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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

12 Awesome Books That'll Help You Get Whatever You Want in Your Career


Are you an assistant? An associate? A VP with unlimited vacation? It doesn’t matter. Because no matter where you’re at in your career, you could always be doing better. (Although, you’re choosing to read this article, so I can assume you’re already doing pretty well for yourself.)

I rounded up 12 books that you should read to advance your career. Each one focuses on a different set of skills, beliefs, or values that are important to turning into a well-rounded person—at work, and in your own personal life. They’ll motivate you, inspire you, and help you shake up a stale work routine.

So, give the fiction a (short) break, and dive into these titles that’ll give your career a boost based on what you want right now!

1. If You Want to Take Your Career to the Next Level

In Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career, from the 99U series and Jocelyn Glei, some of today’s leading minds offer their advice to take your career to the next level. A detailed how-to book, you’ll learn how to create new opportunities, build relationships in the workplace, and unleash your creative potential.

2. If You Want to Fall in Love With Your Current Job

Let’s face it: Work is more fun when you enjoy what you do, right? Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness is a guide written by Kerry Hannon to help you transform your boring job into something meaningful. For people struggling to get through the day, Hannon’s tips will help you change your habits and your attitude so you’ll love your job again in no time at all.

3. If You Want Work-Life Balance

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington reminds us that there is more to life than earning a ton of money. The constant pursuit of more (and more) has been a one-way ticket to burnout for too many. So, Huffington encourages people to incorporate self-care into their daily lives. Throughout the book, she also shares personal anecdotes about her struggles with time management and prioritizing her career and family life.

4. If You Want to Change Your Money Mindset

Have you ever wondered how Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and many of the other successful businesspeople of the 1900s earned their fortunes? Well, my friend, the secret is within Think and Grow Rich, the 1937 classic from Napoleon Hill. Not only will you learn what they believed was the key to their riches, but you’ll also get Hill’s 13-step program that will put you on the track to achieve wealth and success.

5. If You Want to Recover From a Career Failure

The truth is, we all face failure in life, whether it’s in our careers or personal lives. What matters is how we handle it. But how can you become one of those people who turns his failures into learning experiences? Business blogger Megan McArdle explains just that in her book, The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success. You’ll read stories from people in all different career paths (medicine, education, finance—to name a few), and their examples will help you see your missteps in a different light.

6. If You Want to Be Fearless

Many books focus on the bright side of the story, but in Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong by Jessica Bacal, you’ll learn about the struggles 25 powerful women have faced. Bacal shares the inside scoop on their failures and how they were able to turn them into something positive. This book features interviews from Cheryl Strayed (bestselling author of Wild), Anna Holmes of Jezebel, Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck, and many more. It’s a great read for anyone who worries that doing something wrong will spell the end of their careers.

7. If You’re Feeling Stuck in Your Career

In Moving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life, Joe Sweeney provides a detailed system for people who feel stuck and want a plan to make a change. It’s a perfect read for those who crave actionable advice. Bonus: These lessons can be applied to personal aspirations as well.

8. If You Want to Change Careers

Laura Berman Fortgang shares exactly how she has helped her clients successfully make big changes in their lives. If you’re looking for a new job or questioning what you’re meant to do with your life, Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction will help find the answers in just three months!

9. If You Want to Start Your Own Company

If you haven’t read #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso yet, what are you waiting for? The founder of fashion retailer Nasty Gal, Amoruso opens up about her troublesome past and how she turned her life around to become an insanely successful CEO. Even if you’re not passionate about the fashion industry, you can benefit from this inspirational story.

10. If You Want to Be Inspired to Work at Your Career

“Lean in” is a phrase in our lexicon for a reason. In her bestselling book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg aims to change the fact that men continue to hold a majority of leadership roles in businesses today by encouraging women to work toward their career goals and strive to reach their full potential. Sandberg shares her own personal stories, as well as hard data, to explain why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled.

11. If You Want to Develop Better Work Habits

Originally published in 1990, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey continues to sell like hotcakes. (And for good reason!) It’s not just about your life in the workplace, and it’s not a quick-fix kind of book. But it will teach you to change your perception of how the world around you works—and help you achieve more.

12. If You Want to Become Vital to Your Workplace

How is your office divided up? By people in management and non-management roles? In Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, Seth Godin writes about a third team: the linchpins. You’ll learn how to join that third category—and become an innovator your company can’t live without.

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