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23 Books for Professional Development

Life CoachingMindWellbeingTop List

In an increasingly competitive economy, workers must maximize their value at work.


Many people choose to work on developing more technical skills and productivity in the workplace, while others prefer to focus on specific skills like business development and sales mastery.


However, research suggests that soft skills are more in demand than ever


Reading books for professional development is a great way to learn more soft skills. Books on professional development offer empowering strategies and practical advice that you can adopt to enhance your value as an employee.


This guide contains the best books for professional development to help you boost your soft skills and become virtually invaluable! 

What Are Professional Development Books? 

Professional development books provide insight into mindsets, skills, and topics that can help people excel at work. Some focus on specific industries, while others provide general knowledge.

What Are the Top Three Professional Development Topics? 

The top three topics in professional development are critical thinking and problem-solving, leadership, and conflict resolution.

Why Read for Professional Development? 

Reading is the best way to grow your work skills because it allows you to manage your learning and focus on what interests you most. The following books are in English, so if you need to improve your linguistic skills, consider taking an English class.

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The top three topics in professional development are critical thinking and problem-solving, leadership, and conflict resolution.

Our List of Books for Professional Development 

This list represents the best of what the professional development industry offers. Choose from any book below to maximize your skills at work.

1. The Elevated Communicator: How to Master Your Style and Strengthen Well-Being at Work

Communication is a highly in-demand skill—and this book will teach you how to leverage the skills you already have to become a master negotiator, problem-solver, teacher, and leader. 

2. How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge 

This practical guide will teach you exactly how to become most influential in any scenario—regardless of how much formal authority you have. It’s a must for anyone in any industry.

3. Dare to Lead 

From leading researcher Brené Brown comes a critically acclaimed how-to guide on leading with vulnerability, kindness, and compassion—all 21st-century skills. 

4. Surrounded by Idiots 

This book, based on a leading psychotherapeutic behavior model, categorizes people into four groups—and teaches you how to work and communicate most effectively with each.

5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This award-winning book was published nearly forty years ago—and it continues to top the charts for its actionable advice and time-tested strategies for developing maximum efficiency.

Books for Professional Development

6. Thinking Fast and Slow 

In a fast-paced business world, Daniel Kahneman’s book challenges conventional knowledge, suggesting that sometimes, it’s better to think slowly. 

7. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Leadership tends to change people. Still, this book will teach you how to retain your humanity despite taking on new responsibilities. 

8. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us 

Daniel Pink’s popular book explains the psychology behind motivation—and what it takes to inspire people to perform better. 

9. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

In this book, Carol Dweck makes her now-famous argument that a growth mindset—focusing on growth rather than accomplishments—is essential to success. She’ll explain exactly how to do it! 


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10. The Lean Startup

If you’re an entrepreneur, this book is for you. Eric Ries touches on the essential components of a successful business—and how to preserve your sanity while you rise to business success.

11. The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control 

Recovering perfectionists will find solace in this actionable tome on developing stability in the face of uncertainty and risk. It’s perfect for leaders and creatives. 

12. Outliers: The Story of Success

From award-winning author Malcolm Gladwell comes to a book about taking risks, being creative, and embracing the unknown—all-important soft skills.

13. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

This book is ideal for entrepreneurs and business owners since it explains in vivid detail how and why some businesses succeed. 

14. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

It’s all in the name; this book will teach you to maximize your efficiency without stressing so much that you mess everything up—it’s a must for anyone under a lot of pressure.

15. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance 

Angela Duckworth has received numerous awards and critical acclaim for her research on grit—why it matters at school, work, and beyond. This book explains it all—and provides strategies to boot. 

16. The First 90 Days

This helpful book explains how to succeed at your new job within the first 90 days. It’s ideal for those embarking on a new career or working in a new job. 

17. The Coaching Habit: Say, Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever

Coaching is an essential skill for anyone in a leadership position, and this book will teach you the strategies and core questions you need to excel at the job.

18. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

It’s no secret that people are more likely to act when they’re given a reason to, and this book will teach you to inspire those around you to act by providing the most compelling reasons. 

19. The Power of Habit 

This incredible book dissects habits—how they are born and how they die—and it will help you redesign your life for maximum efficiency—in and out of the workplace.

20. The Courage to Be Disliked 

This incredible book will teach you how to take creative and professional risks without fear of losing approval. It will completely transform the way you think about work—and play.


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Books for Professional Development

21. The Leadership Manifesto

A leadership manifesto is a document that holds you accountable to your personal goals and visions for your business—and this book will teach you how to do just that.

22. Remote Not Distant

The remote revolution has posed challenges for business leaders and managers, but this book will teach you to resolve them all.

23. Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life

From acclaimed coach and mentor Maire Kondo comes to a life-changing book about pruning down your responsibilities and finding joy in your professional life.

Final Thoughts 

The best books for professional development will change your life. 


Remember to exercise patience—growth takes time! With these professional development books, you’ll get there sooner rather than later.

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