If you’re serious about being a highly successful political candidate, and by extension an effective public official who continues to get elected, you need to always stay a few steps of not only your competitors, but also your peers.
Beyond the fundamentals of getting elected, you need to dig deeper into effective communication, intelligent time management, and to a fair extent voter psychology.
That’s why I recommend the following five books for political candidates.
Please note, the links for each book takes you to Amazon where you can purchase a physical, kindle, or Audible version of the book. These links are also affiliate links, so my company does earn a commission from purchases you make.
Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear
This New York Times Bestseller is by renowned pollster Frank Luntz.
It’s an important book for candidates because as its subtitle makes clear it’s not what you say that matters, it’s what the people hear you saying that does.
Good candidates often lose elections because they use the wrong words and fail to properly communicate their ideas to the voters.
Don’t ever let that happen to you.
Knowing which words to use — and which ones to avoid — in your speeches, mailers, handouts, Facebook posts, tweets, and ads is an essential skill for all political candidates to not only know but master.
Tap this link to get Words That Work by Frank Luntz
On Speaking Well: How to Give a Speech With Style, Substance, and Clarity
Peggy Noonan has written amazing speeches for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Oprah Winfrey.
In her book she shares the secrets of giving a speech with style, substance, and clarity.
Her book explores and explains the secrets of creating forceful, persuasive, relevant speeches that resonate with audiences.
Additionally, Ms. Noonan also shares how to properly give tributes and eulogies.
On Speaking Well is a book I have leaned heavily on to teach candidates how to speak strongly in public, both through one on one consulting and with the online courses offered here.
It’s the perfect book to pair with Words That Work.
Tap this link to get On Speaking Well by Peggy Noonan
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Deep Work by Cal Newport is a book everyone should read whether they are running for office or not.
We live in the age of distraction which is harming the quality of our work and our relationships in every aspect of life.
I’ve seen text messages, emails, phone calls, and social media suck up a candidate’s time and attention when they should be focused on on raising money or going out and meeting voters one on one.
If you want to win your race, you need to cut out and control your distractions and do the deep work needed to win.
You’ll also find it makes your spare time with family and friends richer and more meaningful.
Tap this link to get Deep Work by Cal Newport
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
They say that timing is everything in life, and that includes political campaigns.
Daniel Pink delves into the science of timing in this bestseller, showing not only the best times to do things in a given day, but also when might be the best time to do things in your life.
On the campaign trail, When is useful to figure out how to get the most energy out of your day, the best time to ask for money and endorsements, and when you should be doing the menials day to day tasks.
And you may finally understand why you have the particular relationship with mornings that you do have.
Tap this link to get When by Daniel Pink
American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation
One of these books is not like the others — and yep, this is it.
Jon Meacham is one of my favorite historians and this book is one that enlightened my views on the history and role of public religion in America and our politics.
Whether you believe we need more God in our politics, think religion has no place in America’s governing, or fall somewhere in between, American Gospel presents a clear picture of the history and debate of public religion in our country.
As Tom Brokaw states,”It is especially instructive reading at a time when the nation is at once engaged in and deeply divided on the question of religion and its place in public life.”
Hence why I believe every political candidate should read this book to understand the delicate balance between too much and too little public religion in American politics.
Tap this link to get American Gospel by Jon Meacham