Business Books: Which Ones Inspire or Impact You?


January 18, 2012

When you work in human resources, you become part advisor, part therapist, part enforcer.  You are constantly presented with situations where leaders and employees need advice on how to communicate more effectively or how to relate to people who think differently or approach life differently.  In my role, I keep my eyes open to new techniques that can inspire people to become better communicators.  What I’m realizing is that for each new technique I find, they really all go back to some simple principles of getting along.  I recently had something remind me that good advice and good manners never go out of style or effectiveness.

How To Win Friends and Influence People

If you have not read the famous book by Dale Carnegie,  the basic premise of the book is that if you are nice to people, if you listen more than you speak and if you praise and help others keep their dignity, you will have successful relationships.   Written in 1936, the advice still largely holds true and has even been updated recently to how to win friends and influence people in the digital age.  It’s been many years since I read the book but it was one of the books my father recommended for me while I was still in college and had not started down my career path.

If you read this blog, you have likely been working for some time.  As you think back over your career, what books have inspired you or helped shape how you interact with other people?  What is the main message of the book?


  • Hi Trish,

    I am glad you ask this question, because I value business books as a very important way to become a better HR pro.

    The one that was most important to me is “Total Leadership. Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life”, by Steward D. Friedman.

    The famous “Good to Great” by Jim Collins has taught me a lot.

    It’s not the first time I “hear” someone praising “How To Win Friends and Influence People” so maybe I’ll read it soon…

    • @Stephane- Thank you for the book recommendations. Like you, “Good to Great” was one that taught me some good things to focus on. I have not read Total Leadership though so it sounds like I may need to check that one out.

  • Hi, Trish.

    My fave is also Good to Great. But my second favorite business book is “Leading Change” by John Kotter. An excellent find, and not often talked about. I was a senior leader at a software company when it was sold to a much larger organization. The cultural and operational changes were very hard on our employees, and the tips and suggestions I got from “Leading Change” helped make me a better leader during and after the acquisition.

  • Thanks for the opportunity to contribute! Like most, I’ve read all of the ‘classic’ management and leadership books. I’d like to mention one I read only recently, which is proving very helpful. It is “Action Trumps Everything” by Kiefer, Schlesinger and Brown.

    The subtitle “Creating What You Want in an Uncertain World” should intrigue others enough to check it out.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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