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10 Best Career Books To Help You Do Work You Love

10 Best Career Books To Help You Do Work You Love

Whether you’re new to the job market, or happen to be looking for a new path professionally, the following 10 career books will help you make that happen. These are the books you need to read in order to find and do work you love or take your career to the next level.

1. Find Your Why by Simon Sinek

    Do you know your WHY? Here’s mine: ”To inspire, empower, and educate people everywhere so that they can improve their lives and achieve their goals.” Every single thing I do in my career–my motivational speaking work, my writing, my podcast, and every one of my business ventures–revolves around my WHY.

    And this first book on our list will teach you how to find your own WHY, and how to draft your own WHY statement so that you can articulate your purpose to the world effectively and elegantly.

    Check out the book here.

    2. Deep Work by Cal Newport

      The author of this book, Cal Newport, told me on my podcast[1] that being able to sustain your focus for long periods of time is like a super-power. And I believe it. Especially these days–when people are more distracted than ever–it’s crucial to be capable of focusing on your work without succumbing to distraction.

      This book will teach you how to do that, which is why it’s one of the best career books out there.

      Check out the book here.

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      3. Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

        Designing Your Life teaches you how to take a design-based approach towards your life in order to live better and optimize the life you lead in every way, and in every area.

        The book was co-authored by Bill Burnett, one of Apple’s original designers; and Dave Evans, a mechanical engineer, and previous VP of Talent for Electronic Arts. Bill and Dave also teach a popular class together at Stanford that teaches students how to leverage design-thinking to customize a personal and professional lifestyle optimized for maximum fulfillment. This career book is based on their Stanford life-design class.

        Check out the book here.

        4. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

          This is one of my personal favorite books. It’s powerful and practical, especially if you’re looking to find and do work you love.

          And, if you’re already doing meaningful work, Scott will teach you how to put the proper systems in place to make the most impact with the work you do. In this book, you’ll also learn–as the title entails–why failure is never a sign you won’t eventually succeed.

          Check out the book here.

          5. Mastery by Robert Greene

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            It doesn’t matter how old you are or how successful you are in your career, there’s always room for improvement. And that’s what this book is all about: becoming a student of your craft.

            Mastery is about falling in love with what you do, even when it gets hard. This book taught me about how important it is to choose a career that you’re willing to work on becoming better and better at for the rest of your life… Because if you can find that, as the old saying goes, “you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

            Check out the book here.

            6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

              Influencing others is an art. Do it wrong and you come off as sleazy. But if you do it right, you can win the admiration of others and advance your career.

              Learning how to deal with people is one of those skills you won’t learn about in most classrooms. You won’t find it in any business training manuals, either. But if you can learn how to do it, it’ll pay off more than any other specialized skill you can learn–regardless of what industry you’re in. How to Win Friends and Influence People is a crucial career book no matter who you are.

              Check out the book here.

              7. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

                After you read How to Win Friends and Influence People, do yourself a favor and go get this book. Why? Because it’ll teach you how to create powerful professional networks that you can tap into throughout your career.

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                Your network may not be the only thing that determines your net worth, but it sure plays a big role in doing so.

                Check out the book here.

                8. Drive by Daniel Pink

                  Motivation — sometimes it can be tough to muster up. But what if you could create “on-demand” motivation for yourself? How cool would that be, right?

                  Well, this book teaches you how to do that, not only for yourself, but for others as well. In Drive, you’ll learn about the components of human motivation, and how to effectively motivate yourself and others… Both of which are essential elements of succeeding in almost every career.

                  Check out the book here.

                  9. Give and Take by Adam Grant

                    Give and Take is essential reading because it focuses on how strategically giving to others and adding value to the lives of others can ultimately benefit you. It’s a guidebook for creating a thriving and fulfilling career, while helping others in the process. In this career book, you’ll learn how helping others can propel your professional life forward.

                    Check out the book here.

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                    10. What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles

                      If you’re on the hunt for a new job, or happen to be looking for a new career, then this book is for you. The book is updated yearly, but the core concepts remain the same:

                      Finding a career you love is more than possible if you can navigate interviews, have a marketable skill-set, and are willing to be flexible and creative.

                      This book will teach you how to do that.

                      Check out the book here.

                      Which Book Will You Read First?

                      Now that you’ve got this list of career books, there’s only one question left… Which one do you read first? Should you go out and get all of them immediately? Should you read them all at once?

                      So many options. So little time. Ultimately, it’s totally your decision what you do with this list and how you apply it to your life and career.

                      But if I may, here’s what I would suggest you consider as you get started:

                      If you’d prefer to read an entire book, I would highly suggest that you read just ONE book at a time. Sometimes, when we see something new and exciting, we have tendency to want to do/learn/read it all at once… and as we all know, this is nearly impossible to do without stressing ourselves out. So, choose a book. And then commit to reading it from start to finish.

                      If you’re in a rush, try Audible audiobooks, or book summary apps such as Blinkist or InstaRead.

                      More Books to Help Advance Your Career

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Dean Bokhari

                      Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

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                      Published on January 7, 2021

                      How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

                      How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

                      Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

                      If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

                      Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

                      You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

                      When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

                      Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

                      In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

                      Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

                      3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

                      Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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                      1. Respect deadlines
                      2. Understand the work-flow plan
                      3. Build in time to mess up

                      1. Respect Deadlines

                      Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

                      One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

                      2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

                      Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

                      3. Build in Time to Mess Up

                      You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

                      Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

                      For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

                      Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

                      This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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                      Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

                      Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

                      Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

                      When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

                      12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

                      Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

                      1. Learn to Listen Well

                      You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

                      Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

                      2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

                      Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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                      3. Follow Rules

                      Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

                      4. Take Notes

                      Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

                      5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

                      When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

                      As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

                      6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

                      If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

                      7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

                      English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

                      8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

                      Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

                      9. Minimize Distractions

                      It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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                      If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

                      10. Take Breaks

                      It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

                      11. Make Time for Reflection

                      At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

                      12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

                      This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

                      Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

                      When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

                      More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

                      Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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