The 25 Best Books on Social Skills to Read in 2018

The human is a social creature. To thrive, we need to have people around: feel connected, share ideas and experiences, receive and offer love, compassion, empathy.

Through centuries, we developed so many different ways to communicate, collaborate, and interact with each other.

If you ever wonder what made possible (the most) to come to the advanced society we have today, look no further than the pleasure we take from sharing what is impressive about others, what is impressive about us, what is impressive about the world.

Improving your social skills is a must if you’d like to have:

  • Better relationships and (implicitly) a deeper understanding of others and yourself 
  • A more significant impact and influence on those around you
  • The means to make a difference in the world
  • Increased career prospects
  • Higher levels of happiness and well-being
  • An instant rapport with anyone
  • A support system that you can rely on to feel safe, connected, belonging and loved 

You already have many social skills. However, there is always room for improvement because our interactions are complex and essential for a happy and fulfilled life.

Discover what the experts in the field of social skills have to say about developing, improving, and maintaining your interpersonal, social skills.

Best books on social skills:

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie  

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This book can be a real game changer in your life. It can help you:

  • Find the courage to go after the job you want 
  • Create a harmonious family environment
  • Understand better yourself, your friends, coworkers, employees, boss
  • Take charge of any situation in your life and get the outcome you desire
  • Become more likable and friendly
  • Influence people to embrace your ideas
  • Ways to help others change without feeling it as an intrusion into their lives 

First published in 1937, to this day, this book is making a real difference in the lives of those who read it; influences us to create and contribute to a better world.

2. Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Enjoy Helping Others Excel - Alan Loy McGinnis

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No person in this world has nothing good to offer. This book can teach you to see and acknowledge the good part of those around you.

I firmly believe that most of us are good people and giving the opportunity, chance and knowledge, people shine.

If you want to know how to make your loved ones, family and friends, discover their full potential, climb higher than ever before, and bring out the best in them, this book is definitely for you.

Plus, when people like themselves around you, they like you even more.

3. Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life - Henry Cloud,‎ John Townsend

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  • Knowing how to set and reinforce boundaries is one of the most important social skill to learn and master. 

Lack of boundaries (or lack of courage to stand your ground) is causing many conflicts, ruins potentially great relationships, and sets you up for failure.

Discover in this book:

  • What are boundaries 
  • The criteria for healthy boundaries
  • How to set your boundaries
  • Ways to know you're successful in keeping them
  • What to do when others step over your boundaries 

This book has the potential to change your life forever.

4. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ - Daniel Goleman 

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Most people understand today that being smart, having a high IQ, doesn't automatically make you successful, nor happy.

In this book you'll discover:

  • Why and how your emotions are important 
  • Insights on how your brain functions
  • Tips to get to know yourself better and find more accessible solutions to your problems, issues, and challenges
  • How to overcome past traumas and unfortunate events
  • Ways to manage your emotions so that they are instrumental in your personal growth, happiness, and success (lifting you up instead of dragging you down, making you adaptable and bringing peace and harmony in your mind and soul) 

Truth to be told, this book is all about you and how to increase your EQ so that you can become more successful in life. Nevertheless, increasing your EQ helps you be skilled socially.

This book is for you if you want to start educating your social skills by improving yourself first.

5. Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships - Daniel Goleman  

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If "Emotional Intelligence" (the book) is all about you, this book written by the same author, Daniel Goleman, is all about connecting with others and build meaningful and long-lasting relationships, being socially smart.

This book helps you become a social butterfly; from leaving your cocoon to flying free and fearless, but wise and aware of who's your friend and who might be your enemy.

If you'd like to:

  • Understand better why people do what they do (plus, why they treat you the way they do) 
  • What impact might have your childhood over your adult life and how to overcome adverse effects of your upbringing
  • How to be socially astute, likable, adaptable, a master of your environment, and feel useful (belonging) in your community
  • Know ways to overcome the new trend of modern society feeling lonely and disconnected
  • Be better prepared to deal with conflicts and negotiate instead of reacting out of impulse and vanity 

If you would like to know all of that and some more, this book is for you.

6. The 5 Essential People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts - Dale Carnegie Training 

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  • One of the most important social skill is to know how to assert yourself. 

Dale Carnegie is one of those authors that don't need too much introduction because he made such a difference in the world and our lives that most people, at least know who he is, if not already read, at least one of his books.

If you're searching how to improve your assertiveness skills you might be surprised how little information there is out there on this subject. It feels like people don't feel afraid only about being assertive but also to talk about it.

If you are one of the courageous ones that want to dive deeply into the assertiveness subject, this book is for you.

You'll learn how to:

  • Create an assertive rapport 
  • Show yourself curious assertively and use that curiosity to understand others and their situations better
  • Improve your etiquette and persuasion (as people skills)
  • Ask questions skillfully
  • Speak and listen assertively
  • Use your assertiveness in conflict resolution and negotiation

7. Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism: New Edition with Author Updates - Temple Grandin Ph.D., Sean Barron

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How we see the world is greatly influenced by our culture, traditions, and biases. Therefore, sometimes we give a different meaning to what people communicate with us than the intended one.

Each brain is wired differently, and that difference can lead to many misunderstandings and misinterpretations that might ruin your ability to connect with others.

Even though this book talks extensively about the challenges of people who have autism, it can be a must-read for anyone who wants to raise their level of tolerance, understanding, and comprehension of the human mind.

In this book, you'll discover the ten unwritten rules of social relationships seen from a perspective that, perhaps, you'll never find anywhere else:

  • Things are not absolute; they are based on the situation and people involved 
  • Why and how things are not equally important seen from the big picture
  • When others make mistakes, relax, it doesn't have to ruin your day
  • The differences between honesty and diplomacy
  • Be polite in any situation
  • Understand that not everyone who is nice to you is also your friend
  • Why we act differently in different settings and circumstances (you are one person at home and a different person in public)
  • How to know when you're making others dislike you
  • The mistakes we make when we want to fit in (e.g., copying others)
  • You're not responsible for how others behave

8. Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior 2nd Edition - Beverly Flaxington 

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Improve your social skills by understanding other people, the secrets of human behavior:

  • Why people take things personally 
  • How can different behavior styles ruin potentially good relationships
  • What messages are your values sending to those around you
  • Tailor your message to your audience, don't assume they (should) know (exactly) what you mean
  • Understand how you may be happy and content about a relationship in which the other person feels miserable (or the other way around) 

This book is for you if you want to understand better:

  • how come you click with some people, but with others don't 
  • how it can happen to you to devalue someone based on having different opinions than yours
  • what mistakes you're possibly making when you feel that others just don't "get" you and how to correct them

9. Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions - Guy Kawasaki

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Guy Kawasaki teaches you in this book how to go through the process (steps) of enchanting others:

  • Why and how to be enchanting 
  • How to be more likable
  • Tips on how to gain trust
  • Change the heaths and mind of those around you
  • How to change hostility into acceptance and civility
  • Make a real difference in the world

This book is for you if you'd like to know how you can make people feel delighted about your product, service, organization, or ideas.

10. Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, Revised and Expanded Third Edition: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst - Rick Kirschner, Rick Brinkman 

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This is one of the best books on how to:

  • Deal with difficult people 
  • Effective communication with people of different personalities than yours
  • Bring out the best in people
  • Allow only the best to come out in you
  • Stay calm, and in control when dealing with individuals you can't stand 

The book is completed with examples and exercises for all sorts of situations because, becoming a master at dealing with difficult people, needs a bit of preparation.

Be more prepared and expect people to behave accordingly with who they are and not accordingly to your good behavior and nature.

11. Tongue Fu!: How to Deflect, Disarm, and Defuse Any Verbal Conflict - Sam Horn 

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This book is helping you avoid having that discourse you come to regret before even finishing it. You'll discover how to:

  • Better use your words 
  • Avoid a mental breakdown in the face of hostility and aggression
  • Implement strategies and techniques for defusing a verbal conflict
  • Know your buttons and why you have them so others can't push them
  • Deal with verbal bullies that enjoy attacking, taking pleasure from your reaction (instead of action) 

This book is for you if you want to be better prepared to deal with bullies, manipulators, and avoid or defuse conflicts with your loved ones.

12. Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential - John Neffinger, Matthew Kohut  

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This book will give you a lot of insights into human interaction and body language so that you can be confident and know how to navigate whatever situation you encounter.

The book is filled with many examples, stories, techniques, and knowledge about how to:

  • Speak with others
  • Make compelling arguments
  • Gain respect and admiration
  • Make others feel good about themselves and in return like you more 

13. The Science of Social Intelligence: 33 Studies to Win Friends, Be Magnetic, Make An Impression, and Use People’s Subconscious Triggers - Patrick King

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If you're searching for a blueprint of how to be socially successful, this book is for you.

You'll find in this book:

  • How can being a positive person change  your environment 
  • Why humans are a social creature
  • What difference can make in your life the need to keep safe (improve) your public perception
  • Things most people like in others
  • How to use your empathy and emotional stability to influence positively those around you
  • Tips to apply in your everyday conversations and much more

14. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most - Douglas Stone,‎ Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen

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Many people lie to you to avoid having a difficult conversation. Are you doing the same sometimes?

If you find hard to have an awkward conversation, then this book is for you. Learn how to discuss sensitive subjects with our loved ones, friends, employees, coworkers, and strangers.

This book is like a step-by-step program to have those critical conversations you never dared before to have:

  • How to start a discussion with competent confidence instead of defensive confidence 
  • Pick up and noticed what is left out of the conversation and can be essential to come to the right conclusion
  • Tips and tricks to keep your cool and calm in the face of attacks and accusations
  • How to avoid taking things personally and move forward finding solutions to the problem
  • Ways to step away from being a people-pleaser and become a solutions finder

15. The Art of Everyday Assertiveness: Speak Up. Say No. Set Boundaries. Take Back Control. - Patrick King

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Assertiveness can be the hardest social skill to master because most of us are not born with it. Yet, knowing how to be assertive is essential for a happy life.

Learn from this book how to:

  • Become assertive 
  • Stand up for yourself the right way (you don't infringe on others interests and, at the same time, don't allow others to step on you)
  • Know your rights as a human being
  • Let others know how far and close do you allow them to enter into your life 

Instinctively, most times you know what you should do, how you should react, and how to put your foot down. Yet, do you have the courage to do it?

16. The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism - Olivia Fox Cabane  

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There is a word that I like very much: Mesmerising; I like how it sounds, and I like what it means.

Discover in this book how to:

  • Be that person that captures (to oneself) wanted attention and admiration 
  • Get to inspire others
  • Develop, learn and maintain the behaviors (the ability) that make you charismatic
  • Find your charismatic type
  • Increase your presence (how present in the moment you feel the other?), power, and warmth 

If you'd like to know how to mesmerize those around your this book is for you.

17. Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone - Mark Goulston

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Listening to others doesn't come easy or natural to most of us. Therefore, it's a skill you must learn.

Discover in this book (Just Listen) how to:

  • Listen to discover new things instead of searching to confirm what you already know
  • Make a positive first impression
  • Take advantage of the fact that most people like to talk (you get to know who they are and their intentions with little effort)
  • Tailor your message to your audience (if you have children, for example, they can be an audience hard to please)
  • Benefit from the rewards of listening 

If you're searching for tools you need in everyday communication, at work or home, this book is for you.

18. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition Revised Edition - Robert B. Cialdini

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If you want to know how to influence others and, at the same time, change yourself for the better, this book is definitely for you.

Learn from " Influence: The psychology of persuasion":

  • What are the best tools that you can use to influence people 
  • How to use the oldest and timeless human trait that made possible for us to become the advanced creature we are today - reciprocation
  • The value and benefits of being consistent, making and keeping commitments
  • Ways to improve your image in front of others
  • Tips to increase your perceived value 

This book is one of the most revered books about influence and social skills, opening your eyes to why we do what we do and how to change specific behaviors (on influence) to get better results.

19. Talk to Strangers: How Everyday, Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income, and Life - David Topus

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There isn't a day in your life that you don't get to interact with strangers. Is there? More ever, depending on your job, location, and circumstances, perhaps most of your interactions or with strangers.

Learn from this book:

  • How to use wisely the opportunity to enrich your knowledge and prospects with every new person you meet 
  • Gain trust and create the sense of ease with complete strangers
  • How to take the new connections you make to the next step: Collaboration 

Apart from all the knowledge this book provides, this book is also fun to read.

20. How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships - Leil Lowndes 

If you want to be successful in life, you might want to know that being happy is a success in itself. Happiness comes from your achievements, but mostly from having great relationships.

Learn from this book how to:

  • Bring people on your side from the first time you meet 
  • Sound knowledgeable in almost any subject
  • Use your body language and create rapport fast
  • Walk and talk with confidence (like you're very important)
  • Take advantage of people's vanity
  • Captivate the attention of any room
  • Interact successfully with people that seem to have a higher status than yours

You'll find in this book 92 tricks to make your relationships long lasting and meaningful.

21. The Science of Likability: 27 Studies to Master Charisma, Attract Friends, Captivate People, and Take Advantage of Human Psychology - Patrick King

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Discover in this book the science of how to master making yourself liked, attract people that you like, be charming, and take full advantage of how the human mind works.

This book is based on 27 studies on human psychology and teaches you an extensive range of social skills; from how to create the foundation of friendship, to persuade and negotiate; from gaining trust, to working well with others.

The book "The science of likability" contains so much knowledge on social skills that can change pretty fast (for the better) the way you relate to others.

22. Magic Words: The Science and Secrets Behind Seven Words That Motivate, Engage, and Influence - Tim David 

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Discover in this book how to:

  • Unlock human motivation (for yourself or those around you) 
  • Use the right words to influence positively your decisions
  • Avoid words that can be detrimental to your success or influence on others 

Learn from this book ways you can become a wizard on how to motivate, engage and influence others using seven simple magic words.

23. It's Not All About Me: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone - Robin Dreeke

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Don't you think it's odd how we take everything personally? For example, if you tell a friend about a dispute you had with someone else, at some point, your friend says to you deeply affected "Okay, you're right... but why do you fight with me?!"

In this book, you'll discover how not to make everything about you so that you can create a better rapport with those around you.

If you want to:

  • Make others feel relaxed in your presence 
  • Open up to you and talk 
  • Have a conversation instead of a fight; this book is definitely for you

24. The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't - Robert I. Sutton 

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Most of us don't like to work in a team. Even though there are many reasons for it, one steps over all the others: An a**hole is in charge or takes charge.

In this book you'll discover how to:

  • Identify who's the a**hole at your workplace 
  • Protect yourself from the damage done by the bully (don't become a victim)
  • Avoid becoming the aggressor in the workplace
  • Be instrumental in enforcing a pleasant environment for everyone involved
  • Deal with workplace a**holes (even if it's your boss)
  • Recognise and take advantage of the advantages that a**holes can bring to the workplace (motivation, competition, self-reliance) 

Some statistics suggest that for every jerk at the workplace are needed five good people to offset the damage they can cause.

This book is for you if you'd like to be one of those good people and create a better environment at work for your coworkers and yourself. There is almost nothing more cruel in this world than spending eight hours or more a day in a place you hate.

If you need social skills, your workplace is, definitely a place you need them.

25. 99 Negotiating Strategies: Tips, Tactics & Techniques Used by Wall Street's Toughest Dealmakers - David Rosen  

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One of the most important social skills you must have is to know how to negotiate. Negotiate with your neighbors, family, and friends, business partners, and employees, or strangers.

The book "99 Negotiating Strategies: Tips, Tactics & Techniques Used by Wall Street's Toughest Dealmakers" is a catalog of negotiating tactics.

It's a simple book, containing 99 catchphrases that increase your awareness of how you can win in many different situations.

This book is for you if you want to become more knowledgeable in the art of negotiation or want to know what strategies others might use on you and you're not aware.

You already have many social skills. However, there is always room for improvement because our interactions are complex and essential for a happy and fulfilled life. Discover what the experts in the field of social skills have to say about developing, improving, and maintaining your social skills...