What are the best consulting books?
As a consultant, you must continually learn and apply new skills.
Developing a consistent reading habit is a must.
Take it from Charlie Munger, billionaire and Warren Buffet’s right-hand man:
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.”
We asked the consultants in our Clarity Coaching Program about their favorite consulting books, and we’ve listed those below.
Let’s dive into the best consulting books.
NOTE: Some of these books are not “consulting” books, but are applicable to consultants and their business. The books are listed in no particular order.
80/20 Sales & Marketing teaches you how to apply the 80/20 principle to solve your business problems. Whether you’re having traffic issues, sales issues, or revenue issues, this book will teach you how to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Very few consultants find sales and marketing easy — and this book will help you make sense of these critical aspects of your business.
“80/20 Sales and Marketing is a great one to help think strategically about your time, marketing and delegation to grow.”
—Michael Zipursky, CEO & Co-Founder @ Consulting Success®
2. Company of One by Paul Jarvis
Company of One is a book about questioning growth. It’s about creating a lifestyle business where you work for yourself, make your own hours, and work with the clients and projects you desire. It’s a must-read for the independent consultant who wants to build a sustainable, fun, and rewarding business.
“Company of One, by Paul Jarvis is a book that was really influential for me when I was starting out. It’s about running a lean business, keeping things as simple as possible, and focussing on delivering value.”
—Jack Milroy, Digital Strategy Consultant & Clarity Coaching Client
3. The 25-Year Framework by Dan Sullivan
Worried about how fast time seems to be going by? The 25 Year Framework will show you have to think long-term in your business — and break free of the day-to-day worries. An important read for consultants who are committed to building their business for years.
“As a consultant or entrepreneur, everything always feels urgent or like you’re in a rush. When I read the 25-year framework, it really just slowed things down for me. That doesn’t mean not working hard, but what it does mean is to look at everything with a long-term mindset. As you’re building your business, instead of feeling that you need to finish things quickly, look at your consulting business as a long-term endeavor. What can you build over the next 25 that is spectacular?”
—Sam Zipursky, Co-Founder @ Consulting Success®
4. Principles by Ray Dalio
A New York Times # 1 Bestseller, Principles is Ray Dalio’s magnum opus. In the book, Dalio summaries his key principles in business, sharing practical tips that work for any business, anywhere, and anytime. This book will help consultants get clear on their own principles so that they can make better decisions and find greater success in their business.
- Decision Making
- Principles & Habits
“My favorite book on consulting is “Principles” by Ray Dalio. The book is broken into 3 parts, and part 2 is the best! It gives people actionable advice on the tools and techniques to be successful — predominately challenging how we all think and make decisions. Love it!”
—Jason Fearnow, Negotiation and Large Project Consultant & Clarity Coach
5. First Things First by Stephen Covey
As a consultant, learning to manage your time is invaluable. In First Things First, Stephen R. Covey shares timeless wisdom for how to manage your schedule, helping you get more done in less time. Applying the lessons in this book will do more than make you more efficient — it will bring harmony and peace to your personal life as well.
“I have always valued the Stephen Covey books. In particular for consulting I like “First Things First”. He offers specific techniques on how to ensure you spend more time on what is important and less time on “urgent” tasks, how to live a life of integrity, and to achieve your goals.”
—Christina Beavis, Business Consultant & Clarity Coaching Client
What is the role of the “entrepreneurial expert”? In The Business of Expertise, consultant David C. Baker demonstrates how consulting business owners — entrepreneurial experts — position themselves in the marketplace for success. If you’re struggling to get clear on who your ideal client is and why, then this book gives you a method for how to position your consulting business.
“The Business of Expertise is a fantastic book on positioning, which is a foundational piece of a consultant’s business — yet one of the hardest to get right. The book makes a strong case for why positioning is so important for consultants and how to do it correctly.”
—Tsavo Neal, Lead Content Strategist @ Consulting Success®
7. Straight Line Leadership by Dusan Djukich
Leadership isn’t just about leading your clients — it’s about leading yourself and your consulting business, too. In Straight-Line Leadership, Dusan Djukich provides you with the tools to become a better problem-solver. A timely read for consultants who are dealing with a changing marketplace — and who must adapt.
- Consulting Mindset
- Personal Performance
- Decision Making
“It’s not about leadership of a team, rather it’s about leadership of self and mindset.”
—Michael Zipursky, CEO & Co-Founder @ Consulting Success®
8. Million Dollar Consulting by Alan Weiss
A book found on many consultant’s bookshelves, Million Dollar Consulting provides a foundation for building a high-six or seven-figure consulting practice. From developing your brand to licensing your intellectual property, this book is chock-full of practical and relevant advice. A great book for newer consultants or those who are interested in exploring more about the field.
Recommended by Charles Dents, Automation Consultant & Clarity Coaching Client
9. The Elite Consulting Mind by Michael Zipursky
You’re focused on your offer, your sales, and your marketing…but what about your mindset? In this book, I share with you the mindsets and principles used by elite consultants that will help you overcome challenges, remove obstacles, and grow your consulting business. By improving your mental habits and thought patterns, you will improve your consulting business.
“I had been procrastinating whether to work for another company or start something new. After reading his book, I was hooked and joined this group. Still struggling a bit but feel good about the future. Michael’s book was what I needed at the time.”
-Nicholas Tesi, 3D Scanning Consultant & Clarity Coaching Client
10. Pricing Creativity by Blair Enns
Who doesn’t want to raise their consulting fees? In Pricing Creativity, Blair Enns provides a conceptual and practical guide to value-based pricing. After reading this book, you’ll know how to implement a value-based pricing strategy for your consulting offers.
“Prior to reading Pricing Creativity, I understood value-based pricing in theory, but no idea how to apply it in the read. But after reading Pricing Creativity, I know how to propose and sell consulting services based on value. A fantastic read on not only pricing, but consulting sales in general.”
11. The Way of the Seal by Mark Divine
At some point, you’ll face hardship and uncertainty in your consulting business. In The Way Of The Seal, ex-Navy Commander Mark Divine shares how to develop mental toughness and emotional resilience. It’s a practical guide that will help you develop the skills you need to endure hard times and to stay consistent in your consulting business.
“In The Way of the Seal, Mark Divine teaches 8 fundamental mindset and principles that will transform you into the best consultant and leader you can be.”
12. Built to Sell by John Warrillow
Many consultants build a business that is heavily reliant on them — and essentially, have built themselves a job instead of a business. In Built to Sell, John Warrilow provides you with a guide on how to build a business that can run without you…one you can sell. Even if you don’t plan on selling your consulting business, you should build one that you could — and this book will show you how.
“Built to Sell is a great one for thinking about productization and ways to add value to your business in case you want to sell down the road.”
13. The One Thing by Gary Keller
If you’re like most consultants, you’re bombarded with information. There are an endless supply of things you could be doing. More marketing tactics. More products. More offers. More tools. The One Thing By Gary Teller teaches you how to focus. Less is more, especially for consultants. You can build a high six or seven-figure business with one market, one channel, and one offer.
“Haven’t been able to finish the book but the first few chapters alone made this purchase worthwhile! This book changed my life! I was the type of person who could never focus on one thing. While I was juggling multiple tasks and an endless flow of new ideas, I wasn’t able to finish anything, leaving me frustrated and with low self esteem. I’ve been writing my first novel for 10 years without any success in finishing it. After reading this book (July, 2017), everything got clear. I sat down and thought about what would be my one thing and got down to it. We are now at the end of September and I’ve finally finished my book! I know where I am going, I know what my one thing is and I know what I need to do next. I feel totally liberated from the agony of the reckless creative mind!!”
14. Eat Their Lunch by Anthony Iannarino
Make no mistake: consulting sales are hard. But what if you could make selling easier…all while stealing clients away from your competitors? Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition provides you with a step-by-step playbook to win clients away from your competition. If you struggle with sales, this one is for you.
“Eat Their Lunch is a very good book to work through. It includes suggestions on how to to find purpose in your sales process, develop relationships with customers, and grow personally. In a world that is increasingly commoditizing the sales process, it will help you to differentiate yourself from the competition by pushing yourself in the opposite direction. I highly recommend it.”
15. How Clients Buy by Tom McMakin
You can be great at consulting, but if you don’t understand how clients buy, you’ll fail to successfully sell your consulting services. How Clients Buy gives you a peek into the mind of your client — helping you understand what they want so you can sell to them successfully.
“This was a very enjoyable book to read. The authors have interspersed lots of interviews with leaders in professional services firms, both big and small, which give great insight. The key focus is, of course, on shifting the sales conversation to one where you help clients to buy rather than actively chase them for a sale. It’s an important change of perspective. The book introduces a really useful framework called: The Seven Elements of the Client journey. This is a great framework around which to develop your marketing and sales strategy. Finally, there are tons of nuggets of wisdom in this book and I highly recommend it to any owners and leaders of consulting and professional services firms.”
16. Flip The Script by Oren Klaff
What if you didn’t have to sell…and instead, clients came knocking on your door to buy your consulting services? In Flip The Script, Oren Klaff teaches you how to do exactly that: to “sell” in a way that makes clients want to buy what you have to offer — without friction. A must-read for any consultant interested in earning more revenue and making selling fun.
“I like how the processes have evolved in the real world since Pitch Anything and Oren has brought refined techniques that will convert leads while enforcing the importance of sticking to your own values. As he mentions, information is everywhere and one can not use old sales tactics mainly explaining features and benefits. We must present ourselves as industry equals and be an expert with experience solving the buyer’s problems. I learned how to structure a pitch from start to finish while guiding the buyer across the table to making them decide to want to work with me!”
17. Scaling Up by Verne Harnish
So you want to generate more revenue in your consulting business? Read Scaling Up. Scaling a consulting business isn’t easy, but this book will show you how it’s done. You’ll learn how to earn more without spending more time working on client projects — something every consultant dreams of.
“Having coached executives for over 27 years in the corporate world and medium-size companies that really want to grow, I have read many books to help my clients & me to develop & implement better ways to energize a leadership team and the whole company. Scaling Up is probably the best “how to guide” I have seen to a) develop and effectively communicate strategy across the whole company with its One Page Strategic plan. b) most importantly it contains a whole set of examples and practical tips to successfully execute strategy which usually where most leadership teams fail.”
The right book at the right time can change your business forever.
Take 1 book from this list, and add it to your reading list.
As you read the book, take note of the specific actions that the author recommends.
To get the most out of your reading, apply what you learn.
When you commit to taking action based on what you learn from experts, you’ll take your consulting business to new heights.
Consultant, what’s your favorite consulting book?
Leave a comment below and let us know what it is, and why it’s your favorite.
In addition to international best-selling The Elite Consulting Mind, Michael has also written…
In times of chaos and uncertainty, some freeze up or falter, but others rise up and prosper. When you’re struggling with doubt and fear, when your self-esteem and confidence are waning, this book provides a proven path for not only managing the chaos but thriving.
How can you take your skills and expertise and package and present it to become a successful consultant? There are proven time-tested principles, strategies, tactics and best-practices the most successful consultants use to start, run and grow their consulting business. Consulting Success teaches you what they are.
Take These Lessons And Build A Predictable & Profitable Consulting Business
If you’re interested in becoming a consultant and…
- Nail your marketing messaging so that every word you put out helps attract high-value clients…
- Dial-in your fees strategy so that you can earn far more than your corporate career (without working more hours)…
- Create a marketing engine that brings in new consulting clients predictably, like clockwork…
We have two ways to help you: