Starting out or starting over? Phases of a career could be at any point of Aspiration (perhaps just starting out and looking to grow), Success (currently moderate achievements), or Failure (Firings, layoffs, bankruptcies). These books are organized by current phase. Regardless of what stage you might be in, these books come from a collection of career coaches, elite contributors, and authors to create a list of books for giving a career boost.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
In this eye-opening account, Cal Newport debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. Not only is the cliché flawed-preexisting passions are rare and have little to do with how most people end up loving their work-but it can also be dangerous, leading to anxiety and chronic job hopping.
After making his case against passion, Newport sets out on a quest to discover the reality of how people end up loving what they do. Spending time with organic farmers, venture capitalists, screenwriters, freelance computer programmers, and others who admitted to deriving great satisfaction from their work, Newport uncovers the strategies they used and the pitfalls they avoided in developing their compelling careers.
Matching your job to a preexisting passion does not matter, he reveals. Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.
Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong
Much of the advice we’ve been told about achievement is logical, earnest…and downright wrong. In Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker reveals the extraordinary science behind what actually determines success and most importantly, how anyone can achieve it. You’ll learn:
• Why valedictorians rarely become millionaires, and how your biggest weakness might actually be your greatest strength
• Whether nice guys finish last and why the best lessons about cooperation come from gang members, pirates, and serial killers
• Why trying to increase confidence fails and how Buddhist philosophy holds a superior solution
• The secret ingredient to “grit” that Navy SEALs and disaster survivors leverage to keep going
• How to find work-life balance using the strategy of Genghis Khan, the errors of Albert Einstein, and a little lesson from Spider-Man
By looking at what separates the extremely successful from the rest of us, we learn what we can do to be more like them—and find out in some cases why it’s good that we aren’t. Barking Up the Wrong Tree draws on startling statistics and surprising anecdotes to help you understand what works and what doesn’t so you can stop guessing at success and start living the life you want.
The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters
How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? In The Serengeti Rules, award-winning biologist and author Sean Carroll tells the stories of the pioneering scientists who sought the answers to such simple yet profoundly important questions, and shows how their discoveries matter for our health and the health of the planet we depend upon.
One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated―there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar―there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet.
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. Look around your office or home—at the tablet or smartphone you may be holding or the chair you are sitting in. Everything in our lives was designed by someone. And every design starts with a problem that a designer or team of designers seeks to solve.
In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.
Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity
Crossing the Unknown Sea is about reuniting the imagination with our day to day lives. It shows how poetry and practicality, far from being mutually exclusive, reinforce each other to give every aspect of our lives meaning and direction. For anyone who wants to deepen their connection to their life’s work—or find out what their life’s work is—this book can help navigate the way.
Whyte encourages readers to take risks at work that will enhance their personal growth, and shows how burnout can actually be beneficial and used to renew professional interest. He asserts that too many people blindly trudge through a mediocre work life because so many “busy” tasks prevent significant reflection and analysis of job satisfaction. People often turn to spiritual practice or religion to nurture their souls, but overlook how work can actually be our greatest opportunity for discovery and growth. Crossing the Unknown Sea combines poetry, gifted storytelling and Whyte’s personal experience to reveal work’s potential to fulfill us and bring us closer to ultimate freedom and happiness.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money–the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink in Drive. In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction–at work, at school, and at home–is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does-and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation–autonomy, mastery, and purpose–and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action in a unique book that will change how we think and transform how we live.
Letters From A Self-Made Merchant To His Son by George Horace Lorimer
Short letters to his son during and after college. It’s packed with stories to illustrate the advice he’s giving. Even though it was written in the 1800’s the advice and stories remain relevant. From career advice for someone just getting started at the bottom to advice for moving up, each letter delivers personalized advice for each phase of a career (and life).
It’s full of amusing, wise quotes: “A man who does big things is too busy to talk about them. When the jaws really need exercise, chew gum.” Other advice ranges from how to pick a wife, how to manage, why marketing is worth it, how to sell, why the higher you go, the straighter you have to walk.
Foundation (moderate achievements)
Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly
In this revolutionary book, economist John Kay proves a notion that feels at once paradoxical and deeply commonsensical: the best way to achieve any complex or broadly defined goal, from happiness to preventing forest fires, is the indirect way. We can learn how to achieve our objectives only through a gradual process of risk taking and discovery-what Kay calls obliquity. The author traces this seemingly counterintuitive path to success as it manifests itself in nearly every aspect of life, including business, politics, sports, and more.
“If you are clear about your high-level goals and knowledgeable enough about the systems their achievement depends on, then you can solve problems in a direct way. But goals are often vague, interactions unpredictable, complex extensive, problem descriptions incomplete, the environment uncertain. That is where obliquity comes into play.” John Kay
Each one of us has within us the potential to be a Master. Learn the secrets of the field you have chosen, submit to a rigorous apprenticeship, absorb the hidden knowledge possessed by those with years of experience, surge past competitors to surpass them in brilliance, and explode established patterns from within. Study the behaviors of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci and the nine contemporary Masters interviewed for this book.
The bestseller author of The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, and The 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene has spent a liftime studying the laws of power. Now, he shares the secret path to greatness. With this seminal text as a guide, readers will learn how to unlock the passion within and become masters.
Give and Take
For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today’s dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton’s highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. Praised by social scientists, business theorists, and corporate leaders, Give and Take opens up an approach to work, interactions, and productivity that is nothing short of revolutionary.
Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable
Direct, blunt, and brutally honest, Grover breaks down what it takes to be unstoppable: you keep going when everyone else is giving up, you thrive under pressure, you never let your emotions make you weak. In “The Relentless 13,” he details the essential traits shared by the most intense competitors and achievers in sports, business, and all walks of life. Relentless shows you how to trust your instincts and get in the Zone; how to control and adapt to any situation; how to find your opponent’s weakness and attack. Grover gives you the same advice he gives his world-class clients—“don’t think”—and shows you that anything is possible. Packed with previously untold stories and unparalleled insight into the psyches of the most successful and accomplished athletes of our time, Relentless shows you how even the best get better . . . and how you can too.
The Happiness Advantage
Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.
When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.
The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
The Slight Edge is a way of thinking, a way of processing information that enables you to make the daily choices that will lead you to the success and happiness you desire. Learn why some people make dream after dream come true, while others just continue dreaming and spend their lives building dreams for someone else. It’s not just another self-help motivation tool of methods you must learn in order to travel the path to success. It shows you how to create powerful results from the simple daily activities of your life, by using tools that are already within you.
This edition of The Slight Edge isn’t just the story, but also how the story continues to create life-altering dynamics—how a way of thinking, a way of processing information, can impact daily choices that will lead you to the success and happiness you desire. The Slight Edge is “the key” that will make all the other how-to books and self-help information that you read, watch and hear actually work.
Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together
These days it’s increasingly rare to have a stable career in any field. More and more of us are blending big company jobs, startup gigs, freelance work, and volunteer side projects. We take chances to expand our knowledge, capabilities, and experience.
But how do we make sense of that kind of career – and explain it? Pamela Slim, the acclaimed author of Escape from Cubicle Nation, gives us the tools to have meaningful careers in this new world of work. She shows how to find the connections among diverse accomplishments, sell your story, and continually reinvent and relaunch your brand.
Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career
Success isn’t about being the best. It’s about always getting better.
Can you step outside your comfort zone? Bounce back from failure? Build new skills? Tapping into your true potential is no idle endeavor. It demands creativity, dedication, and a whole lot of hustle.
With wisdom from 21 leading creative minds, 99U’s Maximize Your Potential will show you how to generate new opportunities, cultivate your creative expertise, build valuable relationships, and take bold, new risks so that you can utilize your talents to the fullest.
Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less
Sutton and Rao have devoted much of the last decade to uncovering what it takes to build and uncover pockets of exemplary performance, to help spread them, and to keep recharging organizations with ever better work practices. Drawing on inside accounts and case studies and academic research from a wealth of industries– including start-ups, pharmaceuticals, airlines, retail, financial services, high-tech, education, non-profits, government, and healthcare– Sutton and Rao identify the key scaling challenges that confront every organization. They tackle the difficult trade-offs that organizations must make between whether to encourage individualized approaches tailored to local needs or to replicate the same practices and customs as an organization or program expands. They reveal how the best leaders and teams develop, spread, and instill the right mindsets in their people– rather than ruining or watering down the very things that have fueled successful growth in the past. They unpack the principles that help to cascade excellence throughout an organization, as well as show how to eliminate destructive beliefs and behaviors that will hold them back.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Since its original publication nearly thirty years ago, Getting to Yes has helped millions of people learn a better way to negotiate. One of the primary business texts of the modern era, it is based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution.
Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict. Thoroughly updated and revised, it offers readers a straight- forward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting angry-or getting taken.
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counterintuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.
Failure (time to bounce back)
Unshakable Freedom: Ancient Stoic Secrets Applied to Modern Life
How can we achieve total personal freedom when we have so many obligations and so many demands on our time? Is personal freedom even possible? Yes, it is possible, said the Stoics and gave us a blueprint for freedom. The teachings were lost but have been rediscovered in recent times and form the basis of modern cognitive therapy. In his new book, Unshakable Freedom, Dr. Chuck Chakrapani outlines the Stoic secrets for achieving total freedom, no matter who you are and what obstacles you face in life. Using modern examples, Chuck explores how anyone can achieve personal freedom by practicing a few mind-training techniques Here’s what others have to say about the book: Choose this book Chuck Chakrapani reveals for modern eyes what the ancient Stoics knew: True freedom comes from choosing wisely.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
How can we live our lives when everything seems to fall apart—when we are continually overcome by fear, anxiety, and pain? The answer, Pema Chödrön suggests, might be just the opposite of what you expect. Here, in her most beloved and acclaimed work, Pema shows that moving toward painful situations and becoming intimate with them can open up our hearts in ways we never before imagined. Drawing from traditional Buddhist wisdom, she offers life-changing tools for transforming suffering and negative patterns into habitual ease and boundless joy.
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.
The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success
Most new products fail. So do most businesses. And most of us, if we are honest, have experienced a major setback in our personal or professional lives. So what determines who will bounce back and follow up with a home run? What separates those who keep treading water from those who harness the lessons from their mistakes?
One of our most popular business bloggers, Megan McArdle takes insights from emergency room doctors, kindergarten teachers, bankruptcy judges, and venture capitalists to teach us how to reinvent ourselves in the face of failure. The Up Side of Down is a book that just might change the way you lead your life.
Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life
In 2012, Eric Greitens unexpectedly heard from a former SEAL comrade, a brother-in-arms he hadn’t seen in a decade. Zach Walker had been one of the toughest of the tough. But ever since he returned home from war to his young family in a small logging town, he’d been struggling. Without a sense of purpose, plagued by PTSD, and masking his pain with heavy drinking, he needed help. Zach and Eric started writing and talking nearly every day, as Eric set down his thoughts on what it takes to build resilience in our lives.
Eric’s letters—drawing on both his own experience and wisdom from ancient and modern thinkers—are now gathered and edited into this timeless guidebook. Greitens shows how we can build purpose, confront pain, practice compassion, develop a vocation, find a mentor, create happiness, and much more. Resilience is an inspiring meditation for the warrior in each of us.
This is part of a Real World MBA curriculum. Other parts of the curriculum include Management, Decision Making, Startups, Execution, Strategy, Finance, Dealing with People, Communicating, Ethics, Biographies, and Marketing.