Here at The Muse, we have a lot of fun inside and outside the office—organizing potlucks, or getting together for drinks, or playing board games—but we also love our day-to-day work.
So, we are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves and continue moving forward on our own ideal career paths—because even we build on our dream jobs every day.
Want to know what we’re reading this month? We’ve got a collection of great books that have to go on your must-read list, plus some explanation of why we like them so much!
1. Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
I just finished reading this and it was one of the best books I’ve read in the past year. It helped me a lot in terms of my sales process (and personal life). A lot of sales stereotypes encourage confidence, being number one, or always trying to be the best. This book flipped that and said that you and everyone around you will always be happier and better off if you act with humility, purpose, and discipline. (Think about a time when you or anyone around you was better off in the long-term after you bragged about something—never!).
2. The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister
This helped me immensely with my client relationships. It explores the comparison between the breadth of business issues to the depth of personal relationships. The part that resonated the most for me was growing any relationship through the four phases to become a more trusted advisor: ‘service-offering based,’ ‘needs-based,’ ‘relationship-based,’ and ‘trust-based.’ The book’s approach is easily digestible and relatable to how business relationships have evolved over time.
3. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales
It sounds like a book that focuses on survival stories of people lost or stranded in the wilderness, and it is, but it focuses more on how you react logically and emotionally when confronted with change and difficult circumstances. This felt super applicable to the challenges we face in the workplace every day!
4. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
Her book fell into my lap when I was having a hard time juggling my personal and work life, and I needed help. The only problem with me needing help was that I hate asking for it. No really, I struggle with this on a daily basis. At one point, I was stretched so thin in my work and personal life that I actually crashed and burned. This book took me two days to finish. I laughed. I cried. I cringed. But the most powerful emotion out of all of them I experienced was I changed. I also found the ability to say no. I stopped accepting every task and responsibility as my problem. Instead, I learned to create boundaries in my life that stop people from taking advantage of my time and abilities.
5. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
I read this book recently for personal growth and found that it had a lot of benefits for work, too. The book teaches you to get outside of your own head and live in the moment. When I’m using the techniques from the book correctly, it has a huge impact on bringing down my stress level and gives me a clear mind to focus on the task at hand. I enjoyed it so much I’m reading it again now!
6. A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer
Grazer’s a producer who regularly has what he calls ‘curiosity conversations,’ which are conversations with people outside of his industry. I liked the idea of meeting with people outside of your industry or specialty as a way to help you in your career. He explains how his meetings helped him with movie ideas and his career overall.
7. The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone by Fredrik Ekland
Being an avid real-estate enthusiast, I had plenty of interest reading this book. From watching him on reality TV to being friends with him on Instagram, I was destined to read about his life and the way he goes about selling high scale apartments in NYC. He says that being a little unconventional will allow you to rise to the top of your career, which I was able to implement in my email style when reaching out to potential clients. One of my favorite quotes from the book is ‘Find yourself. Be yourself. Sell yourself.’
8. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
An excellent read—loaded with enticing anecdotes that get to the root of a few key productivity themes. My favorite parts involve techniques to motivate yourself and key elements to foster a productive team environment. The information is so sticky that I’ve retold my takeaways to everyone who’ll will listen (and a few who won’t). I highly recommend this if you’re seeking a book that’ll help you improve without looking for a ‘self-help’ read.
9. Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches by Dave Ramsey
This book focuses on how to be a leader, how to build thriving teams and culture, and how to create and achieve goals and dreams. It’s been instrumental to me as I’ve been transitioning into a role that requires more responsibility. It’s made me really think about what type of leader I want to be!
This is one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read. It’s all about why your twenties matter and how to make the most of those years. It’s split into three sections: work, love, and the brain and the body. The book combines research and real-life stories to illustrate the life of 20-somethings and how the actions you take during these years will impact your future.
11. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp
I just finished this last week, and I would definitely recommend it. The book outlines a five-day methodology for prototyping and testing or validating new features, functionalities, and even products. It’s a great reference for anyone involved in the development process; even if you don’t strictly adopt the methodology, the advice and examples are generalizable. Given the breadth of the examples, I think the book would be useful for founders, product managers, developers, and even sales or marketing folks. It was also very useful to me specifically (as a product manager), as it gives very practical advice about the best way to source and narrow down ideas for new features, and very clearly teaches how to cut down iteration time when testing out new ideas.
Did you take our suggestions? Have you already read some of these? Let us know on Twitter!