One of the best ways to grow as a professional is to read books written by people who were successful in doing what you want to do. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or you simply want to become the sort of leader in your company that people admire, reading books and practicing your skills can help you achieve your goals. Though not every professional has the same needs, certain books contain such far-reaching knowledge that they can be applicable to every business professional. If you’re looking to develop your professional skills and get ahead, here are 10 books you should read this year.
10.) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
Backed by years of academic and psychological research, Pink’s book argues against the idea that rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior is the best way to incentivize people to work. In fact, he says the best way to use money as a motivator is to pay employees enough that they’re not thinking about money. Past that, his findings show that there are three things that lead employees to work harder and feel more satisfaction: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. His book goes through these three elements in detail, showing how you can use them to lead your staff to perform better and feel better about what they’re doing.
9.) Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or simply a businessman, chances are that you have ideas. But what makes some ideas work and other ideas flop? Chip and Dan go through examples of real-life business successes and failures to showcase what makes some ideas “sticky”. By seeing what has worked in the past, they help you develop the nuggets of your ideas into ideas that will stick and work.
8.) How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
One of the most important aspects of business is networking, both in the office and outside of it. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest parts. Interpersonal relationships can be hard to manage. Carnegie’s book is all about how to reframe the way that you engage with people to form meaningful relationships that also get positive results.
7.) Speak and Get Results by Sandy Linver
Whether you’re presenting your idea at a conference or simply leading a meeting, there are times when you’re going to have to speak compellingly if you’re going to succeed in the business world. Linver’s book is all about giving the speeches you need to give to get the results you desire. If you’ve struggled with pubic speaking in the past, this is definitely the book for you.
6.) The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
According to Ferriss, he went from working 80 hours a week and making $40,000 in a year to working 4 hours a week and making $40,000 in a month. And while those results are probably not typical for everyone, when you see those kinds of results, it makes sense to read about the method. Ferriss’s boo is all about eliminating meaningless work that takes up a lot of our time, increasing productivity, and outsourcing tasks that other people can do. It’s an especially good book to read if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or if you have a hard time delegating tasks to others.
5.) Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
How is it that some leaders manage to inspire a following? Why are some employees motivated to work to help the business while others simply work to get their paycheck? Sinek looks into the commonalities between leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr, Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers to see what it is that they have in common. His book is all about becoming a better, more powerful, more inspiring leader.
4.) The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Here’s the problem with startup businesses: They have to be innovative to stay ahead of the curve, but innovation can cost money and there’s no telling if a new idea will work ahead of time. Ries solves this problem with his lean business model, which is all about spending the least amount of money in the shortest amount of time possible to make small improvements to your business model and test ideas quickly. It’s a must-read book for anyone working on a budget (which, in today’s economy, is everyone).
3.) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
One of the best parts about Manson’s book, based on his popular blog, is that it’s an enjoyable read. It’s not a book about apathy, or not caring about anything. Rather, it focuses on accepting that there are limitations in life and that you can’t control everything. If you try to care about everything, you’re destined to be disappointed by something. Instead, Manson argues for people to choose limited, focused things to care about, and then to learn to let the rest go. It’s a book about finding balance in life—a book that is sorely needed by all people, but especially by professionals.
2.) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
One of the best things about Covey’s book is that it’s not just about your personal life, and it’s not just about your professional life: It’s about achieving a balance between the two. It’s about achieving happiness and becoming self-aware. It’s also full of challenges so you can practice putting the advice into action as you’re reading it. Covey’s talking about habits here, not quick fixes, but the habits he does talk about are ones that can alter your life and make you a better professional.
1.) The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
How does something go from a funny YouTube video to a video that has received millions of views? Where do fads come from? What causes things to go viral? Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is all about what makes an idea not just stick, but really take off and spread. If you want to make a living off of your products or ideas, this is a book you cannot overlook.
Reading about business strategies and productivity plans is a must-have for an aspiring professional. These 10 important books aren’t ones you’ll just want to skim. For these, you’ll want to break out the fountain pen and takes notes so that you can become a more confident, more accomplished businessman today.