Most of your life is spent at work, paving your professional path and shaping your career. Building a career is a lifetime pursuit that involves persistence while climbing up the career ladder, and as many of us have come to find out, career paths do not resemble a ladder at all, but rather a long and winding road.
Building a career requires a significant amount of thinking about your skills and passions, the sort of life you want to lead, and the kind of work that can help you achieve maximum levels of happiness and fulfillment.
Continuously investing time with the basis of learning new things and improving your professional skills could lead to radical rewards, both financially and personally, and since there’s no time like the present to invest in yourself, why not sit in front of the fireplace over the holidays and freshen up, with a stack of insightful career advice books.
Here are our top five picks for career advice books, past and present.
1. No1 Pick to Be Inspired by Powerhouses’ Path to Success
Amazon Synopsis: Life, business, success… it’s just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There’s the First Door: the main entrance, where ninety-nine percent of people wait in line, hoping to get in. The Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities slip through.
But what no one tells you is that there is always, always… the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, climb over the dumpster, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen—there’s always a way in.
Whether it’s how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest studio director in Hollywood history, the most successful entrepreneurs and business people all share one thing in common – they took the Third Door.
2. No1 Pick to Help you Choose a New Career or Change Your Perspective on Your Current Job
Amazon Synopsis: Based on breakthrough techniques developed by Rockport Institute (an innovative and award-winning career-counselling network that has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people), The Pathfinderoffers invaluable advice and more than 100 self-tests and diagnostic tools that will help you choose an entirely new career—or view a current job from a new, more positive perspective.
You’ll learn that whether you’re a seasoned professional in search of a career change or a beginner just entering the working world, you want to make the right choices from the beginning. No matter where you are in your journey, if you want work to be more of a dance than a drag, The Pathfinder will expertly coach you through the process of designing a career you will love.
3. No1 Pick to Turn Motivation into Action
Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day, by Todd Henry
Amazon Synopsis: Die Empty is a tool for people who aren’t willing to put off their most important work for another day. Todd Henry explains the forces that lead to stagnation and introduces practices that will keep you on a true and steady course.
The key is embracing the idea that time is finite. You should focus on the unique contribution to the world that only you can make. Henry shows how to sustain your enthusiasm, push through mental barriers, and unleash your best work each day.
4. No1 Pick to Take Control of Your Livelihood
So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport
Amazon Synopsis: What you do for a living is much less important than how you do it. With a title taken from the comedian Steve Martin, who once said his advice for aspiring entertainers was to “be so good they can’t ignore you,” Cal Newport’s clearly written manifesto is mandatory reading for anyone fretting about what to do with their life, or frustrated by their current job situation and eager to find a fresh new way to take control of their livelihood.
5. No1 Pick to Feel Vital in Your Workplace
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, by Seth Godin
Amazon Synopsis: There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labour. Now there’s a third team: the linchpins. These people figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.
As Godin writes, “Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.” This life-changing manifesto shows how you have the potential to make a huge difference wherever you are.
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