3 Must-Read Books on Communication | Mini-Summaries and Reviews

Why did I choose to present these books on communication? Because the art of communication is omnipresent in our personal and professional life. Yet this practice is not innate and rarely taught. There are many books to help you progress in this direction, here are three that I have selected for you.

To enrich your relationships with your relatives and friends, you can draw inspiration from techniques that have proven their worth. Doing so, you will be able to convince them to follow you in your initiatives. You will greatly increase your aura through having conversations tinged with empathy and sincerity.

In your professional field, you will climb the ranks thanks to the art of communication. You will specialize in giving speeches to better support your ideas. Also, you will be more efficient and you will gain confidence. This development of your communication will help you to achieve accomplishments and get new contacts. Finally, this doorway will provide you with new job opportunities.

With only a few minutes a day reading these books, you will notice a great improvement in your attitude. As a result, communication will soon be an art that you practice skillfully and quite naturally.

So, are you ready to get started?

Three Communication Books to Discover!


Here are three books on communication that you can read in detail on “Life Changing Books” (‘Des livres pour changer de vie’). They are at the same time different and complementary:

1. “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

How to Win Friends and Influence People

By Dale Canergie, 1936 (first edition), 1981 (most recent revised edition), 250 pages.

Dale Carnegie was an American author and speaker who was a specialist in corporate and public speaking techniques. In this regard, he contributed a lot to the field of communication. In addition, he founded the largest continuing education company. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is one of his most iconic books. With over 45 million copies sold, it is a benchmark among books on communication.

To begin with, the reader is invited to follow 8 basic rules in order to fully appreciate the book:

  1. Be a hungry learner.
  2. Read each chapter twice before continuing.
  3. Read in fragments, to take time to think about how to apply the principles.
  4. Highlight the main ideas.
  5. Go back to reading the book every month.
  6. Take every opportunity to put the principles into practice.
  7. Approach the book in a fun way, as if it were a game.
  8. Take stock of progress and mistakes made every week and learn from them.

Part One: Three Fundamental Principles to Attract Others and Turn Them into Friends

In “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the author explores each principle in a chapter. To begin with, here are the main arguments and advice he puts forward.

  • It is more important to understand than to judge

You are against the doings of your loved ones, and you fully intend to let it be known. However, this is a mistake because you will ultimately cause a grudge and get blamed in return. Under these conditions, you should instead try to be tolerant and understanding.

  • Be fair and sincere with your interlocutors

According to the author, every human being has the desire to be regarded, unlike animals. Moreover, the cemeteries are filled with epitaphs illustrating this will of a lifetime. In addition, you will always find in your interlocutor a quality for which you can sincerely compliment him or her.

  • Remember that in order to please someone, you have to talk to them about what they enjoy

Overall, men need to feel that one is interested in them. On top of that, by doing it with sincerity, you will be able to touch the hearts of even those who are the most unapproachable.

Part Two: Six Ways to Get Sympathy

In the second part of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Canergie discusses an essential principle in each chapter.

  • Make others your priority

If you want others to take interest in you, you will need to show them first that you are interested in them. Thus, with little precious details each day, you can express that you are invested in making them happy.

  • Smile and you will be appreciated

 Smile of a child

Photo by Julien Lagarde

The sincerest smile can be seen on children’s faces. So, try to find your inner child to sport a big smile, which will even be heard in your voice over the phone.

  • Remember people’s first names

When you meet someone, call them by their first or last name. In doing this, you will show him that you are interested in him.

  • Learn to listen to others

People who speak only of themselves are of interest only to themselves. Basically, if you listen to others, they will feel that they are important to you. 

  • Adapt to your interlocutor

Talk to him about what is interesting to him; he will be more comfortable communicating with you.

  • Show others that they are important to you

 To the extent that praise is given sincerely, it becomes a way of encouraging positive communication.

Part Three: Twelve Ways to Convert Others to Your Cause

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People” is one of the books on communication that encourages you to manage your relationship with others in a positive way:
    • Do not try to bend the other; try to reflect in a sincere manner upon his opinions.
    • Besides, you are not perfect; you too can be wrong. 
    • You have to acknowledge that you can be wrong. 
    • Kindness is to be favored over violence. 
    • Adapt your questions to get a positive response. 
    • The other person needs space to express himself. 
    • Always give the impression to the other person that the idea is their own. 
    • Try to put yourself in his shoes to better understand how he operates. 
    • The thoughts and desires of others are as important as your own.
    • There are obviously honorable things to discover in the other person. 
    • Imagination and creativity are the best ingredients to back up a claim.
    • Finally, have fun setting up challenges to motivate the other person and to force yourself to go above and beyond.
  • Now is the time to be a leader, and that means empathy:
    • First, a reproach must always be preceded by a compliment. 
    • If you spot a fault in the other person, point it out to him indirectly. 
    • Acknowledge your weaknesses before talking about those of others. 
    • However, question, but do not direct.
    • Never try to hurt. 
    • Reward any progress made with a compliment. 
    • Highlight the positive actions of your interlocutor. 
    • Encouragement always drives progress. 
  • Make sure to suggest things that will motivate the other person, using a few clever techniques:
    • Be sincere and do not make promises that are impossible to keep.
    • Be aware of where you want to take your interlocutor.
    • Imagine what you would think if you were him.
    • Think about what you can do for him in concrete terms.
    • Be considerate by offering him benefits that suit him.
    • Show him in the wording that this advantage will be beneficial for him.

Review of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People” is one of the communication books that focuses the most on the emotional faculty of men. In addition, the author emphasizes that self-esteem is an important component of our personality. Then, he also builds on the fact that diplomacy is better than animosity. This book is a very good ally in strengthening friendships. Finally, it can be very useful if you want to expand your professional network.

Strong points:

  • Easy to read and understand.
  • Lots of examples and scenarios.
  • Relevance of the subject matter.
  • Precise principles to apply.

Weak points:

  • The examples are not very current.
  • Some repetition.

My rating : Burke Read and Get Rich Burke Read and Get Rich Burke Read and Get RichBurke Read and Get RichBurke Read and Get RichBurke Read and Get RichBurke Read and Get RichBurke Read and Get RichBurke Read and Get Rich

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2. “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication

From Marshall Rosenberg, 2004 (2nd edition), 1999 for the 1st edition, 259 pages.

Marshall Rosenberg was an American psychologist specializing in non-violent communication (CNV in French or NVC in English-speaking countries). He wrote numerous books on communication and, for this, drew heavily on the thoughts of Carl Rogers and Gandhi. In fact, it is the latter’s grandson who wrote the preface to “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life”, today one of the most widely read books on communication in the world.

The book “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” is somewhat of user manual providing access to altruistic and generous communication. This book is also about learning to open up to yourself.

It consists of two parts:

  • The first part invites the reader to be sincere in his relations.
  • The second part suggests that he do it with empathy.

Part One: Put Sincerity in Your Words

Chapter 1: Everything Must Come from the Heart and the Will to Communicate Authentically.

“Nonviolent Communication” belongs to those books on communication which are based, above all, on sincerity. Therefore, it is, first, necessary to choose the words that we use and to be attentive to those of our interlocutor.

NVC is based on 4 fundamentals:

  • Obesrvation.
  • Feeling.
  • Need.
  • Request.

The main idea is:

  • To observe the situation.
  • To feel what it elicits (pleasure, frustration, fear, etc.).
  • Then, you must identify the connection to manage it as best as possible (the need).
  • Finally, you will be able to deduce which clear request could enable you to achieve this (the request).

In addition to considerably improving your relationships with others by avoiding conflict, NVC encourages you to better identify your expectations.

Chapter 2: Simplifying our Words and Favoring Benevolence

Nonviolent Communication

 In “Nonviolent Communciation”, Marshall Rosenberg teaches how to get rid of 4 bad language habits that are often deeply rooted:

  • Do not judge people who at first glance are different from you.
  • Do not compare yourself to others, at the risk of judging them.
  • Speak for yourself and not as if you are being guided by some outside thought.
  • Never demand; it is better to suggest.

Chapter 3: Observing Does Not Mean Evaluating

 It is better to observe objectively than to accuse subjectively.

Chapter 4: Your Feelings Rule You

 It is about distinguishing between real feelings and thoughts that disguise themselves as feelings:

  • Feeling like you are useless is a thought.
  • Feeling ineffective is the expression of a feeling.

By adding words to your vocabulary that actually express your feelings, your emotions will be perceptible and your relationship with others will be simplified.

Chapter 5: These Feelings Are Yours, Be Proud of Them

 In a situation that could become confrontational, there are several ways to react:

  • Blame yourself, at the risk of feeling belittled.
  • Fault the other person, at the risk of angering him.
  • Take your own feelings into account and start the process of coming out of the crisis.
  • Consider the feelings of the other person to find a suitable solution.

Obviously, it is the last two reactions that are the best for reaching a common understanding, which enables to diffuse the situation. Even if these are not necessarily the rules of communication that you have been taught, they are the ones which enable you to respect the other person and to have a fair interaction with him.

Chapter 6: Directing the Request to Your Own Satisfaction

In his books on communication, and more particularly in this one, Marshall Rosenberg invites you to formulate your requests without making big mistakes:

  • Use positive sentences, the negative causes mistrust in the other person.
  • Don’t beat around the bush: be clear, crisp and to the point.
  • Urge your interlocutor to tell you if they did not understand the request correctly.
  • Do not pressure, otherwise the request turns into a demand. 

Part Two: Learn to Act with Empathy

Chapter 7: One Slogan: Empathy

You do this, either by giving your opinion, advice, or reassurance, or by simply listening. In fact, Marshall Rosenberg suggests that you forget about yourself, with several useful tips:

  • Focus on the four pillars of NVC already mentioned: observation, feelings, needs and request.
  • Rephrase what the other person is saying to see if you agree with the content of the discussion. Do not take on the role of the moralizer who understands everything.
  • Stay patient and empathetic until the other person’s statements are over. Then, you can deliver your point of view and give him advice or your opinion.
  • To be able to give this quality of listening, it is absolutely necessary to have done the same with yourself. We cannot give what we refuse to receive.

Chapter 8: Empathy: The Ability to Bond

According to Marshall Rosenberg, this is the only way we have to defuse a situation that could escalate. Even if it sometimes makes us vulnerable, it is the guarantor of our sincerity. As a result, it allows a discussion to continue which, without it, could have turned into a settling of scores.

Chapter 9: Be Kind to Yourself

 By having affection and consideration for yourself, you can be kind to others. There are solutions to move toward this state of consciousness:

  • Avoid blaming yourself. Instead, ask yourself what the source of this feeling is and define which unmet need it is related to. This is what Marshall Rosenberg calls NVC mourning.
  • You will then be able to forgive yourself for having had this judgment towards yourself and to consider yourself with more empathy.
  • Perform your daily actions with pleasure and not out of obligation or fear.
  • Fight back against preconceived formulas starting with “I have to” and replace them with ones starting with “I choose to.” From then on, you will be fully in control of your choices and your underlying motivations.

Chapter 10: Anger Is Not an Enemy, It is a Language


In “Nonviolent Communciation,” Marshall Rosenberg teaches how to express anger.

For this, it is important to differentiate the cause from the triggering factor.

In addition, it comes down to taking full responsibility, without making the other person the cause of your emotions. By focusing on your feelings and needs, you will achieve your ends more easily than by criticizing the other person.

Four steps are proposed by the author to vent one’s anger healthily:

  • Take a deep breath and settle down.
  • Become aware of the judgments that you have at the very moment.
  • Focus also on the needs.
  • Release your feelings and needs that are still present.

Finally, it is necessary to keep in mind that these methods of NVC can only develop by taking time. You will have to fight against deep-seated impulses. Therefore, one should not be in a hurry before achieving a meaningful outcome.

Chapter 11: Force as a Last Resort of Protection

You will surely be faced with emergency situations with no possible escape route through communication. If this is to happen, keep in mind that it is totally counterproductive. Not only will this generate resistance in the other person, but if in addition it is a punishment, it will push him into a corner. As such, communication will be totally blocked.

Chapter 12: Develop a New Way of Thinking and Support Others

Subsequently, by freeing yourself from certain cultural conditioning, you will be able to transform the relationship you have with yourself. For example, you will have to stop thinking that to be sensitive means to be weak. Likewise, talking about your feelings is not a purely selfish act.

In addition, by reducing the internal conflict that you have carried for years, you will be able to listen to yourself better and avoid phases of depression. Consequently, you will be well on your way to serenity.

Chapter 13: Don’t Be Afraid to Express Appreciation

According to Marshall Rosenberg, you must not shy away from the use of compliments and thanks.

By doing so, according to a process that can be adapted to (almost) all situations, you will be able to:

  • Recognize the action that made you feel good.
  • Claim the satisfied need.
  • Clearly express the resulting positive feeling.

Review of “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall Rosenberg

This book is a godsend for each of us because it helps to make peace with ourselves. By realizing that ongoing self-evaluation is a very bad habit, we have already made a lot of progress. Then, once we have identified our needs, we avoid bottling up frustration that will have to come out one day or another.

We also learn that we are not responsible for the needs of others and even that we can help them access them.

Even if the road to NVC is long, it takes us to a world where communication goes hand in hand with empathy.

Nonviolent Communication” falls under the books on communication which focus on our person, without putting aside our interlocutors. The very ones with whom we want to be completely in tune. And it works!

 Strong points:

  • Practical exercises at the end of each chapter.
  • Lots of concrete examples.
  • Simple and clear language.
  • NVC principles that teach us to communicate differently and more effectively.
  • You learn to resolve your inner conflicts and identify your needs.

 Weak points:

  • The application of these principles is quite difficult.
  • Progress is long in coming and is made over time.

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3. “Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal” by Oren Klaff

Pitch Anything

By Oren Klaff, 2015, 261 pages

Pitch Anything” is one of the more popular communication books among professionals. Indeed, Oren Klaff is known worldwide for having raised significant funds thanks to his pitch method. He is credited with more than $2 million raised in 15 years. In this book, Oren Klaff explains how the brain works and what methods can be used for persuasion. Then, he dives deeper into the subject matter by detailing techniques for achieving a positive result.

Chapter 1: The Best Method to a Pitch

The brain is divided into 3 parts which communicate with each other:

  • The neocortex: It is the most evolved. It is responsible for creativity, innovation, and complex questions.
  • The midbrain: It responsible for early learning, memory, and emotions.
  • The crocodile brain: It intervenes to manage information related to survival.

In fact, the tip that the author reveals is as follows:

You produce information with your neocortex and your interlocutor retrieves it with his crocodile brain. However, with the latter being quite capricious, it is better to try to get the message directly to your partner’s neocortex. This can be accomplished by:

  • Having a friendly physical posture.
  • Doing your utmost to surprise the other person in order to better captivate them.

Chapter 2: A Method to Learn and Master

Among the many well-known books on communication, “Pitch Anything” is notably known for what the author calls the “frame”. In fact, conversations are built around frames that the author describes as follows:

  • The power frame

It is the most common. It corresponds to the art of gaining the upper hand over the other person, by making them wait for example. To thwart it, it is enough to refuse certain situations which put you in a state of weakness.

  • The prize frame

It is about making your interlocutor understand that it is he who needs you and not the other way around. If he tries to flip the argument on you, explain to him that without you, he loses this opportunity forever.

  • The time frame

This way of changing the subject is often used to close a deal faster and in your favor. So, if you are seeing signs of weariness, do not try to rush the conversation. Instead, suggest another meeting, or pretend that you have to go.

  • The intrigue frame

Make sure to surprise your interlocutor. Also, to captivate your audience, use your imagination and come up with original solutions. With sentence structures intended to maintain the suspense, you will act on the curiosity of your interlocutors.

  • The analyst frame

This ruse is used by people who want to destabilize you. They will try to confuse you with detailed explanations in order to distract you from the point. So, by setting an intrigue frame or a time frame you can counter this attack. Suggest, for example, exploring the matter after you have made your remarks.

Chapter 3: Your Social Status Says A Lot About You

Your social status is as important as your words. The author explains this operation through the alpha and beta statuses. Alpha status is the strongest, but when interacting with other alpha people you need to adopt the right attitude, as you risk taking on beta status.

The stake is then to remain an alpha in all circumstances. For this, you must define the territory in which you will operate. If the meeting is planned with your interlocutor, show him that you have control over the space. This can be done by scanning the objects or looking out the window, as if you were at home. Do not hesitate to talk about your accomplishments and take ownership of your success.

Chapter 4: The Right Plan to Pitch Your Best Idea

Pitch Anything social frame

In this chapter, Oren Klaff teaches how to deal with the unexpected.

  • Phase 1: Start by talking about yourself

Without exaggerating of course! You just have to reveal some information about yourself in short sentences that are true to you.

  • Phase 2: Talk about money, then about wealth

It is important that your interlocutors have an overall idea of your budget. Otherwise, they will focus on this notion. Then, you can approach the richness of your idea and reveal why it is revolutionary. You should present it through an original angle in order to give it new freshness.

  • Phase 3: Position yourself in the market

You will have to show that you are featured in a positive way in your professional environment. Approach in a simple way who are your competitors and what is the added value of your project.

Chapter 5: Don’t Show That You’re in a Tough Situation

Keep in mind that this is not the last resort for your success. If you show your interviewer that this is your last chance, you will lose credibility. Also, you will express yourself awkwardly, which will not be to your advantage.

Chapter 6 and 7: A Case Study Before Taking Action

After revealing one of his own experiences, Oren Klaff teaches how to train for the development of your communication skills. He insists on the fact that it is essential to practice in order to progress. And to do so, you can rely on the following 3 essential points:

  • The structure of your speech and your attitude.
  • The process by which you prevent the other party from taking control of the frame.
  • Humor, a proven method to gain respect.

Review of “Pitch Anything” by Oren Klaff

According to social interactions, there is always an alpha and a beta in conversations. It is up to you to determine which role you want to play.

Among the books on communication, this one is particularly valuable for people who have to defend a project in front of an audience. Indeed, with these tips you will get better results and you will become more efficient.

 Strong points:

  • The functioning of the human brain is well explained.
  • Each frame is presented in detail.
  • The action plan is effective.
  • Opportunity to test the principles in a case study.

Weak points:

  • It is good to read the book several times to fully understand its principles.
  • Perhaps a better structure would make it easier to read.

My rating : Books on Communication Marshall Rosenberg Books on Communication Marshall Rosenberg Books on Communication Marshall RosenbergBooks on Communication Marshall RosenbergBooks on Communication Marshall RosenbergBooks on Communication Marshall RosenbergBooks on Communication Marshall RosenbergBooks on Communication Marshall RosenbergBooks on Communication Marshall Rosenberg

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