A career is so much more than just a job. Almost anyone with enough time on their hands, enough determination, or enough desperation can find a job, and most people can even find a job that pays the bills, if just barely. But building a career, unlike finding a job, is a lifetime pursuit. Building a career requires dedication, both to yourself and to the work that you do. Creating a career involves persistence as it will not always be easy to find fulfilling work while moving your way up the career ladder—and these days, many career paths do not resemble a ladder at all, but rather a long and winding road.
Need some inspiration and guidance when it comes to building and navigating your own career? Here is a handy list of the best career books to read today to get you started on the right foot or back on track if you happened to stray a bit.
1. BEST OVERALL : DESIGNING YOUR LIFE
In the design field, every single choice is intentional—especially the ones that you don’t even notice. The things we use every day and don’t even think about are also things that were thoroughly designed. In “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, you will learn how to apply this same thinking to the choices you make in your own life and intentionally build a system that works for you. You’ll start by working backward to determine what you want out of life, then learning how to achieve that productively by thoughtfully redesigning your routines with plenty of experimentation, prototyping, and constant iteration along the way.
Learn to embrace your choices instead of anguish over them. This is huge for many people who are held back by a limited belief system. According to this book, redesigning your career and life are possible at any age. Find out how to use Mind Maps and become immune to failure. The strategies provided here will teach you to take action, and if that does not work, reset and try again.
2. BEST ON PERSONALITY TYPES: DO WHAT YOU ARE
Perhaps unsurprisingly, certain personality types are terribly suited to particular jobs. If you don’t like math, becoming an engineer would probably be a challenge. But how do you discover what your unique personality is and how that impacts the best career choices for you? Enter “Do What You Are”: this book will walk you through every step of figuring out your personality type, what occupations are popular with others with that personality type, and gives you an inside look at your unique strengths and weaknesses. You will also figure out how to make your job search as efficient as possible.
3. BEST WITH INTERVIEWS : THE THIRD DOOR
“The Third Door” was the result of an 18-year-old’s five-year adventure tracking down the world’s most successful businessmen and superstars to figure out how they successfully launched their incredible careers. You will be gripped by the daring tales author Alex Banayan recounts, including how he hacked shareholder meetings, chased celebrities through grocery stores, and danced with some of the greatest dancers of all time.
In all his wild adventures, he learned that the one thing all of these people had in common is that they took the “third door”—they did not wait in line, and they did not buy their way into the “nightclub” of success—they barged their way in through hard work and determination. Learn how to build a network when you’re just beginning, how to best approach someone online, and find out how to bounce back from rejection from some of the greatest minds in the country.
4. BEST CLASSIC: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends and Influence People” is a classic for a reason. With over 15 million copies sold, this best-selling book was first published in 1936, but the lessons in it still hold true today and it’s considered a must-read for career development. In the book, you’ll learn the six ways to make people like you, 12 ways to “win people” to your style of thinking, nine ways to “change people” in a civil manner, and much more. Carnegie, an important figure in the self-improvement field, has helped many people improve both their work and personal lives with his timeless advice.
5. BEST FOR WOMEN : THE CONFIDENCE CODE
While working women today are more educated and professionally advanced than ever before, men are still dominating the corporate world. In this New York Times bestseller, “The Confidence Code” points out that the main reason for this inequality is confidence. Authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay, who also co-wrote the bestselling “Womenomics,” offer advice on understanding and applying confidence for women of all ages and phases of her career. With research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition, as well as examples from the authors’ lives and of other successful women, this motivational, yet practical guide will help women get the careers they want.