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10 Must-Reads for Learning and Development Professionals

L&D is a very common term that many people must have heard throughout their careers. But what does it actually mean? Is it just an abbreviation for learning and development? L&D is far more proficient in meaning than its literal full form. While it stands for learning and development, L&D in your career or company is a main part of growth.

Safe to say, without L&D, neither you as an employee nor your company can attain the growth objectives you have set out to achieve. The purpose of L&D is to provide and nurture the team of a growing organization from within to help them grow individually and eventually lead to growth for the company at a much higher level.

Naturally, your company must have set aside a whole department dedicated to L&D if it is something they prioritize and consider significant. So if you are part of the L&D team and want to keep refreshing your L&D skills while you help out the employees, let’s start with some backtracking and taking things back to school with books.

Top 10 Must-Reads for L&D Pros

Books are certainly a great way to refresh your skills, understand current trends, and stay updated with what’s going on in the field. However, thanks to many people who have taken a keen interest in L&D, hundreds, even thousands of books are available to choose from. Hence, we have picked our favorite top ten to make things easier for you.

So let’s get started, shall we?

1. Atomic Habits – An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Atomic Habits had to be our number one pick because, after all, the book has made a global impact. Whether it is about internal motivation, philosophical thought, or growing through learning and development of the latest industrial curvature, Atomic Habits is as iconic as it gets. It is an easy and quick read for grasping the basics. It will have you strengthening the fundamental of L&D before you go all out for advanced rhetorics.

2. Lead. Care. Win.: How to Become a Leader Who Matters

Moving on to a more thoughtful facet of L&D, many people don’t realize the significance of L&D on a person or organization. But with this book, you will surely become a more thoughtful and caring leader. This read will have you experience a thought-provoking advance over your practices and create a respectful yet human interaction with people in your professional capacity.

3. Workplace Learning: How to Build a Culture of Continuous Employee Development by Nigel Paine

Now that you have possibly spent taking L&D as more of a personalized experience, Workplace Learning will force the cultural capacity of this element out of you. Nigel Paine has written this book truly in his creative mindset of taking L&D beyond courses and organizational meetings and as more of a robust cultural influence that comes naturally to people. The book is like a practical guide with steps you can easily materialize right away.

4. Design Thinking for Training and Development, by Sharon Boller & Laura Fletcher

Many people take learning as a one-time affair, like learning before an important exam. Still, the subject doesn’t have personal significance for you. However, when it comes to L&D as a whole for your career prospect and skillset for your employees, it is a learning cycle that keeps on going. Design Thinking for Training and Development is the book that will help you realize this significant facet many professionals usually miss.

5. Long Life Learning: Preparing for Jobs That Don’t Even Exist Yet, by Michelle Weise

The book not only looks beautiful but reads beautifully as well. It mainly encompasses the need for learning as a lifelong habit that is a one-time experience of mastering a skill. The book allows the reader to think deeply by suggesting that maybe our approach towards learning is faulty because we only do so for development – instead of realizing that development is not an end goal but a consistent effort-driven result.

6. Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games, by Sharon Boller & Karl Kapp

A book that you will find on almost every list that covers books about L&D – Play to Learn is a cult classic book and rightfully famous for how it reads. The authenticity in the idea of gamifying the tasking mechanics of everyday life is what makes it relatable, experiment, and practical – all at the same time. The psychology of the book will have you hooked and eager to try out your learned effort on yourself first before you on and practice on others.

7. The Toyota Engagement Equation by Tracy Richardson and Ernie Richardson

The Toyota Engagement Equation is a model of how the company’s employees interact with each other, customers, and their leaders. It was developed by Toyota veterans as part of their training framework for potential employees and went on to gain huge recognition. Hence, it was a matter of time before it became a book. The goal of the read is to help people understand how to work together to achieve common goals like improving the quality of workmanship.

8. Design for How People Learn, by Julie Dirksen

A true L&D classic. It is like A Shakespearean novel for all the L&D buffs who want to polish their skills but don’t forget the basics. That said, they have recently come up with a second edition that covers all the latest strategies and updates that have entered the realm of L&D, like social media platforms and other newest technologies. There are also chapters in the book where Julie talks about learning and testing your skills as you go.

9. Minds at Work: Managing for Success in the Knowledge Economy by David Grebow and Stephen J. Gill

This book aims to help managers understand the impact of information technology on their organizations and how they can use IT effectively to improve performance. The authors believe that IT is a key strategic tool for any organization, but it must be used in an effective way. They present a model for managing employees’ work-life balance so that employees can make full use of the benefits provided by IT while still maintaining high levels of productivity.

10. LMS Success: A Step-by-Step Guide to Learning Management System Administration by Katrina Baker

LMS Success is a guide for anyone who wants to learn about learning management system administration. It’s written by the authors of Learning Management Systems: A Practical Guide, which was published in 2006 and has been updated since then. The book covers all aspects of learning management system administration, from installing and configuring LMSs to creating custom applications on top of them.

Final Thoughts

The list doesn’t end with our top ten picks and goes on with many different books that cover multiple facets of learning and development. And for that, these top ten books have certainly been deemed a must-read. Access these books through Amazon whether you like the paperbacks, digitals, or audio versions. It is safe to say that the words, their writers, and the thought-provoking ideations are worth it and will leave a lasting impression on you.

However, if you are already an L&D pro, your goal should be to keep up with the current trends and stay on top of whatever changes are happening in your field to keep your skills relevant. Since we are talking about books and trends, we have an eBook that can help you discover the latest eLearning trends and help you make the most out of them.

eLearning Trends 2023 – The View from the Trenches