Books to Kick-start Your Career: Our Recommendations

Written by Fraser Stewart
Reading time 5 minutes
Books to Kick-start Your Career: Our Recommendations image

We are big believers in constant learning and development; it is one of the best ways to progress quickly in your career and your industry. Along with taking industry-specific courses and gaining new accreditations, you should also read personal development books to help you develop general skills that will be useful, no matter what kind of work you do. In this article, we will share some of our favourite books to help you be successful in your career.

Best Books For Learning to Work With All Kinds of People

Over the course of your career, you will work with all types of people. Some will be fantastic; others will be an absolute nightmare. Work is not like your personal life, and you can’t just cut out the people who only cause issues or bring negativity; many times, they will be customers or colleagues or even managers. One of the best things you can do is to learn how to work with these people and how to win them over. Here are some books that will help:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is an oldie but a goodie. It teaches the basics of how to get people to like you. Likeability can help you win over even the most difficult customers and start getting them to work with you instead of against you. It will help you be thought of with favour throughout the company you work for.

Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson

This book is a great introduction to human behaviour and how to communicate effectively. It breaks down communication and behaviour and how different personality types may perceive or respond to certain behaviours. The book is rooted in psychology and references studies but explains it in a really accessible way. If you like this book, there are other titles by this author like Surrounded by Narcissists and Surrounded by Bad Bosses. 

The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters 

This book looks at the risk-averse, animal part of our brain and why it reacts the way it does. Not only is it great for self-reflection and preventing you from making knee-jerk reactions, but it is fantastic for understanding how people may react and why they react the way they do.

Best Books For Learning Management Skills

Managing people is a bit like herding cats. Everyone has different motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, and you need to find a management technique that will work in an equitable way without treating your team unequally. It seems everyone has a different theory, lead from the front, lead from behind, give your team a little bit of slack, but not too much. Along with reading the three books above to learn how to work with people, these management skills books will help.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek 

This book was written for leaders in startups, but it is applicable to all levels of management because it is all about inspiring people and uniting teams under a single purpose. It delves into motivations and the importance of purpose for the millennial worker.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink

We can all agree that a warzone is one of the places where you need to have a dedicated and loyal team. This book was written by a former Navy SEAL leader who not only led his team in a warzone but trained future Navy SEALS on his return. It teaches how to build trust among your team through ownership and accountability.

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

This book is the missing link in leadership and management training. It champions the importance of developing the human side of leaders and ensuring they are emotionally intelligent enough to support their team. Brown encourages leaders to have tough conversations and show up with their whole hearts. 

Best Books For Increasing Performance

If you want to improve how you perform in your role, not just how you get along with people, then we have some books that will help. While these are not job-specific, they look at productivity, scheduling, and how to analyse your job performance and make improvements.

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

This book teaches you how to analyse issues and look for ways to improve performance, and avoid similar issues in the future. It uses a number of real-life examples to illustrate how to snatch success from the jaws of failure and how small tweaks can put you ahead of the competition.

Deep Work by Cal Newport

A favourite book of productivity enthusiasts around the world, Deep Work is all about scheduling your day to find periods of uninterrupted work. It looks at the work of famous scientists, academic professors, and well-known business people like Bill Gates to analyse how deep work has contributed to their success. It teaches you how to structure your day or week to allow for periods of deep work.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

This book is about how to incorporate good habits into a daily routine and how to break bad habits. Most of all, it teaches how to incorporate good habits in a way that sees regular progress rather than just doing busywork.

Best Books For Job Searching

Learning how to search for jobs and write amazing CVs and cover letters will make a huge difference in your career. These skills are vital to ensuring you land amazing roles with great opportunity and the pay you deserve.

Pivot by Jenny Blake

This book is all about looking ahead to the next step and making conscious choices to prepare yourself for the next leap. It is a must-read for people looking to change careers or who want to learn the art of looking for opportunities.

1 Hour CV by Dream Job Thinking

This book breaks CV writing down section by section to help you write a CV in an hour. It takes you back to the basics of how to communicate your skills to a recruiter with examples from different industries. Currently only available in an e-book version, but helpful to have open while writing a CV.

You’re Hired! Total Job Search by Jeremy L’Anson

This book covers all aspects of job searching, from updating your LinkedIn through to the interview. It gives tips and tricks from a career coach and even talks about how to use social media to get interviews.

Best Books For Other Useful Skills

Reinventing You by Dorie Clark

This book helps with one of the buzzwords of this decade, personal branding. It looks at how a personal brand can help your career and how you can get your colleagues, bosses, and even strangers online to see you the way you want them to.

Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

Many people overlook the skill of public speaking, but it is one of the most useful skills to help your career. It will help you put your hands up in meetings and feel more confident sharing your ideas. The higher you climb up the career ladder, the more likely you are to need public speaking skills.

Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson

This book shares an important lesson through a charming tale of two mice. Human beings are very change-resistant, so this book seeks to show that change is very often a good thing and how to let go of the fear of change.

Best Books For Networking

Networking is a vital skill, but one that can be very difficult to do; nobody really wants to walk into a room full of strangers and have to conduct hours of small talk. These books make it easy to approach networking in different ways to make valuable and long-lasting connections.

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

This book teaches the mindset needed to network successfully. It teaches an unselfish approach to networking where you look to build a personal connection with people rather than just looking at who can help you.

The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

It is not enough to get yourself out there and network; you need to make a good impression too. This book busts the myth that you are just born with charisma or not and teaches you how to be more charismatic.

Super Connector by Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh

This book discusses alternative networking methods than just attending network events. It teaches you how to unlock your network by using the people around you and forming relationships that will benefit your career. Along the way, it teaches how to communicate effectively.

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