The Must-Read Book List for Aspiring Consultants

Andrew Lorenzen-Strait

These are the best, must-read consultant books from professional Consultant Andrew Lorenzen-Strait.

A Consultant’s Essential Reading: “The McKinsey Way”

Aspiring Consultants Often called the consultant’s Bible, Ethan M. Rasiel’s “The McKinsey Way” provides an inside look at the strategies and methodologies employed by McKinsey & Co., one of the world’s top consulting firms. The book covers everything from managing clients to creating effective presentations. This book is a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to break into the consulting field or elevate their consulting game.

Delve into Data: “Data Science for Business”

In the age of Big Data, a consultant can’t afford to lack data literacy. Written by Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett, “Data Science for Business” is tailored for those who need to understand the data science behind business decisions. Although not a technical manual, it delves deep enough into concepts like data exploration, data visualization, and predictive modeling to give consultants a robust understanding of leveraging data in various business scenarios.

Master Soft Skills with “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

Dale Carnegie’s classic is just as applicable today as when it was first published in 1936. Consultants are, at their core, people persons. Strong interpersonal skills, whether convincing clients to adopt a new business strategy or negotiating terms with stakeholders, are vital. This book offers timeless wisdom on how to interact positively with others and, in turn, influence their decisions, a skill every consultant must master.

A Deep Dive into Problem-Solving: “The Fifth Discipline”

Peter Senge’s “The Fifth Discipline” focuses on building learning organizations, but its emphasis on systems thinking makes it invaluable for consultants. Systems thinking allows you to see the larger forces in any organizational problem, enabling more sustainable solutions. Senge’s principles can help consultants at any level understand the complexities of the issues they’re hired to solve.

Learn to Manage Change with “Leading Change”

John P. Kotter’s “Leading Change” is about managing change effectively. In any consulting role, you’re likely to be met with resistance when proposing Aspiring Consultants changes to established practices. Kotter’s eight-step process for successful change is a crucial roadmap for any consultant to be a successful change agent.

Elevate Strategy Formulation: “Good Strategy Bad Strategy”

Every consultant needs to understand what constitutes a good business strategy, and Richard Rumelt’s “Good Strategy Bad Strategy” is one of the best books on the subject. The book demystifies the approach and how it differs from other business buzzwords. Rumelt’s focus on the kernel of a sound system—diagnosis, guiding policy, and coherent action—can be a lifelong guide for anyone in the consulting field.

Master the Art of Persuasion: “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”

Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book is a tour de force regarding the mechanisms behind influence and persuasion, skills essential for consultants. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” breaks down the psychology into six fundamental principles: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity. Understanding these principles can drastically improve your effectiveness in both your professional and personal life.

Broaden Your Financial Acumen: “The Lean Startup”

Even if you’re not a startup Aspiring Consultants, Eric Ries’s “The Lean Startup” is an invaluable resource. The book redefines business development strategies and highlights. The importance of adaptability and efficient resource allocation themes resonate in every consulting project.

Reading is an activity that pays exponential dividends. As a professional consultant, arming yourself with the wisdom and strategies contained in these books will undoubtedly set you apart in a highly competitive field.