The Best Neuro-Linguistic Programming Books

NLP, better known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming, is a name that describes the essence of the human experience through neurology, language, and programming.

NLP involves the neurological system (as the name suggests), the system that regulates the body’s primary biological and biochemical function. Think of this system like the system that determines overall bodily function. 

Language is the second element of NLP, and it determines the process through which we interface with and communicate with others. 

brain and heart

The last constituents of NLP, programming, determines the world models we create.

Therefore, Neuro-Linguistic Programming is the fundamental dynamic that lies between the mind, language, and how the interplay of these elements affect our behaviors and the body. 

NLP also represents a pragmatic School of Thought or an Epistemology which addresses the different levels of being human.

Think of NLP as a multi-dimensional process involving the development of flexibility and behavioral competence in humans.

It also involves strategic thinking and the understanding of cognitive and mental processes that determine human behavior.

Thanks to NLP, you have access to the skills and tools needed for the development and the enhancement of human excellence, while also creating suppositions into the presuppositions and beliefs about what it entails to be human.

On a higher level, NLP is all about exploration, self-discovery, and the exploration of mission and identity.

It also involves the understanding of communication in humans, as well as the processes of change in humans.

Interesting, huh?

In the simplest of terms, NLP is the process that uses behavioral, perceptual, and communication techniques to simplify communication or rather the exchange of the thoughts and actions. 

Although Neuro-Linguistic Processing relies on language processing, you shouldn’t confuse it with Natural Language Processing. NLP is a lot like the human brain’s user manual. 

By training in NLP, you master fluency in the brain’s language, allowing your unconscious to understand exactly what you need out of life.

In short, the mastery of NLP helps in making you an excellent communicator not just with yourself, but also with other people.

Think of this scenario: you walk into a restaurant in a foreign country, and you order what you believe to be steak but minutes after ordering is when you realize that you ordered liver, chicken, the wrong steak. 

Frustrating, huh? 

Now think about what happens in your life when you ‘order up’ something, say money or happiness, only to end up with none… Even sadder, no?

Despite what these experiences put you through communication is important, but what’s more important is that you need to make sure that what you order is exactly what shows up.

If this doesn’t happen, it means that something is getting lost in translation.  

Where and Why does NLP come in?

image of a neuron

Thanks to NLP, you can bridge the communication gap between your conscious and your unconscious mind. In this case, think of your conscious mind as your goal setter, and your unconscious mind is the goal-getter.

What this means is that your unconscious mind isn’t out here to get you, but in there somewhere to get/ serve up that which you desire.

The only catch is that you must be able to communicate effectively, your conscious and unconscious minds must be at par, communicating on the same wavelength.

So, if you’re a habitual procrastinator wishing to break this bad habit, your conscious mind and the unconscious should have one goal. For the most part, you need your unconscious mind rooting for you to break the habit.

Now that you understand the basics of NLP, it’s time to dig deeper into this pragmatic thinking. What better to help you in this quest than books on NLP written by some of the greatest minds?

This review includes the materials needed to introduce you to NLP, but others contain advanced material on the subject. These books are not only well-written, but they also offer practical and effective strategies and techniques that will help you learn and then apply the knowledge gained. 

Some of the techniques shared in these books are hard to learn, but this doesn’t make them impossible. The knowledge shared is in-depth, and the best part is that the books will help you uncover more about your skills and who you are.

Reviews of the Best NLP Books 

These books are written by some of the best NLP authors and minds.

1. NLP at Work – Sue Knight

NLP at Work, The Essence of Excellent is one of the best and easy to understand NLP books on the market, which is why it’s our top choice of NLP books for beginners.

If you’re trying to reach for new and effective methods to allow you to experience and explore NLP better, or if you wish to learn NLP in the simplified way possible, this book by Sue Knight could be exactly what you need.

It’s also our favorite for novice NLP learners in management or leadership positions, as well as the individuals interested in harnessing the power of influence and communication.

book cover for nlp at work

The first part of this book gives precise descriptions into the field. This section contains summaries, case studies, and checklists. 

But, Sue’s NLP at Work is not just about good structure and introductions. With Sue known as a congruent teacher in the NLP community, this book offers a subtle ingredient that makes a huge difference.

The material shared is realistic, and you can trust it because Sue lives what she teaches. 

In addition to the grounded structure of the book’ content, you might like this book more because Sue understands the elements of NLP implicitly and explicitly, something that’s seen through the modeling of the book.

Sue not only translates the basic principles of NLP in different workplace environments, using outstanding performers and exemplars, but she also distills their thinking processes and behavioral parts down to simple, shareable models.

On top of all these, you might also like this book for its simplicity. Sue uses a very simple approach for the book.

She has an impressive ability to season each of the book’s chapters after stories, illustrating the patterns and principles of NLP with ease.

So, while the NLP field is quite complex for most people, Sue’s approach makes NLP attractive and easy to beginners. The simplicity is also seen in how fast new learners grasp the elements of NLP.

Therefore, if you’re out there looking for a great NLP resource that offers what it promises without jargon, filler material, or ambiguity in the text, you might want to try this book.

You might also like Sue’s thought-provoking questions, insights, care, and the support you will receive throughout this book.

2. Sleight of Mouth – Robert Dilts   

Do you know the history of NLP? One of the most monumental things in NLP history happened in 1982 when Steve Andreas edited John Grinder and Richard Bandler’s transcript of their seminar.

Andreas’ editing works gave birth to the book Reframing. To date, Reframing is an NLP classic with the original content creators Grinder and Bandler discussing Meaning and Context as the two primary types of Reframing.

They also taught about a specific change protocol: Six-Step Reframing. The protocol was designed to provide a more therapeutic context. Robert Dilts’ book Sleigh of Mouth is a one of the best neuro linguistic books.

book cover for Sleight of Mouth

It is package of the six Reframing patterns into one elegant model that you could use in a conversation.

In layman’s words, Robert’s book is a simplified version of the older Reframing books, and it aims to make you a great conversationalist.

Therefore, if you’re in sales, management, a position of leadership, this book might be all you need to be great with people.

One of the main features that stand out from this book is Single Word Reframes, which changes how you use words by guiding your choice of words.

For example, instead of using the word ‘Hard,’ you’d reframe it to ‘Challenging.’

You will notice that despite the fact that these words both carry a similar experience, their emotional implications differ. This book teaches you how to shift frames and nuances by changing the words you use.

According to the Sleigh in Mouth, effective or ineffective communication is all about the change in belief systems, as well as the transformation of meanings.

In this book, Robert takes the language patterns used in the NLP universe from its high mystical heights into easy knowledge understood by even the novice.

This book allows you to perform verbal magic, quite literally. This book also covers the elements of reframing. It breaks down reframing into values, chunking, hierarchy of criteria, structure of beliefs and thought viruses.

You might also like that in his book, Robert simplifies the complex bits of NLP and Reframing by giving you many practice exercises that help you learn and assimilate the new concepts into everyday behavior.

The only catch is that this is not an ideal NLP book for a beginner, but you could understand the knowledge shared if you’re committed.

3. Words that Change Minds – Shelle Rose Charvet

Do you wonder how different the world would be like if you’d know how to speak to a stranger or an acquaintance in ways that leave them motivated without struggling? Wondering if you could influence people with only words?

How about having the ability to delegate a task to that one person who’d complete the task well or even pass down instructions in a way that appeals to the other person?

book cover for words that change minds

Well, you can. And all these possibilities are possible thanks to the Shelle Rose Charvet’s book, Words that Change Minds. 

This book is one of the best resources for serious students of communication wishing to take things a step further.

This special book will teach you practical and actionable ways of communicating.

You will learn how to carefully select your words when speaking or even writing to create the maximum possible effect on who you communicate with.

If you work in HR, you are a hiring manager, constantly interface with and consult with others, or if you work on sales calls, this book might be the secret communication ingredient you have been missing.

This book is also ideal for team leaders, anyone wishing to put an end to manipulation from others, anyone who wants to enhance their interpersonal communication skills, or individuals who wish to learn and gain a deep understanding of the practicalities of language/ linguistics.

What makes this book such an excellent fit for such a broad category of people?

Shelle has structured her book to feature two important elements: Metaprograms and LAB Profiles.

A LAB Profile is part of Metaprograms. The LAB Profile, also Language and Behavior Profile, is a system featuring a comprehensive series of detailed questions, all designed to elicit 13 specific metaprograms from anyone whose profile is run.

Shelle borrows this idea from Roger Bailey’s work. Bailey selected the 13 metaprograms after determining that they are the ones that will easily elicit conversations, and one only needs to ask natural questions.

The metaprograms are important in the business world, which is why it doesn’t come as a surprise to use them in personal life. This LAB Profile picks specific patterns which go to show the person’s working and motivation styles.

Therefore, the Metaprograms used in this book and in NLP result in the labeling of content-free filters. You apply these filters in different areas of your life every day. Therefore, these filters make up your model of the world.

But that is not all; thanks to these filters, you will understand how a person works in a team setting, the types of instructions that work well for them, or their expectations from their co-workers. 

Besides the filters, LAB Profiles, and the Metaprograms, this book also promises to enhance the flexibility of your communication, allowing you to communicate with anyone and everyone with ease, your relationship notwithstanding.

According to Shelle, the secret to effective and effortless communication with anyone lies in your ability to pay attention to the other person’s answer – not the content but rather the structure of their reply.

Basically, this book makes you a master of communication where you know who you’re communicating with and how to match their language.

You might also like the fact that this book offers plenty of practical contexts like the questions you could use, how to frame a product or job advert, or how to find the right person for the job.

The book also provides street and real-life examples and anecdotes for you to learn from. 

Finally, you might like how the book’s written and how the content flows.

4. Business NLP for Dummies – Lynne Cooper

Wouldn’t you like an NLP book curated specifically for your line of work?

Lynne Cooper’s Business NLP for Dummies does just that.

This is a practical and direct book that will guide you in NLP, specifically within your work’s context, and if you’re in business, this might be an excellent book for you.

Business NLP for Dummies teaches NLP techniques and contexts which promise to transform your individual or team performance when leveraged in a business setting.

book cover for Business NLP for Dummies

You could think of this book as a practical manual into the NLP and the secret ingredient to the growth of your influence, success, and flexibility in anything you do. 

So, if you’re trying to boost your motivation, succeed in business, hone exceptional communication, negotiation, or leadership skills, this book could bring you closer to your objectives.

Besides being a book specific to businesses and business people, this book is structured into perfectly categorized bite-size pieces that you can grasp with ease. 

You might also like the step-by-step instructions and the fact that this is an excellent book for NLP novices.

5. Mind Lines – L. Michael Hall

Mind Lines is one of the best NLP books, and though the author calls his NLP brand Neurosemantics, it provides a lot of insights into communication how to communicate effectively.

book cover for Mind Lines

This book also covers the unique elements of Meta-States and Meta-Models, which are essential for conversational reframing.

Therefore, this book and the models taught will teach you more about how changing the meaning of words influences communication.

Like Sleigh of Mouth reviewed above, Mind Lines is all about reframing of words for you to attain the desired result. You will learn more about and appreciate the elegant model of reframing.

Mind Lines is ideal for anyone who wants to be the best in managing people, interacting with people, leading, coaching, love better, seduce, train, sell, or even to parent better.

You might also like this book if you wish to build your interpersonal relationships or if all you ever want to learn is what makes people tick.

In this book, you will learn about the creation of meaning and how humans are a lot like meaning-producing machines; and how many people fail to pay attention to the different meanings they create.

You will also learn how to review your frames for powerful communication and for you to influence others. The other things taught in this book include:

Superior Organization – learning how to organize your words for easy access/ use

Simple formula – Mind Lines= Internal State + External behavior. This means that when you see or hear something and develop a stimulus for the idea or the feeling, you will express all that in your unique language.

  • Reflections and counter examples
  • Contrast
  • Meta-Model and Chunking Down 
  • Mind reading
  • Value and Allness

Note that this book is not ideal for beginners.

6. Persuasion Engineering – John LaValle and Richard Bandler

If you are in sales or business, Persuasion Engineering might be the best book you ever read. This book is one of the best NLP books on the market, and it shares a lot of knowledge on effective communication, persuasion, and success.

And this book comes with a warning.

To paraphrase the warning: Even though you will notice a number of grammatical errors in the book, those errors are intentional and purposeful since grammar and NLP do not share one structure.

Like Mind Lines, this book isn’t suitable for novice NLP learners. But it’s an excellent book for individuals in sales, management, and leadership.

book cover for persuasion engineering

One of the unique features in this book is the outline of Bandler’s Character, a hilarious character, to say the least. This book starts by showcasing the 90’s Bandler style.

Though funny, this is intended to challenge and motivate you to get out there, and act – Just Do It.

Persuasion Engineering comes with a wealth of information focused on selling and persuasive communication.

It is a modeling book that teaches about the patterns that people pick up and use naturally when things work out for them. You will also learn about the sales process from the start to the close, in its natural setting.

The best part of this book is that you will learn how to sell feelings. For this, you need to make use of the communication opportunities in front of you and how to associate feelings with what you are offering.

7. Heart of the Mind – Connirae and Steve Andreas

book cover for Heart of the Mind

If you need an introductory NLP book to guide you before you sink your teeth into the complex bits of NLP like frames and models, you could read this book first.

It’s ideal for coaches, counselors, or healing practitioners who need to learn more about NLP and its applications. 

The book is written simply with clear and clinical explanations to methods, as well as detailed descriptions.

8. NLP: The Essential Guide – Tom Hoobyar, Susan Sanders, and Tom Dotz

Would you like a book written by NLP coaches and master practitioners to guide you into your NLP journey?

This could be it! This is the ideal beginners’ book, and you will learn everything you didn’t know about NLP, clearing out misconceptions in the process. 

book cover for NLP The Essential Guide

This guide is all about giving you the best order, perspective, and even understanding.

So, you could think of the book as a working manual. It’s highly practical, it’s written innovatively, and it will also enlighten you on emotional intelligence.