The best books for effective communication

Who am I?

I’m a person who deals in communication in all forms. I am an internationally bestselling novelist. A record 55-time Moth StorySLAM and 7-time GrandSLAM champion. A humor columnist for Seasons magazine and an advice columnist for Slate. The author of two books of nonfiction. A stand-up comedian. Comic book writer. Blogger. Playwright. Marketing and communications consultant. Also an elementary school teacher. Everything I do involves producing sentences that engage others. Whether from the page or the stage, I have committed my life to finding the best ways to communicate effectively with others and finding the resources that help me best achieve this goal. 

I wrote...

Book cover of Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling

What is my book about?

Whether we realize it or not, we are always telling stories. On a first date or job interview, at a sales presentation or therapy appointment, with family or friends, we are constantly narrating events and interpreting emotions and actions. 

In this compelling book, record 55-time Moth StorySLAM and 7-time GrandSLAM champion Matthew Dicks presents wonderfully straightforward and engaging tips and techniques for constructing, telling, and polishing stories that will hold the attention of your audience (no matter how big or small). He shows that anyone can learn to be an appealing storyteller, that everyone has something “storyworthy” to express, and, perhaps most importantly, that the act of creating and telling a tale is a powerful way of understanding and enhancing your own life.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Why did I love this book?

This is the best book I have ever read on crafting messages that will be remembered by your audience. If you’re a school teacher, this book will transform your lessons. If you’re a marketer or advertiser, this book will make your messages more clear, compelling, and impactful. If you’re a parent, this book will aid you immensely with communicating with your children. 

If you have something to say and someone who needs to hear it and retain it, this book is an essential.

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Made to Stick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why does fake news stick while the truth goes missing?

Why do disproved urban legends persist? How do you keep letting newspapers and clickbait sites lure you in with their headlines? And why do you remember complicated stories but not complicated facts?

Over ten years of study, Chip and Dan Heath have discovered how we latch on to information hooks. Packed full of case histories and incredible anecdotes, it shows:

- how an Australian scientist convinced the world he'd discovered the cause of stomach ulcers by drinking a glass filled with bacteria

- how a gifted sports reporter got people…

Book cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Why did I love this book?

I was nearly ready to give up on my fiction career when I listened to King’s seminal tome on writing while running on a treadmill one day. Hearing the struggles of a writer as successful as King convinced me to press on and try like hell. Exactly one year later, I sold my first novel. Seven novels and two books of nonfiction later, I still look back on that moment with immense gratitude. Not only is On Writing filled with no-nonsense advice on writing well, but it offers meaningful advice on engaging in the craft and making your efforts matter. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked On Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Twentieth Anniversary Edition with Contributions from Joe Hill and Owen King


Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the…

Book cover of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know

Why did I love this book?

Penetrating the established opinions of others can oftentimes feel impossible. Adam Grant reminded me that it may be a hard-fought battle but not an impossible one. Learn how an international debate champion wins arguments, how a black musician persuades white supremacists to abandon hate, and how Yankees fans were convinced to root for the Red Sox.

Being a Yankees fan, this one was especially impressive.

Less art and more science, this is the book that will give you hope that anyone’s mind can be changed with the right strategies.

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Think Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

"THIS. This is the right book for right now. Yes, learning requires focus. But, unlearning and relearning requires much more-it requires choosing courage over comfort. In Think Again, Adam Grant weaves together research and storytelling to help us build the intellectual and emotional muscle we need to stay curious enough about the world to actually change it. I've never felt so hopeful about what I don't know."
-Brene Brown, Ph.D., #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead

The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking:…

Book cover of 27 Essential Principles of Story: Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, from Shakespeare to South Park

Why did I love this book?

Practicality and simplicity are essential when wanting to learn something, and this book offers both in heaping spoonfuls. Read five pages and you’ll already be a better communicator. But best of all, this book also provides specific examples of each principle from the works of Shakespeare and South Park. Harry Potter and The Godfather. Seeing easily implemented storytelling strategies put to use by the masters makes it far more understandable, accessible, and fun. 

By Daniel Joshua Rubin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 27 Essential Principles of Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Open your notebook, take out your pen, and welcome a bold new approach to teaching the art of great storytelling. In 27 lessons, drawn from 27 critical moments at the heart of 27 diverse narratives--from plays, novels, movies, television, and even songs and video games--Daniel Joshua Rubin unlocks the secrets of what makes a story work and then teaches us how to understand and use each principle in our own storytelling. Rubin, an incisive and no BS teacher, writing consultant, and founder of the Story 27 Studio, expands our understanding of narrative by drilling into examples ranging from Hamlet to…

Book cover of Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences

Why did I love this book?

Read all of Duarte’s books, but start with this one. Communication is more than simply words. Visuals are often essential to conveying an effective and memorable message, and Resonate offers practical strategies to do this well. Duarte is viewed as the best of the best, and it’s no hyperbole. As a person who struggles with the visual realm, Duarte’s clear and concise strategies transformed my presentations significantly, Read this then everything else she has written. 

By Nancy Duarte,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reveals the underlying story form of all great presentations that will not only create impact, but will move people to action Presentations are meant to inform, inspire, and persuade audiences. So why then do so many audiences leave feeling like they've wasted their time? All too often, presentations don't resonate with the audience and move them to transformative action. Just as the author's first book helped presenters become visual communicators, Resonate helps you make a strong connection with your audience and lead them to purposeful action. The author's approach is simple: building a presentation today is a bit like writing…

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