“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.” – Charlie Munger (arguably the greatest investor of all time).
Reading is the one universal practice successful people have in common. If you want to improve your life, need better ideas, or just want to make better decisions then grab a good book and start reading.
Here’s the one problem. There are literally MILLIONS of books available to be read. In the sales vertical alone I know there’s over 10,000 books directly related to sales.
What to do?
The first is to understand you should be reading books primarily devoted to education, self-improvement, and development.
Since you landed on my page, I’m assuming you already know this!
Lucky for you, I’ve spent dozens of hours reading through sales books and finding the ones with the most impact on sales professionals.
I’ve included this list so you don’t have to waste any time looking for the perfect book to solve your problem.
My goal is to help you read the RIGHT book. Much more impactful for your progress than just reading for entertainment.
I’ve broken down the best sales books into different sections. They include:
- Mindset & Psychology Sales Books
- Persuasion & Influence Sales Books
- Sales Methods & Tactics
- Sales Management
Use this page as a reference for when your future problem comes up, and you’ll find the perfect book to answer your questions.
Get The Most Out Of Your Reading
Just like it’s easy to get caught in the trap of reading for entertainment (which has it’s value too by the way!), it’s also easy to read without retaining anything.
Here’s a rule of thumb I’ve learned:
- If a book is dense with loads of educational information, buy it in print. You’ll want it as a reference and to put your notes in.
- If a book is motivational, or fiction, go ahead and get in audiobook. You’ll enjoy the story with a good voice actor and it can be read during downtime.
Having said that – all the books I recommend (except for a couple) should be purchased via prin form.
You’ll want to do this because I highly recommend you take notes in the book when thoughts pop up, and get either a notepad or Evernote for your findings. This will help you achieve active learning, which is far more valuable than passively reading without absorbing any knowledge.
Mindset & Psychology Sales Books
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol Dweck
Do you have a growth mindset, or a fixed one?
This is the premise of Carol’s work with Mindset.
Have you ever found yourself saying “they got lucky” or “they must be a natural”? These are all signs you have a fixed mindset that you’re only so “good” at something, and you’re predetermined with this capability.
Before you even begin with your sales career, or even if you’re a 20 year vet, you need to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
Some key insights from reading Mindset:
- You do not have a set limit on your skillset.
- Your belief on growth is the most important skill you can learn.
- You can always do better with more effort and practice.
Carol packs a bunch of examples within her book, and it can get repetitive at times. Read through it though, because the examples help you connect the dots in new and unique ways.
Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
What if you could take the mindset of a successful Navy SEAL? Would you like that kind of grit and determination?
Ready Extreme Ownership, and you’ve seen how a high stakes veterain approaches his mindset. With relentless responsibility and unyielding persistence to perfection.
One of my favorite quotes by him is: “Discipline Equals Freedom”
By exercising extreme ownership, by taking responsibility for your life, you will beat that little voice in your head telling you to give up and go home.
Be Obsessed Or Be Average – Grant Cardone
Give yourself permission to have an intense desire to win. Seriously, that’s the premise of Uncle G’s book, and it’s one I firmly believe people scoff at the most.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, one way or another you’re obsessed with something. The only question, is your obsession a positive one moving you towards your goals?
This is one of the few books I would recommend getting the audiobook version for.
Some key points from the book I liked:
- Don’t settle with being average.
- Set goals and work to achieve them.
- Dominate your life.
- Enjoy being uncomfortable.
- Educate yourself, and become obsessed with education.
Sell Or Be Sold – Grant Cardone
Another great book by Grant. It’s one of his firsts. Sell or be Sold is about understanding that sales is something you can’t escape. Every day you’re either selling or you’re the one being sold. You need to take responsibility for it and realize this is the game being played.
I would also recommend you get the audiobook version to read when you’re doing the dishes, travelling, or any other kind of autonomous work.
Secrets Of Closing The Sale – Zig Ziglar
Zig Ziglar is one of the original sales experts. He’s one of the most influential speakers I’ve had the pleasure of learning from. With secrets of closing the sale you’re getting all of Zig’s insights into how you should approach the sales profession.
One of the best tips I learned from reading his book was to have a meeting with a prospect at the same time everyday. Whatever time you choose, schedule at least 1 conversation with a prospect.
You’ll learn a ton of time management tips and tricks from Zig. Most importantly you’ll find his insights into the sales profession wholesome and thorough.
Developing The Qualities Of Success – Zig Ziglar
Qualities of Success is an expansion of his Secrets of Closing the sale because he focuses on what skills you need to build for ultimate success in life. This book will teach you how to grow both personally and professionally in four primary areas:
If you focus on these 4 areas you’ll gain the insights and necessary development to lead a successful career. Most importantly you get improved performance which will launch your sales numbers through the roof.
He touches on everything related to sales, but I enjoy it the most for the mindset portion because Zig is one of those rare salespeople with deep integrity and skill.
Remember: “You were designed for accomplishment. You were engineered for success. You were endowed with the seeds of greatness.”
Start With Why – Simon Sinek
I’m sure you can imagine the focus Simon is trying to communicate with his book. Before you begin any adventure, project, or career; ask yourself “Why”. If you want to inspire others around you, achieve remarkable things, and become a leader you need to have a deep why. One that cannot be shaken by inconvenient circumstances.
Most people can explain what they do, or even how they do it, but so few can explain why they do anything. When you have a deep enough why, you’ll overcome any obstacle.
Couple big ideas:
- Your Why is your purpose, mission, cause, or belief. It must be positive and it must come from within.
- When your Why gets fuzzy, you lose traction and it becomes difficult to inspire others. You’ll begin to stagnate and lose focus. Keep your Why in clear view and remind yourself every day.
12 Rules For Life – Jordan B Peterson
This isn’t a sales book per say. However, the insights about motivation and mindset from Jordan Peterson has led to radical transformation in so many people, including myself. He walks through how a person thinks, and even lists the core tenets of the hero story. One we should all be living.
Remember, you’re the hero of your own story. Act with courage, realize you have a shadow side, and embrace the chaos.
I highly recommend you give his advice a shot.
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
One of the first mindset books I’ve read. I read this when I was 18 and it had a monumental impact on me. I re-read it every Thanksgiving, to continue getting insights.
When Napoleon was a young reporter he had an encounter with the aging Carnegie who told him to go on a 20 year journey to find the secrets of success. Napoleon then interviewed 500 of the wealthiest Americans at the time to understand one thing: “What makes them different?”
He distilled all this wisdom into a short book which is often considered the first “self-help” book of it’s kind.
Consider him an OG.
Persuasion & Influence Sales Books
Influence – Robert Cialdini
Most people consider Dr. Cialdini the Godfather of influence and persuasion. He’s mentored presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton, and has over 35 years of experience in the field.
There are 6 main principles to follow to persuade someone:
- Commitment & Consistency
- Social Proof
I could go on and on but in the end you need to absorb these principles. It’s like seeing the Matrix for the first time.
Pre-Suasion – Robert Cialdini
This is Dr. Cialdini’s follow up to his Influence book. The title is a mixture of the two words Pre-Sell and Persuasuion.
In Dr. Cialdini’s description Pre-Suasion is: The process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. Strategically guiding preliminary attention to move prospects into an agreement with the marketing message before they ever experience it.
The best analogy is using a seed. You can plant and water the seed all day long, but if the soil isn’t beneficial, you won’t grow a tree.
There’s a lot of principles Dr. Cialdini demonstrates in the book, and you better grab a copy because they’re being used on you right now. 🙂
How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big – Scott Adams
This is a story of Scott Adam’s life. He’s the creator of Dilbert, and by all accounts is one of the most brilliant readers of persuasion.
This book taught me so much about how to sell myself before I could even begin working on selling somebody else.
You’ll also learn great tricks about thinking in systems as opposed to goals.
Well worth a read.
Win Bigly – Scott Adams
Did I mention how smart Scott Adams is?
He predicted Donald Trump winning the presidency, right as Trump entered the race. Scott knows the tricks of persuasion, and can see them a mile away.
Win Bigly is about his story of walking through his prediction, and how you can use the same information to predict things in your life.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know if and when a deal will close??
Impossible To Ignore – Dr. Carmen Simon
I once had a boss who would wear the craziest suit ties he could find. Why? Because it makes you memorable.
That’s the point of Impossible To Ignore. People act on what they remember, not on what they forget.
One of the ways to cut through all the clutter in the world now is to be memorable.
Remember – audiences forget over 90% of everything they see. You need to make sure you’re in the 10% of what they remember.
This book will teach you pragmatic techniques for building a memorable approach to your communication.
Thinking, Fast & Slow – Daniel Kahneman
Be warned. This book is dense. It’s difficult to read.
If you read it you will be 100% smarter about the mind and its process for thinking. Thinking, Fast & Slow has been one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read because it teaches you the difference between biases and heuristics.
There are two systems constantly fighting for control of your behaviour.
What will surprise you most is how your brain thinks it remembers correctly, but really you’re using shortcuts to form decisions.
Sometimes they work, and sometimes they’re shortcuts which aren’t beneficial.
With this book, you’ll finally understand what they are and how to use them for your own benefit.
Sales Methods & Tactics
The Way Of The Wolf – Jordan Belfort
I personally believe Jordan Belfort is the best sales trainer on the planet. Sure he had a drug problem. We all have our vices. However if you want to learn the secrets of tonality, pace, how to get your buyer to the three 10’s of acceptance, you need to give The Way of The Wolf a read.
It’s part autobiography and part sales training material. It’s full of hilarious stories, and gives you a better glance at his life compared to the movie.
If you’re in a sales cycle with less than 2 calls I would recommend you read this and study the Straight Line.
It. Will. Transform. Your. Life.
Straight Line Persuasion Course – Jordan Belfort
Speaking of Straight Line – get his course too. Yes, it’s not a book per say, but it’s so so much more.
You’ll get script training, visual help, manuscripts, and everything you need to become certified in the Straight Line.
Reading the book is a good primer. Taking the course will make you a legend.
Pitch Anything – Owen Klaff
I consider Owen Klaff one of the most original and innovative thinkers in deal making there is. He comes from an investment banking background, and does BIG deals.
Pitch Anything helped me understand how people frame themselves in a negotiation. They’re also exhibiting some sort of frame, from dominance to analytical and many in between.
Get this book.
Flip The Script – Owen Klaff
Get this book too. It’s even better then Pitch Anything which is hard to accomplish.
I don’t want to reveal too much, because it’s just so worth the read.
Have you ever watched My Cousin Vinny? There’s a reason why Mona was so persuasive in her speech. Give Flip the Script a read.
You’ll be happy you do.
Never Split The Difference – Chris Voss
After reading The Way Of The Wolf you’ll be prepared to whip out the DJ voice tonality for your toughest prospects.
This is just 1 technique Chris teaches you with his stellar book.
Chris was a FBI negotiator, so he knows a thing or two about negotiations. His job was to save lives, so he had to figure out what works and quickly.
It’s jam packed with actionable tips and techniques for every negotiation.
The Challenger Sale – Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon
The best reps are the ones who Challenge the prospect to think differently. They don’t back down because they’re the ones educating the prospect with insights and information.
What you’ll take from this book is how to speak with and connect to a C-Suite executive. They’re on a different level because they’re dealing with the problem of thinking ahead. They don’t have time for the here and now, they need to think 3 steps ahead of the market and the competition.
If you can demonstrate yourself as THE person to provide info, and it matches your product, they’ll purchase from you.
It’s required reading at many SAAS companies for good reason.
SPIN Selling – Neil Rackham
I used to pepper my prospects with situational questions. It makes them feel like they’re being interviewed. No bueno.
Instead you need to ask them a series of questions. All summed up in the acronym SPIN
N: Need payoff
The quality of your questions will determine if you close the sale. Pair this up with the Challenger sale and you’re one bad burrito…
Fanatical Prospecting – Jeb Blount
I used this book to help me propel to the number 1 spot when I was an SDR. Nobody in my org was thinking to target LTO (long-term opps) and I created a hierarchy system to reach out to them first, then colder prospects.
I book literally dozens of meetings a month for a product selling at over $200k price tag. I credit all of that to reading Fanatical Prospecting.
In it Jeb gives you guidance for creating the best time management approach to prospecting.
If you’re in a role where you prospect heavily then I recommend you pick this book up.
Selling To VITO
Very Important Top Officer.
That’s the VITO and it’s the person you need to reach to get a deal done. You’ll find great insights into tricks for reaching these people.
Hint: It involves writing direct mail!
Predictable Prospecting – Aaron Ross
I’m including Aaron in this list because he was the person who first incorporated the SDR/AE model.
In the Tech space he’s one of the most sought after consultants around. His predictable prospecting book teaches his process for building outbound sales orgs. Peak into the mind of a mad scientist and take his insights along for a spin.
Thinking In Systems – A Primer – Donella Meadows
This isn’t necessarily a sales management book. In my personal opinion the best management books are ones related to engineering and science.
Thinking in systems will give you a primer on how to look at the world with a systemic view. In flows, outflows, stock (not the robinhood kind!) and feedback loops.
With this book you’ll see your business and sales team in a completely new paradigm, that’s how transformative it is.
Plus, you’ll even learn a thing or two about your own mind.
Wooden On Leadership – John Wooden
John Wooden won 11 consecutive NCAA championships. I don’t care who you are. That’s an impressive feat and he has a system of leadership you should follow for results like that.
Not many people mention him but Wooden helped teach Intel and IBM on leadership and management.
It begins from the ground up. Learning how to put on socks correctly will teach you how to win championships.
How you do one thing is how you do all things.
Blueprints For a SAAS Sales Organization
If you work in SAAS you need this book series.
You’ll get a step by step breakdown of your organization and how to build it up correctly. If you’re in sales leadership this should be required reading before you start day 1.
Cracking The Sales Management Code
Metrics, numbers, and analytics. This is the language of the new sales leader.
Carefully define your business results you want to achieve.
Choose the sales processes and the sales objectives.
Select the activities.
Boom. You have an efficient sales org.