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10 Best Career Books To Help You Do Work You Love

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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.

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                      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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                      Last Updated on August 25, 2021

                      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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                      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

                      As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

                      Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

                      According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

                      “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

                      A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

                      What Is Your Personal Brand?

                      “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

                      Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

                      Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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                      I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

                      A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

                      Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

                      Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

                      Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

                      In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

                      According to Castrillon,[2]

                      “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

                      The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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                      As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

                      In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

                      “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

                      When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

                      The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

                      Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

                      The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

                      5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

                      These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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                      1. Set Your Personal Goals

                      What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

                      2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

                      Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

                      1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
                      2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
                      3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
                      4. What makes you different from others like you?

                      The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

                      3. Write Your Professional Story

                      Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

                      4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

                      Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

                      5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

                      A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

                      The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

                      Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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                      As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

                      Other People’s Stories

                      Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

                      Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

                      Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

                      “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

                      So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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