21 Recommended Books For Business Consultants in 2018

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We asked business change leaders what book inspired them and they think others must read. These are their 21 recommended books for business consultants.

Professional growth is non-negotiable in the fast-paced world of business change. What worked for you yesterday or last week may not work tomorrow, and the business consultants who are best prepared to adjust their sails are the ones who will keep stakeholders engaged and projects moving in the right direction.

Being a leader requires a large drive to learn and you may think you don’t have enough time to invest in your own personal development, but growing your knowledge can be as easy as expanding your reading habit.

(And yes, there are a couple of repeat recommendations from last years 12 Must Read Business Analysis Books, this time by different people – and there may just be something in that).

Start binge-reading with these 21 recommended books for business consultants:

#1 The Trusted Advisor

by David H Maister

Technical skills are not enough if you want to be a great business analyst, and this practical book brings essential tool for all consultants. – Agnieszka Ceitil

#2 Slidedocs

by Nancy Duarte

Out of all the books and articles I’ve read, this book inspired me the most, and it changed the way that I shared information from the day that I read it. – Belinda Knol

#3 Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

by A.G. Lafley, Roger L. Martin

Playing to our strengths means creating greater value through business analysis on projects, programs and portfolios. – Brian A. Weiss

#4 User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product

by Jeff Patton

This book helps you to understand how to apply User Stories and Story Maps to your projects and avoid some of the pitfalls associated with User Stories. – Dave Saboe

#5 Agile and Business Analysis

by Debra Paul, Lynda Girvan

This book enables one to understand stakeholder management and how to work in an agile environment as a business analyst. – David Munene Gakuru

#6 Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

by Steve Krug

During my first system development project, this book was key to my ability to design intuitive and user-friendly interfaces. – Dorothy Mhlanga

#7 Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

by Richard Rumelt

This is the best book on strategy out there, dealing with fundamental principles and opens one’s eyes to the “fluff” that so often passes for strategy. – Giovanni Focaraccio

#8 Mastering the Requirements Process: Getting Requirements Right

by Suzanne Robertson, James Robertson

This was the very first book I read on business analysis and found applying the techniques and principles in this book invaluable. – Helen Winter

#9 The Circle of Innovation: You Can’t Shrink Your Way to Greatness

by Tom Peters

This book challenges you how to be inspired and inspiring, how to renew your focus on your customer and how to build yourself as a brand. – James Neethling

#10 Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

by Tim Ferriss

An extremely readable and smart book for when you need a jolt of common sense, and a kick in the backside to go do something worthwhile with your time. – Jéan Raath

#11 Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace

by Ricardo Semler

This book has influenced that way I approach life more than any other, the need to question the necessity of things and to act with courage and authenticity. – Joe Newbert

#12 The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

by Patrick Lencioni

To be effective you need to trust those you work with, and this book focuses on team results through open communication and not avoiding healthy conflict. – Kupe Kupersmith

#13 Agile and Business Analysis

by Lynda Girvan, Debra Paul

This book sets out the role of the BA in an agile environment, and how the BA can add value at every stage of the process to help deliver value quicker. – Marie-France Mardi

#14 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

by Stephen R. Covey

This book remains relevant. Use the time management grid and the circle of influence to focus on where you can have the most impact. – Noelene Noone

#15 The Practitioners Guide to Requirements Management

by Elizabeth Larson, Richard Larson

The authors make the subject matter very straightforward, covering each topic from the “softer” behavioural aspects of business analysis. – Surendra Saxena

#16 The Back of the Napkin (Expanded Edition): Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

by Dan Roam

It’s a great book to inspire you to use visuals more in communicating and solving problems – which is a key role in business analysis. – Talia Lancaster

#17 Bradman: An Australian Hero

by Charles Williams

Not a business analyst book as such, it demonstrates that all professions deal with stakeholders and some even more complex than a typical BA stakeholder. – Tim Coventry

#18 Serious Creativity: How to Be Creative Under Pressure and Turn Ideas into Action

by Edward de Bono

Creativity is not a ‘you-are-born-with-it-and-I-cannot-learn-it thing’ anymore. This book will help anyone who’s eager to learn creative skills to be more creative. – Tshepo Matjila

#19 How to Win Friends & Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

This book teaches and encourages us to develop genuine interest in others, to listen with intent and to be honest and ethical in our engagements with others. – Verna Jenniker

#20 The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

by Eliyahu Goldratt, Jeff Cox

The book covers fundamentals and principles of Lean and Continuous Improvement which all business analysts should be able to apply on a daily basis. – Willem Joubert

#21 Business Analysis and Leadership: Influencing Change

by Penny Pullan, James Archer

This book encourages BAs out of the shadows to strive for strong leadership in organisations, by taking the lead or influencing those who can. – Zara Sheldrake

21 Recommended Books For Business Consultants was first published in the Inter-View Report 2017.

Note: this article has affiliate links to each book, but this hasn’t influenced any recommendations as people read and enjoyed these books long before we decided to write an article about them.

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