271: The 9 Best Career Development Books + Two Hacks to Speed Through Your Reading List

“Donde esta la biblioteca?”

When’s the last time you took a trip to the library? Many of us tore through books as children, but as jobs and obligations came with adulthood, we began abandoning this pastime. Besides the busyness we build around ourselves, today’s world of mindlessly watching Hulu and Netflix often pushes reading lists to the backburner.

If you’re looking for a new career, it’s time to reverse any non-reading trends in your life. There are many career development books that can expedite your career change process. Instead of sending you out to read every career advice book ever written, I want to tell you about the top 9 career development books available right now.

WHY SHOULD I READ CAREER DEVELOPMENT BOOKS?

My team and I often chat about full immersion. This strategy involves surrounding yourself with reminders, motivators, a support group—basically anything that keeps you feeling challenged and championed as you move toward your goal. In the past, we’ve shown you how full immersion helped Linnea jump four titles at once and how it helped me pay off $138,000 worth of debt. Following a full immersion strategy that incorporates books on career change can help you achieve your own success more quickly, too. The best career development books will not only provide practical tips and perspective, but they will also keep you motivated and focused on advancement toward your goal.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD CAREER DEVELOPMENT BOOK?

As you shop on Amazon.com, walk into brick-and-mortar bookstores, and visit audible.com for the best books for your career change, you will probably wonder how to identify the good career books from the bad.My best piece of advice? Get recommendations. Some career development books are very straightforward with things you can implement immediately on your resume, LinkedIn, or employer communication. Others share higher level networking tips and psychological tricks for deepening relationships quickly and genuinely. Some may provide practical advice for things indirectly connected to your career search like learning how to market yourself, how to better manage your money, or how to accomplish big dreams. And still, other career development books may simply be memoirs with keys to success that you can copycat.

THE 9 BEST CAREER DEVELOPMENT BOOKS AVAILABLE NOW

Recently, HTYC career coach Kelly and I chatted about our personal favorites on the career bookshelf. We made a list of our top 9 career development books. Keep reading for the list and summaries, or click play on the podcast player below to hear our conversation.

1. Becoming

Author: Michelle Obama

Why You’ll Love It: Michelle’s book is equal parts career guide, parent guide, and how to be a good human guide. She’s shared her life story with candor and hope, and along the way you learn networking tips through osmosis. Many of the actions Michelle takes as she pivots in her career mimic the tips we give clients.

2. Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures

Author: Jennifer Romolini

Why You’ll Love It: Although many career development books lean either the dry, bulleted advice route or toward a compelling story that’s missing actionable steps, Romolini has crafted a book that combines the two. She leaves out the bizspeak buzzwords and instead tells her story in an empathetic and no-nonsense way. Her warmth and humor shine alongside her admissions to big mistakes and celebrations of big successes. Ultimately, she gives you permission to be a human who makes mistakes, has feelings, and learns a lot on the way to career happiness. To quote the back cover, “Weird in a World That’s Not will help you tap into your inner tenacity and find your path, no matter how offbeat you are.”

3. The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career

Author: Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew

Why You’ll Love It: Written by the President and CEO of The Muse, The New Rules of Work provides tips for the entire course of a career, from identifying your path, to using tactics to receiving and negotiating the job offer, to learning how to navigate the everyday work environment and advancing up the ladder. What the book lacks in depth it makes up for in breadth of career conversations. The content includes great practical pieces like helpful graphs and email samples. (Kathryn was on our podcast last year. You can listen to that episode here.)

4. How to Be Everything

Author: Emilie Wapnick

Why You’ll Love It: Emilie discusses the concept of the multipotentialite, a situation we find many of our clients in. Wondering what a multipotentialite is? To quote Emilie, “Having a lot of different interests, projects and curiosities doesn’t make you a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none.” Your endless curiosity doesn’t mean you are broken or flaky. What you are is a multipotentialite: someone with many interests and creative pursuits. And that is actually your biggest strength.” This book gives you permission to do what you want, even if it’s 5 different things taking place at the same time. (You can listen to our interview with Emilie here.)

5. Drive

Author: Daniel Pink

Why You’ll Love It: Drive restructures the way we think about motivation and purpose, including the levers that impact those ideas. Daniel presents scientific research to help you understand your own personal motivations better in a way that leads to increased success in your career and life. (Listen to Daniel on the HTYC podcast by clicking here.)

6. Total Money Makeover

Author: Dave Ramsey

Why You’ll Love It: Although this isn’t your typical career development book, money management is essential for every person, no matter their job situation. Dave shows you how to make your money work for you, which in turn, provides you with better opportunities. His plan helps you eliminate debt and worries. When this happens, you’ll find renewed energy for life and work. We all know we should create savings, but Dave actually teaches you how to successfully do that.

7. Purple Cow

Author: Seth Godin

Why You’ll Love It: This nontraditional career advice book forces you to look at the world through a very different lens. While its purpose seems to be about marketing, you could go in and replace every marketing word with career, and the concepts still play out perfectly. When you read Purple Cow, you’ll learn how to make yourself stand out in a sea of plain vanilla.

8. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Author: Angela Duckworth

Why You’ll Love It: Angela says success isn’t about being the most naturally talented or most intellectual person in the room. No, it’s about something much more tangible and available to all of us—it’s grit. She removes the fear that you’ll never be good enough for what you want and instead helps you understand how to accomplish your wildest goals.

9. Stumbling on Happiness

Author: Daniel Gilbert

Why You’ll Love It: Daniel’s dry, witty humor turns his research findings from graphs and charts into an easy and insightful read on the psychology of happiness. Focused primarily on humans’ inability to accurately predict tomorrow, you’ll close the book with a greater grasp on your own desires and happiness.

TWO HACKS TO READ ALL THE BEST CAREER DEVELOPMENT BOOKS IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME

Now that you have the top career books to add to this year’s reading list, you may be wondering how you’ll ever make it through them all. Allow me the pleasure of introducing you to two hacks to help you speed through your list and still get maximum value out of the content.

  1. Start listening to audiobooks on Audible.

Put away the idea that you have to be curled up on the couch on a rainy weekend in order to turn a few pages of a book. Instead, let the author read their own words to you while you work out, drive to work, or stand in line at a coffee shop. You can even adjust the speed the book is being read from a normal pace to a chipmunk-sounding speed read.

  1. Spend money on your books.

I know, I know. That’s not popular advice. Most people are searching for freebies in every direction, but if you really want to value your books, you need to have skin in the game. Your investment equals accountability. Trust me, you’ll barrel through way more books that you pay for than those that are given to you.

To hear the audiobook version of this blog post (AKA the accompanying podcast episode), click the play button.

Kelly Poulson 00:04
So I have started to do audiobooks a little bit more so that when I have a long drive or when I’m at the gym or whatever it is, I have the ability, instead of me watching reruns on Netflix or whatever which is also easy for me to do, I’ve been listening to books much More.

Introduction 00:28
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:52
How many people put down, read more books as one of their goals and failed to read all but maybe two of those before the year ends? If you’ve ever had read more books on your list of things that you want to do, want to accomplish within the given year, then this is going to be an amazing episode for you. And you know, quite frankly, we all know that reading is important for many different reasons. It's important for our minds, it’s important for our life’s potential. There’s a huge amount of studies out there, linking everything from reading more fiction or more frequent fiction on a more of frequent basis to your, yeah, increases in empathy and emotional intelligence all the way to some studies that link potential income, right? But here’s the thing, often sitting down to actually do these, sitting down to actually read, getting move to the bottom of our to-do-list almost every single time, right. And, we know that, it can be relaxing, we know it can provide those moments of refuge from our busy schedules but it also takes a tunnel of mental energy and even bandwidth. But here’s the thing, what if I told you that, there are ways to do this, there are ways to make it much easier, there are ways to be able to make reading fit seamlessly into your life, without tons of tons of extra effort and that’s exactly what we get to cover in today’s episode. How to make it easy to read maybe even two or more books a month and still get everything else done? And by the way I have with me the perfect person to be able to help with that, none other than HTYC career coach Kelly Poulson. How are you, Kelly?

Kelly Poulson 02:35
I’m doing very well, Scott. Excited to have the conversation today.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:38
So here’s a little bit of a back story. First of all, if you want all of Kelly’s back story and how she has created the work that she loves with her own life and how she came about working with us on HTYC team and everything else, then you can actually go back in the archives and listen to her episode. However, the reason I wanted to chat with Kelly about this, it seems like inevitably every single time or close, maybe not every single time, but close to every time that you and I talk, books come up some places, some place along the line. Is that fair to say?

Kelly Poulson 03:13
I would agree with that. Yes.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:14
She's nodding vigorously along with it. You can't see it, but emphatic yes. Plus, we’ve learned that well, I don’t know, we’ve exchange book list and all kinds of things. I have added immensely to my book, to my personal book list based on conversations that you and I have had. I was like “Oh my goodness. I have to read that one.” So this is an ongoing thing and both of us wanted to be able to help you if you have this as a goal for either this year or any upcoming year. How to make this actually possible for you and, but wait there’s more, make some recommendations on what are some of the top books for your career as well as some of our personal top books overall and maybe even what’s on our personal reading lists. Let’s dive into this. Here's a question for you, Kelly. I don’t think you and I have ever talked about this, but have you ever set goals around reading in any capacity for yourself before? I don't know that I had until, maybe a couple of years ago, but has that ever been a thing for you?

Kelly Poulson 04:18
I don’t think I had. Which is weird because I set them probably around every other aspect in the world.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:23
Yeah, that’s why I was wondering because we’ve had many other conversations about goals and all kinds of other areas. And I think that, although not everybody has dumbness, I think it becomes a thing, it becomes a new year’s resolution list sort of thing where you can, like, “Ah, you know what? I just want to read more but we haven’t made it a priority.” So, I did for the first time, do that, and this was two years ago. This was in 2017, I believe. Right for the first time I ever said any kind of reading goals or whatsoever and decided I wanted to read 24 books in a year, right? Which sounded massive to me at that time because although reading had been a big thing for my life, I spent several years growing this business and decided that I wasn’t that reader as much quite frankly during that time. And I knew that I’d have to think about how to go from reading like 2 or 3 books a year making a massive adjustment to reading 24 books in one year. Cause it used to be, I don’t know how it was for you growing up, but I used to read like sometimes a book every a couple of days, or sometimes even a book a day when I was a kid. What was it like for you? Where did reading start for you, Kelly?

Kelly Poulson 05:36
Gosh. I don’t know if I remember. I remember I used to devour books all summer. So whether that was trying to avoid being out in heat or whatever. I remember, and it’s not uncommon now even when I’m going on a vacation to polish all five or something like that. It’s like it’s such a part of when I’m off, I guess, that’s when I’m reading the most.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:56
When you’re away from the rest of, I don’t know, normal life, normal schedule?

Kelly Poulson 06:01
Right! Whatever that means.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:02
Yeah, whatever that means. Yeah, I totally agreed. So, one of the things I think that I want to make sure that we’re covering today is, one: How you’re integrating reading into your life because I think you and I know both do it in different ways or have done it in different ways, for sure. Just like you pointed out, that, hey, where you’re finding that you are reading the most or have the or maybe even have the ability to read the most is when you are aware from whatever the normal see is. Went from one extreme to the other and went from reading virtually no books after getting used to reading tons of books to flipping the switch and going backwards. So, this past year, let say 2018, I think I read, right around 50 books or so? Which may or may not sound like a big number, I have no concept, it was big for me going from nearly zero to 24 to 50. But curious, how frequently did you go through books?

Kelly Poulson 06:59
Yeah… All I can say is, I can always tell on a vacation. Whenever I go somewhere with those people I might actually, French joke: I always have a candle loaded, I, and another book maybe and maybe another sort of option on my person at any time usually, I feel very worried Gilmore and that if you were Gilmore girls. But I know I’m on vacation for sure it’s not uncommon, I will say, “Alright I’m going for X amount of days. I have to double the amount that I think I’ll read because it will be so infuriating if I don’t have enough for a while I'm away. The rest of the time it can really vary and it depends on how into a certain book I am or how busy, you know, the business is or, I also have the different switching when I’m listening to the books versus reading, there’s a different experience there in terms of how many simultaneously. So I’m just one of those few people that wouldn’t start a new one until I finish the one previously and I realize that it doesn’t serve me any longer.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:56
You know… That’s actually a great point, an incredibly great point. And I just want to repeat what you’ve said because I think people might miss out. So the number one thing is, just making sure that they’re available. Making sure that, if for you it sounds, like, you need the book and then you need the on-deck book and then you need whatever comes behind the on-deck book and then even some more after that to make sure that you’ve got the job done and that they’re available and you don’t run out for all intents of purposes and it sounds like such a small thing but I found that, that’s actually really really important. When I have small pockets of time to read in one way shape or perform it will talk about where to find those pockets here in just a little bit. If I don’t have that, all the tendency to do something else or could’ve chosen to be able to read and whatever it might be. Speaking of those small pockets, one of the biggest hacks that I’ve found, especially if you’re listening to this right now, I’m guessing that if you are listening to a podcast you probably enjoy consuming information or content or entertainment or whatever your category of choices through audio means. And that’s actually one of the biggest hacks that I’ve found personally. I used to read everything in a physical book and actually still really love reading physical books. But, I found that after I had kids and, I don’t know, started a business, and started travelling.... it became more difficult to do that. And instead, found that I can load up my, go to audible.com, and load up my Iphone with tons of books and do just like you’re talking about where I’ve get the book and I’ve got the on-deck book and then I get the book behind the on-deck book as well. So, I’m curious about that for you. Do you mostly read physical books or what works for you, what do you prefer?

Kelly Poulson 09:53
Mostly the, as you mentioned, when life changes, I notice that I was reading last the first year when I left my full time job where I was in the house and taking a train every day. So I have started to do audio books a little bit more so that when I have a long drive or when I’m at the gym or whatever it is, I have the ability, instead of me watching reruns on Netflix or whatever which is also easy for me to do, I’ve been listening to books much more. So I’m glad that I tried it because I think I tried it years ago, and didn’t like the English whoever the voiceover was. Did you turn for it? And then walked away and I’m glad I came back, because it certainly made a difference in my ability to learn.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:37
Yeah… I think you and I have had that conversation before, not in a recorded fashion where, narrator, especially for fiction books, can make such a difference in some ways.

Kelly Poulson 10:47
Absolutely.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:48
I found you’re just looking at that as a profession, like voiceover artists, some of the ones that do such an amazing job or actually really in demand and really incredibly well paid to. It just makes such a different for the book like, if you go, if you start out listening to Harry Potter, as an example, and that’s your standard, that’s kind of very very top. So, if you go and you listen to JK Rowlings and Harry Potter then they’d done a really nice job. And then you try and go and listen to some other type of fiction book and like, “Oh my goodness! This is, like, I thought this is what all the books were gonna be like” and it’s yeah. So maybe, don’t start there with the, you have listened to…

Kelly Poulson 11:28
My suggestions, if the author read it themselves, I typically like that or especially when it’s someone’s life story obviously it’s worth compelling coming from them, that was probably my most successful audible kickoff was when that was the case.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:41
That’s a really great point, actually I really love that too. If you are just starting to get into listening to books on audio and you want to pursue this as a hack for your life, I think it could be a great hack, that because you can just pull out your Iphone and, you know, on the way to work or on the train or wherever you happened to be, listen for 15 minutes or 20 minutes. But, make sure that if you’re apprehensive about it, maybe start with those author read books or something else along those lines. I don’t know if you do this ‘cause I don’t think we have this part of the conversation before but, do you speed up your listening times?

Kelly Poulson 12:24
I didn’t until I was half way through something, actually recently. And it was taking so long. And I think I scanned a lot so I can get through things quickly and I thought a kind of world am I still listening to this, love the book, don’t get me wrong. But, so then I played around with it ‘cause I think you do need to have… gradual, right. ‘Cause I think, at first, I went too fast and the voices sounded like a chipmunk and that’s not your intent. Now if you really wanna learn you don’t want me to speak through it. So I played around a little bit with the pace and I have started to do that more regularly.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:57
Very cool. So, the backstory here; if you haven’t used an audio player to listen to books before, most of them allow you to choose to listen to it on different speed. So you can listen to it on normal, speed which would be 1x or, you know, 1.5x which would be, one and a half speed, or 2x and some even go up to 3x. The one’s like audible as an example. The voice was still sound similar it’ll just, so one sound like “Alvin and the chipmunks” necessarily. But, it will speed up the voice overall. And if you want to pursue this, this is probably the one thing, one of the biggest things that allowed me to read 50-ish books this past year instead of 24, is getting very used to listening to it on 2x or even 2.25 speed. And to your point Kelly, it takes a little bit of working up in finding your own preferences because just listening to the books and just accomplishing, you know, reading the book is not necessarily gonna be that useful for most people. Most people want the entertainment or education or what you’re gonna get at out of the book along with. So, what I would recommend if you’ve never done that before is start out on 1.5 or 1.25, something that's less than 2x speed but if you stop and think about it, if you can consume a book in 2x speed and that’s exactly half the time. So it literally takes less time to be able to go through a book and at this point I listened to about at least a book a week, is what I found on 2x speed. And it can get through most of them really really fast. But I wasn’t able to internalize the content and how I gradually worked up to that 2x speed, I had trouble doing that. It sounds like you’ve had your own preferences on that too.

Kelly Poulson 14:55
Yeah, 2x is intimidating. I'm not there yet. But now I have a new goal.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:59
Now you have reading goal, right?

Kelly Poulson 15:01
Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:01
First ever reading goal you heard it here first. Okay. So here’s another thing that is really incredibly useful that sounds counterintuitive, as well, is I found, and you can tell me your thoughts on these too because everybody is a little bit different but for the most part, when you’ve got stake in the game or when you’ve got invested interest then you’ve got a higher chance of following through if you have a particular goal and right now, we’re talking about readings, so, one way to create stake in the game for myself was buying an audiblement membership or buying the books outright so that I felt like I had something invested into it and that was really really incredibly helpful.

Kelly Poulson 15:42
Yeah. I don’t have an audible membership. Hopefully you’re gonna accept me for that. But, the accountability piece I get you right, like the financial investment similarity to team book clubs even though I know they’re very old school. If I commit to a book club, I’m the kind of person that I can’t just show up with a bottle of wine and pretend like I read it, like I will read every last page because that’s the commitment that I made.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:07
Yeah, absolutely! And I think that it’s going to be different for every individual person and typically for things like this, you’ve got four different categories that people fall into with where you feel accountability. By the way, great resource on that, go back to our episode with Gretchen Rubin where we talked about ‘The Four Tendencies’ and there’s lot of data and studies and research on these but Gretchen defined it so well into those different four categories or what motivates you or what causes you to feel accountable based on where you place importance and expectations. But otherwise though, you know, a value on what’s gonna work for yourself, if it’s going to work for you to join the book club, if it’s going to work for you to make your habit cost money in one way or another, then… by all means do it. And if you’re unsure, then experiment with a couple of things. Another thing that has going back and combining it together with the availability and then also making the habit cost money, that’s work really while for me, is being able to.. as soon as I hear about the book, just buy it. That has been something that has worked incredibly while for me. What I used to do, is I used to keep a big long list on evernote and then, maybe, I’d go back to the list and get really complicated. I'd prioritized it and now at this point particularly, if it.. I don’t know if you do this for fiction books but I definitely do it for non-fiction books, if I hear about it and I wanna read it, I just buy it and then there it’s waiting for me in my audio queue, so that it’s always available plus I have the extra incentive for me that I’ve spent money on it so I’m going to find the time, make the time to listen to it. How do you think about that, or what else do you do in order to feed your habit of reading? I would say you are in a different stage compared to what some people might be; some people are, like, trying to figure out how to read more. In your case, it’s more of a lifelong habit in a lot of ways and how did you continue to feed that habit?

Kelly Poulson 18:04
Well, it sounds like an old school Scott version. I have an amazon list that’s incredibly long but I don’t buy them when it happens, which is, you know, and then I also have a few tools: one of which is relatively known and I cannot remember the name of it, so hopefully I will and we can add it later. But basically it checks for availability on hoopla which is where I get library books through my local library. So it will tell me if something’s in my amazon and I’m about to buy it if it’s available for e-read there, it’s just makes extension that I added so then it tells me whenever it’s available, and that was in the last, it was probably in January reading related thing and has made huge difference because a lot of what I would’ve purchase exists out there in the library, and I just didn’t, wouldn’t have thought of it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:53
And that’s such a great point too. And yeah, if, so that’s an extension that works with hoopla? Is that just what I heard you say?

Kelly Poulson 19:00
Well, it does for me. But I think it works with most library systems. That happens to be the one that’s connected to my library.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:09
Cool. So, by the way, for everything that we’ve talked about and then links to, you know, links to all the resources that we’re talked about you can go to: happentoyourcareer.com/271 (cause this is episode 271) and everything that we’re talked about will be right there in a nice, easy to read format. But, hoopla overdrive there’s several out there as well that are very very useful too. Let’s say that you are not in the position where you want to or can spend the money or maybe that isn't that helpful for you. But still want to pursue this as a goal, then both those are pretty amazing options. Found that most libraries have all of the books. Not maybe, not all of them but a good portion of anything that want to read whether it’s, even if it’s more obscure they might still have one copy available.

Kelly Poulson 20:01
More than you realized.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:02
Way more. Yeah! So definitely utilize those two. We find that, especially for fiction books we check a lot of those out from the library, so we have like way too many on our audible account that are nonfiction and then we have tendency to listen to on car trips when we go as a family, we listen to whatever book it is that we’re excited about or the family has mentioned. And a lot of time for using overdrive which connects up to our local library. So, yeah… Great suggestions. See if you can find that Google extension, by the way.

Kelly Poulson 20:37
I'm sure I will, yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:38
Okay cool. We’ll link that up and make sure that you have that there too. That way, we can find what might be at your library as well. Here are quick recap of what we’ve covered to make it easier as well. So having those books on deck, making sure that they’re available and instead if you’re finding trouble actually, like, sitting down with the physical book or anything else along those lines, try listening to books instead. And, you know, using something like an audible account, finding what’s going to work for you and potentially even making your habit cost money or finding a way to make it more accountable for yourself, if you got this as a goal. And then, even if it doesn't cost money, being able to use, especially, for the availability, using things like hoopla or like overdrive or like other pieces of technology that can connect you to the books in one way or another. Whether it’s free three or library and all you have to have is a library card or whether it is something like audible. Okay! So we’ve got all of those pieces. Here’s what I’m curious about though. I’m curious about what you have encountered over the years, Kelly. That you would recommend for some of your top career books. I’ve got my own list here, we’ll talk about that in a minute here, but I’m super curious about, what have you found to be most useful for yourself or for other people for your career?

Kelly Poulson 22:04
Sure. So, one is a very recent and I wonder how people will received it as a career book so I recently finished Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” and that I thought when I think about the people that we work with regularly and the process that they used and how they come to flourish and in terms of what how they find what there’s most interested in and build that network and meet people, she did that on her book, in my opinion. So through her whole life you get to see all that worked for someone that’s so high profile and in with, you know, the background that she has, so I just figure with… for me, reading it thinking like “Oh, my clients’ still want one of these things.” That was just really cool to see in someone who we all know of, and how it worked effectively for her.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:53
Awesome. I have not read that.

Kelly Poulson 22:56
I recommend it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:57
Cool. What's next?

Kelly Poulson 22:59
I think this one was last year{23:00], “Weird in a World That’s Not” so I tend to gravitate towards authors who were very draft. Who, you know, it’s no beats speak or anything like that. I have a very variable tolerance for that kind of thing. So she, this woman, Jennifer Romolini, tells her story and how she patch things up in her career and how she’s learning different things and has a lot of practical advice but still a human being, and I think often when it comes to career books, she finds some matter very, either one into this spectrum than the other. They’re either all advice and there’s not a human being or they’re all story and there’s not anything that you can actually take, like actionable. So I think she did a very solid job of, you know, making it okay that you’re gonna batch something up and that, it doesn’t end it and here’s how you keep it and find the next thing.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:54
Very cool. Very cool. And number three on the Kelly list of top career books.

Kelly Poulson 24:02
So I would probably say the “The New Rules of Work” that’s by Kathryn and, what’s her name, Alex, the folks of Muse. They did a book that is broken into pieces so it’s all throughout the course of your career, so some of it is exercises where you gain insights in that kind of thing and tactics. And then, some of it is a little bit more about what’s in the world, how to successfully navigate things and then how to plan your next. So, I just think that’s probably more on the tactical side of things than stories though they give great examples and drafts and, you know, email samples that people can use. So I think that one, I’m a fan of it as well.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:41
Yeah. We had, by the way, we had if you want an additional reference to that. Back on episode (let’s try to look up here really quick) but we had Kathryn Minshew on, geez, probably about a year ago or so. You can go ahead and Google “The New Rules of Work: Happen To You Career” and it will pop right up there, Google Kathryn Minshew, spelled M-i-n-s-h-e-w and then Happen To Your Career, it will pop right up too. But, really what they did is they covered a lot very very broadly and then gave a lot of good tactics. They didn’t certainly go incredibly deep into every single one. So if you’re looking for a really deep guide on one particular area that’s probably not it, if you are looking for a good overview where you can reference different pieces and, you know, pull out a script or pull out something else, then I would say that’s a great one for that.

Kelly Poulson 25:45
I agree. I think that they went very broad, but helpful, for sure.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:49
Yeah. Very cool. Any others on your top career books list?

Kelly Poulson 25:54
I assure you I’m not picking people that you had on a podcast but I also know that you had, right, the author of “How to be Everything”

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:01
Yeah, Emilie. Emilie’s becomes a good friend over the last 4 or 5 years, I guess it’s been, I think I’ve known her for about 5 years. But yeah, that is a great book especially for people that are interested in many things or suspect they might be passionate about more than just one thing, right? What's the name of the book?

Kelly Poulson 26:22
“How to be Everything”. How to be Everything. She introduces the concepts of multipotentialites. And I had plenty of scenarios with clients who even hearing that that’s a true thing, that it exists and they’re not alone, really love that and her whole story about how you don’t have, it’s not as though, we’re not me it’s just anymore where you pick one job and that’s what you do for the next 20 or 30 years and that’s perfectly acceptable and you can do 5 different things, simultaneously, if that’s what lights you up. So I can get the permission and then she tells her story on how she navigated her career.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:54
Yeah. Emilie is phenomenal. She’s been on the Happen to your Career podcast two times now. So she’s a repeat cast, in fact, and we have brought her back when she wrote the book and will absolutely recommend it. She is back in Episode 220, so you can go to: happentoyourcareer.com/220 and then it will pop right up, as well. Any others that you have on your mastery books for careers?

Kelly Poulson 27:24
Not necessarily. I mean, I think for the career piece a lot of it ends up being autobiographies or biographies can be really valuable too and we overlooked that sometimes.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:34
Yeah. You know I found the exact same thing too and I was thinking about my own personal list and recommendations for careers, I actually, I didn’t put any autobiographies on the list but I have found those incredibly useful for that same purpose because everybody goes through, not the same journey, but the same milestones in the journey, if they’re really looking for fulfillment or more purpose or higher impact or career happiness, life happiness and all the things that go along with it, everybody has the sort that hit the same milestones along the way and have some of the same “aha”. It may happen completely different ways but I found that really very helpful too. So I’m glad you brought that up. And I’m curious if you’ve read any of these, as well. One of the books that I had on here is “Drive” by Daniel Pink, who we’ve also had the podcast actually, a while back, but he does such a masterful job, pulling together different pieces of data and research and putting it together in a way that is actually useful and entertaining because for most of us, reading through research is gonna be dry and boring, then quite frankly, not all of that helpful to pull out, you know, a couple little tiny nuggets that are gonna be really useful. So, Daniel goes through and he takes all that and puts it into a really 3 particular categories that just make a difference and move the needle in finding where your motivation and purpose and ultimately fulfillment comes from and what are the levels that impact that. So if you want to know more about that, absolutely put “Drive” on your list. Another one is, I think several of these would not think about, most people would not think about them as career books, “Total Money Makeover “ by Dave Ramsey, so most people look at that and go “that’s a finance book” however, have you read it by the way?

Kelly Poulson 29:27
I have not.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:28
So here’s the thing that I found, is that your finances are directly linked to your career in many many different ways, and you and I both know this. First of all, if you have other goals besides just to work , the amount of finances that your bringing in from you career, if that’s your main source of income, have a tendency to influence what you can do in the world because money is a tool and in many ways, most of us have some kind of need for it at a minimum but also for us to accomplish of the things, money becomes a new great tool to be able to make that happen. And what I found is that, if you can create more money for yourself, or you can understand how to completely remove what you might owe, in terms of debt or other things like that, and then make all of your money work for you, for lack of a better phrase, then it creates additional clear options for you. It takes away, and removes a lot of those situations for people feel like they’re stuck in certain scenarios or feel like “I can’t leave a job that I hate because I’m making a hundred and fifty thousand dollars and I’m worried about whether or not I’m gonna make a hundred and fifty thousand dollars in the next job” and it just eliminates the ton of that. And if you have a whole bunch of savings and you’ve done a nice job there and you don’t have any debt, you don’t owe anybody or anything, it just creates two things that I found for myself and my life and my family’s life, one, is it creates a whole bunch more options. Second thing is, it creates a whole bunch of additional energy that when I have a ton of debt, I didn’t realized I was being consumed, I didn’t realize there was tons of mental bandwidth and creative energy that was being consumed just by having those extra pressures there until it was gone, and then I was like “Oh! Oh! This is what life can be like.” So Total Money Makeover is a really great blueprint to remove any kind of debt and also be able to make those additional options work for you in your life and be able to create savings that all those we should do but don’t necessarily know how to do, or thinks it’s possible for ourselves. Another one, have you ever read “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin?

Kelly Poulson 31:45
I have not.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:46
Oh my goodness. I think you would enjoy this. It’s a short read, it’s a marketing book, it’s intended to be a marketing book, but I have found it to be so amazing for careers because it forces you to look at things through a different land. So, the pretext for it is, Seth Godin is talking about marketing and products and all the things like that, but you could just, every place has a marketing you could enter your career Into it or what you do, or advancement or anything about your career that you want to accelerate. So, he tells a story at the beginning of the book, where he and his family were driving through the countryside in the UK. And if you’ve ever been in the countryside in the UK, especially as you get up more North, it’s very grassy, there’s lot of cows, lots of sheep and, you know, some kind of rolling field in some ways. And, at first, he and his family were like “Hey! There’s a cow. Oh, there’s a cow.” And then they start seeing just tons of tons of cows, and at some point they are like “Yeah… This is.. Okay, we’ve seen it. We’ve seen one cow, they all look the same.” Alright, it’s not amazing anymore, it was pretty at first and it make some point that that’s really what life is like and also in what marketing is like or being able to stand out amongst others, everything kinda seems the sames after awhile, everything seems sort of vanilla or, you know, or chocolate-vanilla type choices in some ways. And he said, “You know what, you know what it would be really amazing, you know what people would talk about, you know what would move forward in life, would be, if we saw a purple cow. That would be something.” And, so he goes on to be able to showcase how do you actually stand out in a sea of what is normally, you know, vanilla. And I found that to be so incredibly effective for any in all areas of your career from getting new jobs to getting promoted within, just by anything you want to do. So, all the same concepts, although it's talked about in the marketing framework, are really helpful there. “Grit” what about this one? Have you read “Grit” from Angela Duckworth?

Kelly Poulson 33:55
I have. Yes.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:55
Okay. Alright! What did you think? Obviously not on your top 5, but curious what you thought overall.

Kelly Poulson 34:02
Oh, it was good. I mean, I think there’s a lot.. there are similar time frames, I suppose. There are a lot of people riding about this topic with different tips on it. So I also, you know, like, read growth mindset and all these different things. So I feel like I appreciate every individual's slightly different tip on it. I remember I enjoyed it, I won’t tell you that I remember specifics cause I don’t.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:24
Okay, so here’s what I thought and I don’t think you even need to read the whole thing on this one to get the most useful pieces out of it. So, the full title by the way says it all: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. And she does such a great job helping you to understand what really makes a difference for being able to accomplish things that you want and become greedier and also what makes a difference in terms of developing passion within your work. A lot of people talk about passion in the context of finding passions, I kinda hate the word passion in some ways because it gets tossed around and is so loosely used like “Ahh.. If only I can find my passions” and…

Kelly Poulson 35:09
What does that even mean?

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:10
What does it even mean? Exactly! Exactly! So she breaks down all the scientific evidence around her, around passion and how it actually works. And it really is much more of a case of developing passion not finding it, like you go treasure hunting, doesn’t work that way. So, let’s put it together in a way that becomes much more useful if you’re reading it for those purposes. The last one is, there’s probably 2 or 3 books that could fit in here, “Stumbling on Happiness” have you read that one?

Kelly Poulson 35:41
I have not, but I've probably... there's so many books on happiness as well that I'm a fan of.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:45
Yeah, there are a lot out there. Okay. So the reason I could’ve said the couple of them in here is there are actually a variety of good books on happiness. A lot of them reference the same research, the same studies, a lot of it goes back to the founder of positive psychology whose name is Dr. Martin Seligman, and even though they all link back there a lot of them approached it in completely different ways. So one of my favorite was Stumbling on Happiness whose by psychologist, Daniel Gilbert, and if you listen to this book I think it’s so much better, it’s read by the author and he has just such a dry witty ironic sense of humor and I don’t think it comes across as well if you just read the book through the text. But when you listen to him, you’ll be like, it is a hilarious book on top of being incredibly useful for understanding what makes a difference in our day-to-day lives or happiness. So, looking for a book on understanding career happiness in particular but also overall happiness, that’s a great one that I’ve found. Okay! How about non-career books? And then also, what the, a masters of couple out here, what would you say didn’t make the career book list but you still think deserves an honorable mention just because it’s such a great book in one way or another?

Kelly Poulson 37:13
I intertwined them so much so it’s like mere impossible for me to even think about them differently. Well, I know what’s coming, didn’t make the list, right. But they part two, Atwood's “Handmaid’s Tale” it’s coming out this year, so I’m excited about that. I think that it would be an interesting one especially...

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:31
I’m not familiar with that. What is the…

Kelly Poulson 37:33
So Margaret Atwood's the woman who wrote Handmaid's Tale, which is now the ever extremely popular, I think award winning Hulu show.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:41
Oh, okay.

Kelly Poulson 37:42
And now this book is coming out and.. and then theory, I’m sure has nothing to do with the one of those, I’m sure she is the part of the Hulu thing, kind of like Game of Thrones, right? You don’t follow one to the other because they’re probably quite different from each other, so we’ll find out. So I’m excited about that one for sure.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:03
Alright, much anticipated then. Much Anticipated. For me, a couple that hadn’t made my career book list but I would’ve absolutely recommend, number one would be, and a lot of people have read this but if you haven’t or even if you wanna read this the second time, I think would be really useful: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and a lot of people I heard of like “The 10,000 hour rule” because that was the book that made that statement popular and it doesn’t come from, actually fun facts, doesn’t come from Malcolm Gladwell, it actually comes from the guy who researched it but Malcolm made it popular through that book. But it’s such a great book for understanding how success happens or can happen, and the point that I took away from that was like, in some other ways, that you can engineer your own success in the areas that you want to even though that wasn’t the entire intention of the book. The other one, I absolutely love the Lord of the.. I’m a total nerd this way, I love the “Lord of the Rings” series. I would always put that as an honorable mention in some place, personally. Actually I just re-read it with my kids.

Kelly Poulson 39:20
Yeah. Very cool.

Scott Anthony Barlow 39:21
Yeah, which I hadn’t read in a while so we went through the entire series and then we often won't let them watch the movies or anything until they’ve brought the book for maybe semi-obvious reasons if you enjoy reading that all. But, we just read that recently and I didn’t realize until going through it, this is probably the third time I’ve read that series, just how masterful it is in storytelling. And I have found that being able to tell great stories in one way or another is an incredibly useful career thing but also it just, I don’t know, probably makes it more enjoyable for you to be around with other people too or at least for them from their perspective. So..

Kelly Poulson 40:04
Absolutely.

Scott Anthony Barlow 40:04
Plus it’s just freaking awesome set of books, in general. Alright! So those are my list. Anything else that you would add that didn’t make the cut, any place else that you’re just like “Hey. It has to be on here, would not be complete.”?

Scott Anthony Barlow 40:19
It’s another.. It hasn’t existed yet. Ben Folds is coming out of the book.

Scott Anthony Barlow 40:26
Okay. Alright. Tell me about this because I love Ben Folds but I didn’t even realize that he was coming out of the book.

Kelly Poulson 40:32
Well see, I’m a total nerdy super fan and I think it’s September 2019. But it's his story. So I watched his Google Talk recently, and he was referencing it. It’s his story but I think what’s fascinating about him, he often does VIP things that it shows where you haven’t “asked me anything about music” section with him. And I’ve attended those and I actually walked out with all these notes thinking like “Oh my gosh! I need to write about this like it’s so inspirational.” And one of the things when I went to the last one was somebody asks him, you know, like, he can play the drums, obviously plays a piano, can sing, can write, and how does he identified in terms of his talents and his careers, and he said, I forget exactly, I’m seriously sort it was song writer first, drummers second, piano third. And I just kept thinking like “mindblown” how everyone in the world sees him as he’s very talented piano player and that’s third in his own thought process of, you know, what he’s meant to be doing, which I just thinks it’s really interesting ‘cause you just never really know what else is out there, who everyone in the world sees him as X but for them it’s really about Y.

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:38
That’s interesting. That’s super fascinating. I think in some ways that actually ties back to the multi-talented, multi-passionate concept that we’re talking about earlier with “How to be Everything” an Emilie Wapnick’s book, as well. Okay. So, now I’m excited for this too. And on that note, I’m gonna encourage you to develop your own list, you can take our recommendations but quite honestly, this entire episode is about: How do you read more for the things you really want to know about or enjoy or educate yourself on or being entertained by. So, take some of our tips, figure out what’s gonna work for you, experiment with them and then take some of our book recommendations and, again, develop your own. Go beyond that and find the one’s that you’re excited about because I found that more so of what we’ve just talked about, like finding stuff that you’re actually legitimately excited about or looking forward to, is probably even more powerful than any of the tips and hacks we’ve discussed as well.

Kelly Poulson 42:39
Absolutely.

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:39
Kelly, thank you so much for jumping on here and nerding out about books, for the last 35-40 minutes here. I really appreciate it. And you can find anything we’ve talked about including book recommendations even of few that, you know, will add to... we have on our list but we didn’t even discuss yet and some other one’s that we’re looking forward too as well, we’ll link all of those pieces up at happentoyoucareer.com/271, you’ll see all over there. And by the way, we have so much more coming in store for you, next week right here on the happen to your career podcast.

Lisa Lewis-Miller 43:18
Because if you're not willing to, or you're uncomfortable with having that kind of a conversation, you're never going to have people with who you can do coaching for it's going to be a business for you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:29
Alright, all that and more coming up right here on Happen To Your Career, next week and we’ve talked about tons of books, and if you love to read I’ve got one of the things that would be really incredibly valuable for you to read too. If you’re ready to create and live a life that really is unapologetically you and live more in your strengths and spend more of your time working in your strengths, check out our ultimate guide to using your strengths to get hired, find your signature strengths and do what you love and what you great at and how you can bring value to the rest of the world in your organizations that you’re working with. You can do it two different ways, we’ll make it super easy on you. One you can just text us, text MYSTRENGTHS to 44222 or you can visit hiredforstrengths.com. We’ll see over there. Alright! Until next week. I am out! Adios!

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