Best Books on Social Skills: 70 Books to Win Friends and Influence People (2020)

Best Books on Social, People and Communication Skills

Best Books on Social, People and Communication Skills

Have you ever wondered how some people can start a conversation with anyone? Or connect with people instantly? Or make such powerful first impressions?

Have you ever wanted to feel more at ease during social and networking events? Or communicate with confidence and charisma? Or even just get better at negotiating the thousands of micro-transactions that make up our day-to-day lives?

Well, guess what? You’re not alone.

In fact, it’s estimated that an incredible 15 million adults in the United States suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder. And that number’s even higher for teenagers.

And that doesn’t include the majority of us who’d just welcome a bit more courage in a room full of strangers. Or whose outcomes would be immeasurably improved if we were even a bit better at winning friends and influencing people at home, at school and at work.

The Best Books on Social and People Skills.

But if you’re here, there’s a good chance I don’t need to impress the vital role of social and communication skills in almost every moment and every part and stage of our lives.

The good news? If improving those skills is important to you – you’re in the right place.

Whether you’re looking to relieve social anxiety, become a more social person or simply just develop better networking or sales skills you’ll find a book on this reading list that will help.

How do I know? Because I’ve scoured every inch of my own reading lists, other people’s recommendations and the internet to create the most comprehensive and high-quality collection of books on improving your social and communication skills on the web.

(Think something’s missing? Leave a comment or email me and I’ll add it to the next round of updates. I honestly love hearing from you so please, do get in touch!)

The books below are ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating, the number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The goal is to give a good balance of what’s most loved, what’s most popular and what’s delivered timelessly relevant advice.

Where should you start? Treat this list of books on social, people and communication skills like a menu. Start at the top, work your way down and begin with the first couple of titles that jump out at you. Remember, you can always come back for more later. Good luck!

P.s., If you enjoy this list, you may also like these awesome reading lists of books on productivity and books on mindset. Check them out!

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), Dale Carnegie (Summary)
    The classic guide to greatly improving effectiveness and efficiency by mastering the ability to work with and through the people around you – by self-improvement guru, Dale Carnegie.
    Rated 4.2 over 425,100 reviews on Goodreads
  2. Influence (1984), Robert B. Cialdini
    The Psychology of Persuasion
    Rated 4.2 over 72,200 reviews on Goodreads
  3. Boundaries (1992), Henry Cloud
    When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
    Rated 4.2 over 40,000 reviews on Goodreads
  4. How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People (1956), Les Giblin
    Rated 4.3 over 8,900 reviews on Goodreads
  5. The 48 Laws of Power (1998), Robert Greene (Summary)
    The ultimate guide to sociopathy gaining and defending against ultimate control – by author and your nearest dictator’s favourite leadership coach, Robert Greene.
    Rated 4.2 over 54,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  6. Nonviolent Communication (1999), Marshall B. Rosenberg
    A Language of Life
    Rated 4.3 over 11,700 reviews on Goodreads
  7. Personality Plus (1983), Florence Littauer
    How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself
    Rated 4.2 over 8,400 reviews on Goodreads
  8. Emotional Intelligence (1995), Daniel Goleman
    Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
    Rated 4.0 over 64,400 reviews on Goodreads
  9. Emily Post’s Etiquette (1922), Peggy Post
    Rated 4.3 over 1,400 reviews on Goodreads
  10. Skill with People (1965), Les Giblin
    Rated 4.3 over 1,000 reviews on Goodreads
  11. Crucial Conversations (2001), Kerry Patterson
    Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
    Rated 4.0 over 39,600 reviews on Goodreads
  12. The 33 Strategies of War (2005), Robert Greene
    Rated 4.3 over 8,300 reviews on Goodreads
  13. Difficult Conversations (1999), Douglas Stone
    How to Discuss What Matters Most
    Rated 4.1 over 9,200 reviews on Goodreads
  14. Winning with People (2005), John C. Maxwell
    Discover the People Principles That Work for You Every Time
    Rated 4.3 over 5,600 reviews on Goodreads
  15. Games People Play (1964), Eric Berne
    Rated 3.8 over 22,800 reviews on Goodreads
  16. It’s Your Ship (2002), D. Michael Abrashoff
    Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy
    Rated 4.1 over 5,200 reviews on Goodreads
  17. Start with Why (2009), Simon Sinek
    How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
    Rated 4.1 over 69,600 reviews on Goodreads
  18. The Art of Rhetoric (-322), Aristotle
    Rated 3.9 over 3,800 reviews on Goodreads
  19. The Definitive Book of Body Language (2004), Allan Pease
    Rated 4.0 over 19,600 reviews on Goodreads
  20. Never Split the Difference (2016), Chris Voss
    Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
    Rated 4.4 over 18,200 reviews on Goodreads
  21. Switch (2010), Chip Heath
    How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
    Rated 4.0 over 35,200 reviews on Goodreads
  22. Quiet (2012), Susan Cain
    The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
    Rated 4.1 over 258,200 reviews on Goodreads
  23. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (2003), Travis Bradberry
    Rated 3.8 over 64,200 reviews on Goodreads
  24. People Skills (1979), Robert Bolton
    Rated 4.0 over 1,100 reviews on Goodreads
  25. Fierce Conversations (2002), Susan Scott
    Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time
    Rated 4.0 over 3,600 reviews on Goodreads
  26. The Speed of Trust (2006), Stephen M.R. Covey
    The One Thing that Changes Everything
    Rated 4.0 over 17,000 reviews on Goodreads
  27. Just Listen (2009), Mark Goulston
    Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
    Rated 4.1 over 5,400 reviews on Goodreads
  28. Influencer (2007), Kerry Patterson
    The Power to Change Anything
    Rated 4.0 over 10,500 reviews on Goodreads
  29. Never Eat Alone (2005), Keith Ferrazzi
    And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
    Rated 3.9 over 36,000 reviews on Goodreads
  30. How to Talk to Anyone (1999), Leil Lowndes
    92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships
    Rated 3.8 over 16,500 reviews on Goodreads
  31. Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them (2003), John Ortberg
    Rated 4.0 over 1,800 reviews on Goodreads
  32. Give and Take (2013), Adam M. Grant
    A Revolutionary Approach to Success
    Rated 4.1 over 17,000 reviews on Goodreads
  33. Dig Your Well before You’re Thirsty (1997), Harvey MacKay
    The only networking book you’ll ever need
    Rated 4.0 over 1,400 reviews on Goodreads
  34. How To Say It (1990), Rosalie Maggio
    Rated 4.1 over 300 reviews on Goodreads
  35. Verbal Judo (1983), George J. Thompson
    The Gentle Art of Persuasion
    Rated 3.8 over 2,600 reviews on Goodreads
  36. What Every Body is Saying (2008), Joe Navarro
    An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People
    Rated 3.9 over 16,000 reviews on Goodreads
  37. Bringing Out the Best in People (1993), Aubrey C. Daniels
    Rated 4.0 over 500 reviews on Goodreads
  38. How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less (1999), Nicholas Boothman
    Rated 3.7 over 4,400 reviews on Goodreads
  39. How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen (2017), Joanna Faber
    A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7
    Rated 4.4 over 2,400 reviews on Goodreads
  40. Conversationally Speaking (1980), Alan Garner
    Tested New Ways to Increase Your Personal and Social Effectiveness
    Rated 3.9 over 400 reviews on Goodreads
  41. How to Speak How to Listen (1983), Mortimer J. Adler
    Rated 3.9 over 600 reviews on Goodreads
  42. The No Asshole Rule (2000), Robert I. Sutton
    Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t
    Rated 3.6 over 6,000 reviews on Goodreads
  43. The Charisma Myth (2012), Olivia Fox Cabane
    How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
    Rated 4.0 over 9,200 reviews on Goodreads
  44. Little Black Book of Connections (2006), Jeffrey Gitomer
    6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships
    Rated 4.0 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads
  45. Captivate (2017), Vanessa Van Edwards
    The Science of Succeeding with People
    Rated 4.2 over 1,900 reviews on Goodreads
  46. The One Sentence Persuasion Course (2012), Blair Warren
    27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding
    Rated 4.3 over 400 reviews on Goodreads
  47. Getting to Yes (1981), Roger Fisher
    Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
    Rated 3.9 over 48,400 reviews on Goodreads
  48. Dealing with People You Can’t Stand (1994), Rick Brinkman
    How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst
    Rated 3.7 over 1,200 reviews on Goodreads
  49. Pre-Suasion (2016), Robert B. Cialdini
    A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
    Rated 4.0 over 3,800 reviews on Goodreads
  50. The Fine Art of Small Talk (1997), Debra Fine
    How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills — and Leave a Positive Impression!
    Rated 3.4 over 2,200 reviews on Goodreads
  51. Spy the Lie (2012), Philip Houston
    Three Former CIA Officers Reveal Their Secrets to Uncloaking Deception
    Rated 3.9 over 3,600 reviews on Goodreads
  52. The Power of Persuasion (2003), Robert V. Levine
    How We’re Bought and Sold
    Rated 3.9 over 300 reviews on Goodreads
  53. Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships (2004), Temple Grandin
    Decoding Social Mysteries Through Autism’s Unique Perspectives
    Rated 3.9 over 600 reviews on Goodreads
  54. Enchantment (2011), Guy Kawasaki
    The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
    Rated 3.8 over 9,600 reviews on Goodreads
  55. How to Work a Room (1989), Susan RoAne
    The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections–In Person and Online
    Rated 3.5 over 600 reviews on Goodreads
  56. The Like Switch (2015), Jack Schafer
    An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over
    Rated 3.9 over 3,200 reviews on Goodreads
  57. I Hear You (2017), Michael S. Sorensen
    The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships
    Rated 4.2 over 700 reviews on Goodreads
  58. How to Be a People Magnet (2000), Leil Lowndes
    Finding Friends–And Lovers–And Keeping Them for Life
    Rated 3.4 over 900 reviews on Goodreads
  59. It’s Not All about Me (2011), Robin Dreeke
    The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone
    Rated 3.8 over 1,200 reviews on Goodreads
  60. Words That Work (2006), Frank Luntz
    It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear
    Rated 3.6 over 1,500 reviews on Goodreads
  61. Get Off The Bench (2012), Sidney E. Fuchs
    Unleashing The Power of Strategic Networking Through Relationships
    Rated 4.2 over <100 reviews on Goodreads
  62. How to Be a Power Connector (2014), Judy Robinett
    The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network Into Profits
    Rated 4.1 over 300 reviews on Goodreads
  63. The 5 Essential People Skills (2004), Dale Carnegie
    How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts
    Rated 3.7 over 500 reviews on Goodreads
  64. On Becoming Fearless (2006), Arianna Huffington
    Rated 3.5 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads
  65. Not Nice (2017), Aziz Gazipura
    Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself
    Rated 4.1 over 300 reviews on Goodreads
  66. The Likeability Factor (2005), Tim Sanders
    How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams
    Rated 3.5 over 700 reviews on Goodreads
  67. Peoplesmart (2000), Melvin L. Silberman
    Developing Your Interpersonal Intelligence
    Rated 3.7 over 200 reviews on Goodreads
  68. Always Know What To Say (2011), Peter W. Murphy
    Easy Ways To Approach And Talk To Anyone
    Rated 3.2 over 3,200 reviews on Goodreads
  69. Click (2007), George C. Fraser
    Ten Truths for Building Extraordinary Relationships
    Rated 3.9 over <100 reviews on Goodreads
  70. Power Questions (2012), Andrew C. Sobel
    Build Relationships, Win New Business and Influence Others
    Rated 3.8 over 900 reviews on Goodreads

II. Best Books Of All Time

These are the overall best books to read (by type).

III. Best Nonfiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best nonfiction books to read (by topic).

IV. Best Fiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best fiction books to read (by genre).

Or, you can read all my book recommendations.
Arthur is a productivity coach and writer who helps top young execs and entrepreneurs be more productive, find more balance and live more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →

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Curious — How do you determine the books on your master list? Because I’m surprised that some books with <100 reviews make the list assuming you're pulling from a giant database.

Glen McNiel
Glen McNiel

The 3rd Alternative by Stephen Covey should be near the top of that list. Otherwise, great list! Thank you.


Interesting! The top 10 were written long time ago, if these books survive for so long, there must be something stands the test of time in there. Added #4 & #15 to April & May tickler. Thank you for the map to treasure Arthur.


Wow! So many of these titles are unfamiliar to me. I’ve added at least 40 to my reading list! Thanks for the solid gold leads Arthur.