7 Books Your Career Will Thank You For

Photo credit: Aaron Birch

I consume books. Especially books that help me understand myself better; books that help me learn from other people’s journeys. Both their successes and their mistakes are invaluable ways to fast-track our own growth. These 7 books incorporate all that … and so much more. Happy reading!

1. Presence by Amy Cuddy

Amy Cuddy is best known for having delivered the 2nd most-watched TED talk in history. The talk, titled ‘Your Body Shapes Who You Are’, is definitely worth watching if you haven’t already done so. In Presence, Cuddy reveals that by accessing our personal power, we can achieve ‘presence’, the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves. As this book tells us, tiny tweaks lead to big changes. We need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behaviour, and mind-set in our day-to-day lives.

She inspires us to …

… share who we really are and help us truly see that the way we carry ourselves is a source of personal power.

2. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

A nugget-a-minute read, there really is something for everyone in this book. Broken up into three sections; healthy, wealthy, and wise, author Tim Ferriss deconstructs the habits, routines and daily rituals of the world’s top performers. The guests range from super celebs (like Jamie Foxx and Arnold Schwarzenegger) and athletes (icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, and surfing) to legendary Special Operations commanders. What really resounded for me was how all success is intertwined with self-doubt, failure, challenges, and the passion to always rise above it all.

He reminds us that …

… it’s not so much about the cards we’ve been dealt but rather about how we max them out.

3. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Writer, speaker, and Harvard Business Review blogger Greg McKeown offers both a manifesto and a manual on how to deliberately focus on the vital few priorities that really count and how to dispense with the rest. The way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s about freeing ourselves to make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter to us.

He’s really good at getting us to ask important questions like…

… if what we’re about to do is really how we would choose to spend our time.

4. The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Zander and Benjamin Zander

The key message of the book is that everything in life is an invention. If you choose to look at your life in a new way, then suddenly your problems fade away. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on the possibilities surrounding you in any situation rather than slipping into the default mode of measuring and comparing your life to others.

They show us how to play …

… something they call the possibility game instead of the judgemental, restrictive ‘measurements’ game we so normally play.

5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

The Power Of Habit helps you understand why habits are at the core of everything you do, how you can change them, and what impact that will have on your life, your business, and society. Duhigg has managed to combine the scientific research with his own ideas and personal experiences in such a way that the book tells many extremely compelling stories, while teaching you everything you need to know about habits. And it finally answers the question for us why New Year resolutions just don’t stick.

He’s full of fascinating insights like how …

… almost half of our daily actions aren’t actual decisions, but habits.

6. Getting to Yes with Yourself: (and Other Worthy Opponents) by William Ury

If we learn to understand and influence ourselves first, we lay the groundwork for understanding and influencing others. The greatest obstacle to successful agreements and satisfying relationships is not the other side, as difficult as they can be. The biggest obstacle is actually our own selves – our natural tendency to react in ways that do not serve our true interests. Renowned negotiation expert William Ury offers a seven-step method to help you reach agreement with yourself first, dramatically improving your ability to negotiate with others.

He empowers us to …

… say yes to ourselves more often.

7. 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman

Have you ever felt busy all day but still found you didn’t move forward in the most important priorities in work and in your life? This is a book that shows us how to cut through the daily clutter and all the distractions and find a way to focus on those key items which are truly the top priorities in our lives. Mixing first-person insights along with unique case studies, Bregman infuses this delightful book with pathways which help guide us — pathways that can get us on the right trail in 18 minutes or less.

He’s full of gems that help us …

… pursue the things we love.

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