Top 20 Consulting Books for Absolute Beginners

Feb 24, 2019 · 9 minutes to read

Management and Other Consulting Books for New Consultants

This list of consulting and management books gives you access to business and strategy insights that you can use to establish yourself as a successful consultant, irrespective of whether you’re a consultant at a firm or an independent consultant. From financing your business to taking consultancy insurance, marketing your services and improving client success, these consultancy books give you access to all the tools you need to succeed as a consultant.

How to become a consultant

How you become a consultant depends on what type of consultancy you want to provide to your clients. But in general, the path you take remains the same. The first step entails earning a business degree in finance, business administration, accounting or marketing. Once you have the degree, you should work on getting experience in the area you want to specialize. If necessary, you can upgrade your education after this point with a master’s or a certification.

Different types of consultants

Once you choose consultancy as a path, there are many diverse areas in which you can specialize. Here are a few examples:

  • HR consultant
  • Strategy consultant
  • Business analytics consultant
  • IT consultant
  • Legal consultant
  • Marketing consultant

Recommended reading:

  1. Top 5 Niche Markets for Consultants
  2. 14 highest paid and most in-demand consulting career options

Common consulting requirements

Before you get certified as a consultant, you need to meet certain requirements. They include an understanding of how businesses work in terms of financing, legal procedures, marketing, business development, and accounting. It also doesn’t hurt to have a Bachelor’s in any area of consulting, alongside a master’s if required and additional certifications.

Best Books in Consulting for Consultants

If you’re a consultant who’s just begun his or her career, you may have felt the heat in your firm or city, due to the existing competition. You can overcome this competition by accumulating the right skills and strategies. Here are 20 top consulting books that are critical for beginner consultants:

1. The Mckinsey Way

The Mckinsey Way, as the title suggests, focuses on how Mckinsey, one of the world’s largest consulting firm, functions. While the book may be focused on Mckinsey, the insights and ideas you glean from it can be applied to your job as a consultant. As a beginner consultant, if you want to explore the day to day life, mindset, and challenges faced by a consultant, this is the book for you.

2. HBR’S 10 Must Reads: The Essentials

If you’re an ambitious beginner consultant who plans to climb the ladder quickly, this book is for you. HBR’s 10 Must Reads: The Essentials goes into depth about areas critical to managerial roles, such as strategy, analysis, and emotional intelligence. Featuring experts such as Clay Christensen and Tom Davenport, the book also explores innovation in established organizations and career acceleration.

3. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

If you dream of being a successful consultant, it’s important for you to master analytics. The Back of the Napkin advocates the belief that everybody is born with certain innate visual abilities and this intrinsic value can be leveraged to develop your analytical and strategy-building skills. Generating and nurturing ideas, and driving execution are a part of the consultancy lifestyle, and this book can help you enhance your abilities to do both.

4. Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used

Infamously known as the “Consultant’s Bible,” Flawless Consulting is a must-read for beginner and well-established consultants alike. Focusing on how to conduct day to day interactions, Flawless consulting will teach you how to deal with everyone from clients to managers and peers. If you wish to make a mark in the consultancy world, this consulting book has the roadmap that you should follow.

5. Linchpin

Highlighting an alternative route to success, Linchpin is a collection of marketing marvel Seth Godin’s ideas and strategies for beginners in any industry. Instead of following the management without thought or cowering among labor, the Linchpin absorbs how an organization functions and lays down his or her own path to carving a mantle for themselves. As a beginner consultant is the tough, and pressure-ridden industry, this is one book that you should read.

6. The Trusted Advisor

Why settle for the insights of one consulting expert when you can get access to three? In the Trusted Advisor, best selling mastermind David Maister collaborates with Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford to pen down the tools most essential to negotiators, advisors, and consultants – both beginner and advanced. In a networking world that moves at break-neck speed, this book can act as your seatbelt, safely guiding you through obstacles and challenges.

7. Case Interview Secrets: A Former McKinsey Interviewer Reveals How to Get Multiple Job Offers in Consulting

The point of this series is to show readers the way to dominate what’s considered the hardest and most intimidating corporate job interview the world has ever known – the Case Interview Series. Rearing to crack that bigshot job with a global consulting giant? This proven insider’s secret could be exactly what you’re missing.

8. The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking

Irrespective of the industry, effective communication is an essential requirement for success. Consultancy, in particular, requires a certain hold over communication and negotiation skills. The Pyramid Principle is a consulting guide on how to communicate clearly, effectively, and influentially. As a beginner consultant, there’s no better book to read before getting started with your career.

9. Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies

If you’re interested in exploring mergers, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring as a career in the future, Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies is one consulting book that you shouldn’t miss reading. Packed with updated insights and practical advice on how to measure and manage the value of companies, this book also elucidates how you can compare and interpret the value of a company against competition in the real market.

10. The McKinsey Mind: Understanding and Implementing the Problem-Solving Tools and Management Techniques of the World’s Top Strategic Consulting Firm

As a beginner consultant, your goal is to be great at what you do. The McKinsey Mind has insights into how you can effectively analyze client problems and craft ingenious working solutions. With special access to Mckinsey’s line of attack, business problem-framing strategies, fact-checking and analysis, and tips for strategic decision-making, The Mckinsey Mind can transform you from a beginner consultant into a consulting expert.

11. Key Management Models: The 60+ Models Every Manager Needs to Know

As a beginner consultant who wants to go places, you can’t afford to miss reading Key Management Models. With an in-depth exploration of risk-reward analysis and the innovation circle, to SWOT analysis and core competencies, this management guide touches all key aspects of consulting management that you need to succeed at a competitive consulting firm.

12. How to Win Friends and Influence People

A pioneer in the self-help for management genre, How to Win Friends and Influence People is a consulting book that can transform your career rapidly. With insights into people’s psychology and practical advice on how you can make an impression and influence people follow your ideas and strategies, this book is a must-read for consultants and people in all other industries.

13. Who Will Do What By When

With a gripping storyline to keep you engaged, Who Will Do What By When is a brilliant book that takes you back to learn the fundamentals of team dynamics and performance. In a world inflicted by organizational politics, this management guide introduces to readers tools that they can use to navigate difficult situations and achieve desirable outcomes.

14. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space

If you think you know what it takes to compete in today’s crowded marketplace, think again! Written by today’s business gurus, Blue Ocean Strategy is a management guide that challenges your thinking, forcing you to reevaluate practices that you have internalized and adopted on autopilot. Exploring 150 strategic moves in 30 industries, Blue Ocean Strategy is exactly what you need to set yourself apart as a beginner consultant.

15. Million Dollar Consulting

Today’s consultancy industry is busier than ever, demanding more out of consultants who are just entering the field. If you need a consultancy book that guides you through the ins and outs of competitive consulting, pick up a copy of Million Dollar Consulting now. The book has a step-by-step guide to turning your current firm into a $1-million-a-year organization.

16. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t

In the corporate world, some companies make it while others don’t. What are the factors responsible for distinguishing successful companies from the rest? Explore the answer to this question on Good to Great. This book studies elite companies such as Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck that made the leap from good to great and sustained that greatness for over fifteen years.

17. Getting Started in Consulting

Planning to take a break from the corporate set-up to establish your own consultancy? Alan Weiss’s Getting Started in Consulting is the consultancy book that can help you achieve that goal. From intel on how you can account 6 to 7-figure salaries to advice on financing your business and marketing your services, Getting Started in Consulting has everything that an independent consultant would need to know.

18. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Want to learn what it takes to last in the consultancy business? Pick up a copy of Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. This book analyzes a 6-year-long study conducted by the Stanford University Graduate School of Business to understand companies that are truly exceptional and compare them directly to less successful competitors.

19. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors

Used around the globe to teach business theory, practice, and strategy, Competitive strategy is a reliable source of intel on three popular strategies—lowest cost, differentiation, and focus. Millions of managers, consultants, analysts, and students around the world have used Competitive strategy to turn their goals into reality. As a beginner consultant, there’s no better book for you to read before you try to acquire or keep clients.

20. The Secrets of Consulting – A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully

When starting out in consulting, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of competition and many challenges in establishing your value in the market. The Secrets of Consulting is a book that delves into marketing and pricing principles so you can analyze what’s necessary to choose the right price point for your services while making your brand known in the industry.

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