September 17, 2020 | 5 min read
4 Books To Read For Career Advancement


Like many professionals, you may feel like there are more important things to prioritize than moving forward in your career. However, even when the timing doesn’t feel right, there’s always something you can be doing to make strides in your career! So what can you do when you feel like you’ve hit a wall when it comes to your own professional development?  Think out of the box, and find some helpful books to read!

There are thousands of career-focused and self-help books to read, so narrowing down your options based on your specific needs is a good place to start. Whether you’re looking to move up in your company or trying to be an all-around productive worker, here are four books to read if you are looking for career advancement:

The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success by Jeff Olson

If you find yourself struggling to find a balance between your personal and professional lives, you may be developing bad habits that are impacting your ability to stay organized and productive.  Author Jeff Olson argues in his book that it isn’t big decisions or changes that lead to success or failure; instead, the small things you do every day have more influence on whether or not you find success in your career.

In this book, you’ll be asked to evaluate what kind of personal or professional changes you want to make, and how small changes will help you better reach your goal. For example, if you feel constantly overwhelmed by your workload, the book might suggest handling the smaller tasks first.  Not only will you be quickly knocking those items off of your ‘to-do list,’ but that feeling of accomplishment will help you feel and be more productive. At the end of the day, the small stuff does matter, and making minor adjustments will lead to major payoffs throughout your career. 

Ditch Your Inner Critic At Work: Evidence-Based Strategies To Thrive In Your Career by Susan Peppercorn

How many times in your career have you questioned your capabilities as a professional and wrestled with self-doubt? Dealing with an inner saboteur can often allow you to feel unmotivated and alone, and you may struggle to talk about these feelings with your peers. However, just about everyone battles with internalized doubt and criticism.  As a result, Susan Peppercorn argues that dealing with imposter syndrome isn’t something to be ashamed of. With client case studies and personal experiences featured throughout the book, Peppercorn provides multiple tools for self-assessment to help you navigate these negative feelings, and how you can work with them in order to make strides in your career.

Give And Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant

When you’re looking for career advancement, you might not think about how your interpersonal relationships can be a major factor in helping you achieve your goals. However, author Adam Grant argues that the key to finding personal success is by consistently helping others and utilizing your professional network. Grant, a professor at Wharton School of Business, says that while individual traits like passion, talent, and hard work can lead to career advancement, you often can’t rely on them alone. Instead, he says, you have to be willing to interact with others and not expect anything in return in order to find success. While he does acknowledge some givers burn out or are taken advantage of, they’re genuinely the type of people who find the most opportunities for career advancement and success. 

Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

You’ve probably heard of the phrase ‘emotional intelligence’ by now, but did you know that Daniel Goleman was the one who popularized the term in 1995?  Originally a science writer for The New York Times, Goleman specialized in brain and behavior research, arguing that cognitive intelligence or IQ, was less important to the success of a business than emotional intelligence. In his book, he argues that good leaders are aware of how to best interact with those around them. If your goal of career advancement is to become a leader in the workplace, you need to understand that your energy resonates with employees, good or bad. By priming positivity in those around you, you’ve accomplished one of the most fundamental tasks of being a manager. If you can accomplish this, company leadership will likely take notice and consider you for future advancement opportunities!

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