Benjamin Franklin once said, "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other."

In other words, you can rely solely on first-hand experiences to gain sales knowledge -- but it might be painful.

Check out our key takeaways from the best sales books of all time

To dramatically cut down on your learning curve, pick up some sales books. A read penned by a selling expert will offer you all the benefits of personal experience without negatively affecting your quota or efficacy.

Picking a book can be tough, as there are thousands to choose from. Enter: This reading list.

We've curated the top-ranked books from Amazon's sales best-sellers covering a number of different topics specifically for sales professionals:

Whether you want to ask better questions, prospect more effectively, lead your sales team, or become an all-around better salesperson, there's a pick here for you.

sales methodology and tactics books

1. "Inbound Selling"

Author: Brian Signorelli

Inbound marketing has changed the way companies interact with customers. In this day and age, the buyer is more empowered and doesn't need to rely on a sales rep to learn more about a company's offerings. In fact, more than 60% of purchasing decisions are made without a sales rep. With that being said, how can sales professionals transform the way they think about their strategies? In this book, you'll learn more about inbound sales, including a step-by-step approach for inbound sales professionals and what it means to lead a team of inbound sellers.

Review excerpt: "This is a must-read for anyone in sales or interested in sales! It's an easy and fun read, while most importantly providing new tools and actionable next steps to add into any sales approach. I highly recommend this to anyone working in or adjacent to sales that wants a fresh perspective and guidance on selling the Inbound way!"

2. "New Sales. Simplified."

Author: Mike Weinberg

Looking for a one-stop guide to bringing on new business? Look no further. In this book, Weinberg lays out a proven formula for finding prospects, developing the relationship, and reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.

Review excerpt: "I loved the stories, the irreverent tone, and the honesty of this book. But what I appreciated most was that it delivered on its title -- this book really does simplify what you have to do successfully acquire new customers."

3. "The Sales Acceleration Formula"

Author: Mark Roberge

Sales leaders aiming to scale their sales team and build a multi-million dollar business should definitely pick up this book, written by former HubSpot CRO Mark Roberge.

Review excerpt: "Every company -- regardless of its business and sales strategy -- will absolutely benefit from reading this book. The stories (Roberge) tells, the way his selling initiatives fit together, the combination of selling and technology he describes … even the use cases he lists make the approach he describes applicable to any sales organization -- however well-entrenched."

4. "To Sell Is Human"

Author: Daniel H. Pink

If you're currently working in sales, you're probably well-aware the old playbook doesn't work. Pink offers fresh yet practical insights into modern selling, including how to move others, make your message clearer and more persuasive, and gain referrals.

Review excerpt: "No, this is not 'another' book about selling. I've read a lot of them, written a few of them, and I can tell you: This book stands alone in a special category."

5. "Secrets of Closing the Sale"

Author: Zig Ziglar

This book includes more than 100 different ways to close depending on the situation and 700 thought-provoking questions to use with prospects. You'll also find suggestions from a hundred of America's most successful salespeople.

Review excerpt: "Ziglar teaches you, from the beginning, that there's no room for success in a salesman's career if he's taking the fast route, making the quick sale, and then locking the door behind him."

6. "The Only Sales Guide You'll Ever Need"

Author: Anthony Iannarino

Iannarino shares his biggest lessons from 25 years of selling, including how to increase your self-discipline, get over your fear of the competition, be more resourceful, discover the buyer's true needs, and more.

Review excerpt: "Anthony Iannarino is my new sales guru. His book shows you exactly how to understand your offer and relate to your customer."

7. "The New Strategic Selling"

Authors: Robert B. Miller, Stephen E. Heiman, and Tad Tuleja

Every salesperson will benefit from learning how to reach "win-win" agreements, prevent sabotage by internal blockers, identify the four types of decision-makers, engage senior executives, and more.

Review excerpt: "This book, in my opinion, found a perfect balance between theoretical framework and hands-on, immediately applicable knowledge."

8. "Book Yourself Solid"

Author: Michael Port

Port's book covers a range of strategies for earning more business, from building a powerful social media presence to developing a personal brand to perfecting your pricing strategy.

Review excerpt: "An excellent and enjoyable read. Michael Port lays out a fresh and honest approach to marketing yourself and your business. 'Be true to yourself' and the people you serve. This takes the pressure off of trying to contrive an image of someone (or something) that is really not you, and makes self-promotion almost natural!"

9. "Fanatical Prospecting"

Author: Jeb Blount

Successful prospecting incorporates multiple touches across multiple channels. Pick up this book to learn how to text, email, call, and socially engage buyers.

Review excerpt: "Jeb teaches you how to prioritize your prospects and leverage social selling in your overall prospecting efforts. If you are thinking about a career in sales or you want to jump-start what you are doing in your present job, then this is the book for you."

10. "SNAP Selling"

Author: Jill Konrath

In this book, Kill Konrath acknowledges that today's decision-makers are frazzled, so it can be difficult to get through to them. To address that problem, Konrath offers four simple rules that make up SNAP selling, geared toward overcoming customer hesitation.

Review excerpt: "I have recently set up my own consulting business which has required me to seek new clients in various ways. After years of coaching and managing a team of sales people, I have now encountered the challenges on the front line. Needless to say I spent 3-4 months struggling to get e-mails returned, voice mails returned, etc. I have purchased 11 new prospecting books in the past 7 months, and this one has been the best for me. After going through this book I followed the steps for building an agenda and preparing info for calls, e-mails, linked-in, etc. and voila...I have closed 4 new clients in the past 6 days. I feel much more confident in my approach, which has made a world of difference. Excellently written, great information."

11. "The Sales Magnet"

Author: Kendra Lee

Being in sales doesn't always mean cold calling. This book is an ultimate resource of tips and strategies for attracting prospects rather than chasing them down yourself.

Review excerpt: "Kendra Lee ROCKS! Learn to generate sales leads for any business using her methods. It's fast and easy and even fun. I have gotten great results with her lead-gen techniques. So BUY THE BOOK and invest in yourself."

12. "Little Red Book of Selling"

Author: Jeffrey Gitomer

This book is short, sweet, and to the point. Readers will learn to focus on why people buy and why it matters to the sales process. With entertaining illustrations and soundbites in every chapter, this book is easy to return to for specific helpful tips when you need them most.

Review excerpt: "Excellent book that focuses on selling the right way. Highly recommend this for anyone who is involved in sales and wants to expand their techniques so they close more."

13. "Spin Selling"

Author: Neil Rackham

"Spin Selling" shares the results of Rackham's 12-year, million-dollar research project examining effective sales performances. In his book, Rackham outlines his findings and shares the principles of SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff).

Review excerpt: "If you love sales, read this book and discover how to improve your technique. The research behind this book is exhaustive, and the technique is so organic you may discover you're already using it. In that case, you'll be able to improve your skills."

14. "Agile Selling"

Author: Jill Konrath

As a salesperson, you need to learn a lot of new information and skills quickly. Especially if you're getting promoting, switching jobs, or there are updates to your company. In this book, you'll learn about agile selling, which Konrath describes as the ability to quickly learn new information and leverage it for maximum impact.

Review excerpt: "Having spent 34 years in sales and taken a LONG list of sales training courses and read many training editions you would think, ehhh, I don't need another training book to read. That would have been a serious mistake on my part. Jill Konrath has authored a fabulous strategic plan for any professional salesperson who treats his role as a lifelong learner and acknowledges the sales environment has truly changed in many ways."

15. "Insight Selling"

Authors: Mike Schultz and John E. Doerr

In this book, authors Mike Schultz and John Doerr studied more than 700 business-to-business purchases to see what winners of major sales do differently than sellers who almost won but ultimately came in second place. The results were surprising. In this book, you'll learn how sales winners sell radically differently and see an outline for what you need to do to transform yourself and your team into insight sellers.

Review excerpt: "This book does a great job of establishing the benchmarks, based on their in-depth analysis and research that drive strong value selling. You can achieve greater success by aligning with customers at a whole new level. They guide you through a process that helps you understand how you can create insight across three dimensions or levels."

16. "Smart Calling"

Author: Art Sobczak

Cold calling is probably one of the worst tasks of a salesperson. However, everyone has to do it. In this book, you'll learn proven techniques to master the art of the cold call and eliminate fear, failure, and rejection from cold calling.

Review excerpt: "I am certain this is the sales book I have read the most times by far. It has everything you need to really help you get better results in prospecting if you are willing to put in the effort."

17. "The TOP Sales Leader Playbook"

Author: Lisa D. Magnuson

This playbook includes 16 'plays' to win bigger deals based on interviews with 41 leading sales executives. These plays include top strategies for identifying big deals, developing relationships with those prospects, and closing when the time comes.

Review excerpt: "Although this is a practical, workable, systematic playbook, full of detailed step-by-step instructions for proven strategies and tactics to approach and win your "5X" average deals, it is based on deep research with 41 sales VPs about what they wanted in a playbook. This research revealed four key areas of interest to the sales leaders which became the four main topics of the book: Leadership, Methodology, Execution, and Culture. And because it comes directly from primary research coupled with Lisa Magnuson's leadership career and expertise with clients, it's also focused on the few key priorities that sales leaders can afford to make time for and focus on to guarantee a difference in outcomes. This is a really first-rate book, much needed."

18. "Own Your Niche"

Author: Stephanie Chandler

Covering internet marketing and sales tactics for establishing authority and connecting with your target audience, you'll learn how to generate exposure and build demand for your pipeline.

Review excerpt: "If you have read a lot of books on marketing already some of what you may read here duplicates that, but most people forget so reading it again serves as a reminder. In addition, no two authors will ever have the same take on piece of advice and that is the case here. For example, Stephanie included some suggestions for how to use post cards that I had not seen anywhere else and it was very helpful. Let's face it, the amount of material written on direct mail marketing can reach the stratosphere so finding a different twist on it can be challenging, but she did it."

behavioral psychology and persuasion books

19. "The Psychology of Selling"

Author: Brian Tracy

Learn how to harness psychological principles in the sales process while simultaneously getting a dose of personal motivation.

Review excerpt: "‘The Psychology of Selling' is a superb, practical, easy-to-read return to the fundamentals of professional salesmanship for novices, journeymen, and seasoned, top-performing salespeople. More than common sense placed into form, it serves as an instructional blueprint -- or as a road map -- to establish, build, grow, and maintain a successful sales career."

20. "The Science of Selling"

Author: David Hoffeld

Hoffeld's advice is based on the latest research in behavioral economics, social psychology, and neuroscience. You'll learn a science-based approach to asking questions, securing incremental commitments, resolving objections, reducing your competition's influence, and more.

Review excerpt: "‘The Science of Selling' is the ultimate collection of evidence-based practices for sales ever collected in one volume. Until now, most of the studies in ‘The Science of Selling' have been scattered and tucked away in academic journals, (making them) virtually inaccessible to sales leaders. Most readers will find the material new, and I expect, quite surprising."

21. "Influence: Science and Practice"

Author: Robert B. Cialdini

Cialdini reveals the six psychological principles that cause people to comply. Once you've incorporated these powerful concepts into your messaging, leading your prospects to say "yes" will be less challenging.

Review excerpt: "Whether you are on the selling or buying end of any transaction, knowing what Mr Cialdini discovered through years of research and testing will be to your financial advantage. (But) 'Influence' is not just about money. It is a guide to getting what you want or need in a fair and ethical manner."

22. "Words That Sell"

Author: Richard Bayan

Keep this informative manual at your desk so you can quickly find the perfect terms and phrases to grab your prospect's attention, create desire for your product, and ultimately, win their business.

Review excerpt: "This is a very simple, but HIGHLY useful book!! This book is filled with descriptive words of products & services that will assist you in selling. But more than that, this book is a huge time-saver!! I sell antiques on eBay, and having proven-to-sell words to describe products is wonderful!"

23. "Heart and Sell"

Author: Shari Levitin

How do find the right middle ground between being too accommodating vs. being too high-pressure? This book offers science-based advice for overcoming objections and aligning yourself with prospects' key motivators.

Review excerpt: "Great book as it goes way beyond just giving strategies and ideas but it really cuts to the "why" of why we sell. The personal stories in the book really help to emphasize why we do what we do and when we do it. I heard the author speak at a conference and immediately bought the book to read on my flight home."

24. "7L: The Seven Levels of Communication"

Author: Michael J. Maher

If you're not generating warm introductions to potential customers, you're losing out on a valuable source of business. Discover the concrete steps that will win you referrals. Although "7L" is geared toward real estate professionals, its takeaways are applicable to any sales role.

Review excerpt: "Michael provides an easy-to-follow step-by-step system to create long-lasting relationships with clients and vendors that will result in an endless supply of referrals. This book has completely changed how I do business … I went out and bought 30 [copies to give] to my associates."

25. "Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions"

Author: Dan Ariely

Have you ever been flummoxed by a prospect's irrational decision? Once you read this book, you'll have a new understanding for the assumptions and emotions behind the actions we take. Guiding buyers to the right choices will become far easier.

Review excerpt: "This is a fascinating look into how our brains process information. The author sets up experiments to test his hypotheses about how people respond to a variety of situations."

26. "DISCOVER Questions Get You Connected"

Authors: Deb Calvert and Renee Calvert

Learn how to structure your calls, ask thoughtful, intelligent questions, and help prospects come to their own conclusions about your product's value.

Review excerpt: "'Discover Questions' was excellent -- giving experienced and novice salespeople guidance on how to ask questions, drive the sales conversation and show you care!"

27. "Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success"

Author: Colleen Stanley

Sales conversations are innately emotional. Prospects might challenge you and you might get defensive or your fear of rejection could come into play. For a salesperson to overcome those emotional responses, they need to build their emotional intelligence. In this book, you'll learn how to become a better question asker and listener, how emotional intelligence can improve prospecting efforts, and how empathy can lead to more effective sales conversations and solutions.

Review excerpt: "Colleen Stanley's Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success is my go-to resource for sales conversations. I've always told people I hate selling, but I love building mutually beneficial relationships. That's the fundamental premise in this book: that sales is a relationship between two human beings. All of the same emotional intelligence rules that apply to friendships, dating, and other human relationships apply to the sales process."

28. "DISCOVER Questions"

Authors: Deb Calvert and Renee Calvert

One of the hardest parts of the discovery call is setting yourself and your company apart from other sales reps. In this book, you'll learn the right questions to ask, how to create value for your buyers, and differentiate yourself from the pack.

Review excerpt: "Written for sales professionals it takes little effort to apply this to anywhere you need to ask questions. For sales, it is exemplary, enough that this will become my 2016 Sales book of the year. The author makes a great case for asking the right question early enough so the seller can communicate value."

business and sales management books

29. "The Sales Development Playbook"

Author: Trish Bertuzzi

The Sales Development Playbook helps readers understand and use inside selling techniques to build a repeatable pipeline, covering a lot of ground from building sales strategy and measuring what matters to leading your sales development team. All of this is in the effort of providing a solid framework for growing your business.

Review excerpt: "This is a must read for folks that carry budgetary or first line responsibility for sales development reps (SDRs); which includes both marketing and sales leaders. For those of you that aspire to be successful leaders in this role – this will be your 'reference' text."

30. "Dare to Lead"

Author: Brené Brown

What does it mean to be a leader? It's not always about power but also about having tough conversations and developing empathy. This book dives into new research on change makers and culture shifters and teaches across 4 main skillsets so that readers can rise strong at work.

Review excerpt: "What's fascinating is that the author calls herself a "research professor" with a social work doctorate, and her research has been extensive and varied, from military leaders to teachers. In this regard she has adopted the data-based techniques of Jim Collins, whose "Good to Great" has been the gold standard for many years. But her message is different in that it does not recommend "engineering" innovation, but rather relying on "rumbling with vulnerability," "living into one's values," and having the courage to make decisions even where the outcome may be uncomfortable and possibly a failure."

31. "Acting Up"

Author: Janice Bryant Howroyd

Janice Bryant Howroyd discusses how to win in business and in life by chronicling her journey to becoming the first black woman to own a billion dollar business. You'll learn valuable skills on how to rely on your values and demonstrate leadership as an entrepreneur and/or in the business world.

Review excerpt: "Similar to cold beer on a summer days, for an entrepreneur like myself “Acting Up” was just as refreshing. Every single person in businesses can learn from Janice Bryant Howroyd’s core values. Today in 2019 we are seeing more and more women in businesses. Janice Bryant Howroyd with the largest privately owned staffing agency in the US is responsible for many of these women being where they are today. A+ Book"

32. "Business as Unusual"

Author: Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick details her entrepreneurial journey while balancing "profits with principles." While detailing her personal and political issues, she defines the role and responsibility of the entrepreneur in the context of business ethics.

Review excerpt: "I just loved this book. With all my respect to Anita Roddick, I had never expected this book to be so insightful and challenging the conventional wisdom, before I received it into my postbox! I have enjoyed reading it very much. I still like to open a random page and read it again."

33. "Cracking the Sales Management Code"

Authors: Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana

Jordan dives into the critical activities and metrics sales managers and executives should implement and track to lead their teams to success.

Review excerpt: "I liked the focus on real-world quantitative management via metrics (and) would recommend this book to any sales manager who wants to achieve and measure results."

34. "Shark Tales"

Author: Barbara Corcoran

If you've ever watched ABC's Shark Tank, you know Barbara Corcoran. In her book, she tells her story going from failing in her career efforts to building a $6 billion dollar business, along with the business lessons she learned along the way.

Review excerpt: "Barbara's book was an autobiographic infusion between her childhood and her journey to success in business. She describes both almost simultaneously, as if each chapter is split (but not intermingled) between her business journey and childhood memory. Many of those childhood memories reinforce her attitudes she had later in business and life."

35. "Leapfrog"

Author: Nathalie Molina Niño

Geared toward women entrepreneurs who want to "outsmart the status quo," Leapfrog contains 50 ways to launch, fund, grow, and succeed in business. You'll learn how to remove obstacles and open closed doors.

Review excerpt: "She thoughtfully demonstrates how to work within today's system to get where you need to go, as opposed to staying in a dreamland hoping societal barriers fall. Her advice is based on what's real and what works and reading LeapFrog feels like taking in a much needed pep talk from your best friend. Highly recommend it."

36. "The Glitter Plan"

Authors: Pamela Skaist-Levy, Gela Nash-Taylor, and Booth Moore

Juicy Couture was started with $200 and grew into a global brand that was eventually purchased for $50 million. The authors of this book chronicle that story in this book that markets itself as part memoir and part business manual. You'll learn the innovative tactics they used to achieve radical startup success.

Review excerpt: "Its obvious this book is a must read for today's women, who are seeking ways to thrive, but I HIGHLY recommend this book for the men - husbands, dads and male leaders. As I read this book, I've gained empathy and a new perspective I only sensed before but didn't quite understand completely until Tiffany made it clear for me. I now have a new lens for what my wife has done and is doing, to be an amazing wife, mother and career professional. Despite already being a proud and 'active' dad, I now understand her challenges and am attempting to step up to the plate and do more, to allow more balance in our marriage and parental roles, and to allow her an opportunity to be all she can be."

entrepreneurial and sales mindset books

37. "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success"

Author: Carol S. Dweck

As a world-renowned psychologist, Carol Dweck has researched the power of mindset for decades. She reveals how mindset can dramatically impact and influence how we think about our talents and abilities. Although not directly about sales, this book will teach you how a growth mindset can help you succeed in the world of sales and beyond.

Review excerpt: "I recognized a lot of myself in this book (and not necessarily the good bits). I learned some reasons why I procrastinate for one thing. It is potentially a game changer for anybody willing to be honest about who they really are with a sincere desire to be better through application and hard work. The book is a call to action and change on a very fundamental level."

38. "Think and Grow Rich"

Author: Napoleon Hill

This book is beloved by many career salespeople. The result of nearly 20 years of research, Hill's book outlines 13 steps to success, including developing a definite purpose, building a positive mental attitude, and channeling the power of the subconscious mind.

Review excerpt: "This book is one that everyone must-read. From the very beginning, it began changing my mindset and how I view life. Some books are filled with information on how you should be thinking, but this one shows how to create lasting change."

39. "How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling"

Author: Frank Bettger

This is the perfect book for anyone whose job it is to sell. Through personal experiences, Bettger tells his tale from a failed salesman to one of the highest-paid salesmen in America. He gives insights on the power of enthusiasm, conquering fear, the quickest way to win confidence, and the seven golden rules for closing a sale.

Review excerpt: "I have read this cover to cover, twice. It's not only for those in the sales industry, it's useful for everyone. I was reminded of the value of emotion, as well as the value of time - both mine and my clients. It was great to learn from both Frank Bettger's mistakes and successes, and I am grateful to have read this book."

40. "The Introvert's Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone"

Authors: Matthew Owen Pollard and Derek Lewis

Just like any other skill, anyone can learn and master the art of sales. Even introverts. In this book, an introverted salesperson can learn how to use their own natural strengths to sell. For example, introverts will learn how to find natural confidence, prepare for any situation, sidestep objections, and ask for the sale without being pushy.

Review excerpt: "Being mostly an introvert, I have long felt that I had to learn to be someone else in order to succeed in business and especially anything to do with selling. Unbelievably refreshing to read approaches born from authentic experience. With the right tools and techniques, anything is possible! And if you're an introvert and you hope to make a living, this is an excellent book for you — it'll serve you well no matter what field you're in."

41. "More Sales, Less Time"

Author: Jill Konrath

Have you ever felt behind at work, but there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done? If so, you're probably an overwhelmed salesperson. With quotas going up and faster turnarounds expected, it's not surprising. In this book, you'll learn how to reclaim your time by eliminating major time sucks, optimize your sales process to eliminate redundancies and wasted time, and stay at the top of your sales game.

Review excerpt: "Time has become a top 3 obstacle to success for sales professionals and anyone trying to grow their business results. This book helped me identify and accept that I am being held back because of my attitude and choices about my time. By the time I got to Chapter 31 titled "Unclog Your Pipeline" I had so many notes that I had to put the book down and go back to start from the beginning and highlight the areas that were giving me the clarity that I was so clearly lacking."

42. "Go-Giver, Expanded Edition: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea"

Authors: Bob Burg and John David Mann

This quick read reveals the importance of giving to business success. Not only will you walk away convinced that giving leads to receiving, you'll also know how to give to achieve your desired results.

Review excerpt: "Clear, entertaining, and immediately practical, this book has evolved my approach to business -- and life. When you go through your day focusing on how you can give and being open to receiving, you build stronger relationships and prosper on multiple levels."

43. "Drop the Ball"

Author: Tiffany Dufu

If you've ever felt the burden of perfectionism or an insurmountable to-do list, Tiffany Dufu's story about "letting go" to achieve more is for you. By re-evaluating expectations and embracing imperfection, you'll be able to increase your energy on the things that matter. This book is perfect for women leaders.

Review excerpt: "Its obvious this book is a must read for today's women, who are seeking ways to thrive, but I HIGHLY recommend this book for the men - husbands, dads and male leaders. As I read this book, I've gained empathy and a new perspective I only sensed before but didn't quite understand completely until Tiffany made it clear for me. I now have a new lens for what my wife has done and is doing, to be an amazing wife, mother and career professional. Despite already being a proud and 'active' dad, I now understand her challenges and am attempting to step up to the plate and do more, to allow more balance in our marriage and parental roles, and to allow her an opportunity to be all she can be."

44. "The Warrior Code"

Authors: Tee Marie Hanible and Denene Millner

If you want to actualize your true potential, this book offers 11 principles to "awaken your inner badass." It starts with Hanible's story of uncovering her inner warrior after a life full of adversity and advice on how you can tap into your own power.

Review excerpt: "This was an awesome book! I'm an avid reader and this was by far one of the best. Great for both men, women, boys and girls. This is one of the first authors that tells it like it is and revealed the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences they faced growing up. Great read!!"

Whether you want to study sales tactics or you want to level up your individual performance, this list is pact with insightful books by brilliant authors. Maybe even your next mentor.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Originally published Oct 28, 2020 1:45:00 PM, updated October 28 2020

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Best Sales and Business Books