5 best books to read if you want to be a successful contractor

If you want to scale your business any construction company has to change and learn. I have spoked with many contractors and whenever someone ask for some tips of any good reads then these are 5 books any contractors should read. 

Time is valuable, so let’s cut to the deal and here are the top 5 books I would suggest. Each of them are from different genres and will help you to develop new skills which are essential if you want to be a successful contractor, project manager or in general improve your skills.

1. Building Construction Illustrated 6th edition by Francis D. K. Ching.

Construction industry is growing fast, new materials, systems and organizations are being developed and often we get lost. This book is more like an encyclopedia for construction people. In this book Francis has illustrated and explained basics in the construction industry: what is Breeam, types of materials, what factors you should consider when building, lighting sources and systems, smart facade types, modular foundation systems etc.. Basically you can find answers to any question.

2. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

The PMBOK Guide is widely recognized as the standard for project management. This book will teach you fundamentals about waterfall project management, how to do project cost, quality, resource, communications, risk, procurement, schedule, scope, integration management, etc..  Oh and if you want to do PMP certification then this book is a must read.

3. Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman

I believe this book should be read by any professional. Nobel laureate in economics science Daniel Kahneman shares his life work of how we think. How our minds make choices in business life and personal life. This book will allow you to better understand your partners, colleagues and help to develop communication and negotiation skills. As you know in construction business you will have many meetings and negotiations. I own this book in three different versions – kindle, paperback and audible. It is so packed with knowledge that you will want to re-read it over and over.

4. Never split the difference by Chriss Voss

This book is the bible of negotiation. In order to survive in the construction industry you must have good negotiation skills. Chris is an experienced FBI negotiator and in this book he shares his life knowledge and skills. This book is packed with lots of knowledge and know how. I still remember how I used one of the quote when my client didn’t answered to many of my email reminders about urgent question. I tried everything and nothing worked apart from this quote “It seems like you want this project to fail”. It was magic, as I got response within next 2 hours.

5. How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business by Douglas W. Hubbard. 

Construction industry comes with high risk and uncertainty while margins are low. By only understanding risk and uncertainty, large companies can survive. But how you measure uncertainty? Well in this book you will learn how to measure it with real life methods and examples. It even provides spreadsheets which you can use for yourself.

Author – Emil Berzins. Follow me on