Life-Changing Books That Will Help You Build The Career You Want
Did you know that by this afternoon you could have a world-class mentor? You could have a charisma coach who's an international sensation, learn from Facebook's COO, or be inspired by author Khaled Hosseini.
You just need to pick up their books. (Or, in Khaled Hosseini's case, pick up a book he's part of with lots of other inspiring people. So not his book as such, but you get the point.)
We have some of the best and brightest people and ideas right at the tip of our manicured nails, but we often don't take advantage. I think it’s because people associate 'book learning' with the trauma of school. E.g. boring geography textbooks about calculating gradients inclining, or whatever it was those boring geography books taught us. (So there's a hill and I can't measure it – I'll survive.) But good books are one of the easiest ways to learn traits and skills that can, quite literally, change your life. It’s happened to me.
Every woman, man, dog and cat has a book (seriously, Paris Hilton has a book) and (most) are filled with inspiring stories, brilliant life and career advice, as well as practical tips and tricks that can help you do an Oprah and Live Your Best Life. It's like having some of the world's most successful people as your very own mentor.
So, that being said, here a 5-to-try books that I think ALL career girls should read:
1. The Charisma Myth By Olivia Fox Cabane
Olivia Fox Cabane, you blew my mind! This book gets 5-stars for interesting. It deconstructs charisma, boiling it down to behavioural tricks that anyone can learn, including how to reframe your thoughts, be more engaging and listen better.
Did you know that if you look away, even for a split second, when talking to someone, the other person notices? And their first instinct is to assume that you've looked away because of some issue with them? I didn't either. But Olivia does, and she explains why and how changing this small behaviour can have a big impact.
I could honestly go on about this book for so long that your thumb would hurt from scrolling, so I'll just wrap it up and say: there is SO many practical tips in this book. If you want to be a better communicator or leader, you need to read this. If you’re someone who lacks confidence or you feel like you can’t ever be ‘charismatic’ or have influence ‒ you’re about to learn that like good skin, you can work for it and achieve it. You just need the right tools, tips and tricks to make it happen — and they’re in this book. I learnt SO much. (Honestly, people around me are sick of hearing about it.)
We've always assumed 'charisma' is something you're born with. You either have it, or you don't. That's wrong – and this book proves it.
2. Lean In By Sheryl Sandberg
While you may not agree with everything Sheryl Sandberg says, I do believe this is a book all career women should read.
A friend at work recently said to me, “If the patriarchy is built for the patriarchy, by the patriarchy, then all it's systems are made to serve the patriarchy. It’s unfair that women have to mould to a system that wasn’t built for them.” And she is damn right. (She's also really smart.)
But in order to change things, we need women in positions that can change things. We need more female CEOs, CFOs and Business owners. More female founders, COOs, Directors and Prime Ministers. And in order to do that, we might have to make the patriarchy work for us until we can built a system that's equal. That's why I think all career women need to read this book.
My favourite part of the book is Sandberg's insistence that we move away from the term ‘stay at home mother’s’. Instead start using the terms ‘working in the home’ and ‘working out of the home’. Because raising children is a damn job! And a bloody hard one at that.
Even if you read this book and decide you don’t agree with anything Sandberg said — or that you hate Facebook — this book will likely start conversations with yourself and others. Conversations that we need to have. The patriarchy will continue until we burn it down (figuratively, not literally).
Read a book that’s going to either challenge your way of thinking, or give you ammo for your next argument with Bob from accounts who thinks women "just aren’t as good with numbers" or “don’t want to be in charge”. Can I get an *eye roll* please?
3. The Little Black Book By Otegha Uwagba
I love a little black book that’s pink.
While you may already use some of these tips it’s the perfect compilation of all the tips and tricks any successful woman needs.
From your personal brand to your finances, cold pitching to negotiating — this is a $10 gem for anyone that’s starting their own freelance business or side hustle.
Shout out to the side hustlers! ✊🏻
4. Way More than Luck: Commencement Speeches on Living with Bravery, Empathy, and Other Existential Skills
I bought this book after Zoë Foster Blake recommended it. (If you know me well, that won’t surprise you. Zoë, if you ever read this, call me!)
But once again ZFB has nailed it. This book is so inspiring and empowering. It's filled with real stories of success, people who've lived the life they dreamed of, and stories of others who took the safe road. Through these stories comes sounds advice – not just for your career, but for your life.
Somehow reading this book made me feel like I’m not doing too badly, while also making me want to work harder and take more risks.
You'd have to have super powers to not feel inspired by this book. I personally loved it. (It's a quick read – 2-3 hours.)
All the contributors: Debbie Millman (Contributor), Barbara Kingsolver (Contributor), Eileen Myles (Contributor), Jonathan Safran Foer (Contributor), Khaled Hosseini (Contributor), David Foster Wallace (Contributor), Dick Costolo (Contributor), Bradley Whitford (Contributor) , Michael E. Uslan (Contributor), Tom Wolfe (Contributor), Madeleine L'Engle (Contributor), Michael Lewis (Contributor), Nora Ephron (Contributor), Ira Glass (Contributor)
5. The 4 Hour Work Week By Tim Ferriss
I have talked about this book before, but I feel like I need to reiterate. (Fancy way of saying "mention it again".)
Do you want to work for yourself? You need to read this.
Are you fed up with your job? You need to read this.
Do you want to change your lifestyle? You need to read this.
Shall I go on? No. Because that’s boring.
Tim Ferriss will change the way you think about how you spend your time, what’s worth your energy and the wonderfulness that is virtual assistants.
Sure, he’s a bit of pain in the butt, but he’s living the lifestyle I want, which means he must have things to teach. Also a 4 day work week sounds good enough, but a 4 hour week sounds like coconuts and bliss. (I always assosicate coconuts with relaxation — don't ask.)