Are you a non-native speaker working to improve your English so that you can start your own business or take the next step in your career?
18 months ago, I was in a similar situation. While I had the basics of English down, I struggled to use it more professionally to start my own business.
I have never lived in an English-speaking country, and in fact, my native language
In this blog post, I will recommend some of the best books to learn English and show how they can help you get started on entrepreneurial projects and professional opportunities.
TL;DR – Aaron’s Summary
Language Learning Journey: Books play a crucial role in helping non-native English speakers learn and improve their language skills.
Building Strong Foundations: For beginners, starting with foundational English books that focus on common phrases, grammar, and everyday vocabulary is essential.
Progressing to Intermediate Level: Intermediate learners can benefit from books that delve into more complex English grammar and collocations, aiding fluency.
Advanced Language Mastery: Advanced learners can fine-tune their English skills by exploring vocabulary-rich books, gaining near-native fluency.
Business and Career Advancement: English language proficiency is a powerful tool for career growth, and specific books cater to improving business communication skills.
Beyond Textbooks:Exploring diverse genres, such as fiction and biographies, can make language learning enjoyable and immersive.
Additional Learning Resources: Beyond books, language exchange, online courses, and shadowing native speakers are valuable resources for enhancing spoken English.
Unlocking Opportunities: Improved language skills can open doors to career success, effective communication, and personal growth.
Best Books To Learn English: Start Your Own Business (Image created with Midjourney)
How Non-Native Speakers Can Benefit From Books
It can be hard for people who don’t speak English to learn it. But books can help. Reading fiction or non-fiction books gives you practice with new words, grammar, and different ways to put sentences together. Books also give a peek into the culture and customs of countries where people speak English.
Reading books in English is a great way to learn. You can learn new words and phrases. This helps with listening and speaking. Even after you finish learning classes, you can keep improving your English by reading books. Some books also teach business skills, so it’s like two things in one!
If you are new to English, start by learning common phrases and grammar (Image created with Midjourney)
Level 0: Foundational Books For Self Study Of Simple Language
If you are new to English, start by learning common phrases and grammar. Also learn words for everyday things.
Here are the beginner books to learn English:
1) Advanced Grammar in Use with Answers by Raymond Murphy
Advanced Grammar in Use is my all-time favorite and I have started my own English elarning with this series. The first red book of the series teaches you all the essential English grammar you need. It covers basic sentence structures to help you keep your words in order. What I like most about the series is that it explains all concepts, but also has plenty space to practice. It is a thick workbook, and by the end of it you have a grasp understanding of all the essential English grammar. It is written in English, so there is no English translation of your native language, it is another “learning English through total immersion”.
2) English for Everyone: Beginner Box Set – Level 1 & 2 by DK
English for Everyone: Beginner Box Set Level 1 teaches you basic English skills like introducing yourself and talking about your home, city, and hobbies. You will learn new words and grammar rules. Level 2 teaches you more topics like feelings, health, routines, holidays, seasons and stories in the past tense.
3) Short Stories in English for Beginners by Olly Richards
Short Stories in English for Beginners is for people who are just starting to learn English. It has stories that will challenge you, but not too much. The book does not have translations in it. You can get vocabulary lists and exercises from the book, and you can also download audio online. I think this is a great book if you like learning languages through stories.
These books will give you an excellent foundation on which to build your more advanced English skills later, espeshially the basic English grammar is invaluable to learn early on for all English language learners.
fter you have learned the basics of everyday English, it is time to turn towards a bit more challenging reading material (Image created with Midjourney)
Level 1: Best English Grammar Books For Intermediate Learners
After you have learned the basics of everyday English, it is time to turn towards a bit more challenging reading material.
Here are the intermediate books to learn English:
1) English Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy
English Grammar in Use is a great book for people learning English at an intermediate level (B1 to B2). It can help you learn all the English grammar you need to know. The book has clear explanations and practice exercises that have helped many people around the world improve their English. You can use it by yourself or with your teacher in class.
2) English Collocations in Use by Felicity O’Dell and Michael McCarthy
English Collocations in Use teaches words that often go together. English collocations are important to learn if you want to sound natural. Phrasal verbs, adjectives and nouns are included.
You can learn words in different topics like “Using the Internet” and “Presentations”. Cambridge research will help you sound natural when you use English. There are also tips to help you study on your own.
3) Practical English Usage, 4th edition by Michael Swan
Practical English Usage is a helpful reference for English learners or those getting ready for a certification test. It is split into two parts: one for grammar and the other for vocabulary. The book explains tricky grammatical topics in detail that many students find difficult. The vocabulary section is specifically for understanding the nuances of certain words.
At level 1 you should have the basic English grammar fixed, and probably have better grammar (its and it’s *hem-hem*) than some native speakers.
At Level 2 your second language (or third, forth, fifth) will feel much more comfortable, being able to use phrasal verbs and comanding all written and unwritten English grammar rules (Image created with Midjourney)
Level 2: Vocabulary Books For Advanced English Learners
Finally it is time to fine-tune English skills for students preparing for to work in an English speaking environment or study to pass an English test of the C1-C2 level.
Here are the advanced books to learn English:
1) Advanced Grammar in Use with Answers by Raymond Murphy
Advanced Grammar in Use is very popular among English learners globally at an advanced level (C1-C2).I have used all books of this series through my English self-learning journey.
2) English Collocations in Use Advanced Book with Answers by Felicity O’Dell and Michael McCarthy
English Collocations in Use Advanced Book is designed to help advanced-level English learners (C1 to C2) improve their fluency and sound more natural. It covers English collocations with clear explanations and practice exercises.The book is comprehensive and covers various topics, such as “Writing essays, assignments, and reports.” This section gives learners a better understanding of the topic. Additionally, the book has study tips and exercises to help learners study more efficiently independently.
3) Advanced English Conversation Dialogues by Jackie Bolen
Advanced English Conversation Dialogues helps advanced learners with American English through relatable examples: Learning new words in dialogues is an effective way to understand how they are used in real-life situations. Enhance your vocabulary in American English by practicing with these expressions, phrases, and idioms.
At Level 2 your second language (or third, forth, fifth) will feel much more comfortable, being able to use phrasal verbs and comanding all written and unwritten English grammar rules.
For those almost as fluent as native speakers, some books will help you get even more fluent in your second or third language English (Image created with Midjourney)
Level 3: Interesting Reads For Quasi-Native English Speakers
For those almost as fluent as native speakers, some books will help you get even more fluent in your second or third language English:
1) The Vocabulary Builder Workbook by Chris Mele and Lagoosh
The Vocabulary Builder Workbook was designed for two types of users: native English speakers who want to improve their vocabulary for test preparation, and advanced ESL students who need to learn new vocabulary for writing or professional reasons.
2) The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
The Elements of Style is a widely used style guide for all kinds of writing. It covers detailed explanations of grammar, punctuation, and structure. The book helps readers write clearly, concisely and accurately. All levels of English learners can benefit from it as a reference guide, and it is a great reference book also for native writers.
With the right books, you can add some finesse to your communication and become more effective in conveying your messages (Image created with Midjourney)
Bonus Level: 5 must-read books for those who want to start their own business or accelerate their career
Are you aiming to start your own business or take your career to the next level? A skillful use of the English language can definitely help you in achieving both goals. With the right books, you can add some finesse to your communication and become more effective in conveying your messages.
1) English for Business Communication by Mable Chan
English for Business Communication is a great guide that can sharpen your English proficiency with a focus on business situations.The textbook provides a comprehensive guide for people who are learning English for business or work communication. It covers both written and spoken formats and is suitable for students and professionals. The book is based on current research in business communication and includes real-world examples from various countries. It addresses the actual communication challenges faced by businesses today.
2) Business Vocabulary in Use by by Bill Mascull
Business Vocabulary in Use offers a comprehensive list of essential words and phrases for the business world. The program can assist you in enhancing your vocabulary with simple explanations and practice exercises. It also allows you to learn business language in 66 different topics and skills, with a focus on authentic usage based on research from Cambridge. To aid self-study, follow-up tasks and an answer key are provided.
3) The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker provides tips on productivity and leadership skills while sharpening your English abilities. Drucker reminds us that a successful executive is someone who can effectively accomplish important tasks that others have neglected while also avoiding unproductive activities. Simply possessing intelligence, imagination, and knowledge isn’t enough to thrive in an executive role without the necessary habits of mind to turn those traits into tangible outcomes. Through examples from various industries and the public sector, Drucker highlights the unique abilities of successful executives and provides new perspectives on common business scenarios.
4) Speak Like a CEO by Suzanne Bates
Speak Like a CEO distills the wisdom of successful business leaders into a clear and engaging read. In Bates’ guide, you’ll learn how to create a persuasive message, handle performance anxiety, and leave a positive impression on your audience through a relaxed, professional, and engaging delivery. With this comprehensive resource, you’ll have all the tools you need to deliver a memorable and impactful presentation that captures your audience’s attention.
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a professional wanting to advance learning English further, these books can help you gain a competitive edge in the business world.
For Fun: Best Books For Gamyfying English Language Mastery
Wether you love science fiction, educational, fanatsy, or biographical works: not every book in English needs to be an English grammar book or business book.
Here are some authors and books I have enjoyed reading so much, I didn’t even notice I was learning a foreign langauge while doing it!
Agatha Christie: Death on the Nile
Stephen King: The Shining
J.K Rowling: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Michele Obama: Becoming
Kazuo Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day
J.R.R Tolkien: The Hobbit
George Orwell: 1984
C.S Lewis: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Yotam Ottolenghi: Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook
I hope you will find some books that will help you gamify your English language mastery! Happy reading!
Wether you love science fiction, educational, fanatsy, or biographical works: not every book in English needs to be an English grammar book or business book (Image created with Midjourney)
For those who cannot live in an English-speaking country: Additional resources to fast-track your speaking skills
Learning a language can be a daunting task, but don’t worry, there are resources available to make the journey smoother and more enjoyable! If you’re looking to improve your spoken English skills, consider looking beyond self study English books.
Do not underestimate the audio component of speaking English professionally, especially when it comes to business and international communication. Being able to conduct an English conversation like a native speaker is sure to fast-track your business endeavors. Youtube and Netflix are great resources to watch your favorite shows while experiencing practical English usage.
Websites like Coursera and Udemy offer a variety of courses, ranging from beginner to advanced levels, that you can take from the comfort of your own home. Plus, many of these courses are taught by experienced English teachers and feature interactive exercises and quizzes to test your knowledge.
Another great resource to check out is language exchanges, for example via Preply. These allow you to connect with native English speakers and practice your language skills in a more natural setting. Websites like Tandem and HelloTalk can help you find language partners all over the world.
So, don’t be afraid to branch out beyond what a book teaches and explore these additional resources – they might just be the missing puzzle piece in your language-learning journey.
Reading can be a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals in a practical and enjoyable way (Image created with Midjourney)
A final thought on using books to learn English
Reading books is an excellent way to enhance your English skills, which can greatly benefit your professional success in business and career.
Not only does reading books stimulate your mind and increase your vocabulary, but it also helps you to understand the different ways in which language is used to communicate effectively.
Through exposure to a range of writing styles, topics, and perspectives, you can improve your writing and speaking skills independent of your learning style and develop a sense of nuance that will enable you to communicate more effectively with your colleagues, clients, and customers.
Whether you’re looking to advance in your current career or pursue new opportunities, reading can be a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals in a practical and enjoyable way.
So why not pick up a book and start improving your English skills today and achieve the success in life you wish?
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I believe in you, if I could do it, so can you!