Against Happiness – Eric G. Wilson

In this candid and unconventional book, English professor and humanist Eric G. Wilson positions himself as melancholy’s champion. He does everything but wave gloomy pom-poms as he extols its role in creativity and invention. As counterintuitive and loopy as his view may seem, Wilson makes a strong, lucid case for feeling glum. Indeed, reading Wilson’s …

The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene

This book is amoral, hauntingly true and indispensable. It should be on the bookshelf of anyone who aspires to any level of success in any organization or profession. It should not gather dust but should be read regularly, according to a plan – one law a day, for example, absorbed slowly and contemplated deeply. Author …

Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

This is surely one of the decade’s best books on decision making, economics, psychology and behavior – because it touches all of those topics. Author Dan Ariely is a distinguished academician, but his style is so clear, accessible and straightforward that he does not seem to belong to academia at all. Although he recounts numerous …

Influence – Robert B. Cialdini

Psychology and marketing professor Robert B. Cialdini incorporates extensive scholarly research in this 1984 classic in applied psychology, practical rhetoric and marketing. The impetus of the book was his desire to figure out why others always influenced him so easily. He weaves together personal stories and examples from sales, politics, history and public life as …

Getting to Yes – Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce M. Patton

Authors Roger Fisher, William L. Ury and Bruce M. Patton offer a seminal step-by-step guide to negotiating effectively. The authors use anecdotal examples to illustrate both positive and negative negotiating techniques. They believe that, with principled negotiation, both parties can reach an agreement in an amicable and efficient manner. Principled negotiation is based on the …

Getting (More of) What You Want – Margaret A. Neale and Thomas Z. Lys

Negotiation is an essential skill. Yet people tend to regard the ability to negotiate as a personality trait to develop rather than as an expertise to build. Margaret A. Neale of the Stanford Business School and Thomas Z. Lys of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University offer the ultimate negotiating model. They base …

Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman

In this seminal work, Daniel Goleman introduced millions of readers to the concept of emotional intelligence – the amalgamation of psychological skills and traits that he claims accounts for 80% of life success. Skills like self-awareness and self-motivation are instilled (or destroyed) in childhood, but Goleman claims that adults still can learn and apply them. …

Awaken the Giant Within – Anthony Robbins

Author and “life coach” Anthony Robbins takes on the gargantuan task of analyzing how the mind and body work, and how you can take control of every part of the process. He explains that all human actions and decisions originate in the pain-versus-pleasure principle. He then teaches you how to rewire your neurology so you …

Winning the Brain Game – Matthew E. May

When you try to puzzle out a problem, your thinking can fail in seven predictable ways, such as leaping to conclusions, failing to ask the right questions and “self-censoring.” Strategy and innovation consultant Matthew E. May, an award winning author, says you can avoid becoming stuck in automatic thought patterns or prejudices if you recognize …