The most recommended books about conversation

Who picked these books? Meet our 8 experts.

8 authors created a book list connected to conversation, and here are their favorite conversation books.
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Book cover of Compared

Sara Jane Woodley Author Of The Next Worst Thing: A Sweet, Small Town Romantic Comedy

From my list on reads for a bad day with guaranteed laughs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started writing sweet romance during the COVID pandemic. At the time, it was the perfect antidote to all of the heaviness, grief, and sadness that everyone was experiencing around the world. When I began publishing my stories, and eventually moved into the sweet romcom genre, I was beyond happy to learn that my books were bringing smiles to peoples’ faces during these challenging times. I’ve always loved romcom movies, and discovering romcom books–not to mention beginning to write these stories myself–opened an entirely new world of possibilities. I pretty much only read romcoms now, and I hope you enjoy the books I’ve recommended here as much as I have!

Sara's book list on reads for a bad day with guaranteed laughs

Sara Jane Woodley Why did Sara love this book?

I’m always excited when a new Kortney Keisel book comes out.

Compared is the first in her closed-door romcom series, and it’s a brilliant debut. This book follows Meg and Tyler in a single dad, teacher/parent romance that is completely swoon-worthy and hilarious.

Kortney does a fantastic job dealing with some harder subjects while keeping the material light-hearted and fun. I always turn back to this book if I want to read something deep and meaningful, but woven with funny scenes and banter.

I also love this book for the close connection between Meg’s siblings and dad. They’re exactly what a family should be.

By Kortney Keisel,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Chaos Is My Brand

Barbara Kellyn Author Of Morning Man

From my list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter.

Why am I passionate about this?

Is there any better foreplay than great wordplay? Not in my book! After years of studying the romcom repartee gospel according to Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers, I know this much is true: what’s said on the lips is first sparked in the hips! As a rom-com writer recently crowned “the Queen of Banter” by a reader (blush), I bow to the greats who taught me that witty banter is a symptom of unrealized or unsatisfied attraction. And as a lover of skillfully-written sparring, I squirm with delight whenever a sly remark, slick comeback, or sexy euphemism makes potential paramours pop. Want to enchant her? Use banter!

Barbara's book list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter

Barbara Kellyn Why did Barbara love this book?

As someone who’s hooked on cooking reality TV shows, I was smitten with this spicy romcom with all the tantalizing ingredients for great banter. Peppery Gigi is a saucy-mouthed leading babe who goes toe to toe with any taker, whether she’s trading insults with her acidic-tongued celebrity chef or cooing seductive come-ons to the smooth-as-caramel southern charmer who’s whet her appetite. I loved that author Josie Juniper’s hilariously twisted love triangle definitely brings the heat, but it’s the sizzling banter that truly turns the flame up to 11.

By Josie Juniper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chaos Is My Brand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hot-mess TV personality with a wild reputation. An enigmatic country boy with secrets behind his Elvis smile. Unlikely friends… trying to avoid a collision into benefits.

Irrepressible “comedy cook” Gigi Becker finds herself far from the comforts of Los Angeles when her on-paper husband – world-famous loudmouth chef Gavin Yates – relocates her show. But the spiteful plans of “culinary empire ogre” Gavin backfire when Gigi trust-falls into the safety of fast friendship with captivating cameraman Leo and talented director Bennett.

As Gigi navigates a new life of dramatic change and culture clash – and endures repeated sabotage by…


Book cover of Burned

Barbara Kellyn Author Of Morning Man

From my list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter.

Why am I passionate about this?

Is there any better foreplay than great wordplay? Not in my book! After years of studying the romcom repartee gospel according to Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers, I know this much is true: what’s said on the lips is first sparked in the hips! As a rom-com writer recently crowned “the Queen of Banter” by a reader (blush), I bow to the greats who taught me that witty banter is a symptom of unrealized or unsatisfied attraction. And as a lover of skillfully-written sparring, I squirm with delight whenever a sly remark, slick comeback, or sexy euphemism makes potential paramours pop. Want to enchant her? Use banter!

Barbara's book list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter

Barbara Kellyn Why did Barbara love this book?

Irresistibly sharp, realistic dialogue between the leads makes this cowboy romance the most memorable I’ve read to date. Immediately, I wanted to saddle up and ride off into the sunset with them. Second chance romance is arguably the best trope for sparks to fly, and Jack and Everlea’s history is living proof, as their gorgeous natural banter conveys depth and shows their destined connection growing from frenemies to lovers. Greta Rose West is a one-click author for me thanks to her obvious gift for writing her characters’ gab. 

By Greta Rose West,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Internationally Bestselling Small-town Western Romance author, Greta Rose West...

Jack Cade already has enough on his shoulders with his four brothers, his struggling Wyoming horse ranch, and his adopted mama going through chemo again. He doesn’t have time for a woman, and he doesn’t trust them. But when Everlea Donovan falls into his life—literally—he can’t stop fantasizing about her.

Wanting her.

But Everlea’s hiding something, always looking over her shoulder, ready to run at any moment. She can’t risk putting Jack and his family in danger, but she’s never wanted anything—anyone—the way she wants him.

When she starts feeling…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide

Melinda Lewis Author Of Social Policy for Effective Practice: A Strengths Approach

From my list on igniting students’ passions about policy change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a policy advocate, grassroots activist, university professor, and author committed to social change—at scale—to advance social work values of racial, economic, environmental, and social justice. Recognizing that most social workers are drawn to our profession because they want to make a difference in the lives of their clients, one by one, I invest my energies and skills to making policy study and practice accessible, relevant, and urgent. My students quickly get used to noting the book recommendations I sprinkle throughout class discussions and in assignment feedback, because when you see the world through a social policy frame, everything has a policy implication! 

Melinda's book list on igniting students’ passions about policy change

Melinda Lewis Why did Melinda love this book?

There are many examples in this book that make my students angry—which is one of the reasons I want them to read it.

As people committed to engaging with others to pursue justice, we have to become proficient—if never comfortable—in having conversations with people who do not share our worldview, and in using our active listening skills and deep regard for human relationships to find common ground.

The skills and practices in this book equip us for effective engagement beyond the silos we frequent, help us see our own arguments as others may encounter them, and catalyze the kind of thoughtful interactions social change demands. 

By Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In our current political climate, it seems impossible to have a civil conversation with someone who has a different opinion. Dialogue is shut down when perspectives clash. Heated debates on Facebook and Twitter often lead to shaming, hindering any possibility of productive discourse. How to Have Impossible Conversations guides readers through the process of having effective, civil discussions about any divisive issues--not just religious faith but climate change, race, gender, poverty, immigration, and gun control.

Coauthors Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay distinguish between two types of conversations: those that are oriented toward arriving at truth, and those that may require…


Book cover of Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

Marcia Naomi Berger Author Of Marriage Minded: An A to Z Dating Guide for Lasting Love

From my list on dating toward marriage.

Why am I passionate about this?

Marcia Naomi Berger's passion is to help people create lasting, fulfilling marriages. An experienced clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and medical school clinical faculty member, Berger has held senior-level positions in child welfare, alcoholism treatment, and psychiatry. She says, "I stayed single for a long time because of my parent's divorce. Now happily married for over thirty-four years, I fill my books with the hard-earned wisdom I've gained professionally and personally."  

Marcia's book list on dating toward marriage

Marcia Naomi Berger Why did Marcia love this book?

This book can help many communication-challenged couples. It offers specific guidance on how to talk about topics for partners to address to foster long-term happiness. Couples who are dating and not yet committed will learn if deal-breakers exist by having conversations about whether they want children, what fidelity means to them, whether they're likely to support each other's goals and dreams, and more.

I strongly agree with the authors' ideas about addressing conflict with the goal of understanding rather than winning, making your relationship your top priority to succeed in marriage, and having fun together.

Many happily married people implement the ideas naturally without following the Eight Dates formula. However, as a couples therapist, I know that many will benefit from having the kinds of conversations the authors prescribe. I'm recommending this book to couples in my practice.

By John Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman, Doug Abrams , Rachel Carlton Abrams

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Happily Ever After is not by chance - it's By Choice.

John and Julie Gottman are cofounders of the Gottman Institute, bestselling authors, and award-winning researchers. Together, they have a deep understanding of what makes relationships work. Now, they bring that lifetime's worth of knowledge, research, and wisdom to bear in Eight Dates, a program of how, why, and when to have eight basic conversations with your partner that can result in a lifetime of love. Eight Dates is written for any serious couple, and its dates are structured around the concepts of trust, dealing with conflict, sex and intimacy,…


Book cover of Shock Mount

Barbara Kellyn Author Of Morning Man

From my list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter.

Why am I passionate about this?

Is there any better foreplay than great wordplay? Not in my book! After years of studying the romcom repartee gospel according to Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers, I know this much is true: what’s said on the lips is first sparked in the hips! As a rom-com writer recently crowned “the Queen of Banter” by a reader (blush), I bow to the greats who taught me that witty banter is a symptom of unrealized or unsatisfied attraction. And as a lover of skillfully-written sparring, I squirm with delight whenever a sly remark, slick comeback, or sexy euphemism makes potential paramours pop. Want to enchant her? Use banter!

Barbara's book list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter

Barbara Kellyn Why did Barbara love this book?

Rock star romances have been my jam since back when my teen bedroom walls were filled with Tiger Beat pinups. The beautifully-orchestrated banter that keeps the beat of a rock and roll love affair fraught with hit and miss encounters helps build the tension towards a satisfying crescendo. (Full disclosure: I begged author Kelly Kay to disclose her real-life inspiration, and it was exactly who I’d pictured!) The hotel pool scene where Meg and rockstar Ian do nothing more than talk (fully clothed) lives rent free in my head as one of the steamiest scenes I’ve ever read. 

By Kelly Kay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

★★★★★"I LOVE this book."
A rockstar romance love triangle without crossover, and everyone gets a happily ever after. And it all begins with a spilled glass of wine and a broken watch.

If Meghan Hannah's not falling down, she's falling in love.

She's a mess of herself and always has been. She's an expert at putting her foot in her mouth, tripping over nothing, and being a very loyal friend but love, not so much. But she thinks she has finally got it all figured out. Until she spills her wine on the wrong Rock Star. Now Meg needs to…


Book cover of The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills -- and Leave a Positive Impression!

Brian Smith Author Of Individual Influence: Find the I in Team

From my list on books for a wandering eclectic mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with the intricate web of influence and its profound impact traces back to my immersion in literature. Through the immersive experience of reading, we embark on a journey into the minds of others, expanding our understanding and evolving our individual perspectives. My professional trajectory has been shaped by a relentless pursuit of understanding the dynamics of influence across people, processes, and technology. Coupled with experiences spanning all seven continents and interactions with tens of thousands of individuals, I've undergone a transformative journey. Yet, it's the collective success of individuals embracing their humanity, both independently and collaboratively within their spheres of influence, that fuels my passion for continual growth and improvement.

Brian's book list on books for a wandering eclectic mind

Brian Smith Why did Brian love this book?

For more than 20 years, we've endorsed this book to both our team members and clients. Effective communication lies at the heart of relationships, and possessing the ability to communicate adeptly in any setting is invaluable.

This book equips readers with essential tools to navigate various social scenarios and overcome inherent anxieties and insecurities, particularly exacerbated by the prevalence of non-verbal communication channels like texting and email.

Whether grappling with speaking or engaging in conversations across diverse situations, this book is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to enhance their communication skills.

By Debra Fine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fine Art of Small Talk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In this bestselling guide to social success, communication expert Debra Fine reveals the techniques and strategies anyone can use to make small talk in any situation.

Does striking up a conversation with a stranger make your stomach do flip-flops? Do you spend time hiding out in the bathroom at social gatherings? Do you dread the very thought of networking? Is scrolling your phone a crutch to avoid interacting?

Help is on the way with The Fine Art of Small Talk, the classic guide that's now revised for the modern era. Small talk is more than just chitchat; it's a valuable…


Book cover of The Dove in the Belly

Michael Cart Author Of Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism

From my list on beautifully capturing gay teens’ lives and loves.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a full-time writer since 1994 and have so far published twenty-seven books, three of them with gay themes: My Father’s Scar, a gay coming-of-age novel and two about LGBTQ+ issues: Top 250 LGTBQ Books for Teens and The Heart Has Its Reasons, a history of queer literature. I’ve been interested in this literature since I was a gay teen myself, because there were no YA books with queer characters then. I missed seeing my face in the pages of a good book and so I promised myself that when I became an adult. I would make sure there was an ample assortment for today’s queer kids. And, guess what? I’ve kept my promise!

Michael's book list on beautifully capturing gay teens’ lives and loves

Michael Cart Why did Michael love this book?

The story sounds simple: two college-age boys  Ben, a football player and brainy Ronny, his tutor – gradually fall in love even though their relationship is sometimes stormy, and readers may wonder anxiously if it will endure. But true love has a stubborn way of enduring and perhaps it will in this case, too. So, a simple story? No, for it’s as complex as the human heart. What also sets this one apart is its gorgeous writing, which is an undivided pleasure to read and which brings Ben and Ronny to vivid, fully realized life. Readers won’t forget them nor will they forget this haunting novel.  

By Jim Grimsley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dove in the Belly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

At the University of North Carolina, Ronny's made some friends, kept his secrets, survived dorm life, and protected his heart.

Until he can't. Ben is in some ways Ronny's opposite; he's big and solid where Ronny is small and slight. Ben's at UNC on a football scholarship. Confident, with that easy jock swagger, and an explosive temper always simmering. He has a steady stream of girlfriends. Ben's aware of the overwhelming effect he has on Ronny. It's like a sensation of power. So easy to tease Ronny, throw playful insults, but it all feels somehow...loaded.

Meanwhile Ronny's mother has moved…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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…