Several years ago I went through a pretty big career pivot. It was fast, white-knuckle, and often riddled with a peculiar mix of exhilaration, sullenness, and sleepness nights.
One of things that anchored me through that oft-lonesome journey: books! Books by people that traveled the road before me … came out the other side … and made it.
If you’re thinking of a career transition, consider checking these out. There are tons of great titles out there, but these worked for me. I read all of them, cover-to-cover and then some.
(Note: I’m not including books related to business and marketing, which is the career I went into. I’ll save those for another post for all you marketers out there!)
1. Reinventing You by Dorie Clark
My wife and I would often spend evenings at the Barnes & Noble at Menlo Park in NJ. It was on one of these nights that I came across this book. The title immediately grabbed me, and I devoured a third of the book in the store and purchased it that night on my iPad. It was the first — and most pivotal — book for me in navigating a career transition. I admit it’s not for everyone (she talks more toward corporate folks) but it gave me a framework to work with.
2. Quitter by Jon Acuff
The first time I heard of Jon Acuff was through his blog, Stuff Christians Like. My reaction: “What? That dude wrote a business book? What the?” Then I realized, “That dude wrote a business book! He went from a wacky blog to becoming a New York Times best-selling author. I may have something to learn from him!” This book gave me a step-by-step blueprint on how to manage the career shift. I’m so glad I read it, and hope to meet Jon one day and thank him personally.
3. Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud
To say yes to one thing, you must say no to another. That is the premise of this amazing title, and I consider it one of the top 3 I’ve ever read in my life. The other two are the Bible and an insanely long Chinese historical novel, so that’s how highly I think of Necessary Endings. It helped me be “okay” with accepting endings — and understanding that endings should be proactive. It’s hard to let go of things that define you. This book will help you do exactly that.
4. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
In my limited world view, I put personal finance experts into two camps: Dave Ramsey (save and build wealth) and Ramit (make more money and spend whatever you want). Those descriptions don’t do justice to either author, but that’s how my mind worked at the time … and I gravitated towards Ramit. Either way, I needed someone to help me navigate my personal finances and build a business around myself. Ramit was the choice for me.
5. 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell
Very few things in life will demand growth like a career transition. It’s more than learning new skills or jargon, or even cultivating a new network; it’s pruning in the deepest sense of the word. It’s realizing, “Oh my gosh, everyone else in this field has years, even decades more experience than me” and still pressing through to be your best anyways. The practices in this book have now become ritual in my life, and I would not have made it otherwise.
What are some of your favorite personal development books? I’d love to hear them — especially if you’ve gone through a career transition. Share below!
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