Top 10 Books Every Sales Leader Must Read

May 6, 2020
Issac Thomas

Warren Buffet and Bill Gates spend hours reading books, and they do it for a reason. To soak in knowledge and leverage it to master their craft. Reading is indeed one of the most empowering habits. If you are a sales leader, make sure to inculcate this beautiful habit.

Books mentor you and nourish your gray matter as you get access to the greatest minds from different generations. We thought of compiling a list of 10 must-read books for every sales leader who wishes to scale their sales and get the best results from their teams.

Read these books to refine your ideas, reflect by writing notes, and make sure you become a better professional reading them. From the basics of selling to the art of negotiating and psychology of pitching, These books cover everything.

  1. The Art of War
  2. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
  3. To Sell is Human
  4. Everybody Lies
  5. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
  6. Never Eat Alone
  7. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
  8. Never Split the Difference
  9. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
  10. You Can Sell 

Let’s understand why you should read them!

1. The Art of War

Author- Sun Tzu

Front page of  The Art of War
The Art of War

Our Thoughts-

The Art of War, an all-time classic, is nearly 2000 years old written by the Chinese philosopher, Sun Tzu. It is composed of 13 chapters. Every chapter deals with one aspect of warfare and how it could be implemented as tactics and strategies. It contains a detailed analysis of the Chinese military, the weapons they used, and the kind of warfare they did. 

It's a timeless classic for a reason as Sun Tzu's methodologies are relevant even today as to how to handle conflicts in the best way possible. The strategies mentioned in the book can be applied to modern-day scenarios. From ancient military leaders to CEOs, you can put the context of this book on any of them.

Quotes like “ in the midst of chaos, there is also an opportunity”, “victorious warriors win first and then go to war” not only gives hope but also empowers the mind to seek opportunities during a crisis and cultivate a winning mindset.

2. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

Authors- Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Front Page of  Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

Our Thoughts-

Being a Navy Seal is one of the toughest jobs in the world. In a highly competitive world, you will cherish this book written by two celebrated SEAL veterans- Jocko Willink and Leif Babin as this book is packed with some astounding insights on leading a sales team. Yes, sometimes doing sales is characterized as being at war on a battlefield as the stakes are high and competition is always around you.

It heavily focuses on the power of consistency and how habits as simple as getting up from bed after the alarm goes off can impact your mindset. The authors talk about their experience in one of the most violent battlefields in Iraq. It narrates their experience of a seemingly impossible mission in the form of first-hand accounts of hard-fought victories and heroism. It is during such experiences that they realize leadership is needed at every level and is the most important virtue for the success of a team.

3. To Sell is Human

Authors- Daniel Pink

Front page of To Sell is Human
To Sell is Human

Our thoughts-

You should read this book because it will probably change your way of thinking on sales as Danie Pink who is a New York Times, and Wall Street Journal best-selling author launches a crusade against every stereotype in sales. If you want to understand the landscape of modern sales and master the art of selling anything, this book is a must-read.

Parents sell to convince their kids to go to bed. Employees sell their bosses to get better perks, we all are on social media selling ourselves to gain followers and engagement.

Putting facts based on science, and analysis, Pink showcases how sales have evolved. He provides a complete set consisting of tools, tips, and exercises to achieve success in the changing landscape of sales. From pitching your idea to sharing five frameworks to give a clear message, Daniel Pink will enlighten you.

4. Everybody Lies

Author- Seth Stephens

Front Page of Everybody Lies
Front Page of Everybody Lies

Our thoughts-

We all lie to others and our own selves, but we are very honest when it comes to the internet. It is on their internet searches where people reveal who they truly are.

Everyone Lies gives some great insights into the psychology of the human psyche. It reveals the hypocrisy of mankind and the biases embedded within each one of us. It is insightful, funny, and surprising at different levels. 

This book is like a mirror. You read it, reflect on it, and realize that we, as humans, can predict behaviors if we pay close attention. Seth Stephens, the author of this book, delves deeper and gives the reader some great revelation on how humans think and act. The internet plays a vital role all through the book as it is the primary reason for data explosion and how this data is used to predict the behavior of people.

5. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Authors- Dr, Robert Cialdini

Front page of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Our thoughts-

You cannot make sales if you cannot influence people. What factors influence people and how they do it is, understanding that is an integral part of the sales process. The whole sales funnel is built on different stages of influencing the buyer. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the expert of this art of influence, and he covers the psychology of why people say, "yes" with utmost precision.

This book will teach you the six universal principles of influence and how these principles could be leveraged to become an efficient persuader. Those six principles are listed below

  • Reciprocation
  • Commitment and consistency
  • Social proof
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity

Understanding and applying these six principles will help you master the art of influence.

The book highlights a key factor through one of its quotes, and that is the idea that potential loss plays a vital role in human decision making. If you can convince the prospect that they will lose something if they don't say yes, they feel more motivated to do business with you.

6. Never Eat Alone

Author- Keith Ferrazzi

Front page of Never Eat Alone
Never Eat Alone

Our thoughts-

This book is one of the most inspiring books for anyone who wishes to make an impact in life. It narrates the tale of the son of a small-town steelworker and how he networks his way to a Harvard MBA and gets featured in Forbes. Keith Ferrazzi highlights the power of networking and makes the reader realize why building connections is important to get what you want in life.

The author understood pretty early in life that what separates successful people from everyone else. It is their ability to use the power of relationships such that it is a win-win for all. He focuses on building genuine relationships and not just fad networking.

In the book, he reveals the inner mindset to the reader and how he uses it to connect with thousands of people. He then divides his experiences into proven principles.

7. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal

Author- Oren Claf

Front page of Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal

Our thoughts-

This book talks about one of the most integral components that can make or break a deal- The Business Pitch.

Be it pitching your business to a new client or negotiating with the HR for a better salary, this book will empower the way you position your ideas.

As per Klaff, presenting a great pitch is not an art but simple science. He takes the reader through the journey of the brain on how it makes decisions and responds back to pitches. He also shares eye-opening stories of how his methods were used and divides the art of pitching into six steps.

  • Setting the Frame
  • Telling the Story
  • Revealing the Intrigue
  • Offering the Prize
  • Nailing the Hookpoint
  • Getting a Decision

One great pitch can change the landscape of your whole business, and this is what the author of this book Oren Klaff stresses on all through the book. He raised around $400 million using his unique pitch. In the book, he dissects every aspect of what makes a great pitch giving it a more scientific approach. From setting the frame to getting the decision, he explains how to make a great pitch through a six-step framework.

8. Never Split the Difference

Author- Chriss Voss

Front page of Never Split the Difference
Never Split the Difference

Our thoughts-

The biggest USP of this book is the author himself as he has been an international hostage negotiator for the FBI. Interesting isn't it! In this book, the author- Chriss Voss teaches the reader how to cultivate excellent negotiating skills through a compelling narrative filled with highlights on how his hard skills and principles saved lives.

This book teaches the reader to convince people not with logic or brute force instead of with questions that open paths to your goals. It is about making them believe that the solution you want is their own idea.

9. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Author- Simon Sinek

Front page of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Our thoughts-

What is common between Steve Jobs, The Wright Brothers, and Martin Luther King?

They started with WHY.

That is why they were more inventive, pioneering, and successful than their pioneers.

This book is for anyone who wants to inspire others or to be inspired.

Most of you must have seen the infamous Ted Talk by Simon Sinek- How Great Leaders Inspire Action. It is on YouTube and is one of the most powerful speeches on how one can transform an organization by merely asking a fundamental question- “Why are you doing what you are doing?”

In this book, he highlights the same pain-point. The author says, when you sell something, you need to understand the why behind your product. When you know that, it becomes easier for you to sell it to your prospects.

10. You Can Sell 

Author- Shiv Khera

Front page of You can sell
You can sell

Our thoughts-

If you want to be successful in anything, you need to grasp the tricks of the trade. The author of this book, Shiv Khera busts this myth, he says instead of learning the tricks, learn the trade instead. Learning the complete trade is what would make you a great professional.

From gaining success to establishing credibility, this book packs a powerful narrative that motivates the reader throughout.

The sales books listed above contain the best insights on how to build a successful sales team. But what makes these books great is that they cover aspects on how to lead a happy life and how to tackle stress and negativity as sales is a demanding job. Though reading won't fix your problems, it surely shows you the path. You need to walk on it. 

Originally published on
May 6, 2020
Updated on
December 28, 2020
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