I am a big believer in goal setting. This year, I set a goal to read 120 books. In the past 10 1/2 months, I have learned, changed and questioned more than I have in most years of my life. Given that most people don’t have the interest in reading quite so much, I have put together a list for you of the 13 best books I read this year that can positively impact your career (and your life).
Did I miss one? (of course I did) Let me know what I missed, so I can add it to my list for next year.
Elon Musk is extraordinarily smart and courageous and is both a fascinating and controversial personality. He’s tough and unrelenting. He’s quirky and flawed. He is also changing long-held paradigms about how to run a business.
There are many businesses that are changing our world, but as written quite succinctly, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” The changes that Elon Musk is chasing are big, massive changes. Regardless of whether you agree with his style of business or his objectives, everything that he stands for will challenge your belief in what is possible.
How will it help your career? It won’t teach you to think outside the box, but to create entirely new boxes.
Dr. Mutter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine – Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
Dr. Thomas Dent Mutter dedicated his short life to changing modern medicine and doing it with compassion. The discoveries of his time (anesthesia, microbiology, germs) have dramatically improved both the quality and quantity of our lives.
“Don’t trust what you are told in lectures, or read in books, but make the knowledge your own, by your own labors. Lectures and books will serve as guides and beacons, but the goals can only be reached by travelling the road yourself.”
His words are as relevant today as the day he spoke them.
How will it help your career? It will teach you to challenge the status quo
It took me years to read this book because I thought it was about manipulating people. I finally decided to read it. Not surprisingly, I was completely wrong.
This is one of those books that is a candle in a dark room. It lays down principals, not just for work, but for life. Be kind. Be honest. Be interested. Be encouraging.
“There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think of that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.”
It was one of the best books I’ve read all year.
How will it help your career? It will teach you how to be a better human. Better humans make better workers.
We instinctively know that when we are threatened, we should protect our heads, but most of us don’t quite know what’s happening in our brains.
“When it comes to both recognition memory and working memory, pictures and text follow very different rules. Put simply, the more visual the input becomes, the more likely it is to be recognized – and recalled.”
If you are going to learn about one platform, learn about the one between your ears.
How will it help your career? You will learn the importance of sleep, of single-tasking, of visual learning and so much more. Learning to leverage your greatest human asset will benefit you in every aspect of your life.
If you were asked to guess what percentage of the population are introverts, chances are that you wouldn’t guess that over half are introverts. But it’s true.
Whether you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, this book will introduce you to the style and strengths of introverts. They retreat, not because they are shy, but because they crave solitude.
“We gain energy and power through inner reflection, and get more excited by ideas than by external activities.”
How will it help your career? If you are an introvert, it will show you that you aren’t the minority that you may think you are. If you are an extrovert, it will teach you how to maximize your relationships with introverts.
I read this because it is the foundation of everything that my daughter is being taught in school. This book has appeared on many “best of” lists over the years for good reason. It doesn’t teach you how to be a great worker, but how to be a great person.
“Until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.'”
We are all victims of our decisions.
How will it help your career? It will teach you how to lay a foundation for a good life. If you master these seven habits, you will be a better worker, family member and friend. I would argue that you would also be happier than most people.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brene’ Brown
Every once in a while, a book steps into your life at the exact right moment. This was one of those books. There will be times in your life when you are given an opportunity to be more. You can take the chance, or you can remain in your safe place. This book just may inspire you to take the risk.
“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving for excellence. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth.”
How will it help your career? Being courageous is not about steamrolling over everyone in front of you to get what you want. It’s about being afraid, but taking that step on shaky legs. Brene’ Brown will help you take that step.
Becoming a great company often has more to do with humility and encouragement than anything else. This book came out quite a while ago, but the concepts are still relevant. The attributes that are common among successful companies, may surprise you.
“They first got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats – and then they figured out where to drive it.”
Step 1: get the right people on the bus. You can figure out where to drive later on.
How will it help your career? It will help you to spot the right bus when it drives by and how to make sure that you are on it.
Linchpin isn’t a guide to work, it’s a guide to life. There are many people in life who will tell you what you can and cannot do. Don’t let them. Find what is special about you and share those gifts with others. Out of five stars, I give Linchpin six.
“Stop asking what’s in it for you and start giving gifts that change people. Then, and only then, will you have achieved your potential.”
How will it help your career? Once you start sharing your gifts with others, you become indispensable. Stop being a cog in the wheel.
Re-evaluating your habits can change your life in both small and large ways. You absolutely do have the power to change your life. You can reprogram it and design your future.
One habit that has changed every facet of my life is reading. It’s a keystone habit that has positively impacted every other aspect of my life.
“Once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom – and the responsibility – to remake them.”
How will it help your career? Bad habits can be changed. This book will teach you how to create good habits that will lay the foundation for your career to grow.
I’m so grateful to be living during such a huge shift in technology. This book digs into how technology can help fight and manage diseases by swallowing sensors. It discusses how glass and sensors can make our cars smarter and less damaging to the environment. Technology is changing everything.
“If you use the internet at all, data is being collected on you. Some people may choose to opt out of the internet for this reason, but if you do that, you are opting out of modern times.”
How will it help your career? It will open your eyes to what is happening and what is possible. By staying on the bleeding edge of technology, you will always be of value.
Welcome to the Funnel: Proven Tactics to Turn Your Social and Content Marketing Up to 11 – Jason Miller
This is a super quick read about the importance of content and social media. Regardless of whether you work for a company or for yourself, if you want to grow your brand, you need to master content and social.
How will it help your career? It will give you the framework for setting up a flow of content that will drive people back to you.
This was an incredible look into the birth, adolescence, and coming of age of one of the most powerful companies in the world. The commitment and the sacrifice of the early employee’s was immense. I have great respect for the way they have challenged “business as usual.”
“Hours were long and my family rarely seen, but aside from that, life was good.”
How will it help your career? Google become who they are today by challenging everything. This book will show you that the path to greatness is not painless or easy, but it is possible.
This is one of the simplest books on the importance of mindfulness in our daily lives. If you can’t enjoy the present moment, you won’t be able to enjoy the future when it becomes your present.
How will it help your career? By learning to be in the exact moment that you are in, you can give it everything you have. The future will come, but it is the culmination of what you do in this moment, and the next.