5 Books Every Young Professional Should Read

5 Books Every Young Professional Should Read

No matter what industry you’re interested in, no matter where you’re looking for work, having a solid knowledge of business and of yourself is an essential quality that employers are looking for. They want to see that you have an understanding of how business works and how you can impact that business. 

 

A great way to learn is from reading. We’ve put together a list of 5 book we believe every young professional should read. There are lots of books out there that deal with specific industries and personal growth. Don’t feel like this list is the be all and end all. Find a book that resonates with you and changes your outlook. Most importantly, keep reading!


Freakonomics
by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Economics might not be for everyone, but finding out the relationships between different things, and exploring how those relationships affect one another is key for understanding how your job, business and industry work. Freackonomics takes a subject many find boring and makes it interesting and engaging. 


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey

To find out how to be the most effective person you can be, pick up this book like so many others have. Constantly referred to, 7 Habits is still seen as one of the best books about making the most of your life. Being an effective person leads to becoming an effective leader. Being an effective leader is essential to your growth as an individual and as a professional.

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Who here is a big fan of change? Probably not too many of you. Most of us aren’t big fans of change because it brings the unknown. We can’t see what is on the other side of change and that can be scary. Who Moved My Cheese deals with this issue head on through the telling of a simple tale. It is a powerful tale about preparing and managing for the future in simple terms.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

For many in business, Malcolm Gladwell is a household name. He has written a number of brilliantly researched books looking at topics ranging from how we think to why there are so many pasta sauces. In Outliers, he takes a look at what has led to those who have excelled. From Bill Gates to the Beatles, Gladwell shines a light on what made some of the greatest minds so successful.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Stephen Johnson

Where do creative people get their ideas? How do they find them? Some may think creativity is something you have or you don’t, but it’s not that cut and dry. Innovation is an essential part of business and being able to find those ideas is as important as implementing them. This book gets you there. It’s so good, Bill Gates recommends it!

 

You always want to be learning, and these 5 books are just a start. Find some time in your day to get a little reading done, and you’ll be well on your way to finding career success. 

 

The First Step Is The Only Way Forward

The First Step Is The Only Way Forward

What will happen if I reach out to the contact my friend supplied as a possible mentor? What if they don’t want to talk to me? Or they’re not the right fit and it’s a waste time for both of us? I’m not qualified to work with them. They’ll probably be angry about the imposition.

 

How many times have you let the things you worry about or the conversations you have in your head deter you from taking action?

 

You decide to wait a little longer while you think about possible outcomes some more. Tomorrow you promise yourself, you will take the first step.

 

The longer you wait the harder it is to take action

The problem with waiting until tomorrow is, you’ve established for yourself that it’s okay to wait. You waited one day and the sky didn’t fall. It won’t fall if you wait a little longer.

 

The sky might not fall, but gravity will definitely get stronger. The longer you wait the harder it becomes to move. Whatever reasons you had for holding back magnify because you haven’t done anything to provide evidence against them.

 

Don’t get stuck in the grips of inaction

What is the worst that can happen if you follow through with that contact? They can say no. At least you have an answer. And the sky still didn’t fall. You can try again with another person.

 

Or maybe they say yes and it really isn’t a good fit. So you can figure out why it wasn’t a good fit and use that to find a better fit next time.

 

Maybe the best will happen. They’ll be a great fit. You’ll learn tons from them and create a relationship with will benefit both of you in the future.

 

Don’t let yourself get stuck in the grips of inaction. Make a point of being the sort of person who strides ahead. Who takes action when an opportunity is presented. A step, even if it leads somewhere you don’t want to go takes you somewhere. From there you can plot a new course. Standing still takes you nowhere. Somewhere is better than nowhere.

Your Future is Now

Your Future is Now

When you think about your future how often do you think of it as some far away time that’s a long way off? How often do you think that the future is after you’re done school, or once you finally get that next promotion? We tend to think of the future as something to look forward to and maybe even plan for, all the while thinking it’s not coming any time soon. Miles Davis has a different idea. The future, he says, is right here, right now, every single morning. 

 

The future is now

Miles Davis is considered by many to be one of the best jazz musicians of all time. In this quote, Davis points out that while you can spend all your time thinking of the future as some distant time, it’s really right here. Miles started playing music around age 13. It would have been easy enough for him to say he’d start playing when he was done school, or once he found a job, but he didn’t. 

 

Don’t spend your time waiting for the weekend, or the summer to start your future. Start it today. From working on your resume to starting a new hobby, there’s no better time than now to begin. We know there’s not a lot of time to get to things, and that you’re waiting for a block of time big enough to tackle it, but that might never come. Start small and grow bigger. The future is now, don’t wait for it to pass you by.

 

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” – Samuel Goldwyn

Samuel Goldwyn facebook

Wouldn’t winning the lottery be nice? Who doesn’t sometimes daydream about how easy life would be and what they would buy with a couple million dollars. Or, forget the lottery, wouldn’t a quick promotion or a great inventive idea be helpful? Maybe you wish that book you’ve been working on would just write itself and become a bestseller! Is it too much to ask for a little luck now and again?

 

This particular quote is similar to another, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” This quote is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, though there is no mention of it in any of his writings

 

Samuel Goldwyn, a pioneer of film andone of the people responsible for shooting the first movie in Hollywood. He’s the Goldwyn of the studio Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, or MGM, still producing movies today. 

 

No matter who said it, or how they said it, the truth is that luck often comes from hard work. You can’t work hard at winning the lottery, but you can work hard at things you’re passionate about. Be it professional or personal, the best way to catch a break is to work hard for your goals. Sitting around and waiting for something great to happen is a guaranteed way to make sure you never get a lucky break. Even when it comes to the lottery, you have to buy a ticket to have even the smallest chance. 

 

Don’t feel bad about daydreaming what you might spend the money on. Just make sure you follow up those dreams with dedication and hard work. The breaks will follow.

Time Is Not As Concrete A Thing As We Like To Think It Is

Time Is Not As Concrete A Thing As We Like To Think It Is

Time is an interesting concept. We know that each hour is made up of sixty minutes and there are twenty-four of them in a day. We also know, not all hours are created equal. Some fly by in five minutes. Others drag on for days.

 

None are as concrete as they might seem when we glance up at a clock. That’s because time isn’t always where it’s supposed to be. Sometimes we lose it. Very often we waste it. Worst of all, we kill it.

 

How you treat your allotted time

So often when we have something pressing to do, we spend inordinate amounts of time dreading it. Or putting it off. Sometimes we will do absolutely anything else to avoid getting on with the thing we want to do. All that putting off and dreading and avoiding makes us feel like  we don’t have enough time to finish. And because of it sometimes we don’t.

 

Time spent thinking about doing a thing

When we think about doing something, rather than simply getting on with doing it, the time allotment required magnifies in our imaginations. Dreading, putting off, doing other make-work projects all waste time we could have spent on the dreaded task.

 

Make action your new go-to plan

It is said the way you do one thing is the way you do all things. Make a pact with yourself to stop putting off. We’re not talking about the big projects you are dreading. We mean everything.

 

If you have decided you want to keep a dream journal by your bed then go locate that journal and put it by your bed. If you don’t have a journal handy get a piece of paper.

 

Put your plan into action when you think of it, not later, not tomorrow, not when you have time. Make action your new habit – for all things (within reason of course). Instead of planning on doing things, do them. You will be amazed at how much more time you have!

Don’t Let Rejection Hold You Down

Don’t Let Rejection Hold You Down

Rejection is hard. It can make you feel unworthy, sad, angry, frustrated. It’s not just hard emotionally it’s also hard physically. A rejection can feel like a punch in the stomach or an ache in your heart. Emotionally and/or physically so draining and negative it’s a wonder anyone would choose to wallow in the pool of rejection, but that’s just want so many of us do.

 

After a rejection it’s normal to be wary of trying again so we hold back, licking our wounds for a while. The problem is, all the negative emotions surrounding the rejection stick around because there’s no reason for them to move on. That’s why it’s so important to bounce back.

 

Ask for feedback

You cannot always get feedback after a rejection, but if you can, ask for it. You may not like what you hear. But finding out specifically why you were not successful can be immensely helpful. Use what you hear to improve for next time. With the right attitude you can use the feedback to inspire you in your next attempt.

 

Give yourself a timeline

You may not want to get up and start running again immediately after your fall, but don’t let yourself stay down for too long. Go ahead and feel bad about the rejection but give yourself a timeline for that then get back on the move. Recognize that it was just a temporary setback and with some determination and revisions you can make a success of your goals.

 

Make a pledge not to give up

If you decide the rejection is the end of the road for you, then it will be. However, if you make a pledge with yourself to try and try again, then that’s what you’ll do. Remember, there’s a lesson to be learned in every rejection. Figure out what that is. Build on your strengths, improve on your weaknesses. Choose to chase success until you catch it!

Where Do You Choose To Swim?

Where Do You Choose To Swim?

Safety is the killer of exploration

 

We all like being safe. We all enjoy being comfortable. However safety and comfort aren’t always good things. If you’re currently in a job you don’t mind, even if you don’t like it all that much, you can still take comfort in being safely employed. That comfort and safety might just be keeping you from exploring other opportunities.

 

If you work and live in a city you know well, your knowledge about that city might hold you back from exploring a new one and checking out other options because your lack of knowledge about the new city scares you.

 

The shallow end vs. the deep

 

The shallow end of the pool is a safe place to play and splash around. There’s no worry about keeping your head above water because it always just is above water. The ocean though, is a vast and unexplored wonder full of obstacles and unexplored territory. It can be a little daunting to swim out from the safety of the shallow water into the unknown abyss of the ocean. However, as this quote from Christopher Reeve says, if you want to grow, it’s a choice you’ll have to make sooner or later.

 

Find yourself by losing yourself

 

For all of the unknowns in the ocean, one thing is certain: the best way to find yourself and find your own way is to explore. The shallow end is safe because it doesn’t challenge you and it doesn’t offer much opportunity. The possibility of failure is much higher out in the ocean, but so is the chance for great success. The shallow end of the pool is filled with what ifs, while the ocean holds the answers.

 

Safety and comfort can keep us stagnant, happy in our current role or position when there are greater possibilities out there. So make the choice to leave the shallow end of the pool and swim to the deeper waters out in the ocean.

 

Set Your Sights On Your Destination

Set Your Sights On Your Destination

When you’re first learning how to drive the instructor tells you to look where you want to go. Why does the instructor have to say that at all? Where else would you be looking?

 

Well you could be looking at something happening at the side of the road. A car swerving dangerously close to your lane might catch and hold your attention. A deer suddenly leaping onto the road can certainly divert your eyes.

 

Look beyond the current moment

Where you set your eyes is where you will end up steering the car. If you’re not careful, the could be directly into a swerving car or leaping deer. That’s why it’s imperative to always focus on the road ahead. Not what’s immediately in front of you, but further ahead. In the direction you are heading. Keep your eyes focused on where you want to end up.

 

Where you set your sights is where you’ll end up

The idea of setting your sights where you want to go applies to many aspects of your life. Things that have nothing to do with four-wheel drive. Goals for example. All of us have goals, lessor or greater things we want to accomplish with our lives.

 

In going after your ambitions you cannot predict how successful you will be. Some of your success will come down to experience and expertise. Some of it will come down to luck. A great deal of it will come down to attitude.

 

In order to have the greatest chance of success you have to aim for the top. You may not come out on top, but you will have given it your absolute best shot. If you decide from the outset that you will never be number one your efforts will be substandard. You won’t put everything you’ve got into your endeavors. As opposed to stretching beyond what is comfortable or easy you will settle for good enough. Because you aren’t aiming for the top anyway.

 

Set your sights on your ultimate goal then do everything you can to achieve it. Regardless of whether you succeed or not, at least aiming for the top you will have gotten as far as you could!

Fooling Yourself Is Worse Than Getting Fooled By Others

Fooling Yourself Is Worse Than Getting Fooled By Others

When noble prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman said a person should be wary of fooling themselves he was most likely talking to other scientists about assumptions in their work. However, his words should be heeded by all of us. We’ve all met sweet talkers under whose sway we’re tempted to believe almost anything. What we may not realize is, the sweetest talker of all can be the one who lives in our head.

 

Don’t ride on the shirttails of tomorrow

How often have you promised yourself that you’ll do something tomorrow? Or said as soon as X  happens you’ll get on with Y?

 

By always looking ahead to after something we are fooling ourselves into believing our lives are contingent on things other than what we can focus on now.

 

No matter what you’re waiting on you can always do something else in the interim. Even if that means starting something new or parallel to your long-term plans. By doing what we can today, rather than waiting for tomorrow we are moving ourselves forward. No fooling.

 

Hold yourself accountable

If things aren’t going your way you might tell yourself you are doing your best. Or that things are out of your control. When you hear yourself justifying your actions or your efforts it’s important to stop at regular intervals and determine the truth of your words.

 

Are you really doing your best? Or are you lulling yourself into complacency with soothing words? Is there anything more you could be doing?

 

If you’re not entirely sure, ask someone you trust for their opinion. Listen with an open heart and mind. Sometimes we need another perspective to pull off the blinders we’ve placed on our eyes.

 

Reassess constantly

In order to keep yourself on track and ensure you’re not fooling yourself make sure to reassess your actions and accomplishments on a regular basis. Don’t listen to your own silver tongue. Sit down are compare your progress with your goals. It’s not about what you want or hope, it’s about what you’re doing to get yourself there.

 

Work Together For Success

Work Together For Success

Your relationship with your coworkers is just like any other relationship, it takes work, commitment and determination. Just like family, you can’t always choose your coworkers. Some of them might drive you a little crazy, but if you want to succeed you’ll have to figure out how to work with one another. According to Henry Ford, success comes after you have come together, kept together and found a way to work together.

Coming Together

You’ve probably heard of the “honeymoon period” for people in relationships. Everything is great and awesome and everyone likes each other. The same thing happens when someone new is hired, or you start a new job. Things are looking great and you’re getting along with your new coworkers just fine. This is just the beginning. Coming together is arguably the easiest part.

Keeping Together

Once that honeymoon period is over, it’ll be harder to keep things running smoothly. Little things your coworkers do that you didn’t notice before will start to wear on your nerves. You might find misunderstandings happen more frequently and that your work suffers as a result. Keeping together means working through these issues and finding resolutions. That’s progress.

Working Together

Once you’ve found ways to understand one another and support one another then you can start to work together. Working together comes as everyone starts to focus on the common goal of the business. As Henry Ford points out, this is where success is found. It’s not an easy stage to get to in a relationship, be it with your coworkers or otherwise. But once you’re there, you’ll find success.