After recommending two books explaining how to build and run modern business last week, I want to focus on people today. And surprisingly enough the by far best books in that regard aren’t as young. As a matter of fact when reading them, you’ll notice that even though one is over seventy and the other over two thousand years old, their content is still highly current and better than most recent writing on that matter. I am of course talking about The Art of War and How To Win Friends And Influence People.

The Art of War

{.right} Cover of "The Art of War"

I still remember when reading the Art of War the first time, I was reading it right before going to sleep and even though I barely made one paragraph a night, I was lying there after and couldn’t sleep: This book opened my mind in an extend I didn’t believe possible and I kept thinking about what I just read for hours to come. Which is also the reason I wasn’t able to read to much in a row, with just a few sentences Sun Tsu is able to bring things to a point but also leave it up to the reader and the other comments to understand it fully. And although it is over two thousand year old and focusses on war, this books contains more wisdom about managing people and resources than most modern books. As a result, it is still my number one go-to reference if I encounter a situation in Business I am not sure what to and where to go from there.

I specifically recommend this Edition from 2005, which contains the comments of Chinese war generals, who tried to apply his advice in the field (affiliate link).

How To Win Friends and Influence People

{.left} Cover of "How To Win Friends and Influence People"

The cheesy name is most likely the number one reason, why many people don’t want to touch this book Dale Carnegie published in 1937. I say published because he wrote it over a longer period; it is a summary of all his studies on human interaction in business and life in a more general aspect. His work is the basis of what was later to become the “people skills”. And though so many other things have been written and said and published on this subject, none is as complete, comprehend and well written as this one. And no other publication went into that extent to make you understand why this matters.

If you ever troubled with any of those skills, if you “can’t sell” or don’t get that whole small talk thing, if you already gave up, because no book was able to help you with that, this book will. I always hated those things until I read Dale Carnegie and began to understand what they are really about and why they do matter. As a result I changed my style and way of communicating and can assure you it works. This book is still my number one recommendation, when people come to me and ask me how I manage my communication or are curious where I came up with that spin in this negotiation. “How To Win Friends and Influence People” is available on Amazon (affiliate link).

What else is there to read? Which are your goto-references on these topics? Let me know, I am always looking for more books to read.