Martin Messier

April 15, 2024

The following list offers the top 10 NLP books I recommend you read. Once you're done, you will have a good grasp on what the field has been about for the past few decades.

This list contains beginner level material that can serve as an introduction to Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It also contains more advanced material that offers important distinctions about communication. 

What can you expect from reading the NLP books on this list?

Here are the criteria I used to put together this list:

  • Practical: each of these NLP books offers effective techniques and strategies that you can learn and apply rapidly. Not all may be easy to learn, but you can learn them.
  • Well-written: you will not find any dud on this list.
  • Grounded: nowadays, you will find countless websites on the internet selling you NLP as the ultimate panacea to solve all your problems. NLP is like a hammer: it only works in the hands of a skilled carpenter. These NLP books won't BS you.
  • Generative: these books will also help you discover more about yourself and your skills.

Without further due, let's get to...

The Top 10 NLP Books You Should Read

For each book, I tell you a quick overview of the ideas it contains and why you should read it.

(Just so you know, the links to the books are affiliate links. I get a tiny commission should you choose to purchase the book.)

NLP at Work, by Sue Knight

I call NLP at work the most straight forward of NLP books currently available on the market. I often recommend it as a way of introducing NLP to novices.

In the first part of the book, Sue provides one of the clearest descriptions of the field that I have ever come across. If you get the book only to read this part, it will certainly be worth your investment. It has summaries, checklists and case-studies. The information is thoughtfully and carefully package to maximize what you get out of it.

NLP is more than techniques. There's a spirit behind it, and this great book offers it.

Who should read this NLP book?


  • you're searching for new and effective ways to explore and experience work,
  • you want to understand NLP in a clear, non-jargon way, explained in simple language,
  • you'd like to discover how NLP is already a part of who you are and what you do,
  • your work involves leadership or management,
  • you're interested in how to harness the power communication and influence,


Let's begin with one of the most important and compelling arguments for it: Sue Knight is known in the NLP community as a congruent teacher. While it may seem like too subtle of an ingredient to make a difference, it means a lot when it comes to the "grounded" criterion. You can trust that you can realistically apply the material she teaches because she lives it. This integrated approach informs her entire body of work.


Secondly, Sue Knight understands implicit and explicitly the core discipline of NLP: modeling. This comes out clearly in his book. She translates the principles of NLP into the workplace by finding exemplars and outstanding performers, distilling their thinking and behavioral patterns into simple models and sharing them with others.


She uses this approach in the book. She seasons every chapter with story after story that illustrate the principles and patterns in action. Anyone who has come close to NLP understands how complicated the field is. Her approach helps simplify the topics so that newcomers can immediately learn and begin to put what they learn into practice.

I suggest you first give it a full read-through. Then, start using it as a reference manual and dip into it, reading bits and pieces to address the specific challenges you may be confronting at a time.

Final thoughts on this book...

This NLP book delivers what it promises. There is no ambiguity, no filler material, just solid descriptions and explanations, lots of how-to's and just enough background information to create context for the practical applications.

You will feel touched by the rich insights this book offers, and by the care Sue took to support you in learning NLP communication principles and integrating them in your every day communication.

You will also enjoy the thought-provoking questions Sue nicks you with throughout the text. She consistently sends you on an internal trip where you discover more specifically how you perceive and evaluate the world around you.

Treat the book as a wonderful atlas that takes you on a discovery journey of the world of communication, and you will extract the greatest value from it.

Words That Change Minds, by Shelle Rose Charvet

What if you could know instantly how to speak to someone in a way that motivates him or her? And what if you could only give someone a task that he or she would do well? And what if you could instruct someone to do something in way that appeals to him or her?

You can. This is the book that will teach you how to do it.

I recommend this NLP book to any serious student of communication who wants to take that extra step. This book shows you how to choose the words you use carefully, whether speaking or writing, so as to maximize your impact on the person you communicate with.

Who should read this NLP book?

If you:

  • interface or consult with others,
  • hire employees,
  • go on sales calls,
  • apply for jobs,
  • work in HR,
  • have to match people to the right jobs,
  • help people improve their interpersonal communications,
  • lead a team,
  • want to know how to use language to influence people,
  • wish to avoid other people manipulating you,
  • want to understand the practicalities of how language works,

read Shelle's insightful book.


Of all NLP books, this is the classic on metaprograms and their application in business. It presents meta-programs in a simple, understandable and highly readable way.

It's organized around Roger Bailey's work, which he eventually turned into the LAB Profile. It offers many powerful, actionable strategies, and is well-written, original, easily understood, practical, and full of illustrative anecdotes.

So, what are metaprograms, what is the LAB Profile, and why should you care?

The best way to understand this is to explain is backwards.

LAB in "LAB Profile" stands for "Language And Behavior." The LAB Profile consists in a comprehensive series of questions to elicit 13 specific metaprograms from someone. Bailey chose these 13 patterns because they are easy to elicit conversationally by asking natural questions. Moreover, they have meaningful application in the business world. It is no coincidence they are also useful in personal life. The LAB Profile looks specifically for patterns that indicate a person's motivation style and working style.

Filters we use daily

"Metaprogram" is the term used in NLP to label the content-free "filters" we apply in our everyday life and use to make up our model of the world.

Knowing this helps you understand how that person works in a team, what kind of instruction they need to receive, and what they expect from their coworkers. Knowing the rule structure of two people helps mediate between them and facilitate their working together.

Flexibility in your communication

This book will give you flexibility to communicate with others regardless of the nature of the relationship. Shelle teaches that when you're speaking with someone, you almost always want to pay attention to the structure of their answer instead of the content.

If you're new to the idea of "knowing who" you are talking to so you can "match" their language, you will find it brilliant.

Practical context

What makes this Shelle's book valuable is that she places every metaprogram in a practical context. She offers an overview of each meta program but also goes into practical details, such as:

  • what questions to use to elicit a person's position on any of the meta programs discussed
  • how to identify what meta program positions are best suited to a given job
  • and how to frame a job or product advert so that it "speaks to" the optimum audience

Street-level examples

She also provides a myriad examples and real-life anecdotes that showcase the metaprograms at work, and how you can apply them to situations at work.

They come in handy when you need to establish rapport and have people listen to you, understand you, and even agree with you. Above all, the book flows in an excited (and exciting) style that gives the impression that she had a lot fun writing it.

Final thoughts on this book...

Once you master all the presented patterns, some will seem obvious on hindsight. On second thought, you'll realize that it would have taken you many hours of thoughtful observation on who is saying what, and how, before you were able to catalog these patterns in their entirety in a coherent manner.

It is definitely in the pantheon of the greatest, most useful business NLP books out there.

Sleight Of Mouth, by Robert Dilts

Back in 1982, Steve Andreas edited the transcript of a seminar by Richard Bandler and John Grinder into a book titled "Reframing". In that book, which became an NLP classic, Bandler and Grinder discuss two types of reframing, Meaning & Context. They also teach a change protocol that they call Six Step Reframing, designed to be used in a therapeutic context.

With Sleight Of Mouth, Robert Dilts has packaged all the reframing patterns into a single elegant model that you can use conversationally.

Few seminal NLP books are as practical as this one.

Who should read this NLP book?

If you work in:

  • sales,
  • management,
  • leadership,

where you have to create a world to which people want to belong, this book is a MUST READ.

Belief Change

Sleight of Mouth is all about changing beliefs and the transformation of meaning. Robert Dilts takes the NLP universe of language patterns from the "mysical heights" and magically transforms it into knowledge that novices can comprehend in just a day.

He used to say that he named the book, "Sleight of Mouth" because it was about performing verbal magic. It wasn't his intention to teach elaborate tricks to deceive people.

Single word reframes

For instance, the single word reframe consists in relabeling an experience from "Hard" to "Challenging." While both labels tag the very same experience with the notion of difficulty, they carry different emotional implications. One presupposes that it can be overcome with some degree of resourcefulness while the other does not.

Another example found in the book is how words such as "But", "And" and "Even Though" can completely alter the emotional undertone of a sentence.

For instance:

  • I like James but he is really tall.
  • I like James and he is really tall.
  • I like James even though he is really tall.

Can you feel the slight shift in nuance from one sentence to the other? Each phrase shifts the frame through which the listener perceives what you have to say about James.

Key concepts in reframing

Besides the single word reframe, Robert Dilts goes into key concepts such as:

  • Chunking
  • Values
  • Hierarchy of criteria
  • The structure of beliefs
  • Thought viruses

He also provides you with practice exercises so that you can assimilate the concepts into your behavior.

Final thoughts on this book...

These patterns offer a great way to help clients, employees or colleagues overcome any objections or resistance that they might present to changing their behavior or making a purchase.

While I wouldn't label this as 100% beginner material, it offers enough great explanations and examples that a committed reader of any level can understand.

Business NLP for Dummies, by Lynne Cooper

Would you like to get a direct, practical book to get you started with NLP within the context of your work? If you work in a business, this one may just be the perfect book for you.

NLP concepts and techniques, when leveraged in the context of business, can transform performance both at an individual and team level. This practical manual to NLP in professional contexts will help you become more flexible, more influential, and more successful, whatever career path you are taking.

Who should read this NLP book?

This book is for you if you're trying to:

  • succeed in business
  • develop fantastic communication skills
  • build your motivation
  • sharpen your negotiation abilities
  • build your leadership skills

This book will help you use NLP techniques to develop these essential skills and build your strengths in your workplace. You will also discover how tiny changes in your daily endeavors will put you solidly on track towards business excellence.

In Business NLP for Dummies, you will find the most useful concepts and practical activities from the world of NLP. All of them are chunked into perfect bite-sized pieces and categorized so you can assimilate them quickly. This book also ranks among the first to bring the concept of clean language to the mainstream.

Clear instructions

Throughout the book, Cooper focuses tightly on a realistic and pragmatic approach to using NLP. She offers simple, step-by-step instructions so you can learn to change yourself, and in turn influence others around you.

Great for novices

She stays away from all the hypey, mysterious mumbo jumbo that many have associated to NLP. She doesn't cover either any sort of lingustic trickery and manipulation. I found this a fine approach to welcome beginning students to the field.

Business NLP for Dummies make NLP concepts more easily understandable. Cooper offers plenty of references, sources and links, which creates a nice trail to follow for students wishing to explore along the field.

Final thoughts on this book...

If you're not very familiar with NLP and want to apply it in a professional setting, this book is a great introduction to the field. It will help you get an edge on the competition and to become a more effective leader.

Mind Lines, by Michael Hall

Mind Lines is Michael Hall's top selling book of all times, although he calls his particular brand of NLP "Neurosemantics."

If you have never heard or read about Meta-States, I suggest you first brush up on the concept before diving into this one. Mind-Lines demonstrates how to leverage the Meta-Model and the Meta-States model for conversational reframing. Using this model, you can change meaning for influence in communication.

Who should read this NLP book?

Do you:

  • Like to understand what makes people who they are?
  • Enjoy knowing what makes your life far easier where interpersonal relationships are concerned?
  • Want to know what makes folks tick?
  • Interact with humans?
  • Manage?
  • Lead?
  • Coach?
  • Train?
  • Sell?
  • Parent?
  • Love?
  • Seduce?

This book will enhance the skills you need to conduct business every day.

Get this book.

Creation of meaning

Human beings are meaning-making machines. Most do not pay attention to all the meanings that they create. This book gets into the weeds of it in fine details. It is packed with information so you may want to take your time and read it in bits.

Michael Hall offers that when you create meaning, this meaning in turn creates the frame of reference, or the lens, through which you view reality around you.

For example:

  • If you have lived through a lot of pain during your childhood, you may have created meanings through which the world might appear as a scary place — even if there is no real danger present.
  • If you lived through a lot of joy during your childhood, you may have created meanings through which you view the world as a safe place.

The frame you place around external occurrences create your experience of those occurrences.

Review your frames

This book will help you review the frames you have set in your life and reset the ones that disempower you. Once you do that, you can then turn around and leverage the Mind-Lines framework to powerfully communicate with and influence others.

Doing the work to master it will payoff dramatically, giving you more control of your experience and the experience of others.

And it's funny... As you read and work the magic of the Mind-Lines on yourself, you might even come up with new ones and you will feel your mind opening up. Literally, it will "blow" your mind. I experienced this first-hand.

Elegant model

Whether you appreciate Michael Hall's work or not, he pulled off a not-so-obvious tour-de-force with this work. He remodeled the sleight of mouth patterns, organizing them along the logical level system developed by Robert Dilts.

This makes for an elegant reframing model, and helps sort the language patterns so the reader can more easily remember them.

Mind Lines ranks among the best NLP books I have read, that describe the magic of NLP and the profound impact reframing limiting beliefs can have on one's life.

Superior organization

If you have the time and budget, I recommend you read "Sleight of Mouth" first, so you can understand the techniques in greater depth. Then, read Mind-Lines to learn how to best organize them for easy access and use.

A simple formula

If you understand a simple formula, you will understand how to operate Mind-Lines: External Behavior = Internal State. If you do not understand what this equation means, the following example will clarify it for you.

  1. You see or hear something (External Behavior)
  2. You equate that stimulus to an idea or feeling (Internal State)
  3. You express that equation in your language ("Your sloppiness (External Behavior) makes me sick (Internal State).")

This book will teach you how to:

  • Direct attention in 7 different directions
  • Leverage 26 language patterns to transform limiting beliefs
  • Apply the Meta-Model distinctions practically, to add even more specificity to your communication
  • Use tranceful language naturally from within your language simply by structuring it differently

Here's a sample...

Here is an example of some of the patterns you will learn to use. Let's get back to our example from above:

"Your sloppiness makes me sick."

After you go through the book, here are some comebacks you will have available:

  • Reflect back: Have you ever dressed sloppily in your life, and didn't make someone sick?
  • Counter example: If I dressed sharply would that make you feel on top of the world?
  • Contrast: Just because someone dresses sharply doesn't mean it makes others feel great. Just because someone dresses sloppily doesn't mean you have to feel sick, does it?
  • Meta Model, Chunking down: How specifically, does my way of dressing make you sick?
  • Mind Reading: How do you know to feel sick? Are my clothes tied to your stomach?
  • Value: What's more important, my being here, or what I'm wearing?
  • Allness: What would it be like if everyone dressed sloppily, all the time? Would it mean that you'd always feel sick? What kind of world would that be?

Of course, to use some of these effectively, you do need to be skillful at building rapport.

Final thoughts on this book...

If you're not very familiar with NLP and want to apply it in a professional setting, this book is a great introduction to the field. It will help you get an edge on the competition and to become a more effective leader.

6) Unlimited Selling Power,
by Donald Moine and Kenneth Lloyd

Unlimited Selling Power, by Donald Moine

The authors of this NLP book affirm that it is possible to develop top salespeople by applying the principles of NLP to sales presentations.

At the beginning of the book, the authors give some background information on hypnosis, how it works, and how it has been leveraged in counseling. Then, they demonstrate how to apply rapport, language, tonality and delivery techniques in sales contexts. While it may appear slimy on the surface, they offer very solid advice on the art of persuasion that can be applied with integrity.

Who should read this NLP book?

This is book is specifically targeted for people who work in sales. If you are a:

  • sales person,
  • sales manager,

Unlimited Selling Power will help you increase your performance.

Over the course of my career, I have read many books on sales techniques, and how to improve my sales skills. Most sales books talk about motivation, drive, and enthusiasm. Many offer a list of set responses for different objections.

Ultimate Selling Power, on the other hand, describes in depth how communication works and why say certain words to potential customers to guarantee we get the response we desire.

An explicit model

Unlimited Selling Power breaks down explicitly what effective salespeople have been doing implicitly for years.

It describes in detail what to say, how to say it and when to say it. It is very concise and to the point. It does not go on and on on one subject, instead it gives a lot of information. Towards the end, it shows you how to put it all together for everyday use.

New possibilities for salespeople

The average salesperson is unaware of the majority of persuasion techniques found in this book.

When I recommend this book to salespeople, they often come back to me saying that they had not heard about many of the things explained in this NLP book. Some report that what they learned here propelled them to significantly increase their results.

Taking this into account, this is the #1 of all NLP books available for understanding the use of Ericksonian conversational patterns for improved selling.

Final thoughts on this book...

Out of all the NLP books about influence on the market, this is definitely one of my favorite ones. If you like to learn a lot about how easily you can be influenced to open yourself up to new and better techniques, then you will want to read this book over and over again.

A final warning: for people who would use this information to selfish ends and manipulate potential buyers, don't. It will always come back to bite you in the @$$.

For best results, use intelligently and responsibly.

7) Persuasion Engineering,
by Richard Bandler and John LaValle

Persuasion Engineering, by Richard Bandler and John LaValle

The warning at the beginning of the book really sets the tone for what's to come:

"While it may seem that some of the sentence structures in this book read as grammatically incorrect, they are written for a purpose, as NLP and grammar do not necessarily share the same structure".

Just as with Mind-Lines, don't come to this book unprepared. Make sure you read a littlebit of NLP before you sink your teeth into it.

Who should read this NLP book?

Anybody who has to influence people in their line of work will benefit from reading this book. If you:

  • sell,
  • lead,
  • manage,

Persuasion Engineering will expand your possibilities in how you communicate.

The Bandler character

A sales training book as hilarious as this doesn't come along everyday. In typical post-90's Bandler style, this book showcases him as a crazy character who really challenges you and motivates you to really get out there and "just do it."

You may find him unlikable and disagreeable, but you love him anyways, and that alone proves that what he states works on some level. If you're not used to see Richard in action, you may want to watch a few of his videos on YouTube before you get started on this book.

Form over content

Persuasion Engineering offers a wealth of information on persuasive communication and selling, not because of the methods it teaches, but because of the way in which they are taught.

As usual, Bandler goes overboard in hopes that you will would meet him halfway. And if you go just halfway, you'll really change the way you communicate.

A modeling book

Bandler is weird in his writing, as in all his books, and that's what makes him so effective. As with most Richard Bandler books, this is a modeling book. Bandler does not share designed techniques. Instead, he shares patterns that people naturally do when things work.

This NLP book does exactly that. It covers everything from the sales process through to the close, as it happens in a natural sales setting.

Selling feelings

For novice salespeople, the book teaches you to use the communication opportunities that are right there in front of you all the time. Selling is way more simple than most trainers would have you believe. You don't need to find and dig for pain or suffering, or use a gajillion different closing techniques.

One of the greatest takeaways from Persuasion Engineering is that you are not selling a product or service. You are selling feelings. Associate those feelings to your offer and you will make sales.

Don't read literally

As usual, Bandler comes off as outrageous and hilarious at times. He has a warped sense of humor, and it will either turn you on or off. Also, do not take Bandler literally on everything he shares.

There's a passage in the book where he talks about dressing up as a priest to sell automobiles. Did that really happen? I sincerely doubt it. However, he offers that as a pattern interrupt to push the limits of our creativity and show that we set our own limits when it comes to the way we communicate.

This book also differentiates itself from other texts on influence and persuasion in that Bandler uses way more ambiguity than any author I know. Some parts of the text seem off, but it's simply the ambiguity he tries to transmit to his student, to ultimately stimulate his or her ability to leverage ambiguity in his or her communication.

Action steps

If you want actual action steps to follow after reading Persuasion Engineering, how about these:

  1. Develop a simple set of questions to uncover someone's model for buying your product.
  2. Craft a list of objections to inoculate against.
  3. Practice ambiguities and embedding commands to increase your flexibility.

Final thoughts on this book...

This book will not only teach you to persuade, it will also persuade you to do so with more confidence and power without asking you to do anything unethical. I have a much deeper understanding of language and communication know than ever before.

Take the teachings in this book, use them and watch your income dramatically rise.

This book is simply unequaled in the field of business and sales.

8) NLP the new technology of achievement,
by Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner

NLP: The New Technology of Achievement, by Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner

After wading through self-help for several years, I've come to the conclusion that this is one of the best comprehensive books on the general topic of self-help.

NLP: The New Technology of Achievement guides you step-by-step through specific instructions to learn the characteristics of top achievers and create a model for unlimited success.

Who should read this NLP book?

Anyone who is interested in:

  • getting an overview of NLP,
  • consumes a lot of self-help books,

There is much to learn and digest in the discipline of NLP, and a good intro will go a long way to demythologizing the practice and making it approachable.

NLP workshop on paper

I like to call this book the "NLP workshop on paper." This book is simple and user friendly for the lay person who hasn't the time or money to do NLP certification workshops.

Keep in mind, NLP is best learned by doing it as opposed to reading it. NLP is not verbal; it is better done through experience. However, this book offers a solid introduction to the tools.

Easy to understand

This is the most accessible NLP book that I have had the privilege of reading and applying. As a long-time practitioner, I'm always looking for NLP books for a refresher or for new applications.

Most other comprehensive NLP books contain jargon and complicated words. Their authors use language that is not accessible for people who haven't studied NLP before. These authors chose a different path. They chose to craft a book that uses language any individual can read and understand.

Exposes the reader to many tools

It takes many tools out of the NLP toolbox to guide the student to become more confident, a better communicator, build rapport with greater ease and effectiveness, overcome phobias, learn how to better understand others and complex situations, and so on.

It gives you all of the classic techniques that they teach you in workshops such as the 'swish technique', running the backward movie and dissociation, and if you keep a journal and practice the exercises in each chapter, they build on one another and stack up to help you improve your performance.

Valuable exercises

The phobia chapter alone is worth the read for anyone with a fear, or anxiety in any situation. For someone who wants more confidence in any situation, a more positive attitude, better motivation, get over a painful memory, (who doesn't?), it's all there. There are tools and exercises and they work. This will help you take control of your mind.

This book requires time. The exercises are meant to be tried over and over until one can do them efficiently and effectively.

A unique 21-day program

In the back, you put all of the exercises into practice with a 21 day Unlimited Achievement Program. I was particularly pleased to discover it. It is a hidden gift to be used as a step-by-step resource for achieving more in business and life.

Final thoughts on this book...

The imagery exercises detailed in the book allow the reader to come away from reading the book, with a solid knowledge of NLP, practices, and use, as well as tools for teaching and mentoring others to use these approaches as well.

Though NLP doesn't profess to solve all problems, it does help to identify thinking structures to allow all readers to come away from reading this book, better than when they started.

This is really a self-help book that leverages NLP techniques to deliver. Its greatest strength is the exercises. Do them to get the biggest bang for your buck with this book.

9) Awaken the Giant Within,
by Anthony Robbins

Awaken the Giant Within, by Anthony Robbins

This isn't an NLP book per se, but Tony Robbins' training with John Grinder and intensive work with NLP in his early days ensures that all of his work is imbued with NLP material.

Tony didn't invent the basic NLP concepts in this book -- Bandler and Grindler did in the late 70s. There are perhaps smarter NLP people than Robbins. Robbins' genius is packaging NLP in a way that made it available to everyone, not just "experts." Think of it as the "Tony Robbins NLP style."

Who should read this NLP book?

Anyone who wants to take control of their life and increase their level of performance.

Personal change

Quite simply, I think this is one of the best books written on the mechanics of personal change. It forces you to conduct a reality check and take a hard look in the mirror.

This book is chockful of useful techniques that work.

You are not your past

In its essence, Awaken the Giant Within teaches the following: you are a reflection of all of your past thoughts and actions, but you are not your past. It's only your mind that is stuck, leaving you in a rut.

The lessons in this book serve as the tow truck to help "you" get yourself out.

Mental structures that affect your behavior

In this book he emphasizes how beliefs, values, and your rules affect your behaviors. He links pain and pleasure as the reason why people make decisions.

For example, if an individual is overweight and desires weight loss, but links a lot more pleasure to eating unhealthy foods and pain when it comes to exercising, (s)he will have a hard time achieving that goal.

Tony Robbins gives step by step tips on how to associate pain to your bad habits so that you can ultimately stop those decisions or bad habits and make better life choices.

A thorough explanation of emotions

In his TED talk, Tony stresses how human emotion defines whether an individual break through limitation or succumbs to it. This book is the "How To" manual for understanding emotions practically and then using them to effect positive change in our lives and the lives of those around us.

The chapter on "rules" and the chapter on "emotions" by themselves will leave you feeling you got your money's worth with this book.

Quality questions

Wouldn't it be great to solve your problems using effective questioning? Tony also explains the importance of asking yourself quality questions. He describes how your mind will find whatever you tell it to seek. If you ask lousy questions, you will get lousy answers.

How language affects emotion

How about if you could better understand how your everyday language affects you emotionally? Tony explains how our every day vocabulary and metaphors can affect the way we are feeling.

For example, using the metaphor, "I hit a brick wall" means "I'm feeling stuck." Tony teaches how to break those metaphorical patterns by responding to this by saying, "Then climb over the wall" or "Then go around it."

Too much self-patting on the back

My only criticism with this book is that Robbins relies heavily on personal anecdotes (frequently in conjunction with abundant name-dropping) that can easily come off as self-congratulatory.

He describes how we can use our everyday language to benefit our daily lives.

Final thoughts on this book...

We all have amazing emotional resources within us. Once we learn how to utilize them, there is nothing that can stop us from achieving the results we desire. Many have criticized Robbins for "merely stating the obvious", but you'd be surprised how many people miss what is right there in front of them all the time.

What he does is guide you into taking your blinders off and helping you to step out of yourself to really SEE the forces that guide every action you take.

After you read this book, you will start noticing patterns in people's behaviors and whether those patterns benefit or ruin them. This book will give you a fresh perspective on your life and the factors that contribute to why you are where you are.

The bottom line is -- if you are interested in change, buy this book. But realize that you may have to try again and again before you get successful. Remember Edison tried 10,000 times before he found what made electricity work. Where would we be if he had given up at 9,999?

NLP: The Essential Guide, by Tom Hoobyar, Tom Dotz and Susan Sanders

This user-friendly guide, written by three seasoned NLP Master Practitioners and coaches, leads you on a personal journey in using and applying NLP in everyday life. Through their real-life stories, you will experience the NLP strategies you need to achieve specific results in business and in life.

Who should read this NLP book?

Just as with NLP: The New Technology of Achievement, this book is ideal for:

  • novices,
  • people who want an overview or a summary of NLP,

As you read NLP: The Essential Guide, you'll find yourself thinking in new ways and applying the techniques to your own personal challenges and opportunities for greater satisfaction.

A useful synthesis

This book has helped me put it the entire field together. It takes all the information from Practitioner and Master Practitioner level trainings, and then some, and puts it in proper perspective, order and understanding.

The exercises are described so that the reader can experience the benefits of the portion of NLP being taught. Think of this book as a working manual to be returned to time and time again for new insights and tools in helping yourself and others to obtain the positive lives and behaviors they seek.

Highly practical

The first section takes you through a step by step mini-course in NLP, that is punctuated along the way with exercises to do before you read ahead.

These exercises make the written content come alive in a personal way so that the information is experienced and not just experienced intellectually.

Section two connects NLP to how we relate to others. The authors stick to the point and do not get tangential in telling a lot of stories to illustrate their points. You don't have to pick through a lot of unnecessary 'rambling' to get to the 'meat' of the book.

A primer on emotional intelligence

Nowadays, emotional intelligence is quite fashionable. However, very few of these psychologists can articulate clearly how to apply their findings and what exactly we need to do to become more emotionally intelligent.

These NLP authors really hone in on how to apply proven techniques to build emotional intelligence.

Innovative format

Being an avid kindle reader, I have noticed that publishers sometimes fail to bridge paper to digital formats. They succeeded wildly with this NLP book.

It offers a great many cross links, live and active, inside the text. It also links in many places to the NLP comprehensive website, along with several other resources, both in text and video format.

Talk about over delivering! I did not expect it and valued it highly.

Final thoughts on this book...

Of all the books I listed above, the authors of this one were the most generous. And this is why I left it for last.

The bottom line is that you will receive much more than you pay for: you will receive the book, and a box of unexpected gifts.


I hope you appreciated this review of the top 10 NLP books for influence and top performance.

If you did, please share it with people who will benefit from it. 

Martin Messier

January 12, 2024

I love when science studies edge cases.

This morning, I discovered Stanford had conducted a study on the effect of Tony Robbins's events Unleash the Power Within and Date With Destiny on people who suffered from depression.

The results are worth reviewing.


Finding #1: Date with destiny is more effective in treating depression than traditionally studied treatments.

Finding #2: Study participants report a +50% increase in positive emotions and a 70% decrease in negative emotions.

Finding #3: Study participants saw a 38% decrease in anxiety during the pandemic, even 11 months later, while the baseline showed a 28% increase.

Finding #4: Tony Robbins event participants experienced physiological shifts that created a measurable change and lasting effect. 

300% Increase in cognitive performance 

159% Increase in learning hormones 

139% Increase in performance biochemistry


Here's a summary video where Tony presents findings:

Here is the full website on the research, where you'll find links to the original published peer-reviewed study:

Clearly, knowing NLP and learning from John Grinder pay dividends.

Martin Messier

January 8, 2024

My daughter is just a joy of a girl. Outstanding student, great singer, dedicated young professional, and just a delightful human being... She's definitely daddy's pride and joy.

On Saturday, she came to me and asked for my help. She told me she was experiencing a conflict about which path to follow. She has been torn between pursuing a career as a singer vs an actress. This dilemma revealed her challenge in making decision.

I sat down with her and started asking her about what she was experiencing. Within a minute, we nailed that she was afraid of making the wrong decision and nailed this as the cornerstone problem causing the conflict.

I asked her to get me a notebook and a pen, and started walking her through the sequence of questions I teach in Meta Model Mastery, in that precise order.

In less than 10 minutes, we were able to map out the entire "complex" that was making her miserable, and it came down to a simple chain:

If I don't know what to do --> I'm going to get lost --> I'm going to get scared

Two minutes and a reframe later, problem solved!

(Let me know if you'd like to know what the reframe was.)

Yesterday, she came back from work and shared two things with me that I loved:

1. She had used the exact same step-by-step process with her boyfriend that same night and helped him solve his problem, relieving massive stress.

2. She now felt tremendously excited about moving to Toronto to begin pursuing a career as an actress in musical theater.

I got a kick out of her stories.

First, because she was able to help her boyfriend without ANY training in Neurolinguistic Programming by simply applying a turnkey process she went through herself.

Second, because I always enjoy when simple changes start rippling into my clients' lives and boost their ambitions.

And it all starts with the simple understandings I share in Meta Model Mastery. And you can learn them in less than 45 minutes until tomorrow night.

Martin Messier

January 7, 2024

When I decided to create a training program on the Meta Model, I examined what most NLP students complained about when it came it to putting it into action — then set out to correct the training errors that gave rise to those issues.

These issues are caused by flaws in training. I designed training that overcame each of these flaws. This has made the Meta Model accessible to any NLP Practitioner and helps them put it into practice confidently. Dozens of students have already gone through Meta Model Mastery. It helped them finally put the Meta Model in action. It works.

Five issues resolved

Meta Model Mastery helps NLP Practitioners correct the five core issues they face when attempting to use the Meta Model in their everyday life or in their work.

Uncertainty about when to use it

Traditional NLP training leaves students with the impression that they should use the Meta Model only when they are coaching or counseling someone.

Meta Model Mastery offers distinct examples with commentary, offering many different scenarios and how to approach them creatively using the Meta Model.

Feeling mechanical and unnatural

Traditional NLP training makes you sound like an FBI interrogator when you use the Meta Model.

Meta Model Mastery teaches you the combinations of language and attitude that make it sound completely natural.

Forgetting question categories

Traditional NLP training chunks the Meta Model into 27 patterns. They're impossible to remember.

Meta Model Mastery rechunks the Meta Model into only 5 intuitive questions.

Disrupting the flow of conversation

Traditional NLP training teaches you to "challenge" the person you're speaking with.

Meta Model Mastery helps weave the Meta Model into the natural rhythm of any conversation with finesse in a way that enhances the conversation.

Over-analyzing the person's speech

This is due to traditional NLP training teaching Meta Model "violations" to look out for.

Meta Model Mastery shifts the guiding paradigm of the Meta Model so the Practitioner truly interacts with others rather than analyzing what they are saying.

If you're interested, you can enroll in Meta Model Mastery until Tuesday night. It hasn't been available for enrollment in over a year, and will probably not be available again until next year.

Martin Messier

January 6, 2024

Think of a scenario where an NLP practitioner is working with a client who says, "I feel stuck." This statement is vague and leaves much to interpretation. Without sensory acuity, a practitioner might miss the subtle cues that are key to understanding the client's underlying issue.

Sensory acuity in NLP refers to the ability to notice and interpret these subtle cues – changes in tone, body language, and facial expressions that often speak louder than words.

The Meta Model becomes an indispensable tool to bridge that gap. As a navigational tool, it not only clarifies language but also trains the practitioner to be attuned to nuances in the client's responses.

By consistently using the model's questions, NLP practitioners can enhance their sensory acuity. This heightened awareness allows them to pick up on the unsaid, the subtle shifts in emotion and thought patterns that are crucial for effective interventions.

Start by familiarizing yourself with the basic components of the Meta Model. Understand the three main categories: deletions, distortions, and generalizations. Each of these elements helps in identifying the missing pieces in communication.

(If you want a much simpler approach, use the five intuitive categories I teach in Meta Model Mastery, which will show you what you need to know in 45 minutes to use the Meta Model proficiently.)

Next, practice active listening. This involves not just hearing words but also being attuned to the pitch, pace, and pauses in speech. Observe body language closely. A slight shift in posture or fleeting facial expressions often reveal more than words could.

Then, engage in reflective questioning. Questions like "What specifically makes you feel stuck?" or "How exactly do you experience that feeling?" compel both your client and you to focus on details. This practice not only clarifies communication but also trains the practitioner's senses to be more receptive to non-verbal cues.

Finally, apply this in real-life scenarios. Whether in professional settings or personal interactions, utilize the Meta Model to deepen your understanding of communication. Pay attention to the responses you receive and observe the difference in your sensory awareness.

Martin Messier

January 5, 2024

For those already versed in the realms of NLP, the Meta Model is a familiar concept. But here's a thought that might elude them: mastering the Meta Model offers the highest ROI on NLP learning.

Consider this: during Practitioner training, the Meta Model is presented as yet another "technique" in the NLP toolkit, diluted away by other components of the NLP canon.

However, the Meta Model is not merely a tool in your NLP toolkit. It's the Swiss Army knife that brings a multiplier effect to every other technique you possess. Whether it's Sleight of Mouth, Sub-modalities, or complex strategy work, a deep understanding of the Meta Model accelerates and amplifies your effectiveness. It's like upgrading from a manual toolkit to a high-powered, precision-engineered machine.

However, the sad truth is that many NLP practitioners skirt around the edges of truly mastering the Meta Model. It's like owning a Ferrari but only driving it in first gear. The potential for speed, power, and agility is there, but untapped.

The Meta Model is more than just a pathway to understanding someone's issues, whether it's a client or a team member. It's a versatile instrument that can be wielded in countless contexts - from persuasive communication and problem-solving to spiritual development and self-mastery. It transcends the therapeutic setting, becoming a tool for transformation in every aspect of your life and the lives of those you touch.

But here's the kicker: most people don't realize the full spectrum of its applications. They don't recognize that mastering the Meta Model is akin to gaining a superpower in communication. Truly mastering it is like discovering a hidden room in a house you thought you knew well.

As we step into 2024, I challenge you to look at the Meta Model not just as another module in your NLP curriculum but as the key to unlocking your full potential as a practitioner, coach, consultant, leader or changemaker. Whether you're designing a new business venture, leading a team, coaching a client, or navigating personal challenges, the Meta Model equips you with the acumen to identify and understand limitations and misconceptions with precision and grace.

In a world overflowing with information and techniques, the true mastery of the Meta Model is an act of simplicity and depth. It's about going back to the basics, but with a perspective that sees the infinite possibilities in the fundamentals.

So, as you delve deeper into your NLP journey, remember: the real power lies in mastering the Meta Model. It's not just another tool; it's your unfair advantage.

And to celebrate the new year, I am re-opening enrollment in Meta-Model Mastery until Tuesday.

Martin Messier

January 3, 2024

Often, in coaching and leadership, the most powerful tool is not the loudest voice, but the most insightful question.

Let's picture this: as an NLP Practitioner, you're engaged in a dialogue, the usual back and forth. Beneath the surface, though, there's a deeper level of engagement happening: the Meta Model is playing its invisible tune in your mind.

The beauty of the Meta Model is not in its overt display but in its covert operation. It's like a chess grandmaster who sees not just the move in front of them but the next five moves ahead. When you deeply understand the Meta Model, you gain this foresight in your conversations. You're no longer just responding; you're strategically guiding the dialogue, uncovering layers of meaning that were previously hidden.

By the time you voice the question, you've already asked it in your mind, as part of a constellation of other questions about what the other person is describing.

And here's where improvisation comes in – the ability to adapt your questions and responses to the flow of the conversation, making each interaction as unique as the person you're speaking with. Ponder how sophisticated the process becomes when you blend in intonation, intention, and attitude with the words of the question...

Think of it as a jazz musician improvising a solo. They know the scales and chords, but the music they create in the moment is unique, responsive to the rhythm and mood of the piece. That's the Meta Model in action – a framework that allows for boundless creativity within the bounds of effective communication.

Delve into the Meta Model. Understand it, practice it, and then, let it blend seamlessly into your conversations as you become unconsciously competent at using it.

Martin Messier

January 1, 2024

Happy New Year, esteemed readers! As we step into 2024, let's begin with a dash of NLP wisdom, focusing on anchoring, meta-model questioning, and future pacing to create a year that resonates with accomplishment and fulfilment.

Firstly, establish powerful anchors for 2024. Choose a moment from the past year that filled you with confidence or joy. Relive it in your mind, feeling that surge of positivity. Now, anchor this feeling with a gesture or a word. Whenever you need a boost this year, activate this anchor to summon instant motivation and happiness.

Next, as you set your goals for the year, question any vague or limiting beliefs. Ask yourself: "What specifically do I want to achieve?" and "How will I know when I have achieved it?" This clarity will cut through ambiguity and set you on a precise path to your objectives.

Lastly, engage in future pacing. Imagine yourself at the end of 2024, having achieved your goals. What are you doing? Who are you with? How do you feel? Imprinting these detailed future memories will guide your subconscious towards making these visions a reality.

May your 2024 be a masterpiece of intention and achievement, sculpted with the tools of NLP. Happy New Year! 🎇📘✨

Martin Messier

December 30, 2023

As coaches and change agents, we often find ourselves standing at a crossroads. One path leads us down the familiar route, where our own perspectives and experiences dictate the journey. This is what we call in NLP "First Position" – a comfortable and self-assured stance. But what if, just for a moment, we venture down other paths?

Imagine, as a coach, stepping into the shoes of your client. This "Second Position" isn't just about seeing through their eyes; it's about sensing their heartbeats, feeling their fears and aspirations... It's a transformative experience, not just for them, but for you too. It's where empathy blossoms, and real connections are forged.

Yet, there's a third path, less traveled but equally enlightening. The "Third Position" – an observer's perch. From here, you're neither in yours nor your client's shoes; you're the wise old owl in the tree, watching the interaction with a calm, detached understanding. This vantage point gives you the clarity and objectivity needed to guide effectively.

So, here's a tip gained from years of coaching: Begin your sessions firmly rooted in your perspective – understand where you stand. Then, gently shift into your client's world, empathizing, understanding. And finally, ascend to that observer's perch. It's from this holistic view that you'll see not just the trees or the forest, but the entire ecosystem in which your client thrives.

For a coach, embracing these perceptual positions isn't a technique; it's tapping into the wisdom of seeing the world through multiple lenses and, in doing so, helping others find their path, their edge, and their truth.

Martin Messier

December 29, 2023

What if the key to breakthroughs in coaching didn't lie in what people think, but in HOW they represent their thoughts?

Often, we focus intensely on the content of our clients' or teammates thoughts, emotions, and experiences. We dissect their stories, analyze their beliefs, and challenge their perspectives. But, what if the levers to breakthroughs lie deeper? What if it's not just about the thought itself, but the very fabric of how these thoughts are structured and represented?

Meta-modalities offer us a unique lens to view and help shape our clients' internal representations.

(This a core concept traditionally known as "sub-modalities" in NLP but later updated by L. Michael Hall and Bobby Bodenhamer in their book "Sub-Modalities Going Meta". It's hairy reading, but absolutely worth the time and effort.)

These fine distinctions in how we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste our thoughts can be the hidden levers that unlock massive shifts in perception and emotional response.

Imagine a client who constantly battles with self-doubt. They might 'see' their failures as looming, vivid images or 'hear' their internal dialogue as a loud, critical voice. By helping them adjust these meta-modalities — dimming the brightness of those images, or softening the tone of that inner voice —suddenly, they begin relating to their goals and desires differently.

As leaders, understanding and utilizing meta-modalities allows us to go beyond surface-level conversation. It empowers us to guide our clients in reshaping their internal landscapes. A slight tweak in the 'zoom', 'brightness', or 'volume' of their thoughts can lead to profound shifts in their emotional world.

Explore this fascinating realm. Start paying closer attention not just what people are thinking, but how they are thinking. Pay attention to the qualities of their internal representations. Experiment with adjusting these meta-modalities using language and observe the powerful impact these adjustments can have.

This approach is about transforming how thoughts are experienced. It's a journey into the architecture of our internal world, and it can be the gateway to breakthroughs in leadership, coaching and sales. The subtlest shifts could lead to the greatest transformations.