5 Books for Aspiring Consultants

The Weekly Brief: Quick Tips & Tools to Apply in Your Work

In the spirit of back-to-school, we’ve curated several professional reading lists that will be featured throughout the next month. Today’s picks focus on consulting. If you’ve been contemplating a shift to the world of consultancy, the following titles will help you build foundational knowledge, assess fit, identify your niche, and gain practical skills and tools.

HBR's 10 Must Reads: The Essentials

Harvard Business Review editors combed through their exhaustive archives and collected the 10 most seminal reads on management from nearly 100 years of publishing. You’ll get a firm grounding in the fundamentals of modern management from such experts as Michael Porter (on strategy), Clayton Christensen (on disruptive innovation), and Peter Drucker (on managing yourself).

The McKinsey Way

Wondering if working at a consulting firm is right for you? Author Ethan Rasiel—former associate of McKinsey—provides an insider look at the renowned consulting firm. He also offers practical advice for succeeding in the intense environment. You’ll learn about Mckinsey’s hypothesis-driven approach to problem solving. And you’ll gain insight into its process for forming teams, conducting interviews and research, and managing organizational complexity.

Flawless Consulting

Peter Block’s approach to consulting emphasizes the importance of developing and maintaining authentic relationships. He encourages consultants to be inquisitive partners, able to ask good questions to discover the strengths and unique values of their clients. He also provides a clear, step-by-step outline of the consulting process.

Linchpin

One key to success as a consultant is to carve out a niche fueled by your expertise. In this book, author and entrepreneur Seth Godin advocates for us all to see our work as art—as an endeavor we pursue with passion, purpose, and a unique vision. You’re sure to find the inspiration you need to seize your talents and strike out on a new career path with confidence.

The Back of the Napkin

As a consultant, you will encounter times when the solution to a challenge may seem to elude you. In those moments, author Dan Roam will tell you to pick up a pen and paper and draw. In this book, Dan Roam advocates the power of visual thinking for working through complex problems and clearly communicating ideas. Discover how pictures can inspire new ways of seeing and solving even the most difficult challenges.