Here's a look at the best books for law professionals looking for life and work inspiration.

As if you don’t read enough briefs, statute updates, CLE course books, and an endless amount of emails, there are some very helpful books out there for attorneys. You may not be inclined to add to your never-ending to-do list, but these books can help you manage that to-do list much more efficiently.

To remain certified by the American Bar Association, lawyers are required to complete a certain number of hours of Continuing Legal Education. The same should be required regarding your own personal growth.

Understanding the law is the basis of being a successful attorney, but building yourself and your practice are also important to your success. The following books are beneficial to growing your business and personal skills.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People

This time-tested book has been required reading on syllabi for numerous business courses for one reason, it works. Interpersonal relationships, particularly for law professionals, are very important in your personal and work life.

This book breaks down how to handle people, gain friendships, influence decision-making, and influence change in others.

These are all important skills for attorneys, trial lawyers in particular, because winning a jury over has a lot to do with presentation.

In terms of business development, this is helpful because as you are able to create more business relatiinships, you are increasing your network and reach.

The business relationships you create will lead to referrals and more business. This is a quick read and will give attorneys the ability to grow themselves and their business.

One reviewer of How to Win Friends & Influence People said they gave away three copies: one to their lawyer, one to their friend and one to a favorite customer.

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The Art of War

Sun Tzu

The Art of War

Reading this book may be a lofty goal, due to lack of free time; but, since you survived reading legal course books in law school, this should be a breeze.

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise from the 5th century B.C. Each chapter is focused on a different aspect of warfare. Although it would seem that this book on war strategies would be inconsequential for an attorney, the strategies explained in this book have since influenced areas including business tactics, legal thinking, marketing strategies, and others. The wide applicability of these strategies make it a powerful book for attorneys.

“When it comes to trial strategy, we need to give some thought to how we approach trials and how we proceed,” writes Paul Luvera, at Plaintiff Trial Lawyer Tips. “I have read this material [The Art of War] several times, but I gather new thoughts each time I review it.” He says that many stories and parables in the book can be extremely relevant to today’s legal landscape.

Understanding of the strategies, tactics, and thought processes that are involved in different military actions is easily translated and applied to everyday life. The courtroom is your battlefield, come prepared with a better understanding of how the game is played.

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Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being

Martin E.P. Seligman

Flourish A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being

Many attorneys struggle with finding happiness, either due to upset clients, bad verdicts, being overwhelmed, or any of the numerous struggles they face daily. While it is easy to say, happiness is a choice, putting that theory into practice is rather difficult.

This book focuses on the happiness that is gained through achievements. It makes the clear distinction between achievements and income. Our world seems to judge others’ happiness based on how much money they make, but that is a dismal outlook on life.

Flourish completely changed the way I approach my practice,” said Jared Everton, a car accident attorney in Arizona. “It’s all about managing expectations and realizing that small victories are often the key to contentment.”

Seligman focuses on feeling accomplished with each and every difficult task you face each day. This is applicable to attorneys in that they complete difficult tasks daily, and do so under constant pressure and incessant deadlines.

Finding happiness will not only benefit your legal career, it will benefit your life as a whole.

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Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man

Self-centeredness is an ever contagious character trait that seems to be an epidemic in the world we live in today. People are focused on their own immediate issues and forget to consider the struggles of those around them.

Invisible Man follows the story of a black man, who is rendered “invisible” in a white man’s world, due to the color of his skin. It portrays the isolation and suffering that accompanied the hardships faced from being a black man before the civil rights movement.

This book inspires personal growth and an increased empathy for the plight of others. It allows readers to gain a new perspective on the journey to equality. In the ever growing diverse world we live in, empathy and understanding are required for cohabitation.

It is easy to get caught up in your own legal practice area or your own issues, but consciously considering the background and feelings of others will help you gain a better understanding of the person and be better able to help them.

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The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law

Ward Farnsworth

The Legal Analyst A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law

While the first four recommendations were focused on personal growth, this last book is legal oriented but will benefit both your legal and personal life. This book is a toolkit for thinking. It explains the structure of arguments, and how to break them down to understand the true intentions and be able to separate fact from flaw. Flawed thinking is a common issue not only in the legal arena, but in life in general. People fall victim to flawed thinking every day.

The Legal Analyst will help you create stronger arguments and have the ability to break down other people’s arguments and discern their validity. It is easy to see how this would benefit a person in the legal field and in their own life.

The Legal Analyst is exactly what the title says – a toolkit of ways in which law professors, lawyers, and judges in today’s world think and talk about the law much of the time,” writes Kenneth Anderson at The Volokh Conspiracy.

“Even for those of you who don’t teach law students, it is a very entertaining and revealing book, one which can be read it tiny chunks; it probably is an excellent Kindle book, because you can read a chapter at a time on your iPhone.”

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Personal progress is an important aspect to focus your time and energy. Multi-faceted, knowledgeable attorney are the most successful. Reading is easy way to relax and still learn. You likely face a commute of some sort to and from the office each and every day, utilize that time to better yourself by listening to these books on audiobooks.

Putting in the effort to better yourself is not futile. Any increase in knowledge or understanding is an improvement. If you are willing to sacrifice the time to read these books, they will have the ability to change your outlook on life.