Five business books to give new employees on their first day

This post was written by Editorial Assistant, Bethan James.


The human brain is selective with its memory. One may remember their 21st birthday until their dying day, but probably won’t remember what they had for lunch Tuesday last week. Dan and Chip Heath elaborate on ‘why certain experiences have extraordinary impact’ (and why some don’t) in their book, The Power of Moments.

This book has been in our Top 10 multiple times and for good reason. Its philosophy is that defining moments are based on either elevation, insight, pride or connection. In the second chapter, it shows how these are also applicable to managers making a new employee’s first day full of positive and memorable moments.

Dan and Chip Heath use John Deere’s First Day Experience as a prime example of how to ensure every single new employee enjoys a warm welcome to the company. They are treated like a VIP – showered with gifts and words of encouragement. We really should all follow suit… And what if one of these gifts was a business book? A (great) business book will definitely create a ‘defining moment’ for new employees. The right one will be full of valuable, memorable theories and advice.

I have read great business books whose messages I think I will remember for a lifetime. A few times we have been asked for recommendations for business books suitable for a ‘welcome to the company’ gift. Of course, this is a very personal decision. Ideally the book you give will be one that has inspired you. It must also ring true with your values and those of the company, otherwise you risk sending mixed messages, which is not a great way to start!

That said, there are a few great books we recommend thinking of as a starting point:


Strengths Finder 2.0So many people focus on their shortcomings rather than their strengths. In fact, many people don’t even know what their strengths are. Tom Rath’s StrengthFinder 2.0 endeavours to change that. This started as an online assessment created by Gallup in 2001 designed to help people discover their top five talents. Now a book with an accompanying website, Rath’s theories should make you never doubt yourself again. Easily read in one sitting but remembered for a lifetime.



How to Win Friends and Influence People

This book was first published over 80 years ago, which makes it incredible that it is still so relevant today. Dale Carnegie was and still is enormously influential in the world of personal development. This book has sold millions of copies since its publication – and its fans swear by it. This is a true classic.





Exactly What To Say

We seem to be getting worse at verbal communication…which is unsurprising considering how frequently we look at our phones. Never fear, Phil M. Jones is here to help; you should be a silver-tongued Odysseus in no time. We all know how important first impressions are in business and, after your appearance, what you say is easily judged. Make sure you leave people with a good opinion, not a bad one.




Who Moved My Cheese?

This is another classic. Who Moved My Cheese? is all about how to deal with change, which seems especially appropriate for our current economic and socio-political climates. The business world keeps changing but, as Dr Spencer Johnson shows, an open mind and willingness to develop are what will get us all through it alive. What new employer doesn’t want a flexible and positive new employee in their company?




Wait What

This one was August 2017 Editor’s Choice and we still love it. I read this book in a few hours last summer and still think about it regularly. It is based on the Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, James E. Ryan’s commencement address, which was about the art of asking the right questions. Wait, What? details the five questions we should all be asking in order to answer the question, ‘And did you get what you wanted out of life?’ And wouldn’t you just love to say ‘yes’?



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