7 books that help you communicate successfully

Lena Haydt
Sep 3 · 6 min read

Good communication is a crucial skill in our craft as Product Managers. We need to effectively communicate with our team, our bosses, our stakeholders, and of course, our users. But, many people struggle to communicate and interact with people they don’t know well, speak a different language or that are just very different from themselves. Also, how do you phrase something critical? Or, how do you motivate your team through words? Effective and successful communication is a skill that everyone can learn. How about we start with some great books?

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Surrounded by Idiots

The Four Types of Human Behavior and How to Effectively Communicate with Each in Business (and in Life)
by Thomas Erikson

Do you ever think you’re the only one making any sense? Or tried to reason with your partner with disastrous results? Do long, rambling answers drive you crazy? Or does your colleague’s abrasive manner rub you the wrong way?

You are not alone. After a disastrous meeting with a highly successful entrepreneur, who was genuinely convinced he was ‘surrounded by idiots’, communication expert and bestselling author, Thomas Erikson dedicated himself to understanding how people function and why we often struggle to connect with certain types of people.

Surrounded by Idiots is an international phenomenon, selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide. It offers a simple, yet ground-breaking method for assessing the personalities of people we communicate with — in and out of the office — based on four personality types (Red, Blue, Green and Yellow), and provides insights into how we can adjust the way we speak and share information.

304 pages, St. Martin’s Essentials 2019

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Simply Said

Communicating Better at Work and Beyond
by Jay Sullivan

Simply Said is the essential handbook for business communication. Do you ever feel as though your message hasn’t gotten across? Do details get lost along the way? Have tense situations ever escalated unnecessarily? Do people buy into your ideas? It all comes down to communication. We all communicate, but few of us do it well. From tough presentations to everyday transactions, there is no scenario that cannot be improved with better communication skills. This book presents an all encompassing guide to improving your communication, based on the Exec|Comm philosophy: we are all better communicators when we focus focus less on ourselves and more on other people.

288 pages, Wiley 2016

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If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?

My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating
by Alan Alda

Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives — with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond.

240 pages, Random House Trade Paperbacks 2018

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Words That Change Minds

The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence
by Shelle Rose Charvet

Do you work and live with people who are hard to convince? Who dismiss ideas before even thinking about them?Do you want to know how to influence people, without being manipulative? Want to find out how people get motivated, make decisions, to be more persuasive with everyone? Learn how to use the right words with the right people, and get through the “Communication Wall”

356 pages, Bloomanity LLC 2019

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Never Eat Alone

And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
by Keith Ferrazzi

The secret, master networker Keith Ferrazzi claims, is in reaching out to other people. As Ferrazzi discovered in early life, what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships — so that everyone wins. In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps — and inner mindset — he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his contacts list, people he has helped and who have helped him. And in the time since _Never Eat Alone _was published in 2005, the rise of social media and new, collaborative management styles have only made Ferrazzi’s advice more essential for anyone hoping to get ahead in business.

400 pages, Currency 2014

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How To Win Friends And Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach you:

-Six ways to make people like you -Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking -Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment

304 pages, Pocket Books 2010

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Words That Work

It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear
by Dr. Frank Luntz

The nation’s premier communications expert shares his wisdom on how the words we choose can change the course of business, of politics, and of life in this country

In Words That Work, Luntz offers a behind-the-scenes look at how the tactical use of words and phrases affects what we buy, who we vote for, and even what we believe in. With chapters like “The Ten Rules of Successful Communication” and “The 21 Words and Phrases for the 21st Century,” he examines how choosing the right words is essential.

368 pages, Hachette Books 2008

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PM Library

Books and topics around tech, business and design that help you build better products.

Lena Haydt

Written by

Senior Product Manager @XING, Founder of @PM Library

PM Library

With the PM Library, we help you explore new books and topics around tech, business and design because we believe reading is essential to building better products and growing in our careers. We are a team of dedicated product people based in Barcelona, London and Munich.

Lena Haydt

Written by

Senior Product Manager @XING, Founder of @PM Library

PM Library

With the PM Library, we help you explore new books and topics around tech, business and design because we believe reading is essential to building better products and growing in our careers. We are a team of dedicated product people based in Barcelona, London and Munich.

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