J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Interpersonal Skills Books

Interpersonal Skills Books

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As part of the Great Books to Read Collection, I put together a collection of the best books on Interpersonal Skills.

When it comes to building software, shipping stuff, or just plain making things happen, interpersonal skills are a key to success.  With interpersonal skills, you can better deal with the following scenarios:

  • Dealing with different communication styles and needs
  • Coping with difficult bosses or dealing with difficult people
  • Surviving personality clashes
  • Appreciating and understanding different motivation patterns and drivers
  • Reflecting on your own personal patterns and using for growth
  • Creating lenses to understand difficult behaviors and tough situations
  • Dealing with conflict in terms of values or goals or styles
  • Fostering effective teamwork and collaboration in the toughest scenarios
  • Having the tough conversations that count

What makes these the best books on interpersonal skills?  They are books you can use to solve real problems.  They are ones that have made an actual difference for many people in tough scenarios.  (Of course, best is all relative, so only you know which books are best for you, by testing what works for your specific scenarios.)

While there are so many books that are truly useful, there is one in particular that I know many people have found to be insanely useful.  It’s the book, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, by Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner.  Here’s why … the book gives you a “lens of human understanding” that helps you see what drives people to act a certain way.  Once you understand this, it’s like knowing how the magic trick was done … all is revealed.  The other reason why people like this book so much is because it gives you a language for bad behaviors.  Having a language for bad behaviors makes it easy to identify them, understand them, and deal with them, in an actionable way.