• Karthik Krishna

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

Deeper Connection 

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

Competitive Advantage 

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.

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