Top Career Books That Should Be On Your Shelf

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Many of us resolve to read more books every year. Some on the "must do" list may be bestsellers or classics. But in today's economy and tough job market, consider a new section of the bookstore: business.

It doesn't matter whether you plan on being the next corporate CEO or plan to open a bakery. It's about identifying your passions and building people-skills. Whether you're job-hunting or not, these exercises are never bad.

Some of these are newish, one is about to hit bookstores, and others are oldies but goodies. They're in alphabetical order, because I'm a little nerdy and that's how they're on my shelf!


1. Career Comeback: Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want

By Lisa Johnson Mandell (Springboard Press, 2010)

Maybe you've had a break in employment (by choice or not). Maybe you're just feeling "old." This book will help you refresh your image--on the web, on paper, in interviews, and in life. It's targeted towards mid-career job seekers, but the book helps find your strengths, no matter your age. You may not have heard of Johnson Mandell, but this is what Stephen Covey (yes, THAT Stephen Covey) is saying: "Career Comeback inspires readers to take responsibility for their own current employment situations and to be proactive about improving them...This could be the job search breakthrough you've been seeking."


2. Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love

By Jonathan Fields (Broadway, 2009)

Job security is one thing. But to take a leap of faith into a different field is wrought with anxiety as well as anticipation, fear as well as hope. Jonathan Fields helps you define your passions in way you could potentially make a living. He's living proof; he left a cushy Wall Street job to become an entrepreneur. Many reviews of this book talk not only about the practical advice, but his inspiring words which border on self-help--in a good way!


3. How to Win Friends and Influence People

By Dale Carnegie (Pocket, 1990, first published 1937)

There aren't many books on ANY subject that are as useful 73 years after they hit the scene. Dale Carnegie's take on financial success centers on this math: 15% is due to professional knowledge and 85% comes from human relationships. Many people read Carnegie's clear language and examples more than once, always picking up new strategies to better deal with people. Here's some more math: more than 15 million copies have been sold.


4. Love is the Killer App

By Tim Sanders (Three Rivers Press, 2003)

Tim Sanders believes love is the basis for professional success. Perhaps that sounds hippie-dippie, but his approach is planned and calculated without ever seeming forced or manipulative. Basically, Sanders advocates sharing knowledge, instead of hoarding it, as the secret to success. It's a relationship book, but in a different way than How to Win Friends... Sanders takes both what you already know and guides you in specific ways with strategies to increase your base knowledge and help you network.


5. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

By Chris Brogan & Julien Smith (Wiley, 2009)

If you would like to become more digitally savvy, this book is for you. It will help you build a brand, either personal or for your business, harnessing the power of social media. This book is a New York Times Bestseller. However, much of the criticism points to the notion that if you have a degree of knowledge about social media or if you have read other writings by Chris Brogan, this book might not serve your needs.

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