Consultancy is an exceptionally challenging line of work. Those who choose to enter this line of work must constantly invest in their education and expand their knowledge in the field they work in. They must also work constantly on developing their communication and relationship-building skills.
If you’d like to become a consultant or you’re a seasoned pro looking to expand your toolbox, reading quality consulting books on this subject can take your career to the next level. Keep reading to find out how to pick the right book for you.
Quick Look: Best Consulting Books
- The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg - Get this book
- Linchpin by Seth Godin - Get this book
- The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel - Get this book
- Key Management Models by Marcel Van Assen, Gerben Van den Berg, Paul Pietersma - Get this book
- Flawless Consulting by Peter Block - Get this book
- Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng - Get this book
- The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy by Boston Consulting Group - Get this book
- The Back of The Napkin by Dan Roam - Get this book
- The Management Consultant by Richard Newton - Get this book
- The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, Robert M. Galford - Get this book
What You Should Look for in a Consulting Book
If you’re looking for the right book on consulting, you should take a few things into consideration.
First, you should pick an author with the right authority and reputation in the field. Next, you should decide which style you prefer, storytelling or practical advice. Finally, you should consider your skill level and choose accordingly.
When a book catches your eye, make sure to check whether it was written by an acclaimed author. You should pick a book by an author who has extensive experience as a consultant.
Ideally, they’ve worked or are working in reputable consulting companies and have helped high-profile corporations.
Story vs. skill
Next, you should decide on what style you’re looking for. Some authors write in a storytelling manner, using anecdotes to teach the principles and dos and don’ts of consulting. On the other hand, there are authors who prefer to inform through practical advice. Finally, some like to mix up the two.
Finally, you should take your experience and skill level into consideration.
For example, if you’re just starting out, a book that covers advanced principles and strategies probably won’t be a good fit. Likewise, a book that’s written for beginners probably won’t hold much value for seasoned professionals.
Our Picks for the Best Consulting Books
Here’s our list of the top 10 consulting books.
The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg
- Who’s it for? Beginners.
- Price: Kindle $11.99, paperback $29.95
The Secrets of Consulting is an excellent book on the basics of consulting. Weinberg masterfully explains the nuts and bolts of the consulting business and how to go from a total beginner to a master.
On the pages of this book, you will learn about different kinds of consultants and their respective roles. You will also learn how to establish your consulting business, price your services, get the needed exposure, gain your client’s trust, and stay on top in the field of your expertise.
Weinberg’s light and conversational tone is great for those who are just starting out. His advice is easy to understand and apply, illustrated with great examples from his own extensive experience.
Linchpin by Seth Godin
- Who’s it for? Experienced consultants.
- Price: Kindle $10.10, paperback $13.60
Seth Godin wrote many books on business, marketing, leadership, and management. Linchpin is one of his best-selling works and it explains what an indispensable individual can bring to the organization.
Between the covers of this book, Godin advocates the idea that one must prove his or her worth to be allowed to stick around. He then teaches the reader how to find their unique voice and style and give their best to the organization.
The key to this, Godin posits, is in recognizing and developing your unique capabilities and personality. That way, you’ll be able to become one of the key people in your company and a trusted consultant from whom everyone asks for advice.
The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel
- Who’s it for? All levels.
- Price: Kindle $19.80, hardcover $18.13
McKinsey is among the most influential consulting agencies in the world. Their experts have helped some of the biggest corporations sail through the storm and reach safe harbors.
On the pages of The McKinsey Way, author Ethan M. Rasiel explains how the McKinsey method actually works and how you can apply it to your consulting career to solve business problems with confidence.
You will learn how McKinsey hires and makes their top-tier consultants and how to use facts, sell without actually selling, run research and brainstorming sessions, and much more. Rasiel writes in a simple, easy-to-digest tone and delivers invaluable advice and deep insights.
Key Management Models by Marcel Van Assen, Gerben Van den Berg, Paul Pietersma
- Who's it for? All levels
- Price: On sale
In order to become good at their jobs, consultants must develop a deep understanding of their field of expertise. Also, they must know how the companies they work with operate and the challenges facing their managers.
In Key Management Models, the authors offer a wide range of tools that an aspiring consultant can use to help their clients solve their problems. They discuss a wide range of both operational and strategic models. The authors also offer useful tips on how and when to switch between the two approaches. This book is a must-read for all consultants looking to take their craft to the next level.
Flawless Consulting by Peter Block
- Who’s it for? Experienced consultants
- Price: Kindle $41.26, hardcover $40.08
Flawless Consulting is one of the most frequently recommended books on consulting. It is currently in its third edition and retains the status of a modern classic with millions of copies sold around the globe.
In Flawless Consulting, Peter Block explains to the reader how they can take their game to the next level. He offers a ton of advice on how to adapt to an increasingly virtual world and make the best of it.
Block also teaches how to work international consulting, deal with difficult clients, ask better questions, case studies, and more. The book also includes exercises and real-world examples.
Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng
- Who’s it for? Experienced consultants
- Price: Kindle $22.56, paperback $18.80
The dreaded Case Interview is rightfully considered among the toughest job interviews on the planet. It is complex, difficult, and downright intimidating.
Victor Cheng, a former elite McKinsey consultant, breaks the interview down into bite-sized chunks on the pages of Case Interview Secrets. Chang explains his tested and proven strategy for acing the infamous interview.
He offers insight into what really happens behind closed doors and what interviewers really say about candidates, what separates good candidates from the best, top 10 mistakes candidates make during an interview, 3 things interviewers expect to see in the first 5 minutes of an interview, and what it really takes to pass such interviews.
The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy by Boston Consulting Group
- Who’s it for? All levels.
- Price: Kindle $20.99, hardcover $23.97
The Boston Consulting Group is regarded as one of the most innovative consulting companies in the country. Their approach is fresh, modern, and in sync with modern times.
The authors of The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy offer the company’s unique approach to strategy. They posit that time is of equal value to money, the reasons companies should use more debt than their competitors, and how companies of the future will be more akin to jazz bands than symphony orchestras.
Aspiring and seasoned consultants who are interested in modern strategies can benefit greatly from this innovative book.
The Back of The Napkin by Dan Roam
- Who’s it for? Beginner and intermediate consultants
- Price: Kindle $15.59, hardcover $23.40, paperback $19.27
The Back of The Napkin is among the best-selling books on consulting and most recommended Dan Roam book. It is popular among experts and beginners alike due to its original, easy-to-digest, yet superbly insightful style.
Roam starts off with a statement that the most powerful way to convey an idea is through a simple picture. He then teaches the readers the power of just a simple napkin and pen when it comes to solving complex problems.
Roam claims that everyone has the potential to think visually, they just need to tap into it. He goes on to demonstrate how thinking in pictures can help people solve problems and develop new ideas.
The Management Consultant by Richard Newton
- Who’s it for? Aspiring consultants
- Price: Paperback $31.72
Ask any expert for a recommendation and chances are that Richard Newton’s The Management Consultant: Mastering the Art of Consultancy would be among the top 3.
At the very beginning of this great book, Newton claims that the secret to mastering the art of consultancy is in the ability to address the client’s genuine needs. He then goes on to explain how to gain skills and attributes that can transform an average consultant into a great one.
The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, Robert M. Galford
- Who’s it for? Advisors, consultants, negotiators.
- Price: Kindle $15.81, paperback $17.00
The Trusted Advisor was first published back in 2000. It became an instant classic and is still regarded as one of the best books ever written on the subjects of consultancy and negotiation.
The author's pose that despite the fact advisors, consultants, and negotiators must work very hard, technical mastery alone simply won’t cut it. The key, the authors claim, is in earning the trust of your clients. They back up the claim with a selection of carefully chosen real-world examples and anecdotes.
Finding the Best Consulting Books
Quality books can help you deepen your understanding of consultancy and propel your career to new heights.
Choose them based up your current needs and preferred writing style. Finally, make sure you’re reading top-class authors.
If you’d like to diversify, feel free to take a look at these personal finance books to get a solid financial footing. Or discover these entrepreneur books which provide useful insights for both business owners and those offering them consulting services.