Summer is a natural time to indulge in some new reading material. With summer reading in mind, here are six good career books worth adding to your library whether as a physical book you’ll want to highlight and underline, or as an audiobook, which is a great use of time when you’re driving, walking, gardening, etc.
The Peter Principle – Recommended by my team member Stephanie Regan; this classic book blends Andy Rooney-style humour with observations about the inner workings of organzations. It was first published in 1968, after Canadian sociologist Dr. Laurence J. Peter became interested in what he saw as rampant “organizational incompetence,” and started to study the means by which employees move upward.
What he observed is known as the Peter Principle: that paradoxically, competent employees will be promoted into positions for which they are incompetent. They remain in those positions because of the fact that they do not demonstrate any further competence that would get them recognized for additional promotion. Therefore, every position in a hierarchy will eventually be filled by an individual who is incompetent to fulfill the job duties of his/her position.
This book will provide some insight into the state of many (of course not all) organizations. Approach with caution as this book may confirm your suspicions about the ones who’ve been put in charge where you work. A great listen on Audible or Scribd.
Lead From the Outside – This book was written by Stacey Abrams, an American politician, lawyer, voting rights activist, and author who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 – 2017. What I like about this book is that it shows how people with relatively few privileges and resources can effectively play the cards they’re dealt by life. I found it inspirational to see how someone who is capable but underestimated can chart an effective course for themselves. Great lessons about building a resilient career indeed.
The First, The Few, The Only – I enjoyed this career book because it speaks about the experience of people who are part of an underrepresented group and some of the unique challenges they face. It offers a partial road map to help readers make an impact inside and outside their organizations.
My regular readers will surely understand why this book resonated with me: “For too long,” says says author Deepa Purushothaman, “corporate structures, social zeitgeists, and cultural conditioning have left us feeling exhausted and downtrodden, believing that in order to ‘fit in’ and be successful, we must hide or change who we are.”
As a senior partner at a large organization, Deepa Purushothaman experienced feelings of isolation and eventually, burnout. She met with hundreds of other women of color across industries and cultural backgrounds, eager to hear about their unique and shared experiences. As she gathered their stories, she built up this collection of helpful ideas that she hoped would ensure that their words would be heard, their experiences would be respected, and their contributions would be valued.
Please Sit Over There – Currently CEO of her own business, author Francine Parham rose to the position of global vice president for two Fortune 500 companies. As such, Ms. Parham understands the importance of having the right skills for career success, yet knowing which skills are key is not always obvious or clear. This book will be especially useful for Black women who are navigating an often uneven playing field and trying to avoid languishing at the bottom of their organization. In addition, I enjoyed the 25-minute YouTube video about this book. It’s a reasonable option if you’re short on time.
What Color Is Your Parachute? – This classic career book was first published in 1970 and has sold more than ten million copies, so it was hard to argue with a wise friend that this should not make the cut. Updated almost annually, this book addresses all the aspects of job hunting: the art of resume writing, job interviews, and uncovering the hidden job market.
Long before the dawn of the internet author Richard Bolles pointed out that jobs that are advertised are by far the hardest to get, and for that revelation alone this is a good reference for any job seeker.
How to Be Resilient in Your Career: Facing up to Barriers at Work – Of course, I’m including my book in my list of noteworthy career books. This book fills in the gaps left by other books. It addresses themes and challenges that I’ve spoken with my private coaching clients about countless times over the years. Things like workplace boundaries, the impostor syndrome, the perils of underemployment, dealing with bullying, harassment, and various forms of discrimination. The topics addressed are designed to help readers understand certain minefields so that they can navigate them more safely. Also, once armed with these insights, readers won’t need to over-rely on their personal resilience when developing a strong, lucrative, and resilient career. Watch the 30-second book trailer here.
What books or resources have helped you in your career? What in particular jumped out at you as being salient or useful?
More than career coaching, it’s career psychology®.
I/O Advisory Services Inc. – Building Resilient Careers and Organizations TM.