Day #831:These 5 Books Will Change How You Think About Your Career!

I love reading. Thats really not news. what you should know is, every year, since 2012, I have had  a personal challenge to read nothing less than 50 books a year.There are 52 weeks in a year so one book a week does the trick. Starting from 2013 when I actually read more than a 100 books in a year after reading Clair Diaz’s Ortiz’s blog on how she reads 200 books a year. Crazy you say? Yes, someone reads 200 books a year, keeps a full time job and still writes a blog.
In the article, How to become the smartest person in the room, the author sites a study showing that students who spent 100 hours or more studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) actually had changes in their brains. The findings indicated that such intensive study showed changes in the parts of the brain associated with reasoning and thinking.
We certainly can’t over emphasize how important reading is to designing a fulfilling life. As a Recruiter, this is an important question I like to ask all of our hires just to get an idea of what kind of person they are. And in most cases if I interviewed someone who didn’t like reading, or couldn’t recall the last book they read, for sure their chances of getting hired into our company is greatly reduced.

After reading hundreds of books, you have those select books you always go back to every now and then. One day I will write about the books that made me smarter, today, I am selecting my top 5 career books or books with the most impact on my career and life. Here is my list.

I love reading books from Seth Godin. Seth’s thinking is revolutionary. He writes not to give answers but to raise questions in your mind on how to challenge the status quo and do something different from what you normally do. Seth is better known as a Marketer and his writings including his blog is more focused on how to make change happen in business and spread ideas. However, the Linchpin is a personal manifesto to the individual on how to stand out. On one to go outside of ordinary and make art.
Main Gist
There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labour. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people who figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.
Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. They may not be famous but they’re indispensable. And in today’s world, they get the best jobs and the most freedom.
As Godin writes, “Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.”
2.Business Model You–  Tim Clark,Alexander Osterwalder , Yves Pigneur
The world is changing, so should you and your career strategy. The idea of having a job where you go to everyday and do a number of tasks and receive a pay check at the end of the month is shifting gradually. The world now belongs to change makers. People who design their careers to bring value to their customers and people they serve everyday. Even if you don’t  understand businesses, just know the same way you make a living, is the same way businesses make a living. Businesses have customers, they sell products and they earn money. You have customers; your boss, your colleagues, you sell your service, you earn your monthly salary. The moment you stop providing your service to your boss, you are no longer relevant. Having this understanding is crucial for your survival in the new value economy.
Main Gist
This book, The Business Model You , teaches you how to understand the process of generating value and transform your career and life. The principles in this book are adapted for individuals from the main book : Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers written by Alexander Osterwalder ,Yves Pigneur .Tim Clark , along with 328 change makers from 43 countries across the globe co-created this book using their own stories and the strategies from the Business Model Canvas to show you how to transform your career.
3.The Start Up of You: Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
Like the Business Model You, The Start Up of you teaches you how to approach your life and career like a start-up. The Start Up of You describes how to take a start-up approach to building a life: start with an idea, and work over your entire career to adapt it into something remarkable. This book distills the key techniques needed to succeed. Reid Hoffman who is co-Founder and current Chairman of LinkedIn, the number 1 career platform in the world teams up with Ben Casnocha to write this book.So you know they know what they are talking about. Reid and Ben are teaching us that not only do we all have to be entrepreneurs, we all need to think like entrepreneurs.
Main Gist:
Like Start-Ups, the authors advise us to approach our careers like it’s on permanent beta.Permanent Beta is the how tech companies continue to make sure they are improving. Tech companies sometimes keep the “beta” label on software for a time after the official launch to stress that the product is not finished, so much as ready for the next batch of improvements. For entrepreneurs, finished is an F-word. Great companies are always evolving. Finished ought to be an F-word for all of us. We are all works in progress. Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more, grow more in our lives and careers. You will need to adapt and evolve forever–that’s permanent beta.
This book isn’t about cover letters or resumes. Instead, you will learn the best practices of Silicon Valley start-ups, and how to apply these entrepreneurial strategies to your career. Whether you work for a giant multinational corporation, a small local business, or launching your own venture, you need to know how to:

  • Adapt your career plans as you change, the people around you change, and industries change.
  • Develop a competitive advantage to win the best jobs and opportunities.
  • Strengthen your professional network by building powerful alliances and maintaining a diverse mix of relationships.
  • Find the unique breakout opportunities that massively accelerate career growth.
  • Take proactive risks to become more resilient to industry tsunamis.
  • Tap your network for information and intelligence that help you make smarter decisions.
The strategies in this book will help you survive and thrive and achieve your boldest professional ambitions. The Start-Up of You empowers you to become the CEO of your career and take control of your future.
In the world of careers, doing a job you love is one of the easiest ways to finding fulfillment in your work and building something you can commit to. This is the easiest advise you will read on blogs and most career books. But this is not the whole story. And just finding something you love is not sufficient to guarantee a fulfilling career. Cal Newport addresses this question in his book. Matching your job to a preexisting passion does not matter, he reveals. Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before. In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.
Main Gist:
With a title taken from the comedian Steve Martin, who once said his advice for aspiring entertainers was to “be so good they can’t ignore you,” Cal Newport’s clearly written manifesto is mandatory reading for anyone fretting about what to do with their life, or frustrated by their current job situation and eager to find a fresh new way to take control of their livelihood. He provides an evidence-based blueprint for creating work you love.
Dan Pink, author of Drive, To Sell is Human and A Whole New Mind says this about the book: “Do what you love and the money will follow’ sounds like great advice—until it’s time to get a job and disillusionment quickly sets in. Cal Newport ably demonstrates how the quest for ‘passion’ can corrode job satisfaction. If all he accomplished with this book was to turn conventional wisdom on its head, that would be interesting enough. But he goes further—offering advice and examples that will help you bypass the disillusionment and get right to work building skills that matter.”
The Four Hour Work Week is not strictly speaking a career book. However, reading this book has had a strong effect on how I evaluate my life and make career decisions. Most people see the 4-Hour Workweek as a book about short cuts and unrealistic ideas on how to live a fulfilling life and travel the world, I see it as a no nonsense guide to living an efficient and productive life.
Main gist
Tim advises you to forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan—there is no need to wait and every reason not to. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, high-end world travel, monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.
There’s more in the book. Here are some the other key insights I took away:
  • “Don’t ever arrive at the office or in front of your computer without a clear list of priorities. You’ll just read unassociated e-mail and scramble your brain for the day.”
  • “Being busy is a form of laziness–lazy thinking and indiscriminate action”
  • How to convince your boss to let you work at home on Fridays ( I haven’t tried this yet)
  • And a great lesson he illustrates:
    “For all four years of school, I had a policy. If I received anything less than an A on the first paper or non-multiple-choice in a given class, I would bring 2-3 hours of questions to the grader’s office hours and not leave until the other had answered them all or stopped out of exhaustion. This served two important purposes:
    1. I learned exactly how the grader evaluated work, including his or her prejudices and pet peeves
    2. The grader would think long and hard about ever giving me less than an A. He or she would never consider giving me a bad grace without exceptional reasons for doing so, as he or she knew I’d come a’knocking for another three-hour visit.

    Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.
Here is my list of top 5 career books that have changed my life and still continue to influence how I evaluate my career. There are others I haven’t listed here. Do you have any interesting books on careers and designing an amazing life you have read? Please share with me. I would love to read them.

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