The All Time Best Books on Sales – The Ultimate Curated List

Best Books on Sales – The Ultimate List

Often times a CEO or Sales Executive will ask me what sales methodology I follow. Or, what are the best books on selling and sales strategy?

Over the years, I have read lots of great books on sales and their respective methodologies. I have some favorites, but in general, I get something useful out of every book I read on sales and business development. In the end, the sales process I use is an amalgamation of experience and integrating ideas from great books, training and in the field trial and error.

But the question “What are the best books on selling – all time?” had me wondering what others put on their top ten lists. Would there be some I missed that were worth reading?

So rather than put together a list of my favorites, I thought it would be interesting to see what a consolidated list of books created from “top sales books lists” would look like. What book appears most? Are there newer books? Would the classics survive given today’s discussions about Sales 2.0, and the disruption of traditional sales models?

Unscientific Methodology

Here’s my unscientific approach to answering the question.

Google keywords: – Search on “top books on selling”, “top sales books of all time”, “list of books on selling”. Each of these searches brought back more than 1,000,000 results.

Recent List – the list needed to be published between 2012 and now. The intent: account for modern sales models, and current thought leadership.

Blogger Diversity – I reviewed dozens of lists and subjectively picked six worthy contributors as the best. You’ll find a link to each author and the post in the excerpts imbedded in the list below.

Top Ten Only – a few of the lists went longer than ten. I only kept the top 10.

Scoring and Ranking – After pulling together a list of 60 books, 10 each from each list author, I ranked them and scored them 1 to 10. The number 1 book on the list received 10; the 10th book received a 1. I tallied all the scores for each book and weighted it by how many times the book appeared on the six lists. This created a comprehensive score to determine the consolidated top 10. (At the bottom of the post I provide a link to the Google spreadsheet results of all 25 books that were mentioned – which you can copy or download.)

Interesting Insights on the Aggregate List

  • Two authors had more than one book on the list, Brian Tracey (3) and Jeffrey Gitomer (2)
  • Most times a book mentioned; SPIN Selling which was on every list and ranked #1
  • 3 of the ten books were published in 1988!
  • Oldest books: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, published in 1934 and Frank Bettger’s How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, 1940
  • Newest book, Jill Konrath’s Selling to Big Companies, published in 2005
  • Cost of getting the top 10 on Amazon, $126.63 (click on the book image below to head to Amazon)

Below are the list results with an excerpt comment from one of the writer’s lists.

Note: There is a link for each of the six author’s articles next to their excerpt.

#10 – The Psychology of Selling, Brian Tracey


“…when you read Brian Tracy’s work, you can tell that he is a salesman that has “walked the walk”. …this is also a great primer for  new salespeople and a refresher for those that have been in the game a while. While I recommend all of Tracy’s work, including my favorite Advanced Selling Strategies, I’d say that this is one of his more comprehensive works.”

Posted by Garrett Hollander, SalesStaff


#9 – Strategic Selling, Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman


“This is the masterwork when it comes to understanding how a company’s sales strategy–and the execution of that strategy–can make or break a business model.

Authors Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman (along with their amanuensis Tad Tuleja) detail the best practices of successful firms, showing how and why their strategies have worked.”

Posted by Geoffrey James, Inc


  #8 How To Master The Art of Selling, Tom Hopkins


 “It’s difficult to overestimate the enormous influence that Tom Hopkins has had on the world of sales.

He was the first to recognize that what’s now considered commonplace: that selling is primarily a process of managing your own fears and focusing on what the customer needs.”

Posted by Geoffrey James, Inc.


#7 Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, Harvey McKay, 1988


“My friend Harvey Mackay is one of the most well connected business leaders in the world. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Harvey on one of his book launches and he is the consummate professional. He is a self-made multi-millionaire who introduces the Mackay 66 in this book.

Ever wonder how to get in front of that prospect who’s just determined not to meet with you?  Want to be able to motivate masses to take action on your ideas?  This is the book.”

Posted by Matt Morris, The Unemployed Millionaire

#6 Selling to Big Companies, Jill Konrath, 2005


“This book represents the beginning of the death of the cold call. In ’05, Jill took a new approach to cracking into large companies and it’s served up through this classic.”

Posted by Kyle Porter, The SalesLoft



#5 How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, 1936


“This is the quintessential read for any aspiring or even seasoned sales person. One word to describe it? Timeless. And it’s a great teaching tool should you find yourself trying to mentor another salesperson. This is an especially good one to buy in hardcover or, especially if you need something special for a collector, as a first edition.”

Posted by Kevin James Culp at



#4 The Secrets to Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar, 1985


“I had the honor and pleasure of knowing Zig Ziglar.  He’s a true mentor of mine and has been missed dearly since his passing.  This book is one of many ways we can all be mentored by Zig.

He focuses on the art of persuasion to increase your sales.  The examples and stories really hit home and are unforgettable.”

Posted by Matt Morris, The Unemployed Millionaire


#3 The Greatest Salesman in the World, Augustine Og Mandino, 1983


“With a title like that, it is pretty hard to argue that this isn’t the greatest sales book of all time. Some of you reading this may differ with my opinion (and that is completely OK), but let me explain my reasons. Firstly a quick overview of the book itself. This book is more of a parable about a young man who meets an extremely successful businessman/salesman, whom is the farther of the lady he has fallen madly in love with. To prove his worth as a fitting match for his daughter, the young man pledges himself to the successful old businessman, saying he will do all that it takes to gain his approval to marry his daughter. Therefore, the wealthy old man puts him on a quest to discover the 10 secret scrolls of sales success.”

Posted by Top Shelf Sales


#2 Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness, Jeffrey Gitomer, 2004


“The Author includes his 12.5 principles of Sales Greatness based on his lifetime of selling.  What I love most about this book are all of the little nuggets of information you can apply immediately.

He keeps it simple and basic yet very effective.”

Posted by Matt Morris, The Unemployed Millionaire


#1 SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham, 1988


“Finally, this is the book that turned selling from an art into a science. While other sales books are heavy with anecdotes and assumptions, Neil Rackham examined hard evidence of actual sales performance and codified what works–and what doesn’t–in real world sales situations.

A must read for everyone who sells.”

Posted by Geoffrey James, Inc


Why do these books stand the test of time even though traditional sales models are being disrupted?

My conclusion is that many of the books focus on complex sales, large account selling and the bottom end of sales funnel activities. In the end, people buy from people. Complex sales aren’t consummated based on a corporate website or company blog. That doesn’t mean that the sales didn’t start with content marketing, social sharing, an introduction through Linkedin – that’s all relatively new.  But the buyer’s journey still ends with the complexities these timeless sales tomes address.

Full Results Spreadsheet

Click the image below and it will take  you to a public Google spreadsheet which you can copy or download for additional comments on the 25 books that were mentioned.








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