A Bunch of Books to Make You Better at What You Do

As hard as this is to believe, it was more than 13 years ago that I first compiled a list of 15 books that every account person should read. Back then, I asked myself, “Will these books endure?” At the time, I had no idea I would be sitting down today to revisit the list to see what I could discard and what I could add.

The good news: all but one of the books continue to pass the endurance test. In fairness, some—like David Ogilvy's or Strunk and White's—received high scores well before I recommended them. Other books, like Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, or Tom Monahan's The Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy, have proven their worth over time. The only book that fails the test is Ron Hoff's I Can See You Naked. Frankly, I never was entirely comfortable with recommending that book, but at the time there were few books of merit on public speaking. I've addressed this by replacing Hoff's book with Suzanne Bates's Speak Like a CEO, which struck me as loaded with incredibly practical advice on how to get better in front of an audience.

The bad news: there continue to be way too many books! In the past four years, I don't know how many hundreds of titles have appeared on the market, many of them truly worthy of inclusion. But my initial goal remains: to give you a short list of books, not an interminable one.

For the second edition of The Art of Client Service, I selected five books to add to my earlier list of 15. The selection is admittedly ...

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