One of my great joys is opening up a book for the first time and immersing myself in it. Another joy is sharing books I love with other people. So here, in time for last-minute holiday shopping, is a partial list of books I recommend that are related in some way to working out loud. I included this list in the appendix of Working Out Loud but since that won't be available till March, 2015, I still have time to add a few entries. What do you think? What books would you recommend to someone trying to build a better career and life?
p.s. I'll be taking a 2-week blogging break so I can finish rewriting the book and send it to the copyeditor. Enjoy the holidays!
If you only pick two books from this list, pick these two. They are a joy to read and they are the most broadly applicable. While I had always thought of myself as a positive person, these books freed me to be more joyful and more open to the wonders in other people.
- Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life by Srikumar Rao
- The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Ben Zander
New approaches to basic skills
These 4 books helped me rethink how I make my work visible. With their help – and practice, practice, practice – I’ve become better at these fundamental skills and I’m convinced anyone can do the same.
- On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
- Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose
- Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds
- Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
These books made me think more deeply about what people need and want in relationships and how I could apply that in building a network to accomplish something.
- How to Win Friend and Influence People: The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success by Dale Carnegie
- Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi with Tahl Raz
- Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships that Create Success - and Won’t Let You Fail by Keith Ferrazzi
Personal productivity and creativity
These books, shorter and easier to read than the others, gave me a new perspective on how people create great work.
- Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind edited by Jocelyn Glei
- Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career edited by Jocelyn Glei
- Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
- Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon
- Show Your Work: The Payoffs and How-To’s of Working Out Loud by Jane Bozarth
Thinking about thinking
Having a better understanding of how your mind works is perhaps the most empowering knowledge you can have. These books made it possible for me to control more of my thoughts rather than have them control me.
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock
- Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning
How and why individuals do what they do - and how to change it
These books helped me understand what generally motivates people and how to change my habits. They also empowered me to actively shape my future instead of watching it unfold.
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
- The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal
Driving larger-scale changes
Whether you’re trying to change your firm, change your local community, or change the world, these books offer approaches, frameworks, and heroic examples that will inspire you and make you more effective.
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
- Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
- The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, with Carlye Adler
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
- Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
- The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jaqueline Novogratz
- Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America by Paul Tough
The insights found in this eclectic mix of books allowed me to see the limitations I had placed on myself. They showed me the different ways I was actively making myself unhappy and how to change that.
- Be Free Where You Are by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh
- A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
- Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny by Martha Beck
- The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin