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19 of the Best Books on Social Skills

Reading books on people skills might strengthen your relationships and career prospects. Find the best books to improve social skills and books on being social.

Do you find it hard to get to know someone in a new crowd? Do you want to change the way others see you, or do you want to make a conversation flow better? Books on social skills help you improve these abilities.

It can be challenging to learn new skills, regardless of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert. Reading books to improve social skills may help you feel empowered and confident. 

If you want to ease the pressure and enjoy life a little more, learning from books on socializing skills is a great place to start. Even a few extra tips can ease those nerves and help you look forward to other people’s company. There are some valuable books in this article for aspiring socializers. Let’s face it; reading is the best way to learn, so grab a cup and sit back with a good book!

Key points:

  • Social skills help us build relationships, connect with others, and further our careers. They are essential to a fulfilling life as they help you improve communication, listening, and leadership skills. 

  • Some of the best books on improving social skills at work and in your personal life include Surrounded by Idiots, I Hear You, and Leadership is Language.

  • If you struggle with social interaction and understanding verbal or non-verbal communication, then How to Talk to Anyone and What Every Body is Saying are some of the best books to learn how to pick up social cues. 

  • For those searching for books on being social, you might enjoy How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age or How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less.

  • If you’re short on time but want to start building your social skills, Headway provides bite-sized learning on the go. You can save time by reading or listening to the main insights from the best books on people skills.  

Why are social skills important?

Social skills are necessary because they allow us to interact with others and form exciting relationships. These skills include our ability to listen, communicate, cooperate, be empathetic, and work effectively in teams. They help us build stronger connections at work and home. You can learn social skills, but they are not always easy to master. 

The better equipped you are to connect with others in work, family, and friendships, the easier it becomes to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively. You’ll also be able to listen carefully to understand what other people are saying — both verbally and non-verbally. 

These skills are essential for success in any job or relationship because they help us relate well with others no matter the situation. Therefore, if you want to build better relationships with others, strengthen your team, and become a more effective leader, it’s time to get the low down on social skills.

Best books to read to improve social skills 

You want to improve communication and social interactions, but with so many texts on the subject, how do you know which is the best book for social skills? Fortunately, we’re revealing the best books for improving social skills in all areas of life. Not only will this boost your confidence, but it will also allow you to communicate with people of different cultures and walks of life. 

Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson

Surrounded by Idiots is a popular book, not just for its provoking title. Readers learn about the four types of human behavior according to Erikson. In his text, Erikson believes you should communicate with each personality type differently. If you want to improve your social skills, this is one of the best social books for strengthening relationships in business and life. If you’re unsure where to start, Surrounded by Idiots is a great option if you’re looking for a broad approach and introduction to the topic.

Active Listening Techniques by Nixali Leonardo, LCSW

We know communication is one of the most fundamental aspects of one’s social skills; however, this also involves listening. Leonardo provides practical advice on why listening is essential to communication and how to respond to others meaningfully. This text approaches listening from a mental health perspective and teaches readers how to be mindful of others’ experiences. If you’re looking for something you can start applying to your life immediately, this is the best book for social skills, thanks to its practical guidance. 

4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work by Beto C. Leal III

In this easy-to-digest read, the author breaks down four elements of communication. They look at how communication can impact different areas of life, including romantic relationships, careers, and more. Not only does this book teach readers about social skills, but it also helps them implement this knowledge too.  

Books to improve social skills at work


Perfect the art of communicating with your boss, colleagues, or clients with the following recommendations. You’ll learn how to be a great leader, appreciate your workforce, and practice good communication. 

Leadership is Language by L. David Marquet

Leadership is a crucial social tool, especially in a work environment where a leader must make decisions on behalf of a team. In these instances, good social skills can make or break a leader. It can be the difference between the team feeling comfortable and empowered or having an unorganized leader who lacks curiosity and empathy. So, if leadership is crucial in your lifestyle and you want to learn about the components of a good leader, this read is the best social skills book for you.  

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman, Paul White, Ph.D.

For the work-savvy individuals wanting to improve team morale and make those around you feel appreciated — this is The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. Author of The 5 Love Languages now applies their knowledge of lasting relationships to the business world. Not only does this book help you appreciate your co-workers and make them feel valued, but it is also an essential read for people in positions of power.  

Exactly What to Say by Phil M. Jones

In business and life, communication is the root of success. Phil M. Jones takes you on a journey to learn about the power of words. They argue that the words you choose, how you deliver them, and when you use them can determine the impact on those around you. Jones offers insight into influencing people through conversation in this book for improving social skills.  

Best social books for relationships


A woman lays her head on a man’s lap as they read together on the couch.

As social skills also extend into our romantic relationships, it’s important to learn how these skills can promote a healthy and supportive environment. The following recommendations are excellent for improving socializing skills within your close relationships. 

I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen

Where do you start when there are so many social interaction books? Well, this text offers something for all relationships, not just romantic ones. At its core, it provides simple skills to build on your ability to handle social interactions. Readers will learn about empathy and how to care for those around them. It’s an excellent place to start for those wanting to implement daily changes in their lives.

How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Talking to teens can be challenging, although we’ve all been in their shoes. For the parents and caregivers of teenagers, this book by Faber and Mazlish addresses modern approaches to communication and listening. It is an excellent read for those looking to understand the developing mind and encourage the teenagers in their life. 

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver

Gottman and Silver came together to create this piece about conflict resolution in marriage. In this book, couples discover the role of communication, how to overcome conflict, and show empathy.

Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, and Roger Fisher

The authors of this read aim to educate the world about having better conversations. It’s a book about social skills as much as it’s about problem-solving. The title teaches you to lower your defenses, listen, and respond effectively. It redefines what it means to have difficult conversations, making them more manageable and less stressful. 

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

This next read might open your eyes to the true power of words, particularly within relationships. In Nonviolent Communication, the author teaches you how to approach conflict with compassion and improve your method of conversing. Books about socializing skills are just as crucial to our relationships, and this one provides lessons you’ll take with you throughout life.

Mindful Relationship Habits by S. J. Scott, Barrie Davenport

Many of the best books for social skills center on forming relationships with people, starting conversations, and engaging with others. However, many of them need more guidance on sustaining these connections. Mindful Relationship Habits help couples remain in tune with each other despite the trials and tribulations of daily life. 

Books that will help you learn how to pick up social cues

Ever sat through a social situation where you felt completely out of your depth? Learning to pick up on social cues can help you identify how others respond to a conversation or when it’s time to hand over the mic. There are many reasons why people struggle to pick up on body language, verbal cues, and other indicators in social situations. The following books on socializing skills address precisely that.

How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes

Leil Lowndes wrote this book as a practical guide to talking to people. In truth, it can be scary to approach a conversation with a new person, particularly if they have different experiences than you. That said, it’s a great life skill to converse with people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. Thankfully, texts like this are a great starting point for those struggling with social cues. Readers learn 92 tricks to inspire successful relationships with their peers, making it the best book on social skills for beginners.

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzer

Social cues help us recognize when a conversation has transformed from small talk into a serious subject matter. These verbal and non-verbal indicators are crucial to avoid insensitive comments and knowing when to show more compassion or assert ourselves. We’ve all been caught off guard by a topic change before! Crucial Conversations guides you through this transition so you are ready to respond appropriately when a sensitive subject arises. 

What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro and Marvin Karlins

Sometimes, the best conversations come from listening to what a person doesn’t say. In this exciting read, an ex-FBI agent takes you through their method for speed-reading people. If you struggle with social cues, you may benefit from learning about body language and non-verbal communication. Before jumping into this one, try the summary on the Headway app to introduce you to the core ideas of this book. 

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Talking with people you know and love is usually easier than meeting strangers. In fact, your friends and family might understand that social cues aren’t your strong suit, so they communicate clearly and honestly. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to talk with strangers. Rather than simply learning how to communicate, Gladwell takes a different approach in this book, teaching you about human deception and how to detect when a stranger is lying.

Books to be more social


A group of friends sits around a dinner table, laughing together.

Building meaningful friendships is a vital part of a balanced and enjoyable life. These are the books to be more social, get out of your comfort zone, and enrich your life with the presence of others. 

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie & Associates

This title has remained an iconic read since its publication in 1936. It provides a look into human desire and how to converse meaningfully. However, its original author could not predict how our interactions would change over time. Consequently, this book is an updated version that dives into friendship and connection in the digital age. It has been a guide for many throughout history who want to improve social skills and make more friends; perhaps it’ll resonate with you too.

Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow, Ann Friedman

For the penultimate social interaction books, we have Big Friendship. Friedman and Sow created a guide to creating impactful friendships and maintaining them. Together, they divulge what meaningful friendships are and how we can strive to stay connected with people.

How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman

So, you want people to like you? (Don’t we all!). Well, this is a must-read for anyone hoping to make a great first impression. Nicholas Boothman reveals the secrets to conversing, listening, and responding in a way that makes people want to be around you. 

Use the Headway app to find the best books on social skills

Have any of these social interaction books piqued your interest? If so, explore the Headway app to learn more about the core insights inside each text. 

Headway is a new, unique education experience for people who want to save time by learning on the go. With Headway, you get access to the key ideas from the world’s best books in concise summaries that take only 15 minutes to read or listen to. Instead of jumping head-first into the entire text, you’ll get a clear picture of the text, the key concepts it discusses, and if it suits you. 

Once you finish reading a segment or listening to the audio, you’ll better understand social skills and if that book is something you want to read in full.  

Final thoughts

Empathy and effective communication weave their way into every area of life. That’s why reading books on socializing skills doesn’t just help those struggling with social interactions. The best books on improving social skills aid romantic relationships, friendships, parenting style, and work progression. 

Download the Headway app to start learning about social skills on the go and discover a new way to reach your reading goals!


What are five social skills?

Social skills help us form relationships and further our careers. While many consider communication the core component of social skills, it also includes empathy, leadership, cooperation, and listening.

Can books improve social skills?

There are numerous books to improve social skills. The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace is a good option for those wanting to master communication at work, while Marshall B. Rosenberg writes a popular piece about communicating in relationships. 

How can I learn social skills at home?

Headway lets you learn the bite-sized concepts from the best social skills books before deciding if you want to read the full text. This is a great way to learn social skills at home if you’re short on time. 

Do books help with social anxiety?

If you’re struggling with social anxiety, it’s best to talk with a professional. However, some books may teach you practical tools for managing your worries and improving communication. 

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