Greetings from India!

In my school days, I would always procrastinate reading books. But my librarian made me sit and read any book she got her hands on. Fast forward today, if you ask me “how to make changes that really last?” Well, it’s the simplest tool: reading.

Whether they are new releases or classics from years ago, books transport us to another world — or they help us better understand the one we’re living in. Books have a magical ability to help us think in new ways. Books can change your life. To paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes: “A mind once exposed to a new idea will never return to its original dimensions.

Books not only help us make positive changes in our lives, but they also help us to transform our abilities.

Here are 20 books and 20 tips to become better at networking — and perhaps become a better human overall.

Book No 1 → The No Asshole Rule by Robert I. Sutton

According to this book, negative interactions have a much stronger effect on mood than positive interactions. So you can see that keeping around that “very productive A**hole” may have deeper implications that do not show up on the books but take a toll on the ones around him / her.

Many books talk about how enthusiasm and working harder with passion allows you to get around people who are demeaning and rude at work. This book explains that this is not necessarily the head-on a solution to avoid rudeness in the workplace. In some instances, developing indifference and emotional detachment may be the best way to survive in the long run while achieving small victories. In the end, small victories can lead to winning the war.

Learning: Don’t be an a**hole. Recognition is a better way to motivate people around you.

Book No 2 → The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

This book’s focal point is an approach to obtain personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Covey points out that private victories precede public victories. He makes the example that making and keeping promises to ourselves comes before making and keeping promises to others.

Habits 1, 2, and 3 deal with self-mastery. They move an individual from dependency on others to independence. Habits 4, 5, and 6 deal with teamwork, cooperation, and communication. These habits deal with transforming a person from dependency to independence to interdependence. Interdependence simply means mutual dependence. Habit 7 embodies all of the other habits to help an individual work toward continuous improvement.

Learning: Relationships are emotional bank accounts. Keep cultivating.

Book No 3 → The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

We all admire and envy those individuals who have it: the ability to walk into a room and captivate the attention of everyone. Imagine how much easier your life and your work would be if you had that natural quality. Everyone would want to be around you, would hang on every word that comes out of your mouth — and would want to do what you want.

In The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox Cabane makes a convincing argument that you can have that ability because charisma is the product of a certain mindset and behaviours that are trainable. In short, if you read this book, and practice and apply its techniques, you too can be the light bulb instead of one of the moths.

Learning: Show charisma! Don’t be a robot.

Book No 4→ The Art of Nonconformity by Chris Guillebeau

If you’ve ever thought, “There must be more to life than this,” The Art of Nonconformity is for you.

Based on Chris Guillebeau’s popular online manifesto “A Brief Guide to World Domination,” The Art of Nonconformity defies common assumptions about life and work while arming you with the tools to live differently. You’ll discover how to live on your own terms by exploring creative self-employment, radical goal-setting, contrarian travel, and embracing life as a constant adventure.

Inspired and guided by Chris’s own story and those of others who have pursued unconventional lives, you can devise your own plan for world domination and make the world a better place at the same time.

Learning: Do work that creates value to others.

Book No 5 → Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Do you have what it takes to succeed in your career?

The secret of success is not what they taught you in school. What matters most is not IQ, not a business school degree, not even technical know-how or years of expertise. The single most important factor in job performance and advancement is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is actually a set of skills that anyone can acquire, and in this practical guide, Daniel Goleman identifies them, explains their importance, and shows how they can be fostered.

Readers also discover how emotional competence can be learned. Goleman analyzes five key sets of skills and vividly shows how they determine who is hired and who is fired in the top corporations in the world. He also provides guidelines for training in the “emotionally intelligent organization,” in chapters that no one, from manager to CEO, should miss.

Learning: Show empathy, and learn to mirror body language.

Book No 6 → Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson

Ken Robinson introduced readers to a new concept of self-fulfilment and has inspired readers around the world. When people find their Element, they tune into their highest levels and live their best lives. Now, in his new book, Robinson answers the fundamental question: How do I find my Element?

With his signature wry wit, Robinson offers a series of practical exercises to help you discover your own talents and passions. Along the way, he tells the stories of many “ordinary” people in all walks of life who have overcome obstacles of every sort to find their Element. And he explores fundamental principles and vital questions to help you find yours: What are you good at? What do you love? What makes you happy? Where are you now? Your answers to these and many others will provide you with invaluable keys to discovering your Element.

Learning: Find a community of like-minded people to help you achieve your goals.

Book No 7 → Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This book is a classic self-help book. Napoleon Hill has done extensive research about various successful people of his time and presented 13 Principles that lead to success. The book helps and tries to make you think the right way so that you can be “rich.”

Not only it’ll boost the self-confidence of the reader but it brings the basics of making wealth in every field among financial, social, personal, academic etc. Think And Grow Rich brings out the best in you and enables you to think about far bigger possibilities in your life than you would imagine. Though it might take some practice to work towards it, it’s truly worth it.

Learning: Share a goal with a group of intelligent people.

Book No 8 → Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

Do you want to get ahead in life? Climb the ladder to personal success?

The secret, master networker Keith Ferrazzi claims, is in reaching out to other people.

Ferrazzi’s form of connecting to the world around him is based on generosity, helping friends connect with other friends. Ferrazzi distinguishes genuine relationship-building from the crude, desperate glad-handling usually associated with “networking.” He then distils his system of reaching out to people into practical, proven principles.

In the course of the book, Ferrazzi outlines the timeless strategies shared by the world’s most connected individuals, from Katherine Graham to Bill Clinton, Vernon Jordan to the Dalai Lama.

Learning: Be generous, ask yourself “How can I help others?”

Book No 9 → How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is the one book that should be a part of everyone’s reading list irrespective of their field or interest. if you are an entrepreneur, read it! If you are a teacher, read it! If you are a truck driver read it! Once you’ve read it — re-read it again and again. The reason I am saying this is because the book is an absolute gem and if the lessons are taken seriously, it can change your relationships with people upside down (of course for good ).

This book is a classic, and much more than a book on communication. It will help you understand yourself and others. It will improve you in many ways. It will work for both personal and professional relations.

Dale Carnegie! The name itself is sufficient when it comes to human psychology and self-help. 100`s of live examples, read it and when the situation arrives, respond in the manner that Carnegie teaches. I am sure very we get into these kinda situations daily when we can not help anymore.

Learning: Be a good listener, give the person your full attention.

Book No 10 → The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman

The Start-Up of You is an excellent book to motivate and inspire you to take charge and accountability of your professional career. The authors intertwine interesting historical references and extensive personal experiences to provide a road-map to transforming your career.

Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha explains that the classic model (Show up for 9–5 every day, get a steady paycheck, and earn promotions every so often) is dying. Then they explain in an understandable way, that you need to embrace your personal brand, engage with the people ‘around’ you in a meaningful way, and have an eye on the adjacent possible.

To that segment, this is a pretty decent call to step it up, hustle as they say, and own their careers. So if you know someone still in that mindset, send them this book.

Learning: Find groups that can connect you to high-performing individuals.

Courtesy of Unsplash

Book No 11 → Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Delivering Happiness has become the trade phrase for Zappos. The autobiographical story of Tony’s childhood and career at times seems self-indulgent and veers into frat boy territory, Harvard style. Hsieh is open about the fact that the writing is all his and that it’s not literary genius.

The book quote: “Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins”

Much of the rest of the book is a fascinating history of how Zappos evolved and grew from nothing to $1 billion in gross sales in less than 10 years. Along the way, Tony explains how he learned business lessons from a summer fling with playing poker in Vegas. One of those lessons was to figure out what he really wanted to get out of life. Highly enjoyable book.

Learning: Focus on learning for personal and professional development.

Book No 12 → Mastery by Robert Greene

Mastery is an analytical book.

Robert Greene has carefully picked anecdotes to convey his points. These stories will definitely capture the reader’s attention because they are very fascinating. The book contains many stories which may confuse the readers. So, the author has repeated some of the background information from time to time in order to make things easy and clear. The author has picked historical figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci as well as contemporary ones like Temple Grandin, Paul Graham etc. This essence is presented in this book which will teach readers many great lessons.

Learning: Networking is not a talent, it’s a skill — so find a mentor to provide you guidance

Book No 13 → Why We Make Mistakes by Joseph T. Hallinan

In order to get better at thinking well, it is helpful (and entertaining) to look at what poor thinking looks like. There are scores of books that survey this landscape and I have read many of them. Joseph Hallinan’s Why We Make Mistakes is one of the most systematic and enjoyable.

Each chapter exposes a different common but often unconscious error in thinking that we humans display. The common thread between most of these seems to be that people employ a lot of efficient but often erroneous thinking shortcuts.

It is a very interesting book on a subject that should be relevant to anyone who aims at thinking clearly. As mentioned by the author, one can only get better at something when one is cognizant of one’s mistakes and the areas in which to look for them.

Learning: Don’t overestimate your skills!

Book No 14 → Give and Take by Adam Grant

We all are aware of benefits of giving but the insights this book brings is awesome. The analysis based on real life stories discussed here are eye opening and the book is full of ideas through which you can create your own giving circles and help people in need.

A most insightful work that reaffirms what we all instinctively feel but perhaps have lost — that helping others out in life is not only great for the soul but pays off in other benefits in life. It is an affirmation of the natural goodness of human nature.

Clearly, if we have to create a better workplace and build winning teams, we need to take a leaf out of this book and act on it.

Learning: Be a giver, not a taker.

Book No 15 → Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Do you have a hobby you wish you could indulge in all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take that passion and make a living doing what you love. In Crush It! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses.

Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the secrets revealed here, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand. By the end of this book, readers will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, Crush It! is the ultimate driver’s manual for modern business.

Learning: See new potentials and react quickly.

Book No 16 → So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

If you are working for someone else, read this book now (it does not matter if you are just starting your career, in the middle of it, or towards the end).

The book clearly lays out the most important aspects that you need to get right, while you plan and build your career. The book prescribes a clear road-map on how to get to work you love. Cal provides very specific guidance on what needs to be accomplished in each phase of the (career) journey, with very simple tests to check if you have completed that phase of the journey. Cal also provides suggestions on how each phase of the journey can be approached by providing examples of what worked (and more importantly) and what did not work for people whom he spoke to while researching the book.

Cal shares how he has used the strategies described in the book while building his own career.

Learning: Develop rare and valuable skills.

Book No 17 → The Trust Edge by David Horsager

This is not just a business book. This is an incredible book for those in leadership positions.

We live in a world where truth and trust have become relative. Dave’s principles take us back to reality in realizing that trust is black and white. We either trust people, products, companies, etc. or we don’t. Dave provides practical tools and ideas to repair, rebuild, grow and build trust. While it’s in the business section this is a book for every segment of life!

Learning: Establish, motivate, and teach others how to build and maintain trust.

Book No 18 → Built to Last by Jim Collins, Jerry Porras

“This is not a book about charismatic visionary leaders. It is not about visionary product concepts or visionary products or visionary market insights. Nor is it about just having a corporate vision. This is a book about something far more important, enduring, and substantial.

This is a book about visionary companies.” So write Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in this groundbreaking book that shatters myths, provides new insights and gives practical guidance to those who would like to build landmark companies that stand the test of time.

Learning: Know your values and act towards them, because visionaries are inspiring

Book No 19 → Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis

Everything I Know is a no-rules guide through uncharted territory. It’s a swift kick in the creative ass without fairies, unicorns or new-age cliches. Paul Jarvis is the strategic and design talent behind some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and online businesses — including Danielle LaPorte, Marie Forleo, Yahoo, The High Line and Mercedes-Benz — and he’s learned a thing or two about forging your own path in life and work. Instead of offering one-size-fits-all advice, Paul provides an infinitely flexible template for adventure.

Learning: Be yourself, have a unique personality.

Book No 20 → The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

A life changing book for people who are looking forward to living a more fulfilling and balanced life. Most of the instances and situations are something we must be familiar with but still strikes us as to how we still haven’t realized the same. Take, for instance, the fact that more the time is given for a specific task, greater the amount of mind space it occupies. And most of the occasions we end up working on it during the last minute. This book gives some excellent examples to tackle such situations and use it to our advantage. Tim Ferriss will make you forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan — there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times.

Learning: Face your fears to leave your comfort zone and live a life you always wanted to live.

As these books helped me in my life and business, and I hope these books will help you as well.

Now it’s your turn: Which of these books are most important to you? What attributes would you add to your networking skills? What makes you a networking person? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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