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Our Favorite Reads for Relationship Building

Building the industry bookshelf one recommended read at a time.

From our internal teams to our external partners and clients, redpepper’s community is our most valued asset as a company. We’re relationship builders and maintainers at heart—that’s why collaboration is at the center of our process (and part of what sets us apart). And sharing the stories we stumble upon that help us grow as collaborators is a way that we can help our teammates grow with us.

This list isn’t a compilation of any single redpepper’s favorite books, but a collection of titles various members of our team have been inspired by and shared with the rest of us—and we’re happy to share it with you. Have a look at some of the books that have helped our team build and maintain relationships (whoever the relationship may be with). We encourage you not to judge these books by their covers…they may be more applicable than they seem. Be warned: you’re entering a gold mine.


How to Fall in Love with Anyone, Mandy Len Catron

This is such an interesting memoir from the author of the NYT essay ‘To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This’. Catron covers the history, psychology, and biology of love to present answers to some of the most basic questions of love. I found that this book, although it didn’t directly support my knowledge and growth as it pertains to advertising and marketing, has helped me make more sense of the world we’re living in and the relationships we have. 

It’s also important to mention that this is not a self-help book, nor does it give you a prescription for the perfect love..and that’s one of the things I like about it the most.

Clare Thomas, Account Executive

My job was not to choose a good person to love, but rather to be good to the person I’d chosen.


The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, John M. Gottman, Ph.D & Nan Silver

There are certain people who just nail topics, for example, the way that John Maxwell nails leadership. Dr. John Gottman and his wife Dr. Amy Gottman have accomplished this in the space of relationships. They’ve had a marriage lab in Seattle for over 40 years where they can predict divorce with 90% accuracy. It is based on the ratio of positive to negative interactions with you and your significant other. He’s written several books, but if you only read one, this is it!

Tim McMullen, CEO

Human nature dictates that it is virtually impossible to accept advice from someone unless you feel that that person understands you.


Be the Coolest Dad on the Block, Simon Rose & Steve Caplin

As if being a Dad isn’t cool enough, this book manages to make it even cooler. There are tons of clever ideas to keep any Dad at the top of their game. If you’re like me and get daily inquisitions from you first grader in the likes of “If secondary colors are made from primary colors, what are primary colors made from?” then this is required reading. Although, that question is not answered in this book so if you know the answer pls tell me.

Matt Reed, Creative Technologist

If all the Legos in the world were divided up evenly, we’d get 30 pieces each.


Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell

Even if we don’t manage people for a living, we are all leaders in our own lives and the relationships that fulfill them. And we can all use a little push now and then to grow into our potential.

Samara Anderson, VP of Sales & Marketing

We think we can easily see into the hearts of others based on the flimsiest of clues. We jump at the chance to judge strangers. We would never do that to ourselves, of course.


The Trusted Advisor, David H. Maister

Regardless of the industry you may work in, if you hope to build relationships with clients or customers — this book is a must-read. It is an engaging guide for how to transcend the default mode of work relationships (transactional) and achieve a higher plane of true connection.

Jen Williams, Director of Client Services

From certain behaviors (attention paid, interest shown, advance work done, empathetic listening), we infer the internal state we call sincerity.

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