No matter what your profession it’s crucial to be well read and for consultants, it’s the backbone of everything they do. To remain successful as a consultant, you need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and strategies within the industry. A broad knowledge and understanding of areas such as communication strategy, finance, management, and overall strategy will help you build your professional skills and better help your clients. Over this two-part series, I’ll give you insight into books that will help you gain great knowledge about many areas within consulting.

1. The McKinsey Way – As “survival guide” for working at the McKinsey firm, this book discusses life at this top-notch consulting agency and how to succeed there. Even though the writer focuses on this firm, the concepts revealed in this book are valuable to anyone in the industry. It can also help those starting out in the field understand the day-to-day operations of a consultant.

2. HBR’S 10 Must Reads: The Essentials – Those looking for a better understanding of the major theories and practices in consulting will enjoy this read. Editors at the Harvard Business Review sifted through just about 100 years of published works to bring you valuable information on management. In the book, you’ll find insightful pieces on strategy, marketing, innovation, and leadership.

3. Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used – In this book, Peter Block discusses the importance of fostering authentic relationships with all clients. You’ll receive expert knowledge on how to deal with tough clients, how to ask insightful questions, and a step-by-step guide of the consulting process.   

4. Key Management Models: The 60+ models every manager needs to know – Throughout this book Marcel van Assen, Gerben Van den Berg, and Paul Pietersma give you a quick but informative overview of many classic and cutting-edge management models. For each model, there is a brief explanation followed by a three to four-page breakdown of the application of the model, when to use it, and how to use it. This book is a great guide for any professional in the consulting industry. It’s a great way to refresh your mind or generate new tactics for clients.

5. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures – As a consultant, you will be tasked with coming up with solutions for the toughest problems. In this book, Dan Roam offers you a unique way to work through problem-solving by drawing. Roam explains how thinking through your problems with pictures can help you develop new ideas and solve problems in ways you might not have thought about. This is also a guide when you’re trying to figure out how to explain difficult concepts. Use this book when planning meeting and client presentations to ensure you get your topic across clearly and concisely.