Determined to make 2014 your year? Looking for how to be a better you and make the most of your career?
Let’s go back to basics. Books!
Last year, I read 52 books in 52 weeks. I chronicled them, wrote reviews, and ended up spending a lot of last year recommending books to friends. And now that my quest is over, I’m sharing the best of the best with you.
To Figure Out What You Want to Do With Your Life
1. The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul, by Danielle LaPorte
2. May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness, by Gabrielle Bernstein
The first step to career success and satisfaction is, of course, making sure you’re doing what you’re really meant to do. These books will both rock your world, but be forewarned, they’re interactive: You have to dig in and really do the work to make them work for you. But when you do? You’ll be blown away at the possibilities you can create by knowing what you want.
To Uncover Your Strengths and Talents
3. StrengthsFinder 2.0, by Tom Rath
If you're not quite sure what you're really good at—or what skills you might be able to turn into a career—turn to this book, which includes an online code allowing you take a quiz online before you read the book. I thought this would just be another standard personality test, but the way the questions were framed helped set up results that were both true to who I am and also informative.
To Boost Your Work Relationships
4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
5. Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives, by Randi Zuckerberg
How you work with others and how you see yourself are critical for both your personal and professional growth. These two books really put you in the right mindset for success: Both examine how we can better look at ourselves and prioritize our actions and how to best interact with those around us to make our relationships stronger.
To Make Better Decisions
6. Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
How do you make decisions? Are you more of the fast, intuitive, and emotional type, or are you slower, more deliberative, and more logical? This book helps you not only understand how you make decisions, but also identify how to use that information for both personal and professional growth.
To Get Inspired
7. My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
8. Personal History, by Katharine Graham
9. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
10. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham
Many senior leaders and CEOs cite autobiographies and biographies as great learning tools to help them tackle their own business challenges. Beyond being interesting, these books are windows into how great leaders made decisions and reached career success. The first two picks feature women who faced their own set of challenges to rise above and become powerhouse leaders, while the latter are deep dives into the lives of two great men who, in their own way, shaped America. (They’re long reads, but you’ll be rewarded for your dedication.)
To Ramp Up Your Productivity
11. Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series
I’m willing to bet that getting more organized was one of your 2014 resolutions. The secret to making this the year? Knowing what really makes you productive and how to create a routine to be the best you can be. This book gives an in-depth look into why productivity is not a one-stop shop. It details how you can identify your best routine and structure your day for success, and it gives concrete examples and case studies of how others have mastered their own personal productivity.
To Lean In
12. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
If you didn’t read last year amid the hype when it was released, put it on your list for 2014. One of the most interesting takeaways from this book is that the messages are applicable for both men and women. It’s not just a book for women in the workplace.
To Communicate Better
13. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, by Gary Vaynerchuk
Whether you want to get a new job, launch a new product at work, or start your own business, it’s important to know how to effectively tell your story. This book will take you through case studies and steps to help you stand out from the noise. Vaynerchuk is the best at this and authentically takes a “let me help you” approach that will make you look at storytelling in a new way.
To Foster Innovation
14. Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg, by Ekaterina Walter
Want to think like an innovator, be an innovator, or work in an innovative company? Read this book on Mark Zuckerberg for the inside scoop on what makes Facebook an incredibly innovative environment and how it has kept that spirit alive as it's scaled from a startup to a global powerhouse.
Now it’s your turn! What books are you excited about reading this year?
Photo of books courtesy of Shutterstock.