The Six Best NLP Books For Business
Quite simply, this is my review of the best of the many business NLP books out there. If you know of a book that should be in this list, why not let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org?
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Develop Your NLP Skills by Andy Bradbury - Best for - the reader with not much time
The best thing about this book is its brevity (although, now in its fourth edition, additional material has been added to make it longer than it started out). If that sounds like damning with faint praise, it isn't. So many books about NLP are lengthier than they need to be, making it hard for a busy working person to find the time and motivation to get through them.
This book is different. It's written by someone with practical management experience, who recognises that most managers are motivated by a need to find solutions to common business problems, rather than by a fascination for the minutiae of NLP.
So it's written in a chatty, accessible style, in short chapters and headed paragraphs. It's organised by area of application, rather than by NLP technique. There are chapters on building relationships, presentations, discipline, appraisals, motivation, negotiation, sales and meetings among other relevant topics.
Nevertheless, the book covers most of the NLP basics: presuppositions, representational systems, rapport, well-formed outcomes, metaprograms, chunking, anchoring, and (most of) the Meta Model.
There are plenty of examples, tips for using NLP in the real world, and a handy glossary of NLP terms. All presented inside 170 pages!
If you are a time-strapped reader, you'll appreciate a short review. So just buy it!
Influencing With Integrity by Genie Z. Laborde - Best for - meetings and negotiations
This is the classic work on using NLP in sales, meetings and negotiation. One of the best things about this book is that, as the title suggests, it effectively answers that old chestnut about NLP being manipulative.
The author has a gift for keeping things simple. Let me give you an example: the NLP "Meta Model" is a set of questions which you can use to clarify what someone is saying to you, and to spot where they've left out vital information or left things so vague that misunderstandings creep in. It's extremely useful in a work context – for example, so that you can make sure before you put loads of effort in that the project you're delivering for your boss is what she actually wanted!
The only problem with the original Meta Model is that there's quite a lot of questions to remember – twelve or thirteen in most versions of it. This is too many to remember without a lot of practice, as the conscious mind usually has difficulty coping with more than about seven chunks of information at once (if you're having a bad day, the figure is more like five).
In the book, Genie boils the Meta Model down to just five types of "Pointers" which you can "anchor" to your fingers so you can remember them easily! She also has useful exercises to help you sharpen your sensory awareness, and plenty of useful material about effective meetings, business communication, and how to negotiate.
"Influencing With Integrity" is on the recommended reading list for my NLP Practitioner courses. Anyone in business will benefit from reading this.
NLP At Work by Sue Knight - Best for - aspiring leaders
A very clear and well-structured overview of NLP as it applies to business. Sue Knight is a UK-based trainer and consultant with a long track record in business.
The book is very clearly written from the recognition that we need to make sure our own house is in order, before we start trying to apply NLP techniques to change people and situations around us.
Her book is great on the importance of integrity and congruence in organisations, and on how to use sensory-rich language in corporate communications. I also found this book useful in my work in brand positioning a few years ago.
Most of the NLP basics are covered, with the exception of some of the purely therapeutic patterns (such as the 'phobia cure') which are not really relevant in a business context.
The reader benefits from an attractive layout, with plenty of images and diagrams, readable chapters, and plenty of practical exercises and 'thought-provokers' so that you're not restricted to passively taking in information.
The second, expanded edition includes chapters on coaching and hypnotic language. Highly recommended!
NLP Business Masterclass by David Molden - Best for - practical applications
If you're looking for an NLP book written from the perspective of someone with real, solid business experience, this is it.
This book is packed with real examples from Molden's career as a training and development manager and subsequently as a consultant. This would not be the place to get a step-by-step in-depth description of every NLP technique – rather, the book is focused on practical applications of NLP to common business problems, and it's all the better for that.
Having said that, the book does cover a lot of NLP material from many sources – even including a "mind programming unit" for turning up or turning down the emotional impact of your memories and imagined events which is inspired (if I'm not mistaken) from Richard Bandler's more recently developed "Design Human Engineering".
There is also a useful section on modelling excellence which, although it may not satisfy NLP purists, is designed so that anyone can use it to get valuable results.
Molden has invited other consultants using NLP in business to contribute chapters on their areas of expertise. Along with his own contributions, this gives us a wealth of applications to areas including customer service, time management, presentations, risk assessment and running better meetings.
The book will be equally useful to two quite different types of readers: managers looking for high-impact interventions without the jargon, and NLP practitioners looking for innovative and practical ways to apply their skills in business.
Words That Change Minds by Shelle Rose Charvet - Best for - communicating with people
Unlike some of the other books I've reviewed, this one does not attempt to cover the whole of NLP as it applies to business.
Instead, it goes into depth on just one area: meta programs. These are the "content-free filters" we use to filter incoming sensory information and so make up our model of the world.
This might sound heavy, but it isn't at all - thanks to Shelle's writing style she presents the subject in a simple, understandable and highly readable way.
The model she uses is based on the Language and Behaviour (LAB) Profile developed by Rodger Bailey - a simplification of the original 60 (!) meta-programs down to 14, along with the questions you can use to elicit them. This is a kind of psychometric test, although as people may have different meta-programs in different contexts, and they may change over time, it's emphatically not about pigeonholing people.
Just as importantly, Shelle also tells you the kind of language to use to reach particular kinds of people - useful in sales, negotiation, motivation and deciding who to hire for a particular job. She even tells you how to write recruitment ads to appeal to people with the right meta program profile for the job, so the unsuitable applicants won't even contact you!
For the depth of information it covers, the book is surprisingly chatty. There are even some cartoons! And Shelle has a very sharp sense of humour.
The Unfair Advantage by Duane Lakin - Best for - sales professionals
This is very different from the other NLP books I've reviewed. It's targeted at one specific application area – sales. And it's definitely a workbook, large-format and spiral bound.
In fact, the publishers describe it as a "workshop in a workbook" and give it a hefty price tag to match. No matter – bite the bullet, treat it as an investment and shell out. If you are a sales professional who hasn't come across NLP before, implementing the techniques in this book will return your investment many times over.
As befits its target market, there is very little theory in the book – in fact it's mostly exercises. You'll have to do the exercises to get the benefit.
The book takes you through using NLP in face-to-face sales, direct mail, and (if you must) telemarketing. There's also some very sneaky objection-handling techniques.
Bonus review: Objections! Objections! Objections! by Gavin Ingham
Best for - objection handling in sales
If you are in sales, you also need to know about this. It's an incredibly useful book on using NLP and other techniques to handle (you guessed it) objections. There's more good stuff on his site.
Order a signed copy direct from Gavin at www.gaviningham.com
Get a customizable NLP Practitioner manual that you can re-brand as your own
An ideal manual for a business-oriented NLP Practitioner course
If you're a newly-qualified NLP trainer, looking at creating your own manual for your first NLP Practitioner course, this fully-customizable NLP Practitioner manual in Microsoft Word format could be what you are looking for. It's aimed at a business-oriented course, but you could easily add more changework processes if you want.
It's designed to save you time (which of course is also money) when you're putting your course together.
This 138-page manual covers the Association for NLP's content requirements for NLP Practitioner training. In fact, it exceeds them - in recognition of the fact that many Business-oriented NLP courses include Meta Programs, the manual includes a section covering six of the most useful Meta Programs for business.
The manual also includes an overview of Modelling, which I have found to be a useful thing to include as part of the final integration segment of a Practitioner course.
Do you want to get an idea of the content, and the style it's written in? Of course you do - you can download the Contents and the Introduction here to give you enough information to make your buying decision.
Also included - a bare-bones suggested session plan for an 8 to 10 day business-oriented NLP Practitioner course using this manual. It's in MS Word format so you can easily amend it to fit your needs.
More NLP books on Amazon
Amazon Spotlight Personal Review
Useful NLP links
- The NLP Book Store
More reviews of NLP books by Andy Smith, UK NLP trainer
- NLP Practitioner Training in the UK
NLP Practitioner training in Manchester, UK, with Andy Smith.
- NLP training in the USA
NLP training in Florida and worldwide with NLP innovator Jonathan Altfeld
- The Make Sales Fun weblog
Gavin Ingham's blog - a great example of NLP applied to real-world business
- Honest Abe's NLP Emporium
Reviews of books on NLP, coaching and emotional intelligence by Andy Bradbury
What do you think of these books? What other business NLP books should I be including - and why?