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5 Must-Read CX Books in 2021

Written by Alida

Published April 30, 2021

We’re less than a week away from Alida Activate and we couldn’t be more excited to connect with hundreds of customer experience professionals from around the world and support them on their transformation journey to CX excellence. If you haven’t registered, it’s not too late! We have a series of unforgettable sessions and masterclasses lined up that will provide the tools and knowledge needed to champion CX transformation in your organization. 

Don’t want to wait a week to start learning? You don’t have to! We reached out to our expert panelists and speakers and had them share their top CX reading recommendations. Without further ado, check out the list of the top 5 best CX books as chosen by the experts!

Happy Reading!


1. Outside In

We are thrilled to have Kerry Bodine deliver the opening keynote at Alida Activate. Kerry is a renowned leader in the CX space, founder and CEO of Bodine & Co., and co-author of Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business. 

By Kerry Bodine & Harley Manning

outside in

Kerry Bodine: I’m so proud of our work on this. And I’m both thrilled and amazed that it continues to be a go-to book for people studying for the Certified Customer Experience Professional exam and for others who want to learn how to develop greater customer centricity in their organizations.

2. Delivering Happiness

delivering happiness

By Tony Hsieh

Kerry Bodine: Back in 2010, I read this book cover-to-cover on flight from NYC to San Francisco. By the time the plane landed, I had made two decisions that would shape the rest of my life. 1) I would devote my career to helping organizations improve their customer experiences. And 2) I would write a book to inspire others, as Tony had inspired me.


3. The Effortless Experience

effortless experience

By Matthew Dixon

Kevin Kwong: Simple concept of linking effort to experience. It's a great book with a lot of actionable and thought provoking content applicable across customer journeys and interactions. Applying this to my own experience with brands, it seems obvious how reducing effort for the customer when they're on a specific mission (such as seeking support for an issue) shapes overall satisfaction and loyalty sentiment long term. Such a simple concept, but such an "aha!" moment!


4. Design of Everyday Things

design of everyday things

By Don Norman

Paul Hagen: This was my introduction to human-centered design about 20 years ago and it rocked my world. It was sort of like a curse. After reading the book I saw the world in a different way. After reading, whenever I came across a door that I wasn't sure whether to push or pull or how to program the TV remote or how to do a seemingly simple thing online I became irritated at the designers who lacked empathy with end users and customers. Norman is a giant who established many of the norms and practices for designing better more usable experiences. His mindset and advice still resonate today.


5. Educated


By Tara Westover

Iva Kralj-Taylor: I was inspired by this memoir of resilience, hunger for knowledge and independence. Her story opened my eyes that learning is not linear and doesn’t need to take traditional forms. It changed my view in terms of what education is and reinforced my constant journey to learn more and never stop to be curious.


We hope you enjoy reading these books as much as our experts did! Once you have, share your thoughts with us on social media!

Did your favorite CX book not make the list? Let us know! And Join us at our event Alida Activate Spring Edition, happening May 6th, to hear from these CX expert panelists and more. Save your spot today!


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