Officials stopped prisoners from getting their hands on The Power Of Persuasion, which gives readers tips on how to influence others.
Scottish Prison Service chiefs withheld the book after an inmate had a copy posted to him at high-security Shotts Prison.
The Lanarkshire jail holds some of the country’s most notorious criminals, including rapists and murderers.
The publication claims to reveal the secrets of successful persuasion. Its author also exposes tactics used by politicians and salesmen and says he can help readers resist their charm.
Shotts wardens intercepted a copy after becoming concerned that prisoners could use the book’s tricks against them.
One insider said: “An inmate had the book removed from his personal belongings. The wardens had a look at it and decided that the guy could use it to manipulate them into giving him what he wanted.
“They also didn’t want the book being passed round the rest of the prison so he was told it was on a list of banned books.
“Shotts keeps heavy-duty prisoners and many of them wouldn’t miss a chance to take advantage of wardens.
“But you’ve still got to laugh. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that a prisoner could gain the upper-hand on them by simply reading a book.”
The £13 book, by Harry Hazel, was published in 2005 and is on its second edition.
Prisons regularly screen reading material posted to inmates but don’t have an official list of banned publications.
Paedophiles have been prohibited from having some books and magazines with images of children.
But in 2010 the Sunday Mail revealed that sex offenders at Peterhead Prison, Aberdeenshire, had access to slasher films with explicit sex scenes.
They also had magazines with X-rated images of women.