Best Professional Development Books

Looking to gain a competitive edge in your field? Whether you're an entry-level marketer, mid-career engineer, or executive leader, taking steps toward your professional development is key to growing your career. 

At Compt, we believe every company can benefit from providing top-notch learning and development benefits to employees. Our employee stipend software empowers HR teams to offer employees personalized resources to be successful in their rolewhether employees want courses, conferences, or books.

We've analyzed customer data to curate a list of the most popular professional development books across common company departments.   

General Professional Development Books

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

This book teaches you to filter out the non-essential and prioritize ruthlessly to achieve your goals. By focusing on the vital few, you can accomplish more with less.

Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Nobel laureate Kahneman explores the two systems that shape our thinking: the fast, intuitive system and the slow, deliberate system. Learn to recognize biases and make better decisions.

Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

This book offers practical advice and battle-tested war stories from veteran entrepreneur Ben Horowitz on navigating the challenges of building a startup.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

James Clear believes that small changes can lead to big results. Atomic Habits explains how to build good habits and break bad ones by focusing on creating a system for consistent positive behavior change.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

In "The Power of Habit," Charles Duhigg explains the neuroscience behind habit formation, unpacking a three-step loop of cue, routine, and reward. By understanding this loop, we can not only identify our habits but also learn to change them and replace bad habits with positive ones.

Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan

This book explores mindfulness and emotional intelligence practices developed at Google to help employees manage stress, boost creativity, and improve overall well-being.

Drive by Daniel Pink

This book argues that the old carrots-and-sticks approach to motivation is outdated. Instead, Pink proposes that people are most motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Influence by Robert Cialdini

This book explores the psychology of persuasion and the six principles of influence that marketers and salespeople use to influence our behavior.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz

This book teaches negotiation strategies based on tactics used by FBI hostage negotiators. It emphasizes empathy, active listening, and building rapport to get the best possible outcome in any negotiation.

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

This book challenges the idea that following your passion is the best way to find a fulfilling career. Instead, Newport argues that developing valuable skills is more important and will eventually lead to work you love.

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Discover how to create uncontested market space and avoid competing head-on with rivals with this innovative approach to business strategy.

The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman

This book condenses the core concepts of business school into a readable format, providing a well-rounded understanding of essential principles taught in MBA programs.

Product Professional Development Books

Sprint by Jake Knapp

This book outlines a five-day process for validating product ideas and solving critical business problems through rapid prototyping and testing.

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Usability expert Steve Krug provides a practical guide to creating user-friendly websites. Learn to prioritize what users need and avoid common design mistakes.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Discover the psychology behind habit-forming products and how to design products that users love to come back to again and again.

Inspired by Marty Cagan

This book delves into the ideas and methodologies of Marty Cagan, a prominent figure in the field of product management. It explores his approach to creating successful digital products.

Creativity, Inc. by Amy Wallace and Edwin Catmull 

This book offers a glimpse into the inner workings of Pixar and the management philosophy that fostered its creative success. Written by Pixar's co-founder Ed Catmull, the book explores how to cultivate an environment that encourages originality and honest feedback.

Engineering Professional Development Books

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Newport argues that the ability to focus intensely on cognitively demanding tasks is becoming increasingly rare and valuable, offering strategies for cultivating this skill.

To Engineer is Human by Henry Petroski

This books explores how the history of engineering is filled with human mistakes and societal impacts, showing that engineering is not just about technical solutions.

The Clean Coder by Robert Martin

Martin emphasizes the importance of writing clean, well-designed code that can be easily understood and maintained, offering principles and practices for writing such code.

Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and Devops: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, and Nicole Forsgren

This book explains how applying DevOps principles and practices can lead to faster software releases, higher quality, and improved team productivity.

Engineering Management for the Rest of Us by Sarah Drasner

Engineering Management provides practical guidance for engineers who are transitioning into engineering management roles, covering topics such as hiring, leading, and motivating teams.

Sales Professional Development Books

The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon

This book challenges the traditional sales model and proposes a more consultative approach. Learn to diagnose customer problems, offer tailored solutions, and take control of the sales conversation.

Spin Selling by Neil Rackham

Master the art of asking insightful questions to uncover customer needs and close deals with Neil Rackham's SPIN Selling methodology.

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink

Move beyond outdated sales tactics and discover what truly motivates people to buy in this book by Daniel Pink.

Marketing Professional Development Books

This is Marketing by Seth Godin

Marketing guru Seth Godin challenges traditional marketing approaches and emphasizes the importance of building a tribe of loyal fans around your brand.

Loved by Martina Lauchengco

Learn how to build a brand that people love and become a customer magnet with Martina Lauchengco's practical strategies.

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore

This classic marketing book explores the challenges of taking a product from early adopters to the mainstream market.

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

Learn how to use storytelling to connect with your customers on an emotional level and differentiate your brand in the marketplace.

Human Resources Professional Development Books

The Retention Revolution by Erica Keswin

"The Retention Revolution" by Erica Keswin is a groundbreaking exploration of how businesses are redefining employee retention strategies in the modern workplace.

The Drama-Free Workplace by Patti Perez

Patti Perez helps leaders "eliminate sexual harassment, unconscious bias, ethical lapses and other HR nightmares."

Check out our list of the best HR books for more.

Interested in offering professional development benefits to your team? Compt can help.

Compt is employee stipend software you can use to administer lifestyle benefits–create a custom stipend program with 27 categories (e.g., health & wellness, cell phone reimbursement, and professional development). 

Here's an example of a book allowance stipend:

Click here to speak with our team today to learn how we can foster your employees’ professional growth.

Your cart