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We’ve compiled 30 must-read books every facilitator should have on their bookshelf – so get ready to crack open some powerful stories, great advice, and inspiring thoughts as you transport yourself through ideas from authors around the world!


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Being a facilitator is all about helping people reach their goals, deepening relationships, and enabling collaboration to create positive change.

To do that effectively you need the right tools—and reading books can be one of the most valuable tools you have in your facilitation tool kit!

From classics like The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker and Sprint by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz to thought-starter reads like Change by Design by Tim Brown, there are plenty of books out there with advice tailored specifically for facilitators and anyone interested in learning more about the art of it.

Here we’ve compiled 30 must-read books every facilitator should have on their bookshelf – so get ready to crack open some powerful stories, great advice, and inspiring thoughts as you transport yourself through ideas from authors around the world!

Books on facilitation

  1. "The Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making" by Sam Kaner et al. - This classic guide provides facilitators with practical tools and strategies to engage groups in collaborative decision-making processes effectively.
  2. "Facilitating with Ease!" by Ingrid Bens - In this book, Bens shares facilitation techniques, tips, and case studies to help facilitators build confidence and facilitate meetings and workshops with ease.
  3. "The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches" by Roger M. Schwarz - A comprehensive resource that covers the core competencies of facilitation, including fostering participation, managing group dynamics, and facilitating effective communication.
  4. "How to Make Virtual Engagement Easy: A Practical Guide for Leaders and Educators" by Chad Littlefield and Will Wise—This book is a practical how-to guide to take the heavy lifting off of leaders and educators to make virtual engagement easy and it's designed to deliver personalized, in-the-moment learning. Each chapter here is paired with a video tutorial. And every chapter title is an exact question asked by a real leader or educator.
  5. "Unlocking the Magic of Facilitation: 11 Key Concepts You Didn't Know You Didn't Know" by Meg Bolger and Sam Killermann—The authors teach you how to perform the favorite tricks they keep up their sleeves. It's the learning they've accumulated from thousands of hours of facilitating, debriefing, challenging, and failing; it's the lessons from their mentors, channeled through their experience. A practical guide to magical facilitation.

Books on workshop design

  1. "The Workshop Survival Guide: How to design and teach educational workshops that work every time" by Rob Fitzpatrick and Devin Hunt—The first half of the book covers everything you'll need to know about designing and refining the session itself. With a good design in hand, teaching a brilliant workshop goes from arduous to nearly automatic. The second part focuses on clear, concrete tools for managing a crowd and seamlessly guiding everyone to an effective outcome during the sessions.
  2. "The Workshop Book: How To Design And Lead Successful Workshops" by Pamela Hamilton—Based on methods developed - and proven – in business, this highly visual and practical book will show readers how to design, lead and run effective workshops. It covers the tools you need to design and lead successful workshops yourself, as well as ways to enhance the collective intelligence of any team, keeping them focussed and engaged.
  3. "The 2-Hour Workshop Blueprint: Design Fast. Deliver Strong. Without Stress" by Leanne Hughes—Drawing on years of experience designing and delivering workshops all over the world, Leanne Hughes' '2-Hour Workshop Blueprint' gives you a formula to create sessions that hit the mark every time. Leanne's SPARK framework takes you step by step, from first contact with a client all the way through to post-session review and follow-up.

Books on innovation & strategy

  1. "The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail" by Clayton M. Christensen - This book explores the challenges organizations face when disruptive technologies emerge and offers insights into creating an innovative culture.
  2. "Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne - Learn how to uncover new market opportunities and drive innovation by creating "blue oceans" of uncontested market space.
  3. "The Strategy Book: How to Think and Act Strategically to Deliver Outstanding Results" by Max Mckeown - This book provides a practical framework for developing and implementing effective strategies that drive success.

Books on play & creativity

  1. “Serious Fun: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Leading Remarkably Fun Programs” by Mark Collard - This book explores the power of play in facilitation, and offers a practical and inspirational guide to leading interactive group games & activities to help people connect.
  2. "Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All" by Tom Kelley and David Kelley - The Kelley brothers, founders of IDEO, share strategies and insights to help individuals tap into their creative potential and foster innovation in facilitation and beyond.
  3. "The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity" by Julia Cameron - The book helps people with artistic creative recovery, and teaches techniques and exercises to ignite your creativity and overcome creative blocks, offering valuable insights for facilitators seeking to foster a creative environment.

Books for effective conversations & creating connections

  1. "Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High" by Kerry Patterson et al. - Learn how to navigate challenging conversations, build trust, and achieve positive outcomes in high-stakes situations.
  2. "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life" by Marshall B. Rosenberg - This book presents a framework for compassionate communication, enabling facilitators to create connections, resolve conflicts, and foster understanding.
  3. "The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters" by Priya Parker - Explore the transformative power of intentional gatherings and learn how to design meaningful experiences that bring people together.
  4. "We Can't Talk About That at Work!: How to Talk About Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics" by Mary-Frances Winters - This book provides guidance on navigating difficult conversations around sensitive topics, fostering understanding, and building inclusive environments.
  5. "The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business" by Erin Meyer - Discover the cultural nuances and differences that impact communication and collaboration across cultures, providing valuable insights for facilitators working in global contexts.

Books on collaboration

  1. "Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You Don't Agree with or Like or Trust" by Adam Kahane - Discover strategies and approaches for effective collaboration and problem-solving in complex and adversarial situations.
  2. "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" by Roger Fisher and William Ury - This book presents a principled negotiation framework that helps facilitators navigate conflicts and reach mutually beneficial agreements.
  3. "Herding Tigers: Be the Leader That Creative People Need" by Todd Henry - Discover practical strategies for leading and managing creative teams, fostering an environment that empowers them to take bold creative risks.

Books on design thinking

  1. "Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation" by Tim Brown - Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, explores the principles and practices of design thinking and how they can drive innovation in various contexts.
  2. "Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life" by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans - Learn how to apply design thinking principles to create a fulfilling personal and professional life.
  3. "Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days" by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz - Discover the power of design sprints as a rapid prototyping and problem-solving methodology.

Books on designing great learning experiences

  1. "The Trainer's Handbook: The AMA Guide to Effective Training" by Karen Lawson - This comprehensive guide provides facilitators with practical tips, techniques, and tools for designing and delivering effective training programs.
  2. "Training From the Back of the Room!: 65 Ways to Step Aside and Let Them Learn" by Sharon L. Bowman - Learn innovative training techniques that engage learners and promote active participation and retention of information.

Other books that might inspire facilitators

  1. "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman - Explore the cognitive biases and decision-making processes that influence our thinking, and gain insights into how to make better choices as a facilitator.
  2. "Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead" by Brené Brown - Discover the power of vulnerability and its impact on building trust, fostering connection, and facilitating meaningful conversations.
  3. "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl - This thought-provoking book explores the pursuit of meaning in life and provides valuable insights for facilitators seeking to inspire and motivate others.

As a facilitator, investing time in reading these books will help broaden your knowledge and inspire you to create impactful experiences. Remember, the learning journey never ends - and these books will serve as valuable companions throughout your journey as a facilitator!

Do you have any favorite books that have influenced your facilitation practice? Let us know at - and we’ll look to including the best finds in our article update!

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