By Ashley Stahl
Forbes, June 27, 2018 —
Our careers are constantly in flux.
You might be searching for a job, starting one, leaving one, loving one, hating one—and perhaps many of those at the same time. After all, we spend most of our lives at work.
But how much energy do we spend actively trying to improve our time at work?
Whether it’s working with a coach or reading a career book, the investment of just a few hours a week could lead to radical rewards for you, both financially and personally.
What’s holding you back from making that investment?
If you’re ready to take a big step forward today to boost your career, here are five of the best books of the year to help you do just that.
Bestselling author Alex Banayan spent seven years tracking down Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Lady Gaga, Maya Angelou, Steven Spielberg, Jane Goodall, Jessica Alba, Mark Zuckerberg and a dozen more to uncover how they broke through and catapulted their careers. The book reads like a movie as Banayan voyages from his college dorm room to interview these icons and discover what led to their success.
The only thing better than the insightful lessons in this book are the stories that tie the narrative together. Banayan funded his journey by winning a sailboat on The Price Is Right—then he chased Larry King through a grocery story, hacked Warren Buffett’s shareholders meeting, and much more. Brimming with insights and page-turning adventures, The Third Door is one of my favorite career books of the year.
It’s not surprising that the book debuted as a national bestseller. Whether you’re searching for a new job, starting your own business, or looking to add extra fuel to your current career, this book is a powerful and massively enjoyable way to do just that.
2. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
What if you could sit down with a billionaire investor and get his best, time-tested lessons on success? Principles: Life and Work lets you do just that. The moment you open Ray Dalio’s bestselling book Principles, you are met with unbelievable frameworks and wisdom to make your career not only more effective, but also more enjoyable.
More than 40 years ago, Dalio started Bridgewater Associates out of his apartment in New York City. Since then, the firm grew to one of the most successful hedge funds in history. And Dalio insists it wasn’t an accident. He claims it’s a direct result of a set of principles he uses consistently at work.
The book has high praise from other career experts including Adam Grant, Arianna Huffington and Tim Ferriss, who all say the book has helped sharpen their decision-making in their own work. As the saying goes, “success leaves clues,” and this book is packed with them.
Social media icon and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk is back with another practical book on cashing in on your passions to build your business. This is a follow-up to Vaynerchuk’s first book, Crush It, … and it’s much needed.
In Crushing It, Vaynerchk not only updates his advice to feature the latest social platforms (my favorite: the rise of audio with Spotify, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio and iTunes), but also includes refreshing spotlights on entrepreneurs who are actually putting these tools into practice and seeing massive results.
If you’re looking to advance your career as an entrepreneur or social media influencer, this is a field guide with tremendous value.
4. Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success by Benjamin Hardy
Author Benjamin Hardy has a compelling hook: our society is obsessed with willpower. But what if we have it wrong?
The book has a powerful argument: Stop focusing on willpower. Instead, focus on changing your surroundings to achieve your goals.
In this immensely practical and useful book, Hardy will teach you everything from how to put “forcing functions” in your life (so your default behaviors are precisely what you want them to be) to how to create an environment where endless creativity and boundless productivity is the norm.
If you’re ready to set the conditions for your success, this book is for you.
5. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
Although When by bestselling author Daniel Pink isn’t touted as a career book, I think it should be. The book is packed with wonderful anecdotes and practical tips that will lead to tangible benefits for your career.
From how to time meetings to how to arrange your schedule to avoid unnecessary human error, Pink goes deep into the science of how and why his advice works.
If you enjoy not only getting useful career guidance—but also understanding the research behind why it works—you’ll love When as much as I did.
Whether you’re looking to track down celebrities to learn their secrets or learn how you can better build your business in the technological era, you’ll definitely gain insight from reading these books.
Get ready to invest in improving your time at work in 2018!
Ashley Stahl coaches job seekers to find their purpose and land more job offers. She also runs CAKE Publishing, a ghostwriting house that helps influencers create content.