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Celebrate Book Lovers' Day With These 10 Career Books

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Looking for some books to add to your mid-summer reading list? Preparing for a career makeover for fall? Or maybe, like us, you're excited to celebrate Book Lovers' Day (August 9th) with a few good reads. In any case, check out our recommended career books list for some inspiration!

To create this list, I first looked at my own bookshelf for works that had struck a chord with me or instilled a flutter of inspiration toward my career growth. Some were recommended by friends and colleagues, authored by experts I’ve been following, or are currently on my “to be read” list and waiting in my online shopping cart as you reading this post.

Whether you prefer to voraciously read a hand-held bound book, or take your content in via audio file, these selections are bound to give you the career boost you’re seeking:

Explorations and Transitions

So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport

Struggling with finding your passion or finding a career in the area of your passion? Heed the advice of Cal Newport by mastering your skill first, gaining expertise in your field, and enhancing your ability to foresee new opportunities that are important to the world—and that you'll be able to solve.

Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness, Kerry Hannon

Published in 2015, this timeless book by Kerry Hannon, AARP Job Expert, promises that it is possible to have a job you love, or rediscover what drove you to your current role in the first place. You’ll learn how to celebrate small successes, develop new habits, and discover the routines that may have created some dissatisfaction in your current job so that you can squash them once and for all.

Do What You Are, Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron, and Kelly Tieger

Another classic, this best-selling guide to personality types will help you find satisfying career success. You will need to know your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type. To take the “official” inventory, you must purchase the multiple-choice questionnaire, but there are many variations online that you can take at no cost (try 16 Personalities). Also, the MBTI site itself offers guidance in determining your type based on descriptions of each.


The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, Patrick Lencioni

Office politics driving you crazy? Give this book a read. Author Patrick Lencioni portrays lessons in teamwork told through a fictional story. Added bonuses: a questionnaire that you can use for assessing the teams you work with and commentary on how to overcome any deficiencies and discover areas for improvement.

Pro Tip: This book pairs perfectly with our quiz, What's Your Workplace Communication Style?, in case you really want to shake up how you collaborate with co-workers.

Start With Why, Simon Sinek

What makes a person able to spark the loyalty of others on their team? According to Simon Sinek, the most effective and compelling leaders are those who have the curiosity to ask the question, “why?” By knowing your “why”, you can discover what to do based on what causes and beliefs inspire you to act.

On the Job

Autism Working: A Seven-Stage Plan to Thriving at Work, Michelle Garnett 

Whether you are on the spectrum, or you care about or work with someone who is, this book provides advice, strategies, and tools to manage the different situations that can arise at work. Complete with interactive activities to help minimize anxiety, sensory overload, unhelpful thinking patterns, difficulties with social communication, and organization and planning problems, the workbook section's self-guided component breaks down advice into manageable actions.

The Elevated Communicator: How to Master Your Style and Strengthen Well-Being at Work, Maryanne O'Brien

Drawing on more than a decade of original research on communication tendencies and proven mindfulness and habit-formation techniques, Maryanne O'Brien has developed a proprietary model of communication styles. Check out the self-assessment to discover your style, strengthen self-awareness, and communicate more effectively with your co-workers.

The Social-Impact Sector

Jobs That Matter, Heather Krasna

You’re probably familiar with the sound, expert advice that Heather has shared on the Idealist Careers Advice blog. If you’re looking for a book to not only help you pinpoint the area of public service that works for your interests and talents—but also provide nitty-gritty guidelines for resume writing and interviewing—check out Heather’s!

Unicorns on Fire: A Collection of NonprofitAF Posts, Finally Edited for Spelling and Grammar, Vu Le 

Vu Le's popular blog, NonprofitAF, started as a way to cope with the joy, frustrations, inconsistencies, and passion one social-impact professional has for the sector. It's now become a beacon for all nonprofit employees to commiserate and celebrate everything that the sector has and continues to accomplish. Whether you're newly starting out in social impact or have worked at a nonprofit for decades, there's sure to be some gems of advice (and laughs) to be had.

The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for First-time Job Seekers, Meg Busse, Steven Joiner

Our own comprehensive guide for emerging nonprofit professionals seeking their first gig in the sector. The book is chock-full of expert advice, strategies, and nonprofit resources. And of course, you have the wealth of insights on the Idealist Career Advice blog to get you through any questions and career concerns that are currently plaguing you.


If you've powered through the above selections and are hunting for more good words and social-impact tips to take in, Take Our Quiz | Looking for a New Book? Find Your Next Professional Read.

By Victoria Crispo

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