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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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                      Last Updated on March 29, 2021

                      5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

                      5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

                      When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

                      What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

                      The Dream Type Of Manager

                      My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

                      I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

                      My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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                      “Okay…”

                      That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

                      I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

                      The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

                      The Bully

                      My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

                      However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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                      The Invisible Boss

                      This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

                      It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

                      The Micro Manager

                      The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

                      Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

                      The Over Promoted Boss

                      The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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                      You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

                      The Credit Stealer

                      The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

                      Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

                      3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

                      Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

                      1. Keep evidence

                      Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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                      Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

                      Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

                      2. Hold regular meetings

                      Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

                      3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

                      Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

                      However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

                      Good luck!

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