We’ll start this blog by asking a simple question many of us probably don’t have a good answer to:
When’s the last time you read or listened to a good book?
Whether you’re an accomplished professional, a recent college grad, or just someone looking for a good read, the books you’ll find in this article will equip you with the skills needed to advance both personally and professionally.
We’ve identified three topics that we want to share our favorite books on in this piece: personal finance, personal development, and career development. So, brew up a fresh cup of coffee or tea and get your reading glasses ready – the titles shared here are sure to help you make meaningful, lasting changes in your life.
Our Top 3 Personal Finance Picks
Your Money or Your Life by Joseph R. Dominguez
Your Money or Your Life is a welcome change from other personal finance books that recommend taking a “deprivation and discipline” approach to saving money – instead, Dominquez believes that choice and freedom are necessary aspects of any successful saving plan. One of the more powerful messages in this selection is that money is not simply valuable paper, it’s a form of life energy; In other words, when you spend money, you’re not just trading paper – you’re trading the hours of your life it took to make it.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Though Think and Grow Rich was released over 83 years ago, the information found in the selection holds up incredibly well. In this classic personal development book, Hill interviews 500 millionaires (including the likes of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison) and picks their brains on the true and timeless recipe for riches. Want a brief summary of the ingredients? According to Hill, a burning desire to succeed, a well-developed plan, and faith that the plan will work are all key to growing rich.
The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey
Ramey’s book The Total Money Makeover is a best-seller for a reason – the practical 7-step program within has helped millions of people get out of debt and learn how to budget more effectively. One of the pivotal steps in Ramsey’s plan is adhering to the renowned debt snowball method, where a person who owes money on multiple accounts pays off debt by tackling the smallest balances first.
Want to learn more about the debt snowball method and how it works now? Look no further than our article “Paying Off Debt Using the Debt Snowball Method”.
Our Top 3 Personal Development Picks
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Breaking bad habits is rarely an easy endeavor, but your ability to do so could be the difference between an enriching, successful life and a not-so-great one. In his book Atomic Habits, Clear breaks down the four steps of what he calls “The Habit Loop”: Cue, Craving, Response, and Reward. Better yet, he shares valuable techniques to hack this loop and free yourself of your bad habits, which he believes is key to achieving real, meaningful progress in life.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Written over 1800 years ago (yes, you read that correctly), Meditations is a collection of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of Rome from 161 to 180 AD. In this text, you’ll find a multitude of Aurelius’ spiritual exercises and mental reminders he used to forge himself into a more humble, patient, and stronger leader and individual. While the advice within this book is ancient, the guidance given is still actionable, and perhaps even more valuable in modern times.
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
If Olson could sum up the overarching message of The Slight Edge in a few words, it’d be this: “Be a little better than you were yesterday. Repeat.” As many of us know, attempting to make major changes in our daily lives is often easier said than done; when we do make major changes, they’re often shorter-lived than we’d like (Looking at you, New Year’s resolutions). In this book, Olson shares that simple, productive actions repeated consistently over time are key to making lasting changes in life, and gives tips on how to find motivation and craft discipline within yourself along the way.
Our Top 3 Career Development Picks
So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport
Newport’s book So Good They Can’t Ignore You takes a stance on careers and passion that you probably won’t come across too often, which is that conventional wisdom on career success – aka following your passion – is highly flawed. Newport argues that you build love for what you do as you master your craft, and that there’s no magic “right” job out there for anyone. In his eyes, questions surrounding the passion mindset like, “Is this who I really am and what I’m meant to do?” lead to perpetual unhappiness, as they’re essentially impossible to confirm. For him, a better alternative is focusing on getting really good at your job – so good that they can’t ignore you.
Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams by Barbara Sher
If you find Newport’s approach to careers a bit bleak, you may resonate more with Sher’s perspective in her book Refuse to Choose. Sher believes that many people are what she calls “scanners” – those who are drawn to many diverse interests and not designed to follow just one path. Scanners want to learn and do it all, and they generally hesitate to work jobs that will occupy years of their life – often causing them to jump from workplace to workplace. If you feel like Sher is describing you, this selection could be worth looking into – inside, you’ll find her personal advice on how to accept your scanner self and leverage your nature to build a life and career you can be content with.
Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry
If you’ve ever struggled with procrastination, Die Empty could be exactly what you need to nip the habit in the bud. Henry’s intended goal with this book is to drive home the fact that we won’t always have tomorrow to do our best work – all we have is today. “We live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work.” Whether you’ve been in a productivity rut or you just want to learn tips for living and working in the moment, Die Empty is a great place to start.
That’s all we’ve got for now, but check back soon! We’ll be updating this list as we find new titles to share with you. We’ll close with this: As difficult as it can be to focus on personal and professional development, the rewards for doing so are extensive. If you need to find that extra jolt of motivation to get started, take a tip from Todd Henry – tomorrow is not promised, so there’s no better time than today.