7 books on relationship building every entrepreneur must read.
Businesses live and die based on who you know—and how well you connect with those
people. Strong relationships can get you in front of a key investor or snag you lower
prices in negotiations. And it’s nearly impossible to run a thriving business if no one likes
or trusts you.
Building relationships in a professional context is a critical maneuver. Each of these
books offers unique wisdom for doing so.
1. Winning Words, Winning Life: Fast Track to Life Success
Running a business can have frustrating and discouraging moments—as Victoria Draper
knows all too well. If words have power, then use your power for good! Victoria has
used the power affect your personal and professional relationships and how you can
improve them with a positive attitude. This quick read not only inspired me to express
myself in more positive ways, but also provides concrete action steps that helped me do
2. The Non-Obvious Guide to Emotional Intelligence
You’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of emotional intelligence (or
EQ—short for “emotional quotient”) in recent years. Kerry Goyette makes EQ easy to
understand and coaches you on myriad ways to use it. For me, learning how to stay
calm while making tough decisions and adapting to the constant changes in start-up life
were vital steps toward success. This book can help you fast-track those skills.
3. Meaningful Alignment: Mastering Emotionally Intelligent Interactions at Work
and in Life
Another one on emotional intelligence (it’s important!): Susan Steinbrecher and Robert
Schaefer focus specifically on EQ in the workplace. Relationships are shaped by each
interaction, and at work you tend to interact with the same people every day. Today, the
leaders and entrepreneurs are more stressed than ever. We live in a world where you
need to be proactively innovative, yet reactively responsive, to produce results that yield
immediate benefit, yet are also long lasting. This book is filled with priceless advice for
developing healthy habits in those daily interactions.
4. A Tribe Called Bliss: Break Through Superficial Friendships, Create Real
Connections, Reach Your Highest Potential
This book is mainly geared toward women—maybe because women tend to be less
afraid to say they want deeper, more meaningful relationships. I certainly
discovered—and benefited from—the wisdom in the pages of Lori Harder’s book. To
succeed in business and life, both men and women need to move beyond surface-level
acquaintances and develop strong connections. The book encourages readers to
examine life on a micro level, and Lori provides lessons and contextual self-work
exercises on how to develop the kind of awareness of the present moment that is the
key to a lifetime of blissful happiness.
5. The Friendship Formula: How to Say Goodbye to Loneliness and Discover
I know first hand how lonely it can be as the leader. You need friends who will support
and encourage you, especially when things are looking bleak. Through Kyler Shumway’s
personal stories, you can learn more about how to build friendships and the complex
psychological concepts at play in these relationships. I especially recommend this book
if you’re trying to run a business without a particularly strong personal support system.
This book gives the readers have the chance to dive deep and develop insights about
themselves, decipher relational needs in others, and master the interpersonal dance of
6. Connected Strategy: Building Continuous Customer Relationships for
Your relationships with customers are, of course, vital to your business’ success. Nicolaj
Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch how-to manual teaches you how to take random,
unpredictable interactions with customers and turn them into actual, long-term
relationships. Not only does their approach yield better customer service, but it will
increase your operational efficiency—talk about a win-win! The concept of a connected
strategy is one every business owner should study, and it’s certainly one I plan to apply
to all my future endeavours. Whether you're trying to revitalize strategy in an established
company or disrupt an industry as a start-up, this book will help you build relations in
your network and establish a new way that you make the best choices and create the
right revenue model.
7. The Mindfulness Toolbox for Relationships: 50 Practical Tips, Tools & Handouts
for Building Compassionate Connections
Never have I seen a better—or more hands-on—guide to navigating the full spectrum of
relationships and achieving peace and harmony at home and at work. Over the years,
I’ve managed teams made up of individuals with a variety of opposing views, and in
today’s polarized political climate, things can get heated fast. Donald Altman offers
strategies for building teams that are united and effective in the workplace, even when
people disagree (sometimes vehemently!) on hot topics.
This book delivers practical mindfulness tools that relieve stress and enhance daily-
living. It also gives you a detailed hand-out to provide life-affirming strategies for healthy,
fulfilling, sustainable connections of all kinds.