What Are The Best Management Consulting Books?

There are four books that I recommend as core to the generic practice of consulting. These are:

  1. The McKinsey Way by Ethan Rasiel
  2. Process Consultation by Edgar Schein (dry read)
  3. Flawless Consulting by Peter Block (optional and highly recommended for those coming from engineering versus consulting backgrounds)
  4. The Pyramid Principle:Logic In Writing and Thinking (for managers & consultants especially) by Barbara Minto

Beyond the generic core, there are three major dimensions that come to the top of my mind when considering practitioner-level knowledge of the management consulting space:

  • developing speciality and functional-area skills
  • nurturing marketing and selling skills for consulting (for example, I highly recommend books like Winning the Professional Services Sale by Michael McLaughlin)
  • developing knowledge and skills specific to managing both consulting practices and different organizational structures.

I have developed a working reading list that attempts to cover many of the areas above. It is a list for entry-level to advanced management consultants. It can be found here.

And for those readers seeking books and information on getting a job with a consulting firm, there are a number of other books out there. One site that sells such a book (“The Consulting Interview Bible“) is ManagementConsulted. As an aside, back in 2009 Kevin Gao (ex-McKinseyite) interviewed me for ManagementConsulted’s Life as a Consultant series.

The best historical account of the consulting industry I’ve read is The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World by Walter Kiechel

Finally, I just released a book entitled The Consulting Apprenticeship. The book focuses on nuances passed on during apprenticeship and complements the four books I mention at the beginning of this post or can be read standalone. More info at ConsultingApprenticeship.com.

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