L&D book recommendations you can’t miss

Picture of learning and development books.

Editor Jo Cook asked the L&D community for book recommendations, and this is the list!

On social media I asked which books were recommended to add the L&D professionals wish list (for Christmas 2023) and to add to your reading list any time.

This is the full list, in no particular order, from comments on LinkedIn post and X (Twitter) – and make sure you are following so that you can contribute to future conversations!

  • “Learning Transfer at Work” by Paul Matthews
  • “Capability at Work” by Paul Matthews
  • “Informal Learning at Work” by Paul Matthews
  • “Evidence Informed Learning Design” by Mirjam Neelen and Paul A Krischner
  • “The Joy of Work” by Scott Adams
  • “Creativity Inc” by Ed Catmull
  • “Decisions Over Decimals” by Oded Netzer and others
  • “The Trusted Learning Advisor” by Dr. Keith Keating
  • “Influence: Science and Practice” by Robert Cialdini
  • “Artificial Intelligence for Learning” by Donald Clark
  • “Learning Experience Design” by Donald Clark
  • “The Learning and Development Handbook” by Michelle Parry-Slater
  • “Talk to the Elephant” by Julie Dirksen
  • “Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen
  • “Ruined by Design” by Mike Monteiro
  • “How People Learn” by Nick Shackleton-Jones
  • “Make it Stick”
  • “Presentation Zen” by Garr Reynolds
  • “Slide:ology” by Nancy Duarte
  • “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg
  • “The Trusted Learning Advisor” by Dr. Keith Keating
  • “Learning at Speed” by Nelson Sivalingam
  • “Learning Habits” by Sarah Nicholl
  • “The Power of Company Culture” by Chris Dyer
  • “The Holistic Learning Handbook” by Nicki Davey
  • “The Myth of the Paperless Office” by Abigail Sellen and others
  • “Finding the Gaps” by Simon Taufel
  • “Leap” by Steph Tranter

Picture shows a thousand words, quite literally in this case

The picture used on social media and in this article is from my own bookshelf, and Eva McCann comments “Great bookshelf Jo Cook – you can’t beat holding a book, turning the pages over”. And goes on to highlight: “If Kindle is your thing, Paul Matthews’ Learning Transfer at Work 📗 Capability at Work 📕 and Informal Learning at Work 📘 are going to be free on Amazon 15-19 December 2023 – click here for more info.” Great share for the industry Paul and Eva!

Shake off the order-taker mentality and position themselves as a trusted partner

Emma Klosson

But what was some of the other conversation that went on? Emma Klosson said that they had comment “to add a vote for Dr. Keith Keating’s The Trusted Learning Advisor, it’s a must for anyone in L&D who wants to shake off the order-taker mentality and position themselves as a trusted partner.” Laura Overton commented that “for those involved in learning design that shifts behaviours- I’d recommend we get back to basics” to make sure we are doing all of the foundation things really well.

Broaden your reading horizons

David Haydn made a great point that the recommendations “depends – if we are looking insular or beyond the function”. Ross Garner developed this by saying “I’ll swerve slightly and pick two books that I think are great for L&D pros, but aren’t specifically written for this audience.” It was great to see these options, especially with Ross explaining Decisions Over Decimals as “How to not be scared by data, full of useful shorthand’s that I use every week. Specifically a ‘does this smell of bullsh*t’ test!”

I get a lot out of reading biographies and history. I’d like to think it also influences and enhances how I think

Lior Locher

“I’d add, don’t only read work-related books please. I get a lot out of reading biographies and history,” said Lior Locher. “ I’d like to think it also influences and enhances how I think about how people grow into who they turned out to be. It also makes me much more realistic on the role things like privilege or lack thereof, circumstances, culture, politics, support systems and sheer good or bad luck play. So, read broad, deep, wide, but read read read :-)”

“We’ve been really lucky lately to have interviewed a lot of authors in our ‘Meet the Author’ interviews for our L&D community My Learning Lounge.” Added Cathy Hoy. “I’d have to say The Learning and Development Handbook by Michelle, Leap by Steph, Learning Transfer at Work by Paul, and The Trusted advisor by Dr. Keith Keating are all super practical and very helpful, which is what I think we need more of in L&D”

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