18 Books Recommended by Customer Experience Leaders in 2022

Written by Team Capacity | Published Feb 16, 2022

Everyone is looking to ramp up their CX strategies in 2022. Need some inspiration to help get the gears turning? We have the ultimate list of recommended books from customer experience leaders that will help elevate your game.

On The Support Automation Show, a podcast by Capacity, we talk to leaders who are using technology to answer questions, automate processes, and build innovative solutions to any business challenge. 

Here’s the list of the most recommended books by these top leaders in customer experience, support, and customer success. 

1. Crucial Conversations by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, & Emily Gregory

Brief summary

Crucial Conversations provides powerful skills to ensure every conversation―especially difficult ones―leads to the results you want. Written in an engaging and witty style, it teaches readers how to be persuasive rather than abrasive, how to get back to productive dialogue when others blow up or clam up, and it offers powerful skills for mastering high-stakes conversations, regardless of the topic or person.

Recommended by Stacy Justino, Director of Customer Happiness at Wistia

2. The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

Why it’s recommended

“It’s a framework – a management framework to run teams. It’s for leaders of businesses. When we were running our consulting firm, there was something that was close by because it was a very simple way to point the team in the right direction and make sure everyone’s on the same page.”

– Jeff Breunsbach, Director of Customer Experience at Higher Logic

3. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Brief summary

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles―counterintuitive tactics and strategies―you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.”

Recommended by Rachel Jennings-Keane, Independent Customer Success Consultant

4. No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

“It’s a fantastic book about the culture of Netflix. I would definitely recommend it to any business leader because they go against the norm. If it doesn’t make sense, then don’t do it. It’s very intuitive but innovative.”

– Craig Soelberg, Senior People Success Manager at Chargebee

5. The High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove

Brief summary

The essential skill of creating and maintaining new businesses—the art of the entrepreneur—can be summed up in a single word: managing. Born of Grove’s experiences at one of America’s leading technology companies, High Output Management is equally appropriate for sales managers, accountants, consultants, and teachers, as well as CEOs and startup founders. Grove covers techniques for creating highly productive teams, demonstrating methods of motivation that lead to peak performance—throughout, High Output Management is a practical handbook for navigating real-life business scenarios and a powerful management manifesto with the ability to revolutionize the way we work.

Recommended by David Apple, Chief Revenue Officer at Zingtree

6. A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger

Why it’s recommended

“It’s a fascinating book. I’m a very innovative person. The concept of it is we stop asking questions because it’s forced out of us. As kids, the teacher starts getting irritated. If you keep raising your hand too much and asking questions, you certainly learn. At some point, it’s better off just to stop asking questions. The problem with that is that you don’t ask questions. You can’t really innovate or move forward.”

– Christopher Rotz, Director of Process and Analytics at American Pacific Mortgage

Check out the latest episodes of The Support Automation Show, a podcast by Capacity.

7. A Thousand Brains by Jeff Hawkins

Brief summary

For all of neuroscience’s advances, we’ve made little progress on its biggest question: How do simple cells in the brain create intelligence? Jeff Hawkins and his team discovered that the brain uses maplike structures to build a model of the world-not just one model, but hundreds of thousands of models of everything we know. This discovery allows Hawkins to answer important questions about how we perceive the world, why we have a sense of self, and the origin of high-level thought.

Recommended by Kristina Podnar, Digital Policy Consultant at NativeTrust Consulting

8. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

Why it’s recommended

“It helps in so many conversations that I’m having with managers who are having challenges around again. Those core team dynamics, the people skills, how do I grow a team? You’ve got a whole lot of great information sitting right there.”

– Julie Tuggle-Nguyen, EVP Human Resources at Midwest BankCentre

9. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Brief summary

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business, through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, DELIVERING HAPPINESS shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success-and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own.

Recommended by Jared Sklar, Sr. Manager of Customer Operations at HOVER

10. The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, & Rick DeLici

Why it’s recommended

“The book basically defines that customer satisfaction does not necessarily equate to loyalty, but what does is your customer effort. How much effort are customers having to exhaust to get their problems solved? That’s much more indicative of loyalty.”

– Antonio King, Head of Support at Veho

11. Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson

Brief summary

Erikson will help you understand yourself better, hone communication and social skills, handle conflict with confidence, improve dynamics with your boss and team, and get the best out of the people you deal with and manage. He also shares simple tricks on body language, improving written communication, advice on when to back away or when to push on, and when to speak up or shut up. Packed with ‘aha!’ and ‘oh no!’ moments, Surrounded by Idiots will help you understand and communicate with those around you, even people you currently think are beyond all comprehension.

Recommended by Melissa Teater, Senior Operations Consultant at World Wide Technology

12. The Transformational Leadership Compass by Benny Ausmus

Why it’s recommended

“He’s a global consultant who helps companies do massive shifts in strategy. He’s basically compiled all the companies he’s worked with and come up with this fictitious person, John, who’s the CEO. He writes the story in the way that he’s helping John through the process. It’s just insightful because when you start looking at the list of things that John comes to Benny for, you can see yourself in either your customer as a company or you’re your own company. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to do the same things. We try to make money. We try to have great teams. We’re trying to have a great product or service. It’s been a fun book to read.”

– Lee Roquet, Chief Customer Officer at Yellowfin

13. The Convenience Revolution by Shep Hyken

Brief summary

Whether you’re trying to out-service a competitor or disrupt an entire industry, creating less friction and being more convenient for your customers should be your strategy. When you raise the convenience bar, you create the next level of amazing customer experience. This book shows you how to leverage convenience as a powerful way to differentiate yourself from your competition.  You’ll learn six compelling strategies, supported by numerous examples and case studies that will fuel your plan to create a focus on convenience for your customers. The value proposition is both simple and profound: when you reduce friction and make it easier for customers to do business with you, they’ll reward you with their money, their loyalty, and their referrals.  That’s the advantage of being a part of The Convenience Revolution.

Recommended by Nicole Garberg, Vice President of Customer Experience at Engine

14. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Why it’s recommended

“It is life-changing. There’s four agreements: don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, always do your best, and I’m going to leave the last one out so people go find it.”

– Stacy Sherman, Speaker, Author, Podcaster, and Mentor at Doing CX Right

15. The Genius Habit by Laura Garnett

Brief summary

Performance strategist, Laura Garnett, shows you how the path to finding long-lasting professional happiness starts with building the habit that makes extraordinary accomplishment all but guaranteed. Combining the most recent and exciting research on productivity and performance with Laura’s experience guiding dozens of high-level clients to the heights of success, The Genius Habit is a must-read for anyone who believes that work can and should be one of the most rewarding aspects of life.

Recommended by Emily Garza, AVP, Customer Success at Fastly

16. The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins

Why it’s recommended

The First 90 Days – I feel like that’s always been my guiding light, my Bible, as I take on new roles, new organizations and it’s a friendly reminder of where I should start. That’s a fan favorite of mine.”

– Kristi Faltorusso, VP of Customer Success at ClientSuccess and Founder of Keeping CS Simple

17. The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Robert Galford, & Charles Green

Brief summary

In today’s fast-paced networked economy, professionals must work harder than ever to maintain and improve their business skills and knowledge. But technical mastery of one’s discipline is not enough, assert professional advisors David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. The key to professional success, they argue, is the ability to earn the trust and confidence of clients. The authors weave together anecdotes, experience, and examples of both their own and others’ successes and mistakes to great effect. The Trusted Advisor is essential reading for anyone who must advise, negotiate, or manage complex relationships with others.

Recommended by Zach Wahl, Chief Executive Officer at Enterprise Knowledge

18. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Why it’s recommended

“I use these principles. Begin with the end in mind was one of his [Covey] that is exactly what an outcome program is all about. The essence is what it is. Be clear about the to-be state you’re going to help customers achieve and then get there, and show them how to get there. That for me was, you sometimes read a book and you just go, “Oh, I get it.” From a business point of view, that was the best.”

– Paul Henderson, Director and Outcome Workshop Leader at Outcome Leaders

See how customer experience leaders are using support automation to automate repetitive tasks and build solutions to any business challenge.