As a lover of books, people often ask me for recommendations on what books to read that will help improve public speaking and communication.

I have hundreds of books, and it is hard to choose the best ones. These are the books that I refer to often.

Best books on public speaking
Confidence and Mindset

Presence By Amy Cuddy 
Amy Cuddy teaches us that if we act powerfully, we will begin to think powerfully. This book is for you if you want to show up as your boldest self and perform better in stressful situations.

The Confidence Gap by Dr Russ Harris
This book is a practical guide with plenty of exercises. I often refer to the Cycle of Confidence concept that Dr Russ Harris introduces. Ideal for people who want to reduce nervousness.

Speak! Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie & Associates
This book focuses on ways to unleash what we already have inside us: the ability to communicate our message through powerful, and even world-changing, presentations.

Presenting Magically by Tad James & James Shepphard
Presenting Magically offers expert tips and techniques to transform your presenting skills using NLP techniques that many top presenters use.

Presenting and public speaking

Speak Like Churchill by James C. Humes 
The author has a list of credible speeches he wrote for past US presidents. In this book, he shares practical ways to persuade using the power of words, phrases, props, and voice. This is a fantastic book if you want to write more formal speeches.

Talk Like Ted Carmine Gallo 
The author explores what makes a great presentation by examining the widely acclaimed TED Talks. If your dream is to share an idea on the red dot of a TED or TEDx stage, then read this book.

Brief By Joseph McCormack 
Many presentations are too long. What I enjoy about this author’s approach is that he shares ways to distil your message into a short presentation.

Conversations at work

No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work by Liz Foslien & Mollie West Duffy 
This book is a complete guide on bringing our best selves to work and understanding how our emotions play out in the workplace. Fun, quirky and with plenty of illustrations, an excellent book for navigating emotions in the workplace.

Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser 
This is one of the most valuable books in my collection. Effective, powerful conversational rituals that prime the brain for trust, partnership, and mutual success. Includes a wealth of insights from neuroscience and offers the science in an easy-to-understand way.

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Paterson and Joseph Grenney 
When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation poorly and suffer the consequences, or apply the lessons and strategies of Crucial Conversations and improve relationships and results—a worthwhile read.

Slides and data storytelling

Slideology Nancy Duarte 
The author shares excellent tips in visual thinking to help you create powerful slides to accompany the message. Any book by Nancy Duarte is a must-add to any collection about presenting information.

Storytelling with Data Cole Nussbaumer Knaffic 
The book provides the fundamentals of data visualisation and how to communicate effectively with data. You’ll discover the power of storytelling and how to make data a pivotal point in your story.

DataStory by Nancy Duarte 
A masterful book on presentations tailored for those who are number geeks. You will love this book if you are looking for exciting and persuasive ways to present data.


The Leaders Guide to Storytelling by Stephen Denning 
This book will help you unpack finding the right story for the right time. It’s a classic storytelling book and a must-have for any collection.

The Story Factor By Annette Simmons 
There are so many practical examples in the book. Over one hundred stories drawn from the front lines of business, as well as myths, fables, and parables from around the world to inspire you to create your stories.

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller 
If you have ever struggled to talk about your business to others, then you will find this book helpful.

Stories That Stick by Kendra Hall 
Stories That Stick offers specific, actionable steps readers can take to find, craft, and leverage the stories they already have and aren’t telling.

The Tao of Storytelling By Clarie Taylor 
I met Claire many years ago and was spellbound by her lovely Irish voice and storytelling ability. She shares 30 tales in the book; each carries a powerful message and practical exercises to help you find your treasure and transform your life.

Influence and Persuasion

Power Cues Nick Morgan 
This book on body language is a great addition to any speaker’s bookshelf.

Influence Robert B. Cialdini 
A classic book on how you can persuade others. A powerful skill in leadership.

Pre-suasion by Robert B. Cialdini 
This book tells how to persuade by influencing a person before they decide. It tells not just what to say but when to say it. It’s educational and entertaining.

I will update this list each quarter and add any new or interesting books I have discovered. You can find these books in most bookstores and online stores. These links go to Amazon, and in some cases, if you purchase using these links, I will receive a small payment.

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my new E-book How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.

Lisa Evans

Professional Speaker