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“HBRs 10 Must Reads – On Communication” – A Book Review by

HBR Press book review by

HBR‘s 10 Must Reads – On Communication

It’s been researched that communication is more body language than speaking itself, yet – even posturing is a part of communication. And as usually, Harvard Business Review covered during the years a lot of ground on the best communication practices. Some of their best articles were perused through, updated and combined in one of their best-selling titles – “HBRs 10 Must Reads – On Communication”.
Language is one of the mankind’s most important advancements. If nothing else, any leader in any organisation communicates continuously – with the customers, the employees, the suppliers or the governments. Being on the right side of the things tends to be difficult – and a solid communication can help fix potential issues or even motivate various stakeholders to do business with you. As we can often see in practice, simple methods and understanding how you are perceived can make a world of differences.

All ten selected articles are offering fascinating insights on how our messages are perceived on the workplace. “HBRs 10 Must Reads – On Communication” is full of learnings that can change your approach for good. My favorite article remains the one by the famous management guru Stephen Denning – „Telling Tales“. The article is fairly auto-biographical and somehow subjective, yet it offers really fascinating insights on how telling a good story can actually and positively influence your audience. Denning had the chance to work on public and private organizations – he actually left the World Bank to become a consultant. After many years of consulting with some famous organizations, he put a lot of his communication knowledge in this short (but dense) 2004 article published of course in Harvard Business Review. We all know by now the power of a narrative – the influence that a well-told story can yield on the audience. However, the finesse hides in the details. And based on his research and experience, Stephen Denning identifies not less than seven types of stories that can be told in various situations. He also matches these stories types with appropriate situations when these should be told – so all in all, a very interesting article.

Another recurring theme within this communication compilation comes as persuasion. No less than three articles have address the topic directly: 

„Change the Way you Persuade“,

„Harnessing the Art of Persuasion“ and

„The Necessary Art of Persuasion“,

which makes the topic one of the most important “HBRs 10 Must Reads – On Communication”.   Rest assured, this is not the exclusive book topic – one of the most different articles offering food for thought remains „How to Pitch a Brilliant Idea“. Believe it or not, conveying the risks and benefits of a concept to a tough audience is not exactly an easy sell. If you ever watched a start-up pitch to a bunch of well-honed venture capitalists, you will quickly realize not only how tough the audience can be, but also how little time you have available to convey what is valuable or not within your idea.

“HBRs 10 Must Reads – On Communication” will thus remain a prized title on my business books shelf – and probably you should give it a try.

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