Reading a wide variety of business books should be a regular career activity. You learn overall success strategies, like when Paul Morris and Dave Osborn shared critical wealth-building skills in Wealth Can’t Wait. Or, you tag along on one person’s success journey, like when George Santino spilled the beans on how he went from college dropout to partner at Microsoft in Get Back Up.
Below are snapshots from four new business books for all types of career paths. Even if you think one of the categories doesn’t pertain to you, it’s helpful to seek a diverse range of advice:
For the corporate professional: One Minute Mentoring
One Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work With a Mentor – and Why You’ll Benefit From Being One is co-written by best-selling author, Ken Blanchard (of One Minute Manager fame) and from Twitter executive Claire Diaz-Ortiz. The advice is dispensed within the fictional mentor relationship between Josh, a young professional struggling to get on track, and Diane, an executive with decades of experience but struggling to retain the excitement in her career. As Diane mentors Josh, you see his career prospects improve and her career passion reignited.
Getting a mentor and being a mentor are applicable to all careers – corporate, entrepreneur, career changer. This book lays out helpful tips for building a strong mentor relationship. The changes that Josh and Diane each make also provide helpful ideas for how to get unstuck from a career plateau.
For the creative: Real Artists Don’t Starve
Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins is a mix of how-to advice and real-life examples for how creative people can make a living with their craft. Goins pulls stories from Michelangelo to Dr. Dre and covers a range of subjects from networking in creative circles to money management for creative work.
As today’s market requires employees to be more flexible, continually learn, and focus on knowledge work over manual labor, advice for creatives applies to more and more of the workforce. This book gives career management structure to a subjective field like art and may cause you to reconsider dismissing your creative pursuits for a more practical career.
For the established business owner: Think Bigger
Think Bigger and 39 Other Winning Strategies From Successful Entrepreneurs is written by Michael Sonnenfeldt, the founder and chairman of Tiger 21, a peer-to-peer learning network for high-net-worth, first generation entrepreneurs. Sonnenfeldt pulls together lessons he has learned from the 500+ members of Tiger 21 – business owners who have a collective net worth of $50 Billion. Some of the lessons are more around money management than career management (though money and career support each other!). My favorite career takeaway is Lesson 26: Make Failure A Key Part of Success, and Don’t Let Success Blind You To Even Bigger Opportunities. Sonnenfeldt shares examples of business owners who changed what they were doing, even things that were going well, in order to go after something even better.
Today’s market changes quickly, and you can’t get complacent. Learning from what successful people have already done is one way to keep your skills sharp.
For the aspiring entrepreneur: Fight Club: Rebel, Reinvent and Thrive
Fight Club: Rebel, Reinvent and Thrive – How To Launch Your Dream Business is written by Felena Hanson, the founder and CEO of Hera Hub, a female-focused co-working space. Hanson transitioned from employee to entrepreneur and among other helpful tips for career changers, she shares these three strategies:
Dream and do at the same time. You must simultaneously be the long-term visionary while at the same time keeping the day-to-day tasks under control….The buck stops with you. In a JOB you’re often waiting for things to happen, for someone to give you permission, for your boss to give you the “green light”. Entrepreneurs have an incredible opportunity to create something from nothing. But this means you must be 100% self motivated…..Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. As an employee, you have a significant safety net….As an entrepreneur, there is no net. You see what others don’t, test new ideas, seize new territory, take risks. This requires courage, a thick skin and the ability to keep going despite rejection and skepticism… daily! – Felena Hanson
If you aren’t regularly reading business books, you’re missing a practical and inspirational career resource . Start with one of the above, or my favorite books from 2016, to get ideas. Or pick a specific skills or quality you want to develop – say, stress management – and pick a title for that.
If you already have jumped on the reading bandwagon, what books would you recommend?