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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

6 Books You Should Read if You Want to Create a Name for Yourself

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Summer reading isn’t just for school.

As the weather gets nice, you’ll have more opportunities to sit outside with a book. And trust me, while I get the allure of reading the latest thriller, I promise that what you’ll gain from the tiles below is definitely worth your time. Becuase, hey, everyone can use a little personal branding help. After all, the better you are at personal branding, the more credibility you have in your industry, and the more likely it is that people associate your name with success.

All I’m asking is that you read one!

1. Careerkred: 4 Simple Steps to Build Your Digital Brand and Boost Credibility in Your Career by Ryan Rhoten

As someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes digital branding, I highly recommend Ryan Rhoten’s book. It’s perfect if you’re craving a way to truly demonstrate your expertise in an area, instead of just bundling up your skills and experiences declaring it a brand.

Rhoten simplifies the overwhelming task of determining what you want to be known for and establishing an online brand. Besides the practical and incredibly actionable advice in this book, Rhoten’s overriding message is that you should rely on yourself to propel your career.

Read it. Put yourself in the driver’s seat of your brand and career. Thank me later.

With the right digital brand you can be recognized for your expertise globally. You are no longer confined by your company’s four walls.

2. POP!: Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything by Sam Horn

Do you give presentations? Speeches? Ever have to sell your ideas, even if it’s just to your boss? Since you’re nodding your head yes, you need this book.

Sam Horn—a bestselling writer, internationally-recognized speaker, and communications wizard—will show you how to package your work in a way that keeps people thinking about it long after you leave the room.

Every page of this book is full of tricks and pneumonic hacks that’ll pretty much blow the lid of your ideas. I keep a copy in my desk drawer for those moments when I’m stuck, uninspired, or just plain feeling “meh” about a project.

When you’re one of a kind, there’s no competition.

3. Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel-Good Work by Sarah Vermunt

Confession: I enlisted Sarah Vermunt as my coach when I was overworked, underpaid, and craving more from my 9-to-5. So, naturally, I love her book, and when you think about it, I’ve already found my way to feel-good work. But I’ll tell you what: This works just as well in recharging my career batteries on several other fronts.

Vermunt’s warm hugs—and kicks in the butt—is just what we all need when facing imposter syndrome, burnout, and navigating the fear (and mountains of unsolicited feedback) associated with making big changes to the way we work.

Be careful of whose career advice you take—including mine. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not for you.

4. The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice by Todd Henry

This book will strategically nudge you toward the work (and play) habits you need to achieve big things—and you don’t have to be a creative person with a hip Etsy shop for these ideas to help you.

Founder of The Accidental Creative, Todd Henry’s advice is for you if you want to stay energized while solving daily problems, or when cranking your next industry-shattering idea. It’s really your call.

You’ll find Henry’s advice refreshingly counterculture, meaning his insights go against the “If you’re not exhausted, you're probably not working hard enough” mindset we’re sold so often.

You are responsible for creating value that didn’t exist before you arrived on the scene.

5. Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams by Barbara Sher

An oldie but goodie, Refuse to Choose! was published nearly a decade ago, but Barbara Sher’s advice is so legendary it sounds like it was written yesterday.

The main thing it’ll help you do is find clarity. If you’re the type of person with one thousand interests—and an equally scattered personal brand, this books is for you.

My favorite exercise from this book is the “Everything I Don’t Want List.”

You can wonder forever how many teeth a horse has—or you can find a horse, open its mouth, and count its teeth.

6. Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career by Jocelyn K. Glei

This is book for your friend (cough, or you cough) who’s complaining about being stuck in a rut. You’ll find yourself making tons of notes in the margins of this collection of essays. But what you’ll enjoy the most is the fact that this title doesn’t just include a bunch of theories like so many career development books. And the stories are not limited to any one profession.

It’s a gold mine of advice that will help you take risks and grow your skills to create the career opportunities you’re dreaming of (or have yet to dream of).

Don’t follow your passion, cultivate it.

Reading any book is an investment on your part. But if you’re trying to find an enjoyable way to boost your career this summer, without giving up time in the sun, it’s a pretty smart one. So pick up one of these titles this week.

Or, on the slight chance, none of them are calling your name, check out this list of 21 books that top career coaches recommend you read.