The best books for intentional communication and building trusted relationships

Who am I?

I am a work in progress, on my way to becoming a conscious communicator and an even better human being. I believe that intentional communication and (the) quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives, careers, and societies. I’ve spent decades guiding people and cultures to foster open communication, cultivate self-understanding, and deepen trust, from large Fortune 500 to small businesses. Building communication skills is a practice that leads to self-transformation and finding meaning, and happiness. Each of these books will help you to better understand yourself and others, and learn to communicate at the level of trust.

I wrote...

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

By Maryanne O'Brien,

Book cover of The Elevated Communicator: How to Master Your Style and Strengthen Well-Being at Work

What is my book about?

If we want to become better communicators, we need to become better people. We need to become aware of what’s driving our behavior and how what we say and do impacts others. Understanding the four communication styles––Expressive, Reserved, Direct, and Harmonious––puts you on a path of self-discovery and personal transformation. It gives you the knowledge, insights, and tools for building build a conscious practice to evolve into your healthiest style expression, raise your level of well-being, and deepen authentic connections.  

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Why did I love this book?

This book can help you to awaken to a deeper level of conscious awareness.

The Four Agreements are powerful tools for personal growth that can help you break free from limiting beliefs and negative patterns. They are simple, yet profound, and can be applied to every aspect of your life. This book teaches you how to cultivate inner peace, be intentional about what you say and do, and create more meaningful relationships.

By Don Miguel Ruiz,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Four Agreements as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

•  A New York Times bestseller for over a decade
•  Translated into 46 languages worldwide
“This book by don Miguel Ruiz, simple yet so powerful, has made a tremendous difference in how I think and act in every encounter.” — Oprah Winfrey

“Don Miguel Ruiz’s…

Book cover of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People)

Why did I love this book?

A practical guide to understanding yourself, understanding others, and how to improve workplace relationships through better communication.

If you’ve been in the workplace for any length of time, you know that collaboration is a must for career success and that there’s usually at least one challenging person that can destroy trust and tank your productivity. In this book, you’ll learn strategies for identifying the eight types of difficult co-workers and gain insights into their motivations.

She also provides actionable advice for how to step into these difficult conversations, so you can build better relationships. 

By Amy Gallo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Along as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named one of "22 new books...that you should consider reading before the year is out" by Fortune

"This practical and empathetic guide to taking the high road is worth a look for workers lost in conflict." - Publisher's Weekly

A research-based, practical guide for how to handle difficult people at work.

Work relationships can be hard. The stress of dealing with difficult people dampens our creativity and productivity, degrades our ability to think clearly and make sound decisions, and causes us to disengage. We might lie awake at night worrying, withdraw from work, or react in ways we later regret-rolling…

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

Book cover of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Why did I love this book?

If you’ve been avoiding having a difficult conversation, this book is for you.

It provides a step-by-step guide for preparing to have difficult conversations and navigating the waters once you’re in them, both personally and professionally. You’ll learn to see your own defensive barriers to communicating well (defensiveness to silence) and how to apply strategies for overcoming these obstacles and creating a safe and productive environment.

It’s a valuable resource you’ll come back to again and again, because people are complex, and communication is the bridge to building trust. 

By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Crucial Conversations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times and Washington Post bestseller that changed the way millions communicate

"[Crucial Conversations] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time."
-from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Here's how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations."
-Mark Victor Hansen, cocreator of the #1…

Book cover of The Map of Consciousness Explained: A Proven Energy Scale to Actualize Your Ultimate Potential

Why did I love this book?

By exploring the different levels of consciousness and how they manifest in our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, you will gain insights into your patterns of communication and how they impact the people around you.

It teaches you to be more mindful of your interactions with others, how to be more present and attentive in conversations, and to be able to see how you are perceived when communicating. And as you raise your level of consciousness, you will naturally become a more intentional, empathic, and compassionate communicator. 

By David R. Hawkins,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Map of Consciousness Explained as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Map of Consciousness Explained is an essential primer on the late Dr David R. Hawkins's teachings on human consciousness and their associated energy fields.

Using muscle testing, Dr Hawkins conducted more than 250,000 calibrations during 20 years of research to define a range of values, attitudes and emotions that correspond to levels of consciousness. This range of values - along with a logarithmic scale of 1 to 1,000 - became the Map of Consciousness, which Dr Hawkins first wrote about in his New York Times bestseller, Power vs. Force.

In this book, readers will gain an introduction and deeper…

Radical Candor

By Kim Scott,

Book cover of Radical Candor

Why did I love this book?

If you lead a team, you know that providing clear and actionable feedback is one of the trickiest conversations that you have on a regular basis.

The most effective leaders are those who are able to provide both direct feedback and caring support to their employees––and that’s the central idea of Radical Candor. It provides you with a framework for giving feedback, building strong relationships, actively listening, and building trust.

It’s loaded with practical tips and exercises for fostering open communication. 

By Kim Scott,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Radical Candor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Featuring a new preface, afterword and Radically Candid Performance Review Bonus Chapter, the fully revised & updated edition of Radical Candor is packed with even more guidance to help you improve your relationships at work.

'Reading Radical Candor will help you build, lead, and inspire teams to do the best work of their lives.' - Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In.

If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all . . . right?

While this advice may work for home life, as Kim Scott has seen first hand, it is a disaster when adopted…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in management style, conflict management, and school?

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