Many people take social skills for granted as this skillset doesn’t get taught in school. Growing up, your training comes from the adults you interacted with and your natural inclination to be social. As an adult, you can take this learning into your own hands by reading a social skill book.
Having the right social skills can help in your personal life as well as at work. So if you think you’re disadvantaged in this area, it’s best to brush up on your connection skills. Even people who are confident about their social skills can benefit from some extra knowledge.
After all, networking is a common way to advance in life, and you need to have great social skills to utilize the opportunity. Reading social skill books like the ones listed below can help you in this endeavor.
The Best Social Skills Books:
- 4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work—Anywhere! by Bento C. Leal III - Get this book
- The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like by Michelle Tillis Lederman - Get this book
- I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships by Michael S. Sorensen - Get this book
- The Connector’s Way: A Story About Building Business One Relationship at a Time by Patrick Galvin - Get this book
- Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work by Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris - Get this book
- Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life, Updated and Expanded Ed. by Henry Cloud and John Townsend - Get this book
- Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, 2nd Ed. by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler - Get this book
- How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie - Get this book
- Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Wellby Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen - Get this book
- Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott - Get this book
What You Should Look for in a Social Skill Book
The sheer variety of self-help books on the market can be daunting. Where do you start? How do you choose one?
Before you choose your next social skill book, take a look at the following considerations. They can help you narrow down choices.
Who wrote the book? Unfortunately, unlike with entrepreneur books or personal finance books, it can be hard to tell how much experience a writer truly has with the topic. How do you know if they’re successful in implementing their own advice?
It’s still best to start with checking out the biography. Look for authors who have worked as counselors, therapists, or psychologists. You may also find authors who are professors or scientists in the realm of psychology. While a degree isn’t necessary to gain excellent social skills, it occasionally helps to read up on the theory behind the practice.
Business professionals may have a unique perspective and insight on professional social skills. Reading about their experiences can be just as valuable as learning from psychology experts.
Personal vs. Professional
Should you look at books that focus on personal growth or professional growth? This is really a personal decision, and both types of books can help you advance in all aspects of life. So choose the one that you feel may provide the most help.
Depth of Relationship
Many books focus on specific topics. For example, you can choose books that help your conversation skills, improving the way you interact with strangers. Or choose ones that help you develop meaningful business relationships you can build on later.
Our Picks for the Best Social Skill Book
Some business books may address how to communicate effectively. However, social skill books provide a more comprehensive look at the topic. So if you’re ready to boost your likability, take a look at the list below:
1. 4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work—Anywhere! by Bento C. Leal III
Identifying and overcoming communication barriers can help you in various areas of your life, and this award-winning book can show you how to do it. Topics covered by Leal include:
- Listening and understanding with empathy
- Common listening blocks
- Conflict management
- Nurturing relationships consistently
The book also contains an Action Guide and ends with a 12-Day Challenge to help implement these tips in practical situations.
2. The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like by Michelle Tillis Lederman
- Who’s it for? Beginners
- Price: On sale
Do you need a little networking help? One of the secrets behind successful networking relationships is likability. This book helps you identify likable qualities and using those qualities to build relationships with others.
The book format includes self-assessment quizzes, activities, and anecdotes.
It focuses on creating authentic connections rather than contrived or manipulative ones, so it can help you form lasting business relationships.
3. I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships by Michael S. Sorensen
Can one tweak in your day-to-day conversations improve all the relationships in your life?
This simple yet powerful technique can help you navigate difficult conversations and develop deeper relationships.
The book is a quick and easy read, and the advice is applicable in both your personal and professional life.
4. The Connector’s Way: A Story About Building Business One Relationship at a Time by Patrick Galvin
- Who’s it for? Beginners
- Price: On sale
This is a business parable about a failing insurance agency owner who embarks on a journey to build better relationships.
Learn 7 rules for building powerful business relationships one step at a time.
The book may appeal to professionals at any stage in their career.
5. Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work by Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris
This social skill book addresses the negative bias that typically occurs in the workplace, especially in industries that are male-dominated.
Kramer writes from her experience as a lawyer and adjunct professor. She’s been an advocate for women’s rights in the workplace for nearly three decades. Harris is her spouse, and he’s the founding partner of a law firm in Chicago.
The book contains advice and tips about how to handle communication from a women’s perspective, and it’s also useful to men who want to improve their communication with female coworkers.
6. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life, Updated and Expanded Ed. by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Setting boundaries is paramount to developing healthy relationships. Not being able to say yes or no in certain situations isn’t healthy for you or for the people around you. This book helps you learn when and how to assert yourself.
Boundary topics in this book include:
- Boundary development
- Boundary myths
- Boundaries with friends and family
- Measuring boundary success
Although this is a general self-help book, it may help you in your professional life, too. However, note that the book is very Christianity-oriented. So if Bible quotes and religious references don’t appeal to you, you may want to choose another book.
7. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, 2nd Ed. by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
Do you act or react during important conversations? In your work or personal life, there are times that a conversation can get emotionally charged. This book helps you navigate those crucial conversations with grace.
This social skill book was published previously, but the new edition has extra updated sections that address:
- How to prepare for high-stakes conversations
- Turning hurt feelings or anger into powerful dialogue
- Creating a safe place to address most subjects
- How to be persuasive
The authors provide tips to communicate more effectively and move your personal and professional relationships forward.
8. How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie
The classic Dale Carnegie book has been revised for the digital age. It still champions a common sense approach to communicating.
Learn how to capitalize on a network, communicate with tact and diplomacy, and make people like you.
Many people who read Carnegie’s book comment that they wish they read it when they were younger. However, it has advice that’s applicable at any stage of your personal and professional life.
9. Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
Did you know that accepting feedback is a skill?
Think back on your response the last time you received feedback at work. If it could have gone better, this may be the book for you.
Find out how to develop a simple framework to start receiving feedback the way you should.
The book uses a blend of psychology and neuroscience coupled with advice from two veteran consultants.
10. Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott
Anyone can benefit from turning fierce conversations into positive ones, and Scott’s book helps you achieve that goal. She covers topics like:
- Overcoming barriers
- Expanding personal and professional relationships
- Dealing with strong emotions
- Making deeper connections
This social skill book comes with a workbook, as well as advice about implementing Scott’s seven principles of conversations.
Finding the Best Social Skill Book
Everyone has different levels of social skills. But most people can benefit from a little extra help connecting with others.
So turn over a new leaf by reading the best social skill books you can find. Get ready to embrace new social situations. Approach meetings and parties with newfound confidence. You may even find that professional networking can be fun when it’s all about developing authentic connections.