One of the questions I get asked most often is “What are the best NLP books?” I have to confess, I have over a hundred NLP books in my personal NLP collection, and I have read every one of them.
The answer to “What are the best NLP books?” really depends on you, and what you need from a book. For that reason, I don’t have just one that I recommend, but several depending on what you are looking for.
Here’s my curated list of 8 of the best NLP books, whether you are new to NLP or if you want to delve a bit deeper into some different applications of NLP.
If you are New to NLP
If you want a book for absolute beginners, then I would always recommend NLP for Dummies by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton. It answers the questions “what is NLP?” in a very clear way, with lots of practical exercises and real life case studies.
A pocket-sized book for dipping in to
Also for NLP beginners, Some Really Useful Hints for a Successful Life is a short book for dipping in to. It contains many of the basic themes and principles of NLP is bite-sized chunks. This book is by Stuart Hepburn, from whom I originally learnt NLP, and it was written AFTER he experienced 95% paralysis from a brain-stem stroke. With just one sentence per page, each one very thought-provoking, it will appeal if you like straightforward ideas. This book is only available direct from the publisher.
The Really Good Fun Cartoon Book of NLP by Philip Miller is another great pocket-sized introduction to NLP. AND it is illustrated by very appealing and funny cartoon characters which bring the tools alive. This book might also appeal to teenagers, as well as adults.
Using NLP in the workplace
My choice here is NLP Business Masterclass, edited by David Molden and published by the Financial Times. This is less of an NLP text book, and more of a practical guide with extended case studies. If you are a manager or a business consultant then you will find loads of ideas in here about applying NLP in business. Consider it your very own NLP business practitioner in your pocket. Sadly out of print, but still available second-hand on Amazon and elsewhere, this book is easiest to read if you already have some understanding of NLP.
One of the most useful books I have ever read – and continue to consult regularly – is Words That Change Minds by Shelle Rose Charvet. Focusing on the filters through which we each view the world, this book guides you through understanding how filters direct our language and behaviour, how you can recognise them in other people, and how you can influence people by using language that appeals to their filters. You can benefit from this book even if you don’t already know any NLP.
Whether you want to influence your family or your colleagues, whether you want to persuade more clients to buy your product or ask your boss for a raise, this book is full of strategies and examples that will help you to influence people effectively.
Therapeutic Techniques and Therapy with NLP
In this category, I love any of the books by Steve and ConnieRae Andreas, but I’d have to choose Heart of the Mind. Each chapter deals with a different issue, such as Overcoming Stage Fright, Positive Parenting or Recovering from Shame and Guilt. The authors guide you through several case studies for each issue, outlining the tools and processes that they find useful and showing how to put them into practice by including transcripts of actual client therapy sessions. Again, it helps if you already have an understanding of NLP before you read this book.
Provocative Therapy by Frank Farrelly is not strictly speaking an NLP book, but Farrelly’s ideas greatly influenced NLP and many Master Practitioner programmes, including ours, teach provocative therapy as part of the NLP curriculum. Farrelly’s book is part autobiography, part case book, part user manual. Full of funny, moving and sometimes shocking real life examples of provocative therapy at work it helps you to understand the philosophy that lies behind this sometimes-misunderstood approach.
And for something a bit different…
The Rainbow Machine is a fabulous book full of stories which weave in many NLP techniques, whilst looking at the application of NLP to the fields of psychiatry, psychotherapy and medicine. Very funny, sometimes outrageous and brutally honest, Andrew Austin’s book is one of the best out there. You will enjoy it is you are new to NLP, and you will get even more from it if you already have some understanding of essential NLP principles, such as sub-modalities.
Disclosure: I LOVE books about NLP, and I want you to love them too. That’s why I am an Amazon affiliate – so if you purchase any of these books after clicking on these links, I will receive a small affiliate fee. There are loads of other NLP books available too – I haven’t read them all yet, but I’m doing my best…
About Madeleine Allen: The author is a specialist in Leadership, Communication and Personal Development for business professionals. An NLP Trainer and Master Practitioner she conducts in-house corporate training (learn more at www.allentraining.co.uk) and public courses in NLP (learn more at www.brightlightnlp.com)