100 books like Difficult Conversations

By Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen

Here are 100 books that Difficult Conversations fans have personally recommended if you like Difficult Conversations. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Meditations: A New Translation

Ryan A. Kovacs Author Of Create Destruction: Phase I

From my list on human choice & consequence.

Who am I?

I firmly live by the saying, “Where we are in life is a direct reflection of the choices we’ve made, or failed to make.” The theme of choice and consequence has not just been a way of living but the very trope in all my novels. The beauty in showing the process of making a choice, for my characters, in their stories, brings them to life. It forces the reader to step inside that decision tree, to analyze and predict the outcome despite the unknown. We are continuously propelled into the unknown and we make choices based on the notion of understanding what those choices will mean.

Ryan's book list on human choice & consequence

Ryan A. Kovacs Why did Ryan love this book?

As someone who incorporates philosophical underpinnings throughout my literary works, Marcus Aurelius not only lived these values and lessons but taught them in such a profound way.

This book transcends time, applying teachings and wonders to mankind for likely an eternity.

I re-read pages, finding new ways to apply his wisdom or question my relationships or thoughts on particular matters unlike any other. I found this memoir life-changing; Marcus' words resound regardless of anyone's values or beliefs.

By Marcus Aurelius (lead author), Gregory Hays (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nearly two thousand years after it was written, Meditations remains profoundly relevant for anyone seeking to lead a meaningful life.

Few ancient works have been as influential as the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and emperor of Rome (A.D. 161–180). A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behavior, it remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. Marcus’s insights and advice—on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others—have made the Meditations required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations…


Book cover of The Razor's Edge

Michael Golding Author Of A Poet of the Invisible World

From my list on accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

Who am I?

It took me awhile to understand that I was on a spiritual path. I started out as an actor, and working in the theater brought me joy. But as time passed, and I turned to writing novels, the same questions kept emerging: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” I began to see that I was on a spiritual journey. With A Poet of the Invisible World, I finally felt ready to write about that journey. Nouri’s adventures chart the twists and turns—as well as the deep rewards—of the spiritual path. It’s a book that’s very close to my heart.

Michael's book list on accompanying you on your spiritual journey

Michael Golding Why did Michael love this book?

The hero of Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, Larry Darrell, is a classic seeker. Crushed by his time in the war, he leaves his family and fiancé behind and heads to Paris—then Germany—and finally India. He’s not really sure what he’s looking for, but he knows that the answers lie down a path far different from the one he’s left behind. Larry’s friends back home feel sure that he’s lost his way; only when their own worlds begin to crumble do they start to realize what he’s attained. The Razor’s Edge makes it clear that the spiritual journey may lead you far from what’s familiar to you. But the journey is worth every sacrifice.

By W. Somerset Maugham,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Razor's Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of this spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brillant characters - his fiancee Isabel, whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions, and Elliot Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate American snob. The most ambitious of Maugham's novels, this is also one in which Maugham himself plays a considerable part as he wanders in and out of the story, to observe his characters struggling with their fates.


Book cover of Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World

Scott Perry Author Of Onward: Where Certainty Ends, Possibility Begins

From my list on living the good life.

Who am I?

Scott's endeavor, Creative on Purpose, is a compass helping advancing difference-makers live their legacy. He's authored two Amazon top-sellers about living well by engaging in work that matters, Endeavor and Onward. As the head coach for Seth Godin's Creative and Freelancer Workshops, Scott helps others forge meaning and build identity through work that matters. For over thirty years, Scott found and spread joy as a professional musician and guitar teacher while maintaining a happy marriage, homeschooling his sons, and paying the bills. Scott is a husband and father, goes for a cemetery run every day, and quotes Marcus Aurelius more often than he should.

Scott's book list on living the good life

Scott Perry Why did Scott love this book?

Drawing on inspiring stories from change-makers around the world and on memories of her own most difficult experiences, Jacqueline divulges the most common leadership mistakes and the mindsets needed to rise above them. A powerful reminder that the good life is built on work that is meaningful because it is challenging.

By Jacqueline Novogratz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Manifesto for a Moral Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An instant classic." ―Arianna Huffington
"Will inspire people from across the political spectrum." ―Jonathan Haidt

Longlisted for the Porchlight Business Book of the Year Award, an essential shortlist of leadership ideas for everyone who wants to do good in this world, from Jacqueline Novogratz, author of the New York Times bestseller The Blue Sweater and founder and CEO of Acumen.

In 2001, when Jacqueline Novogratz founded Acumen, a global community of socially and environmentally responsible partners dedicated to changing the way the world tackles poverty, few had heard of impact investing―Acumen’s practice of “doing well by doing good.” Nineteen years…


Book cover of The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

Allen Gannett Author Of The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time

From my list on creativity and how to harness it as a skill.

Who am I?

I have been addicted to reverse engineering things since I was a kid. I wrote The Creative Curve to reverse engineer the science of creativity. What could academic research teach us about creativity? If we talked to some of the world’s leading creatives, what would they tell us? My goal is to help readers unlock the part of them (that, as I argue, we all have) that is creative. When I’m not writing, I invest in tech startups that I think will leverage the principles from my book. I live in New York City with my mischievous, but incredibly adorable corgi Maven. 

Allen's book list on creativity and how to harness it as a skill

Allen Gannett Why did Allen love this book?

In The Practice, Godin successfully does that “thing,” that he is so uniquely good at: sharing wisdom with panache and joy, not condescension or cliché. He artfully argues for the creative to better empathize with their audience, and in doing so, create better art. Since, creativity is nothing without impact.

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Purple Cow and This is Marketing comes an elegant little book that will inspire artists, writers, and entrepreneurs to stretch and commit to putting their best work out into the world.

Creative work doesn't come with a guarantee. But there is a pattern to who succeeds and who doesn't. And engaging in the consistent practice of its pursuit is the best way forward.

Based on the breakthrough Akimbo workshop pioneered by legendary author Seth Godin, The Practice will help you get unstuck and find the courage to make and share creative work. Godin insists that…


Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Luke Fowler Author Of Democratic Policy Implementation in an Ambiguous World

From my list on how ideas are turned into actions.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by the obsession that we as a society have with making policy, but not whether policy works, and how policy is treated as a magic bullet to the social problems that we all care about. But my experience is that it’s not ideas that solve problems; it’s action that solves problems. This fascination has led me to become a professor of public policy and administration, where I have read extensively about this issue for over a decade and written two books and over four dozen articles. My work focuses on how ideas are translated into actions and how those actions impact our communities.

Luke's book list on how ideas are turned into actions

Luke Fowler Why did Luke love this book?

What I like about this book is that it digs into the cognitive processes that help explain our behaviors and how we come to understand the world.

The big takeaway from this book for me is that people don’t always think through their choices, and that is hardwired into our brains. It’s really important to understand that when you start thinking about how to get people to change their behaviors.

By Daniel Kahneman,

Why should I read it?

38 authors picked Thinking, Fast and Slow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The phenomenal international bestseller - 2 million copies sold - that will change the way you make decisions

'A lifetime's worth of wisdom' Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics
'There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Thinking, Fast and Slow' Financial Times

Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast,…


Book cover of I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships

Lida Citroën Author Of Success After Service: How to Take Control of Your Job Search and Career After Military Duty

From my list on success in a civilian life after the military.

Who am I?

I’m an executive coach, personal branding consultant, and reputation management expert helping global executives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders manage how they’re perceived and drive towards ideal opportunities. A long-time passionate supporter of the military, I volunteer to help veterans transitioning to civilian careers. My work with veterans comes from gratitude for their sacrifice. I regularly speak at military installations, podcasts, and events on veteran transition and hiring, teach in the TAP program at the US Air Force Academy, and serve on the Board of Directors at Project Sanctuary, which focuses on healing military families. Since 2012, I’ve also been a writer for Military.com.

Lida's book list on success in a civilian life after the military

Lida Citroën Why did Lida love this book?

There are so many books written about active listening and communications, but not many that focus on what the other person really needs: Validation.

As veterans re-integrate into the civilian workforce and lifestyle, the way they communicate is different from when they were serving in the military, and becoming mindful of how they communicate with others is important. This book will guide them through a key skill (validation) that will help them not only in their career, but also in their personal life. 

By Michael S. Sorensen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Hear You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if making one tweak to your day-to-day conversations could immediately improve every relationship in your life?

In this 3-hour, conversational read, you’ll discover the whats, whys, and hows of one of the most valuable (yet surprisingly little-known) communication skills available—validation. 

Whether you’re looking to improve your relationship with your spouse, navigate difficult conversations at work, or connect on a deeper level with friends and family, this book delivers simple, practical, proven techniques for improving any relationship in your life.

Mastery of this simple skill will enable you to:

Calm (and sometimes even eliminate) the concerns, fears, and uncertainties of…


Book cover of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

Melanie Deziel Author Of The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas

From my list on to make your marketing more creative.

Who am I?

You know how most young kids go through a phrase where they ask “why” about everything, and then they ask it again, and again, and again? Well, I never really outgrew that. I studied journalism because it gave me permission to be curious about new things every day, and to ask experts “why.” Marketing gave me a new way to chase my curiosity: Why are people clicking this ad, opening this email, following that social account or searching for that phrase? I’ve helped 30% of the Fortune 100 answer the questions about why their content is working, or isn’t, and my first book, The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas, was born from my introspective curiosity about how my own idea generation process worked. 

Melanie's book list on to make your marketing more creative

Melanie Deziel Why did Melanie love this book?

This book is a hefty one—I recommend the audiobook if you’ve got a bad back—but it will help you understand how your brain works in a way that almost no other book can. And the better you understand your mind, the better you’ll be able to make it do what you want, and how to protect yourself from the things that might otherwise sabotage your creative thinking.

By Daniel J Levitin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Organized Mind, New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin offers practical solutions to the problems of information overload.
___________________________________________________

Overwhelmed by demands on your time? Caught in an unproductive spiral of emails and multitasking?

You're not alone. When we're deluged with information our creativity plummets, our decision making suffers and we grow absent-minded. Nowadays, we drown in our inboxes, forever juggle several tasks at once and try to make complex decisions ever more quickly. This is information overload.

Combining the latest neuroscience with everyday examples, Daniel Levitin explains how to take back control…


Book cover of Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time

M.J. Clark Author Of Shut Up and Manage: A Quiet Leader's Guide to Engaging Others

From my list on become an exceptional manager.

Who am I?

I use the knowledge I’ve gained as an executive coach for 14 years and with a master’s degree in organizational communication to help organizations and individuals more effectively communicate with and engage others in the workplace and in their personal lives. I actively practice what I preach and constantly look for new information to help myself and others become better leaders, managers, and people.

M.J.'s book list on become an exceptional manager

M.J. Clark Why did M.J. love this book?

This book is great for better understanding how to be fully present in a conversation, how to be authentic and say what needs to be said even when it’s uncomfortable, and how to have tough conversations at work to keep great employees connected and motivated. The book is chock full of great examples of conversations and suggestions of how to say things more effectively.

By Susan Scott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The conversation is the relationship. Fierce Conversations is a way of conducting business. An attitude. A way of life. Expert Susan Scott maintains that a single conversation can change the trajectory of a career, marriage or life. Whether it's conversations with yourself, partner, colleagues, customers, family or friends, Fierce Conversations shows you how to have conversations that count. Scott reveals how to: Overcome barriers to meaningful conversations; Express who you are and what you believe; Confront tough issues with courage, confidence and sensitivity; Overcome fear to get to the heart of the problem; Inspire followers, attract believers and build visions…


Book cover of Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long

M.J. Clark Author Of Shut Up and Manage: A Quiet Leader's Guide to Engaging Others

From my list on become an exceptional manager.

Who am I?

I use the knowledge I’ve gained as an executive coach for 14 years and with a master’s degree in organizational communication to help organizations and individuals more effectively communicate with and engage others in the workplace and in their personal lives. I actively practice what I preach and constantly look for new information to help myself and others become better leaders, managers, and people.

M.J.'s book list on become an exceptional manager

M.J. Clark Why did M.J. love this book?

This book is filled with great ideas about how to avoid distraction, how to avoid doing too much so our cognitive abilities are at a maximum, how to use mindfulness to more easily tap into your emotional states, and how to set goals that are more likely to be accomplished. There are so many useful tidbits in this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be more productive and efficient.

By David Rock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Brain at Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A researcher and consultant burrows deep inside the heads of one modern two-career couple to examine how each partner processes the workday-revealing how a more nuanced understanding of the brain can allow us to better organize, prioritize, recall, and sort our daily lives.

Emily and Paul are the parents of two young children, and professionals with different careers. Emily is the newly promoted vice president of marketing at a large corporation; Paul works from home or from clients' offices as an independent IT consultant. Their days are filled with a bewildering blizzard of emails, phone calls, more emails, meetings, projects,…


Book cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Judith V.T. Wilson Author Of Growing Smarter

From my list on embracing your mistakes and a growth mindset.

Who am I?

My perspective as a parent, grandparent, and teacher has changed since I’ve read Mindset. I only wish I had heard about this book sooner. After I read Mindset, I felt like I had discovered the secret sauce for learning. As a teacher, I was always searching for new ways to motivate my students. I adopted innovative strategies and new trends that were engaging. As a result, I was named Teacher of the Year in my school district. Because Dweck’s messages about how the brain learns, the value of mistakes, and perseverance are key to improving a child’s achievement, I annually present this topic at both teacher conferences and parent meetings.

Judith's book list on embracing your mistakes and a growth mindset

Judith V.T. Wilson Why did Judith love this book?

My perspective totally changed as a parent and teacher after reading, Mindset I thought I knew what a growth mindset was all about, but Dweck’s insightful research quickly changed my mind. A growth mindset is more than a “I can” mantra, or learning from mistakes, or persevering through challenges.

Dweck’s research explains how the brain is like a muscle that grows smarter due to its neuroplasticity. I became more intrigued when Dweck showed to school-aged students various brain scans of different brain regions “lighting up” during learning. After I read about Jimmy, I was hooked.

Knowing that our brains make new neural pathways when we are learning is very empowering. That is why we can get smarter, and that’s why I wrote my children’s book.

By Carol S. Dweck,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Mindset as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the renowned psychologist who introduced the world to “growth mindset” comes this updated edition of the million-copy bestseller—featuring transformative insights into redefining success, building lifelong resilience, and supercharging self-improvement.

“Through clever research studies and engaging writing, Dweck illuminates how our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life.”—Bill Gates, GatesNotes

“It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.”

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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