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​9 Books to Inspire a Thriving Career

​9 Books to Inspire a Thriving Career

Some business books leave us with little to remember except a few lines that could been a short post. These selections are the real deal, written by experts who have spent years working and researching on the topics they are writing about. So, get your highlighters prepped and remember one of the best ways to actually retain and apply information from books is going back to your highlights or notes every once in a while.

The Willpower Instinct

Here is the simple, and life changing advice: The greatest predictor of your future self is your behavior today. When you delay today, and promise you will change tomorrow or in a week or next month, you are assuming your future self will be different in the future. This is a common mind trick, assuming you will be superman in the future. In reality, it is highly unlikely that you will resist the chocolate dessert, the third glass of wine, or procrastinating on your goals unless you resist it today. Kelly McDonigal reminds us to “View every choice you make as a commitment to all future choices.”

How Women Decide

In How Women Decide, Therese Huston has delivered a guidebook to understanding the strengths women bring to decision making. If you have doubted your ability to make decisions, Therese’s offers research that shows men and women have an equally hard time making decisions. However, under specific conditions, the ways women and men make decisions can differ. When the pressure is on, research shows that men are more likely to go for large risks, while women are more likely to go for smaller wins, Therese says. These differences in gender behavior show us why gender balance is good for the bottom line, and not just a company’s diversity report.

First Break All The Rules

If you are managing people, you are likely to find some great advice in this book. Based on research studies from 80,000 manager across 400 companies, the information in this book will help you select the right people in the role, prioritize where you spend your time and how you motivate people on your team.

High Output Management

Andy Grove’s book Hight Ouput Management is considered a top management book by insiders in Siicon Valley. As your read how Andy Grove managed Intel, you will be reminded of basic management responsibilities such as ensuring you have a process to fix problems at the lowest stage possible before more time and resources are used and many other tips for managers.

End of Average

Have you ever felt down because your life has not followed the traditional path of school, college, great career, marriage, kids, etc? Todd Rose, failed class after class, dropped out of high school with a 0.9 GPA, was holding minimum wage jobs to support a wife and son and was referred to as a troublemaker. Today, Todd is on the faculty at Harvard Graduate school. In his book, Todd walks us through his story, and research that indicates there is no such thing as an average brain or an average life path.

If you are interested in viewing your differently, remember this suggestion from the book "There is no single pathway, for any goal in our life there are varied paces and sequences to reaching our goals.”

Designing Your life

This book comes from a popular undergraduate design class at Stanford led by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. One of the main themes is the suggestion to to reframe dysfunctional beliefs such as these:

  • Its too late to design a life I love
  • Your degree determines your career
  • To be happy I have to make the right choice

If you find yourself believing any of these statements, designing your life will help you reframe your thinking, and to start taking small steps forward towards rapid prototyping of your life goals. We often hear the advice that you must follow your passion. For those of us with multiple passions, this book reminds us that 80% of people do not have a passion and it is perfectly normal to be passionate about many things. Instead of obsessing about the perfect passion, we should narrow down a list of possibilities, make a decision and start exploring. The objective is to get out of the imaginary, and to start designing your way forward to a fulfilling life. If you are uncertain what life decisions you should keep following, consider this advice from the book, "your level of energy and engagement is your clue if you are moving in the right direction."

The Inevitable: 12 forces

Kevin Kelley’s book reminds us how rapidly our world is changing. Experts predict, before the end of this century, 70% of jobs will likely be automated. If this stat scares you, don’t worry yet, Kelley’s book suggests the creation of entirely new roles and industries to support automation. If you want a head start on where the biggest industries are headed, Kelley has dozens of ideas including a strong bet on the sharing economy.

Delivering Happiness

Have you ever wished you could work with your friends and run a business based on truly shared values? For employees of Zappo’s, this place is real. In Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh leads us through the risks he made and how his devotion to building an authentic company culture paid off, in billions. Some say culture eats strategy for breakfast and after reading the Zappos’ story you may strongly agree. Zappo’s has already proved the model works; it is up to the rest of us to create the world we want to live in.

Just Mercy

Not a business book, but a tremendously important story and model of how to lead change with courage, patience, kindness and resilience while working in heartbreaking circumstances. 


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