These days, we all have access to a near infinite amount of resources we can use for our professional development. That includes online tutorials, podcasts, and more. However, books are still our favorite medium for in-depth learning.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 12 of our favorite books to help you with your professional development and career building. Plus, we’ll point you to where you can buy them for cheap, so you don’t have to break the bank.
Let’s get to it!
1. Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
You may already know Tim Ferriss from some of his previous books, such as The 4-Hour Workweek. For this new book, Ferriss researched habits and collected advice from over 100 of the world’s top performers. This includes everyone from athletes to entrepreneurs and billionaires.
If you’re looking for a single book that will give you plenty of bang for your buck when it comes to career development, this 600+ page behemoth is the way to go.
2. The Four by Scott Galloway
The title of this book refers to the ‘big four’ players in the tech world – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Within its pages, the book breaks down how these companies influence our lives, how they thrive, and why they’re almost impossible to take down.
On top of being an interesting read if you’re tech-minded like us, The Four can teach you a lot about what it takes to run a successful startup. After all, even the big four were little Davids before they turned into Goliaths.
3. Unshakeable by Tony Robbins
For this book, Tony Robbins interviewed fifty of the most successful economists and investors in the world. The result is about 257 pages that are full of financial wisdom on how to build and protect your assets.
Arguably, this book deals more with gaining financial stability than it does with career advancement. However, we’d contend that if you want to become truly successful at your job, you’ll need to master the fundamentals of financial management, whatever your field might be.
4. Insight by Tasha Eurich
We’ve talked in the past about the importance of self-awareness when it comes to personal and career success. If you didn’t take our word for it, this book might be what finally convinces you to look inward.
Within its pages, Tasha Eurich goes over hundreds of studies to break down how to approach introspection the right way. Don’t be scared off by the word ‘studies’ either, since Eurich also includes plenty of real-life personal stories to anchor the science and make it more approachable.
5. The New Rules of Work by Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew
If you work in anything that’s even closely related to tech, then you know that the days where you stuck with one company for your entire career are over. Nowadays, the paths our careers take aren’t as linear, and it’s not out of the ordinary to find yourself re-tooling your skill set often.
The New Rules of Work delves into how modern companies approach hiring, and how applicants look for jobs. Its goal is to help you navigate the modern workplace, and advance through the ranks by playing your cards right.
6. The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Effective leadership involves knowing when to lead and when to follow. That’s the question at the heart of this book, and it’s something you’ll need to understand if you want to rise through the ranks in your career.
There are a lot of qualities that make for great leaders, and they nearly all require deliberate cultivation. Within this book, you’ll find advice on how to delegate work, lead your team, and even remain humble through it all.
7. Powerful by Patty McCord
Patty McCord used to be the person in charge of hiring at Netflix. Considering the company’s meteoric rise, it’s worth listening to her advice on how to recruit and motivate the right people.
If you intend to become a leader in your field, you’ll need to learn how to build strong teams. That means hiring smart, managing expectations, reviewing performances, knowing how to let people go, and much more.
8. It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
One of the worst aspects of the modern workplace is that it tends to push people towards working themselves to the bone. That means putting in long hours, taking on too many projects, not giving yourself time off, and more.
However, we would argue that working ‘smarter’ is better than the constant hustle, and authors Fried and Hansson agree with us. Within this book, they outline how companies should operate to create a culture that nurtures employees instead of grinding them down. Whether you’re in charge of a team or part of one, this book is definitely worth your time.
9. Principles by Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio has an impressive background as a successful investor and entrepreneur. This means that when he wants to give you advice about how to succeed in your personal life and in business, you’d better sit down and listen (or read).
The title of this book refers to the set of principles Dalio adopted throughout his career. He credits these principles or rules with his success, and in this book, he lays out all of them in a practical manner. The result is a book about professional development that anyone can benefit from, particularly those in positions of leadership.
Where to buy it: The cheapest place to buy this one is on Amazon, where you can find the Kindle/hardcover versions for $14.99–18.
10. Great at Work by Morten Hansen
Being ‘great’ at work can mean a lot of things. It may be you’re the person who works the longest hours in the office, or the one who brings in the best results. For many, being great at work is all about maximizing your performance, so you can get excellent results without burning out.
For this book, Hansen collected the stories of several successful individuals who learned how to work smart and maximize their efficiency. Thanks to the way the book is structured, it can help you discover what your individual work style is and how you can make the most of it.
11. Leaders by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Eggers, and Jason Mangone
Gen. McChrystal was a soldier for decades, and as he rose through the ranks, he often asked himself what made for a good leader. With this book, he tries to answer that question by creating profiles for thirteen leading figures in history, ranging from Walt Disney to Robespierre and Martin Luther King.
That might seem like an odd group of characters to profile together. However, this book argues that leaders can come from very different backgrounds, and don’t have to share the same style. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a figure within that resembles the leadership style you want to develop, and gain relevant insight from their own journey.
12. Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker
If you haven’t read Barking Up the Wrong Tree yet, we’d suggest stopping what you’re doing and checking it out. This book collects the work of Eric Baker, who takes a look at what science has to tell us about how to become more successful people and better leaders.
Within its pages, you’ll find succinct articles that sum up studies and break them down into actionable advice. This book is essentially a more well-rounded version of some of the best content from the author’s blog. It contains tips on how to deal with stress, increase your confidence, work better in a team, and more.
Out of all the books in this list, Barking Up the Wrong Tree is perhaps the most eclectic. However, it packs in so much useful advice that we can safely recommend it to anyone trying to advance in the workplace, or just improve themselves in a more general sense.
Where to buy it: The cheapest place to buy this one is on Amazon, where you can find the Kindle/hardcover versions for $8.44–14.57.
If you have access to the internet, you can learn pretty much anything you want, whenever you want. That means there’s nothing stopping you from accessing insights that can help you further your career and become better at your job (whatever that may be).
Books, however, are still our favorite medium for learning. That’s in no small part thanks to the sheer amount of information you can pack into even a hundred pages or less. Our recommendation is to pick at least one book from the list above, find a cheap copy, and dive right in.
What book provided you with the insight you needed to become better at your job? Share your favorites with us in the comments section below!
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