Whether you are an entrepreneur, a freelancer, or working for someone else, constant self-development is the key for a successful professional life. Luckily these days there are many amazing books on professional transformation, entrepreneurship, and management out there you can choose from to gain new knowledge and ensure self-improvement.
Lifelong learning is an important factor of not only professional growth, but also mental wellness. Having a New Year Reading List can strengthen your motivation to keep up with reading throughout the year (it worked for me, I’ve managed one-third of my list; that’s 5-6 books more than last year) and if you don’t think about reading as a compulsory task, embarking on a book with the essential fun factor makes it worthwhile.
In this post we would like to inspire you to engage in reading in the coming year by feauring a showcase of books that we’ve found both cool and great for professional development.
The Virgin Way: If It’s Not Fun, It’s Not Worth Doing
Richard Branson, founder of the British Virgin Group containing more than 400 companies such as Virgin Media and the Virgin Atlantic Airways is probably one of the most successful entrepreneur of our times.
He lives a vivid social media life, and he has also published some great books in which he shares his unique and unconventional views on management, entrepreneurship and business.
The Virgin Way: If It’s Not Fun, It’s Not Worth Doing is his latest book on management and entrepreneurship in which he gives an inside look at his insanely successful style of leadership that is primarily driven by the art of listening and keeping people engaged.
Branson has such an out-of-the-box personality that he even dares assert that "you’ll never have to think outside the box if you refuse to let anyone build one around you."
The Essential Drucker
Peter Drucker was a legendary professor and management consultant, or a “social ecologist” as he described himself, who founded the theory and practice of modern management. Although he died in 2005, his books have stood the test of time, and you can gain a great amount of knowledge on economics, business and leadership by reading them.
The Essential Drucker is an insightful collection of the best essays by the prominent business philosopher, published over a span of more than 60 years. In this book you can learn about the basic principles and concerns of management, its best practices, main challenges, core problems, and most promising opportunities. For samples of his writing, follow this link.
Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
Laszlo Bock, the author of this amazing book currently works as the head of Google’s People Operations team that is basically responsible for the Human Resources of the company. Work Rules! published in 2015 is his first book that quickly became a bestseller of The New York Times.
Work Rules! gives many thought-provoking insights into the human resource and talent management of Google, including topics such as giving more power to employees over managers, avoiding a dehumanizing company culture, transparency, the best usage of data, how to calculate more motivating, performance-based salaries, and many more. It’s a must-read to everyone who manages humans and wants to take leadership seriously.
The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age
The Alliance is authored by Reid Hoffman, cofounder of Linkedin, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, all of whom are successful entrepreneurs and mentors. The Alliance analyzes the problem of the employee-employer relationship that has become broken in our fast-changing and insecure modern world.
If you run your own company, or you work as a manager, this book can give you excellent tips on how to recruit, manage, and retain amazing people at your company in a connected world where companies can’t afford to offer lifetime employment any more.
The book has many interesting ideas, such as how employment should be treated as an alliance between independent players rather than a transactional relationship, and many others. To learn more about this awesome book, download the first chapter for free, and check it out for yourself.
Thinking in Systems: A Primer
Donella Meadows was an influential environmental scientist who became famous with her first book, Limits to Growth which was about the consequences of an uncontrolled growth on a finite planet. She researched the feasability of sustainable systems at all levels of society, from local to global.
Thinking in Systems, a later work of hers describes how to develop system-thinking skills critical for dealing with the complexity of the 21st century life. Donella Meadows thinks that the biggest problems in the world such as poverty, hunger, and war are system failures that cannot be solved in isoation from others.
This book is not only theorotical though, as it provides you with useful methodology to help you improve your problem-solving skills, which is one of the most important area of personal and professional development.
Get it: Kindle ($11.99) | Paperback ($11.57)
Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing
Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing is a fascinating book that claims it’s not IQ, willpower, or self-confidence that matters the most in today’s increasingly unpredictable world, but how you deal with new things you don’t necessarily understand.
The author, Jamie Holmes approaches the subject of uncertainty from the aspect of social psychology and cognitive science, and introduces you into the upsides of ambiguity such as creativity, empathy, personal development, and inspiration for learning.
Not only that, but he also teaches you new skills to use uncertainty to your own advantage. He uses awesome real-life stories throughout the book to make you engaged and entertained.
Get it: Hardcover ($14.85)
Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most
Have you ever had to deal with high pressure situations such as job interviews, hard exams, sales presentations, price negotiations with clients, and the like? According to Dr. Hendrie Weisinger and Dr. JP Pawliw-Fry, the authors of Performing Under Pressure, people don’t perform better at all under pressure, as it’s frequently claimed by many.
This brilliant book introduces you into the intriguing concept of pressure management, and offers both short and long term practical solutions tested on over 12,000 people to help you overcome the paralyzing effects of pressure and stress.
Get it: Hardcover ($14.60)
Disruptive innovation is a quite successful strategy in the contemporary business arena, just think about companies like Uber, AirBnB, or TaskRabbit. Disrupt Yourself, written by Jay Samit serial entrepreneur describes the unique method he has used to invent new products, and launch, grow, and sell businesses in industries such as ecommerce, social media, digital video creation, mobile communications and software development.
If you have a big idea, but are not sure how to apply it, or just got stuck in your life and seek for personal transformation, you must read this engaging and perspective-shifting book.
Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry
If you like rise and fall stories told in an engaging, juicy way, you need to check out this fascinating book about Blackberry’s rise and fall, written by the two prominent business writers of the Canadian The Globe and Mail, Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff.
Not so long ago Blackberry was the favourite gadget of high-profile professionals, CEOs, and presidents. In 2009 the company controlled about the half of the smartphone market. By 2015 this number fell to less than 1 percent.
Losing the Signal investigates the story, and presents the reasons of the rise and the fall in the form of a modern tale. If you want to understand how to avoid failure in a superfast, information-ridden, innovation-hungry business world, and want to acquire this knowledge in a really entertaining way, this book was written just for you.
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
In his new book, The Organized Mind, Daniel J. Levitin, bestselling author, neuroscientist, and professor at McGill University shows you how to handle the constant flow of information your brain encounters in today’s insane deluge of data.
You can learn new practical methods about how to organize your personal and professional life in an environment more complex than ever before, through entertaining real-life examples, such as how not to lose your car keys, how to manage your kitchen junk drawer, how to establish a productive office workflow, and many others.
The recommended methods are backed up with the latest research on cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory.