If you’re looking for resources to help you with your career change or job search, check out this excellent list – 100 Best Career Books of All Time. Although some of the books on the list are targeted to new grads, most are relevant for any age.
Books have often served me as companions, guides, and sources of ideas. But a good book inspires me to act.
Many of my favorite career books are on the list, but here are a few more that have inspired me during my own career (and life) “reinventions”.
Making a Living Without a Job, by Barbara Winter. This is one of the first books I read when I decided to start my own business. It gave me the courage I needed to begin working for myself. Winter advocates being “joyfully jobless”, with multiple streams of income, rather than relying on only one income source for your livelihood.
Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Though the Secrets of Personality Type, by Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron. Discovering my personality type was a real eye-opener. This book helped me realize that I had been trying for years to fit into roles that were totally wrong for me. I learned to respect and honor the different facets of my own personality, as well as those of others.
The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success, by Nicholas Lore. The Pathfinder program is unique in that it helps you understand your aptitudes and natural abilities, in addition to your personality and values. Lore does a great job of addressing the inevitable fears and self-doubts that can get in your way.
Creating the Work You Love: Courage, Commitment, and Career, by Rick Jarow. Jarow advocates taking a holistic, inside-out approach to finding your authentic work. Vocation is not something that can be found outside of you. It’s how you express yourself naturally, based on what’s most important to you.
Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, by Gregg Levoy. This may not be considered a career change book, but it taught me how to listen to my heart as I was making major changes in my life. If you’re seeking a second career with more meaning and purpose, you’ll find valuable nuggets of wisdom here. Levoy believes that trusting in your intuition can lead you to your authentic lifework.
The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One, by Margaret Lobenstine. Sometimes the “problem” isn’t figuring out what your passion is, but trying to settle (or commit) to only one. If you have multiple interests, Lobenstine shows how you can combine your various interests into an “umbrella job”, pursue one passion at a time (“serial jobs”), or take a traditional job to subsidize what you love to do.
Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction, by Laura Berman Fortgang. Fortgang guides you through a 90 day program that helps you identify what you want (your “Life Blueprint” or purpose), and develop a realistic plan for getting there. Her exercises combine introspection and self-discovery with action steps that move you forward.
Escape from Cubicle Nation, by Pamela Slim. If you’ve been yearning to become your own boss, you’ll find plenty of very practical tips here. I wish I’d had this book when I left the “safety” of traditional employment. You’ll find out how to face your fears; deal with the shift from employee to entrepreneur; and create the business plans, marketing strategies, and financial cushions you’ll need to have.
Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life, by Marc Freedman. In this inspiring book, you’ll find stories of people who have found ways to combine passion and purpose with a paycheck, in careers that provide fulfillment as well as meet the needs of society.
Changing careers isn’t something that can be done by simply reading a book. It takes time and hard work. But sometimes a good book can provide the one spark you need to move forward. Enjoy!
What career books would you add to the list?