Christmas Wish List for Corporate Training Professionals – Part 1 Books


It’s December. And that means it’s time to start shopping for your favorite corporate training professional. Or perhaps you’re going to treat yourself to something special as part of your personal development. Or maybe you just need lists to help you organize the things you need. In any case, this series of posts will give you a list of items to think about…even after the holidays.

In this first post I’ve listed a few books you should own and/or gift to your favorite corporate trainer.


The New Social Learning by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner

Amazon link

Corporate training professionals continue to struggle with social media and what it means for training and learning. Your organization may be experimenting with enterprise social media, or maybe just holding a “wait and see” attitude. Either way, social media is impacting every industry and organization. And it will soon be impacting yours. The New Social Learning will help you organize the ever growing world of social media and how you can leverage it in your training strategies. Marcia is one of the most experienced, and well connected, in this space. This one book will no doubt positively impact your 2016 strategy, your thoughts about training/learning, and your career.

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl Kapp

Amazon link

Gamification is one of the most misunderstood terms in our business. If you really want to educate yourself on the topic there is no greater source book than this. Dr. Kapp turns out some of the best graduates in eLearning development that I’ve ever met. His program is all about the reality of the corporate training business. And students graduate having already worked on projects with real world clients. So, Karl has seen first hand what works, and what doesn’t. And more importantly why they work, or not.  The book covers everything you need to know. And despite being a large text book, it’s quite approachable.

A Theory of Fun by Raph Koster

Amazon link

What is fun? If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, then you need to read this book. There are many insights in this book related to corporate training work. In some cases you need to think about it a little harder. But trust me, the insights are everywhere. If you are looking for more gamification, you won’t find it here. This is more about design and the deep reasoning behind why some things are fun and others are not.

slide:0logy and/or Resonate by Nancy Duarte

slide:ology on Amazon and Resonate on Amazon

Nancy’s work is beyond fabulous. As a corporate trainer you may never have her creative design sensibilities, but by following just a few simple tricks you sure can look like it. The eLearning industry has been bashing Powerpoint for many years. So much so, that I often feel sorry for the tool. It’s not Powerpoint’s fault. Nancy doesn’t focus on the tool. Her focus is on the message you are trying to deliver and how slides can support that story…in ways that don’t look like your typical Powerpoint slide deck.

And if you’re a training manager with some left over budget, you should consider buying multiple copies and giving them to your SMEs. You’re helping them as well as yourself.

The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle

Amazon link

I’ve selected this book because I’m a believer in meeting our learners in the middle. The legacy for our industry is in thinking we know what’s best for the learner. And for the most part that was necessary 40 years ago. Today control has mostly shifted from us to them. So in order to be better at what we do, we should understand how individuals are becoming better on their own. And figure out how to supplement that. This is great little book with many nuggets and makes a great stocking stuffer.


And I’ll throw in an extra book that may not be about corporate training, but IS about experiencing, and learning, something new. And how a subject matter expert with no training experience gets the job done. And I’ve discovered over the years that some of my favorite peers enjoy wine, whiskey, and whisky.

The Essential Scratch n Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert by Richard Betts

Amazon link

I was recently introduced to Richard Betts while listening to him on the Tim Ferris podcast. He has a fascinating story to tell about his journey in becoming a master sommelier.  By the way, there are less than 200 hundred master sommeliers in the world. I will go into more detail about sommelier connections to training in another post. And yes, there are a LOT of connections to training/learning to be gleaned from this.

For this post I will focus on the book. In this book Richard has taken on the giant task of making wine accessible to the masses. And in a time where, especially in the U.S., wine is considered a luxury he speaks of wine being a grocery. “A table isn’t set until the wine is set”. It is often our responsibility as training professionals to take complicated information and make it accessible to large, and varied, audiences. This book is a perfect example of a subject matter expert taking on the task of innovating the process of learning about wine.

And if you’re more into hard liquor you’ll be happy to know that he has done the same for whiskey with The Essential Scratch n Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whisky Know-it-all.