The 10 Best Consulting Books

Last updated: 5 March 2021. Here's our ranking of the best consulting books available. We've brought together excellent shortlists of consulting titles in niche areas, and named our top 5 consulting books of all time. 

Consulting is one of the most prestigious business professionals. Consultancy associates earn high starting salaries, and while the job can be demanding, and travel can be very frequent, the number of applicants for each available position or internship is very high. When working in a top consultancy practice, you'll be surrounded by smart, hardworking people who love business & finance. 

When not reading books about consulting itself, consultants like to pick-up the best business books, entrepreneurship books and leadership books. Based on their technical discipline, specialists may read about change management, financial accounting books or risk management books. More on these topic tangents below.

All books featured are beginner friendly and don't assume much prior knowledge. With prices ranging from £10 - £50, stocking up on a few of the best consulting books can deliver the same value as an expensive course for only a fraction of the cost. They can even be read for free with Amazon's Kindle Unlimited free trial.

Click on any title below to see the latest price from Amazon, you'll be shocked at how affordable the most popular titles are. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases which helps to support this site. This does not impact how I compile the list. Happy reading!

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The best consulting books for beginners

Overview guides and introductions to the world of consulting


Books about starting and growing your own consulting practice

Navigating the leap from consultant to entrepreneur

The best management consulting books of all time

Learn about one of the most prestigious branches of consulting 

Flawless consulting

Best seller

Books for passing consulting interviews

Practise case studies and tips for succeeding and getting a job at a top consulting firm

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My Top 5 Consulting Books for 2021

Click covers to see latest reviews and prices

1. Flawless Consulting - Peter Block



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"This Third Edition to Peter Block's Flawless Consulting addresses business changes and new challenges since the second edition was written ten years ago.

It tackles the challenges next-generation consultants face, including more guidance on how to ask better questions, dealing with difficult clients, working in an increasingly virtual world, how to cope with complexities in international consulting, case studies, and guidelines on implementation. Also included are illustrative examples and exercises to help you cement the guides offered."

Who this book is for:

No consultant should be without our top rating book Flawless Consulting by Peter Block.

A comprehensive guide for those who want to develop their consulting skills and see better results in practice. 

Flawless Consulting is the clear winner of the best consulting books ranking. With almost 500 reviews on Amazon, this classic title is rated 4.4/5.0, which gives you a clear picture of how closely this book meets the expectations of its readers. 

Now in its 3rd edition, this book shows no sign of dropping down the consulting bestseller lists.



2. The Management Consultant - Richard Newton



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"The secret of being a successful management consultant is to focus on the genuine needs of the client and provide the best service to achieve and sustain results.

Updated to meet the most recent changes in business and technology with the same comprehensive and clear approach, expert practitioner Richard Newton shows you exactly what you need to know, do and deliver to be a great management consultant.

Whether you are a consultant, working with consultants or buying a consultancy, this is the only book you will need."

Who this book is for:

The Management Consultant is your essential guide for both newcomers and practicing consultants to develop the skills that will help you understand your client’s needs, identify gaps in knowledge and deliver real value to all parts of your business.



3. Performance Consulting - Dana Gaines Robinson et al.



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"In America, organizations spend $175 billion in training initiatives and more than $500 billion in human resource solutions every year yet often have little to show for it. One reason is that people jump to solutions before they identify the causes of the problem.

Performance consultants are effective because they partner with clients to clarify business goals and determine root causes for gaps between desired and current results. Only then are specific solutions agreed upon and implemented.

This third edition of the classic book that introduced performance consulting adds a wealth of new material. There are new case examples throughout and four new chapters providing detailed steps for measuring results from performance consulting initiatives on five different levels, including ROI. The book includes a never-before published Alignment and Measurement Model, allowing you to match up organizational needs with appropriate performance consulting initiatives and measures."

Who this book is for:

An excellent title to inspire performance management consultants. 

“a really informative description of management consulting. Great for the beginner and experienced consultant alike”

Helen Routledge, CEO Totem Learning

 



4. Consulting Success - Michael Zipursky



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"How can you take your skills and expertise and package and present it to become a successful consultant? There are proven time-tested principles, strategies, tactics and best-practices the most successful consultants use to start, run and grow their consulting business. Consulting Success teaches you what they are. In this book you'll learn:

  • How to position yourself as a leading expert and authority in your marketplace
  • Effective marketing and branding materials that get the attention of your ideal clients
  • Strategies to increase your fees and earn more with every project
  • The proposal template that has generated millions of dollars in consulting engagements
  • How to develop a pipeline of business and attract ideal clients
  • Productivity secrets for consultants including how to get more done in one week than most people do in a month"

Who this book is for:

This book is written for a wide variety of readers, generally consultants operating with a high degree of autonomy, including those their their own small practice.



5. Consulting Essentials - Jeff Kavanaugh



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"How do you become a world-class consultant?

This is the question on the minds of thousands of young consultants as they graduate from the classrooms of the world's business schools to the offices of top consulting firms. Yet, few of them have been formally trained on the concepts that elevate consultants to the top of their field.

Drawing on his experience as a senior partner at a multi-billion dollar consulting firm and adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Dallas MBA program, Jeff Kavanaugh is ready to share the tools of the trade for young professionals to quickly scale the consulting learning curve.

Pulling together the best content from his own experience, as well as other world-class consulting leaders and industry professionals he has worked with, Kavanaugh has distilled the lessons into the key skills that separate the best from the rest."

Who this book is for:

With a 4.4/5.0 rating on Amazon, Consulting Essentials has established itself as the go-to resource for beginners to consulting. 

If you're considering a career in consultancy, or are in the process of starting, Consulting Essentials is the perfect start point for your consulting journey.



The Financial Expert™ Best Consulting Book Challenge


Consulting books

I challenge you to read one consulting book per month and see if it revolutionises your investing style!


The Financial Expert™ Best Consulting Book Challenge is a well-loved feature of this website.

Here's the challenge:

I challenge you to read one consulting book per month for the next year, and find your new favourite!

It serves as an inspiration for hundreds of practicing and aspiring consultants to pick up 12 consulting books over the following 12 months. 

What served as the inspiration for this challenge, and why do I promote it on Financial Expert?

The answer

About ten years ago I was reading Still Surprised, the memoir of Warren Bennis, a psychoanalyst who served as a management and leadership consultant during his long and distinguished career. 

It opened my eyes to management and leadership theory. It was the first book I had read by someone with not years, but decades of experience in the field, and who could be said to be one of the 'fathers' of some of theory discussed within. 

The experience triggered an excitement and curiosity within me. What else is out there? What consulting wisdom am I completely oblivious to?

The answer, it turned out, was a lot. 

The best consulting books offer a single perspective, an authors opinion. A book will offer a journey around the framework of how that author views the consulting world and various dynamics within. 

But what is one perspective in the grand scheme of things? Do we base our education on the words of a single teacher? Do we build a business on the advice of a single individual? Not at all. 

As a consultant, you should be constantly learning and absorbing new case studies, new ideas, and new techniques for communicating them to clients. 

It's about never staying still, and always having something new and interesting to offer your colleagues or clients. 

That's why the best consulting book challenge exists. Pick 12 books - buy a handful today, and schedule out your learning journey over the next year.

Some guidance

  • I found it helpful to stock up on books for the next few months, so that when a new month rolls around, my next book was my bed-side table asking to be opened!
  • Pick a variety of writing styles. This will keep the challenge fresh and increase the diversity of opinion. 
  • Pick at least one book that you don't think you would enjoy, this book might be the one that surprises you the most!
  • If you're time-starved, audio books are absolutely fine!

Where to begin?

My list of the best consulting books above is as good as any place to start, as I have consciously included a mix of different writing styles to ensure that it caters to a wide audience.

Good luck!



What makes a great consulting book?


Peter block consulting quote
“Why do anything unless it is going to be great?”
Peter Block - Author of Flawless Consulting

When looking for books about consulting, what should you be looking for?

1. The best theory is tested in practice

Consulting books are like proposals in a different format. They're a collection of ideas and suggestions. 

Like any idea or theory, you should be looking for evidence that it works in practice. 

The best consulting books offer this proof of concept through the sharing of case studies. The most credible case studies involve real company names, which allow for a degree of 'verification' online before you take an idea seriously. 

Occasionally, consulting authors must protect the anonymity of corporate clients who have not given permission for their internal affairs to be published in a book. It's understandable why many companies would prefer that their problems and solutions are kept private. 

2. Numerous case studies to test the boundaries of an idea

I love consulting books which stick with a central theme and then present multiple iterations of its application through numerous case studies. 

Partially, it's getting a 'higher sample size' which improves the confidence in the result. 

Also, it's about being able to appreciate the boundaries of an idea. A single case study doesn't provide any insight about hypotheticals:

What if the trial had only been run over a one week 'sprint' rather than a year long experient?

What if the idea had been applied to a different industry?

All of these questions will be remained unanswered if each concept is only demonstrated through a single real-life worked example. 

3. Proximity

It's helpful to reader a few titles penned by consulting authors based closed to home.

UK consulting books may be more relevant for UK consultants. There are key differences between the UK and US management consulting market.