6 Death & Funeral Industry Books To Sharpen Your Skill Set

Are you ready to step up your game in your funeral business, but aren’t sure how?!

We’ve got you covered. 

We’ve collected some of our favorite books on communication, holding space, emotional intelligence, loss, grief and leadership (some of the most important habits of a successful funeral pro) to help you spark some fresh motivation!

Why wait? Let’s dive right in and see where you can expand your skill set:


Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration and Change

Review snippet: “Day Schildkret’s book Hello, Goodbye is the most direct and moving guide to ritual that I have ever read. . . Here you will find simple, evocative, original, powerful rituals for bedtimes and seasons, for new names and new homes, for birthing and coming out, for growing up and grieving—but not only rituals. . . . You just might discover a way to live more consciously, with feeling and gratitude.” 

– Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, author of The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons

Why we love it: If there is one thing we can acquaint ourselves with to make it through this modern society we live in, its ritual. There are rituals for every kind of loss in this book, and that’s why it’s such an important companion to the modern seeker. As religion declines and spirituality increases, we are being asked to lean on ancient wisdom and trust in its ability to hold us through it all. This book is that invitation and more.

Who this book is for: Funeral professionals who want to support families with rituals, and anyone who desires a feeling of safety and support through transitions and loss


Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Review snippet: “I’ve read a ton of non-fiction and business minded books and they all seem to have the secret to getting more out of your life, your business, your relationships, etc. That’s all well and good, but the most effective changes – coincidentally – may in fact take the least amount of brainpower. They come in the form of habits, ways our brain have been wired to do things naturally and without thinking, and more importantly, small, daily or near-daily actions that trigger reward centers in our brain.”

Why we love it: If we want to be successful in our business, we need to recognize that our success is directly related to the choices we make each day. Atomic Habits offers a space to consider and bring awareness to these choices. Is staying up late watching Netflix and drinking wine when you have 2 calls the next day the path to success? Probably not. Sounds like more of a coping mechanism to cover up deeper feelings and emotions. This book is truly a gem in helping you to create a more conscious lifestyle that supports a more conscious, successful business. Hands down. Don’t miss this book!

Who it’s for: Funeral business owner and leaders in the funeral industry. We are leaning on you to create some new trends for all of us steeped in consciousness and mindfulness please!


21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling

Review snippet: “If you are in sales, this book and everything that Jeffrey has ever published is a “must-have” for your library and for your success on the job. You’ll learn the true meaning of Jeffrey trade-marked saying: “People hate to be sold but they love to buy!”

Why we love it: Sales is a part of the job as a funeral professional, no matter how much you hate it. No one wants to sell to a grieving person. Some of us may have some ethical challenges around it. However, what if you saw selling as service? This book really helps to support you in making that mindset shift so you can better your sales techniques by serving your families better. Check it out and see for yourself!

Who it’s for: The funeral professional who resists sales but knows they need sales skills to survive in their job or funeral business.


Holding Space: On Loving, Dying, and Letting Go

Review snippet: “This is a beautifully written book about the challenging practice of remaining present—holding non-reactive space—around emotions of grief, sorrow and loss. This practice is brought alive through many touching vignettes from the author’s life and work as a hospital chaplain and as a doula for the poignant transitions of birth and death. I recommend Holding Space highly for hospice workers, religious and medical professionals, and for anyone facing personal loss.” 

—Jan Chozen Bays, Mindfulness on the Go and Mindful Eating

Why we love it: As we step into a new era of funeral service, we must ask ourselves what it truly means to hold space for death. It’s no longer an option to lean on tradition. Families want more. They demand more. And this book helps you to understand where they’re coming from, and the importance of having the ability to hold space well figured out. Plus, it’s a deeply inspiring read with lots of anecdotal stories along the way.

Who it’s for: The funeral professional who knows tradition isn’t the way anymore, but they’re not sure how to show up and level up their service for their families.


Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience

Review snippet: “This levels the playing field by providing a common language for communicating emotions by helping you understand the nuance between words we often use incorrectly or interchangeably. A valuable relationship tool to understand your own emotions, for parents and teachers to provide children with the opportunity to learn early how to communicate what they’re feeling, for families, partners, leaders… for everyone. Could we reset the culture and start from here, please?”

Why we love it: Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors, so I may be biased, but this book should be a manual for all death care workers. Having the ability to speak to and hold complicated, nuanced emotions and feelings is a super power. And not many of us have that skill naturally. So use this book as an atlas to guide you to have deeper conversations with your families, and show up for them better and more equipped with solid emotional intelligence at play.

Who it’s for: We really recommend this book to funeral professionals who shy away from deep emotions and have a hard time putting language to deeper, nuanced experiences that they’re client families are experiencing.


Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships

Review snippet: “Marshall Rosenberg’s dynamic communication techniques transform potential conflicts into peaceful dialogues and create compassionate connections. I highly recommend this book.”  

— John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus

Why we love it: This book is the ABC-123 of conscious communication. The Microsoft CEO requires every leader on his team to read this book and master non-violent communication. Not only will you be more equipped to handle conflicts, but you’ll be better able to mediate any complaints from families. With this book and its skill set offered, you can be a true leader!

Who it’s for: Ideally, a leader in any funeral business or organization, or anyone who considers themselves to be a leader.


Over to you

We hope these books inspire you in some way, or give you hope in some way. When we stop learning, we become stagnant in life and in business. Our prayer is that we all learn and grow together by learning from one another, and leaders in the fields we feel we’re lacking.


What other books have helped you to become a better funeral professional or death care worker? Tell us in the comments below!

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  1. Chad Peterson

    Rochelle, Excellent recommendations!

    Add: Tibetan Book of the Dead, and Die Wise – A manifesto for sanity and soul.