Today, I will tell you the best books on career development that can help you advance your position, fast.
For most people, advancing career means either being a jerk, or waiting until they got promoted naturally (basically relying on luck).
Not many people know what it takes to advance their career using strategies and proven principles.
However, there are some strategies and mindset you need to develop in order for your superiors to realize your true value and decides to promote you early.
The following books on career development will help you to learn what it takes to regain control of your existence in your corporate life.
1. Get Momentum: How to Start When You’re Stuck by Jason W. Womack and Jodi Womack
If you’ve been in one position for a long time, then you know breaking out of the rut is often easier said than done.
Thankfully Get Momentum helps you get going on just that and shows you the benefits of shattering the mold for a bold breakthrough.
Whether you’ve been on the job for years or are a new employee feeling stuck in one spot, Get Momentum shows you how to maximize your potential for upward movement using a combined skills-based and personality-based focus.
Generally applicable to any career, these more global principles often have application to a range of other fields and to quite a few different levels on the career ladder.
- The hardest part of any project is getting started – this book gives you strategies on how to do just that.
- Learn about the importance of “experimenting specifically and practice deliberately”.
- How to “build momentum” in your position.
2. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant
Hailed by everyone from Oprah to the Financial Times, Give and Take by Adam Grant transforms your thinking from one focused on individual drivers of success to one focused on three archetypes and how they interact in a business relationship.
Dividing people into takers, givers, and matchers, Grant’s research into the dynamics between people and how they relate to drivers of success can help professionals master the ins and outs of work relationships to maximize their career success.
Serving as UPenn’s Wharton School of Business’ youngest tenured professor, Grant has expanded this research to predict everything from individual success to the success of large scale firms.
Using case studies, Grant offers insights into what individuals can do to maximize their career reach while giving and taking from others along the way.
- Learn how givers, takers, and matchers impact daily interactions between people.
- Uses case studies to show how one networking genius achieved his goals.
- Instructs you on how to network according to your personality type for maximum success.
3. Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
Master networker Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone delves into the power of interpersonal relationships and how that dynamic can change one’s life in a working environment.
Learning how to master the win-win of networking is key to individual professional success, and Keith Ferrazzi offers tips and techniques for maximizing your opportunities to make a personal connection that could permanently alter the course of your professional career.
Ferrazzi’s tips differ from the usual fare found in networking books and expands upon how interpersonal dynamics can change relationships.
In addition he explores the importance of connecting others and building bridges between yourself and groups of people to maximize your reach.
Practical and practicable, Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone transforms common sense tips into blockbuster success strategies.
- Tips and techniques for maximizing interpersonal connections in the workplace.
- Understanding how “status” impacts interactions between people.
- How to use social media to network and create meaningful engagement.
4. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport
Following your passion is the oft touted advice for people seeking fulfillment from their careers – and Cal Newport thinks this might be the wrong direction to take entirely.
Instead, So Good They Can’t Ignore You researches the true nature of drive and passion in a job by looking at a range of industries and examining what exactly makes people passionate and motivated about what they do.
What Newport discovered was that passion was not a pre-existing condition for success, but rather the afterproduct of long hours of toil and dedication.
Rather than embarking upon careers they are passionate about people should instead cultivate skills that make them excellent in that field.
To sum his maxim from the book: What you do for a living is less important than how you do it.
In this book Newport offers strategies for developing what you’re good at and applying that to a career path.
- Follow your skills, not your passion—this book shows you how with case study examples.
- Offers a blueprint for creating work that you love.
- Will change the way you think about career and your life.
5. Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron, and Kelly Tieger
Using personality type as a basis for finding your career, Do What You Are explores what it means to undertake a career on a personal level and what professionals can do to best match their chosen field to their personality type.
Focused less on passion and skill and more on what your personality is suited for, Do What You Are is perfect advice for people looking to change careers or pivot from an old career to a new field.
But it also has advice for someone who finds himself jarringly displaced and in search of something new.
While not as immediately applicable as most skill-based books, Do What You Are does help you hone in on what exactly drives you as a professional and honing in on something that maximizes that.
- A step-by-step guide to classifying your personality type.
- A focus on the strengths and weaknesses for your particular personality type.
- Helps readers hone in on the types of jobs they want to have as careers.
6. Do Over: Make Today the First Day of Your New Career by Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff’s Do Over is focused on making the next move in your career and takes the premise that you should move and comport yourself as if you’re fresh on the job without any other job before it, yet still retaining all your skills and expertise attained over the years.
Basically you need to re-learn the old hustle and ambition you originally brought to your job to help you change careers, seize on a job opportunity, take your career to the next level, and reignite your drive to work.
Do Over is touted as a way to eliminate Monday anxiety and make you eager to hit the office every day and give it your all.
- How to “reinvent” your work.
- How to pivot to a new position.
- Achieving your goals through constant self-improvement.
7. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance-What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Written with career advice geared towards women specifically, The Confidence Code explains how important confidence can be in a career and how women can hone it and develop it for maximum success at everything from the boardroom to the bargaining table.
One central argument of the book is that the reason so many upper-level executive positions are filled by men is because of their mastery of the art of confidence.
And with that comes a ton of perks – benefits that are just waiting for the woman capable of mastering the ability to project confidence and strength.
Delivered in a practical manner with an eyes towards strategies and tips that are immediately applicable, The Confidence Code is a great book of career advice for either sex.
- Practical advice for women on how to lead in business.
- Uses real world examples and case studies to back up its advice, giving readers a template for success.
- Techniques for boosting confidence in the workplace—and beyond.
8. Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition by Jay Abraham
Combining over two hundred business career ideas into one book, Jay Abraham’s Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got is geared towards professionals that are attempting to get a little more out of what they already have.
Ranging from the immediately implementable to the more far-fetched ideas, Abraham’s streak for innovation and penchant for providing corporate guidance shines through on every page.
Written with seasoned veterans in mind, the book also provides useful advice for people just getting started with their careers.
A mix of skills-based and personality-based strategies, Abraham keeps it universal while also making the advice strikingly personal.
- Over 200 business career ideas.
- How to unlock new opportunities “hidden in plain sight”.
- How to develop a fresh perspective to unlock your full potential.
9. Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future by Dorie Clark
Sometimes we hit a career rut and we need a change. But making that change is often difficult.
Thankfully, Reinventing You helps provide a roadmap to changing your career and who you are – right now.
Written by branding expert Dorie Clark, this book’s marketing approach to preparing you to make a career leap looks at things from a packaging perspective and is perfect for just about everyone at every stage in a career.
Becoming a new person isn’t the goal, but becoming a new employee is and that’s where Reinventing You shines.
Focused on what matters to you and what your goals are in the long haul, Reinventing You teaches you how to build a template for future success on your chosen career path.
- Learn the steps you need to take to change yourself professionally.
- How to develop a compelling personal brand.
- Real world examples from famous people in business and beyond to help you get a grasp on key concepts.
10. Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career by Jocelyn K. Glei
Success isn’t always about being the best person in the room but often about being the best at adapting and building new skills at a continual rate.
Maximize Your Potential offers advice on how to maximize your opportunity to grow and change and make the most of risk-taking so that you come out stronger on the end.
Taking risks isn’t always a bad thing—especially if you take risks that utilize your expertise and offer you the opportunity to gain some advantage.
Mastering yourself and your decision making process in this aspect of your career is only the first step, and this book helps you take it.
- Shows you how to generate new opportunities by breaking out of your shell.
- How to take bold creative risks—and reap the rewards from doing so.
- Learn how to deal with failure—and turn it into a moment for growth.
11. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois P. Frankel
Getting to the top of the corporate ladder often requires some climbing, and it can be brutal.
While not advocating for a no-holds-barred approach to office relationships, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office focuses on how to change your mindset when it comes to office politics and asserting yourself in professional situations.
Not only do decisive, strong employees make corporations better but these employees tend to rise to the top.
This book will give you practical steps on how to integrate yourself into the structure of where you work so that you get what you want (and deserve) in terms of a job.
- An outline of the common mistakes women make while advancing their careers.
- How to head off these mistakes – and make the most of your position.
- Learn about the importance of confidence and negotiation in business.
12. Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One by Jenny Blake
Let’s face it—the days of staying with one job until the end of your career are long gone.
Now you have to know how to move from position to position with relative grace and ease—and Pivot will help show you how to do that.
Combining an approach that looks at relevant skills, past experience, personality type, and career goals, Pivot describes the steps employees can take to prepare themselves for the next big move—and how to decide what that should be.
Emphasizing a nimble approach to career skills and positions, Pivot is great advice for the modern job environment.
- How to make small changes for a big impact.
- Learn strategies from Silicon Valley tech companies to apply to your career.
- Develop a professional strategy tailored to your goals and job path.
Staying motivated in the IT field can be difficult, especially with its long hours and typically grueling work in some companies.
But how can you keep your passion going and use it to grow your skills, take your career to the next level, and get what you want out of a job.
Specifically, this book helps you choose what areas to focus on in this growing field and how that will impact your future career.
Not only that, but the book actively encourages your participation with structured help that forces you to develop action plans that will lead you to your chosen destination.
- Learning how to look at your IT career as a business.
- Learn about how the choices you make with regard to your focus in IT impacts your promotional trajectory.
- How to develop a structured plan to keep your skills relevant and fresh.
14. Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong by Jessica Bacal
Author Jessica Bacal interview 25 powerful women about their most taxing moments on the job and what they learned from it.
Using the case study method with a little bit of pizzazz, Bacal’s insights into the various stories proffered by each female executive are chock full of practical measures you can implement in your own career.
You never know, you might encounter a similar situation one day as that described in these stories but more likely you will use the more universal advice from this book than anything else.
While it is focused on female executives, their stories (and the lessons from them) apply to people of both genders in equal measure.
- A book filled with case studies about successful women in business.
- Learn from their mistakes—and successes—and how to apply those lessons to your career.
- Geared towards women, the advice can be applied to a variety of positions.
15. Ditch Your Inner Critic At Work: Evidence-Based Strategies To Thrive In Your Career by Susan Peppercorn
The biggest critic we often face is ourselves, and that needs to change.
Stop focusing on how bad you are and, instead, think about what you bring to the table and how that changes the conversation.
Finding fulfillment in work is often a combination of passion and skills, but it is also about silencing your inner critic.
While criticism can often be constructive and lead to positive change, your internal dialogue is often way harsher than what others would say to you—and this can distort your perception of reality, especially in a professional setting.
Turn off the inner voice and turn up the positive for career growth.
- Silence the critics in your head so you can thrive in your field.
- A step-by-step guide to develop the tools you need for satisfaction at work.
- Uses research, anecdotal experience, and case studies to drive home key lessons.
16. Activate Your Agile Career: How Responding to Change Will Inspire Your Life’s Work by Marti Konstant
The agile careerist is someone who is always on their toes and adaptable to changing situations.
Learn how to become an agile careerist so that you can hop from a job if you need to and protect yourself from economic downturns when they arrive.
But also gain fulfillment from your career and learn how to navigate the ups and downs of an employment situation.
The book has seven principles to teach you about as well as action plans to help you change your career outlook.
- Learn the principles used and followed by agile careerists.
- Know the difference between a steadfast careerist and an agile careerist.
- Receive a slew of actionable steps you can take now and tools you can use in the future.
17. Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-Connected World by J. Kelly Hoey
Networking should be easy, but it often isn’t.
Building meaningful connections with other people can have a positive impact on your career, but knowing how to do that is a different game entirely.
From LinkedIn to other social media, learn how to package yourself so that your career benefits from your synthesis of different connections and your own skills.
Networking need not be boring nor should it be tedious, but it is a job and knowing what skills lead to a successful networking game is part of the deal.
Backed up by infographics and charts, Build Your Dream Network also shows quantitative evidence of the benefits of networking.
- How to use modern tools to network.
- What the benefits—and pitfalls—of these methods are.
- How to turn “closed door” convos into deep relationships.
18. Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg
Being new to a job is your opportunity to shine and this book will help you do just that.
Take advantage of every opportunity, go overboard on every task, and increase your responsibility and the scope of your job to advance your career.
Knowing what to do is often not as important as how you do—and what resources you marshal to bring it to completion.
This book offers advice that is geared towards newbie employees that might not know what to do to take their job to the next level.
Managing your career is often a combination of channeling your talents and navigating relationships with other people, and Effective Immediately shows you how to do both.
- How to establish yourself as a top performer from day one.
- How to turn every opportunity into a chance to prove your skills.
- How to maximize your value to your employer in any professional setting.
19. Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits by Jennifer Romolini
Jennifer Romolini writes from experience when she describes her transformation from peon on the bottom of the corporate totem pole to power executive leading teams of professionals.
The style of this book is distinctive and it is marketed towards professionals that are a bit unconventional—and how they can use that unconventional personality to help them in their careers.
With advice on how to deal with everything from your boss to networking, this quirky professional help book.
Focused on your career but also staying true to yourself, Weird in a World That’s Not is offbeat but on point when it comes to career advice.
- Learning about how to network even if you’re not comfortable doing it.
- Managing office politics.
- Learn the difference between management and “being a boss”.
20. Good Is Not Enough: And Other Unwritten Rules for Minority Professionals by Keith R. Wyche
Being a minority in a business environment comes with a different set of unspoken rules.
If you’ve ever wanted someone to tell you exactly what those are, even if you’ve just suspected them before, then Good Is Not Enough is your book.
Focused on becoming your best person and excelling in every regard, Good Is Not Enough offers the well-known though less-discussed truth that minority candidates and employees have to be just that much better than their counterparts to stand out in a crowded employment market.
Anecdotal evidence and practical advice combine for a spectacular book that is all too real and all too necessary.
- A how-to guide to understanding corporate culture, and how this impacts minorities in the workplace.
- How to maintain status in a workplace and network with executives.
- How to keep your skills at the peak of their game and how to broaden your skills set during your career.
Quick Question: What Is The Hardest Thing In Advancing Your Career?
Are you not brave enough to take responsibility? Too many assholes in your department? Can’t prioritize on what to do next?
Or maybe you want to share your tips on career development so other employees will benefit from it.
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below!