. The Road Less Travelled
Author: Dr. Scott Peck
The opening line of this book states the problem succinctly – “Life is difficult.” From then on the authors tackle the trifecta of personal growth; love, values and spirituality. They take the reader on a journey of discovery that very few want to travel.
Quote: “Examination of the world without is never as personally painful as the examination of the world within, and it is certainly because of the pain involved in a life of genuine self-examination that the majority steer away from.”
9. Wild at Heart
Author: John Eldridge
This book is for men or for women who want to understand how men think and feel. This insightful read taps into the vulnerabilities most men face, what their passions and dreams are all about and how to regain that warrior spirit.
Quote: “True strength does not come out of bravado. Until we are broken, our life will be self-centered, self-reliant; our strength will be our own. So long as you think you are really something in and of yourself, what will you need God for? I don’t trust a man who hasn’t suffered; I don’t let a man get close to me who hasn’t faced his wound. Think of the posers you know—are they the kind of man you would call at 2:00 A.M., when life is collapsing around you? Not me. I don’t want clichés; I want deep, soulful truth, and that only comes when a man has walked the road I’ve been talking about.”
10. The Greatest Salesman in the World
Author: Og Mandino
This amazing book turned me on to professional selling. The 10 scrolls are powerful truths which apply to sales and to the larger themes of life. I had the privilege of interviewing Og Mandino’s wife many years ago and she conveyed to me that the scrolls were a divine gift to her husband in just one night. Her story about how he developed this powerful book that has impacted millions of lives came together in one supernatural evening. It has certainly made a difference for people all over the world. I’m sure you will enjoy this book as I have if it’s your first time reading it.
Quote: “Wealth, my son, should never be your goal in life. Your words are eloquent but they are mere words. True wealth is of the heart, not of the purse.”