Biographies are a great place to start reading purely for your own learning rather than assignment or entertainment. I will recommend any biography from Walter Isaacson, despite the fact that I have not read all of his work. I can still assure you that whichever book you pick up by him, from Steve Jobs to Benjamin Franklin, you will not be disappointed.
Of course, I could tell you all of the people that I have read about who have influenced me, namely Leonardo Da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin, Ronald Reagan, Alan Greenspan, Jony Ive, Coco Chanel. Think of people you admire and see if they’ve written a memoir, or if someone else has written a biography about them. If you don’t know who you admire, start with some of the people that I have read about. You will hear many other names in those books and soon be engulfed in a world of seemingly never-ending knowledge about excellent people in history.
Despite the fact that communication is so heavily based on practice, it does not hurt to get some help from books on the subject. Two books that drastically changed the way I communicate and treat people:
James C. Hunter’s The Servant describes the virtues and essence of servant leadership in a captivating story that includes a corporate executive, a school principal, a soldier, and a whole lot of dialogue. This book is an excellent way to change your perspective on how you approach people and treat people generally, turning the old hierarchical model of leadership completely on its head.
One of the first sales books that I ever read, Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human describes a world in which everyone is a salesperson, and he is absolutely correct in that view of the world. Everyone has to sell, and it’s only human to do so. Daniel Pink does an amazing job as he does in all of his books of lucidly and quickly making points and giving you actionable frameworks to use in your daily communications.
For more practical advice on how to better use your time or optimize it, take a look at The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. Ferriss’ original perennial seller, this book describes a lifestyle that is conducive to spending lots of time traveling and making lots of money in the process, all while working far fewer hours than a traditional 40 hour gig. There are plenty of actionable pieces of advice in this book, even if you don’t emulate the lifestyle that Tim Ferriss chose to exemplify.