The Five Best Self-Help Books To Read To Jumpstart Your Career

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Finding the right career for you can be challenging. The goal ultimately is to find a balance between finding a job that you love and one that can pay the bills — something that can take a lot of trial and error, especially in a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace 2022, work-related stress has been higher than ever, while the motivation and excitement to enter the workforce isn't there.


Whether you are thinking about making a career change, about to enter the workforce, or simply prepared to work after some time, you want to get into the right mindset. Having the right outlook will help you overcome challenges and show future employers that you are the perfect fit for the job. 

There are many ways you can improve your mindset surrounding your career, which include listening to self-help podcasts, watching motivational videos, and reading self-help books. Self-help books are an especially great option to improve your outlook and help bring your career to the level you want it to be. If your bookshelf doesn't yet have a career section, these self-help books are a good place to start. 


The Confidence Code

It's no secret that women have a hard time in the workforce. From being paid less to often being reduced to jobs beneath their expertise and being undervalued at work, women have to deal with a lot to succeed. In "The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know" by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, women can learn to make their confidence an asset to uplevel life.


In their review, Publisher's Weekly explains, "All of this research, as well as the authors' own recounting of experiences with doubt in their professional lives, effectively builds into a comprehensive set of ingredients for the confident woman." 

Kay and Shipman share the science and personal stories surrounding women's confidence and how, genetically, women can do incredible things once they gain confidence. The authors explain research shows that a lack of confidence can stop women from succeeding in the workforce and in their personal lives.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Depending on your career, networking will get you far in your journey. First published in 1936, Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" details how you can become a key player at your job. Using psychology and science, Carnegie takes you through the secrets of how you can become the charismatic and essential leader at your work to scale up.


While influencing people to get ahead may seem unethical, Carnegie teaches you how to be remembered positively by just changing how you interact with others. Even though the book was written nearly a century ago, it still holds relevance in modern times. In fact, the concept of being empathetic and flexible is essential in today's workforce. 

As The New Yorker writes, "Carnegie's ideas about the importance of emotional intelligence and positivity are, perhaps, more apt than ever for the uncertainties of the modern freelance market. Jobs are changing; careers that don't exist today will be in demand a decade from now. The modern worker of the post-Fordist era has to be easy to work with and open to change."


Atomic Habits

Perhaps you know what career you want and have goals in mind, but the only way to achieve them is by putting in the work. However, if you have the wrong system in place, it can be challenging to get the ball rolling. In "Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones" by James Clear, you can learn how to take bite-sized actions daily to ensure that you are constantly improving.


Using science and psychology, Clear shows us how simple it can be to develop habits that can further your personal and professional lives. In recent times, "Atomic Habits" has become a cult classic, garnishing a multitude of positive ratings.

On Goodreads, "Atomic Habits" holds a near-perfect rating with over 33,000 ratings, with many reviewers explaining that Clear's method of little steps to make a big difference is much more attainable for the common person.


If you've ever procrastinated on something of high importance, then you've probably wondered why you can't get stuff done. Motivation is a tricky theory to tackle. In Daniel Pink's "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us," readers learn about the truth of how humans get motivated. If you find that the typical reward motivation theory doesn't work for you as it does for others, Pink establishes a new concept about motivation.


Using science and human behavior, Pink pinpoints three elements that affect human motivation that have nothing to do with rewards. Finding how to get motivated can help you to become a more productive worker. Pink's idea of how to get people motivated is on par with the recent changes in the workforce that has employees searching for work that values them as humans rather than worker bees. 

One Goodreads reviewer mentions, "I really liked this book – the ideas are clearly set out and it has to be a good thing if people are saying that people need to be trusted to prefer to achieve things rather than to do nothing. My experience has always been that if you create the right environment people will produce remarkable work."


You Do You

Being a constantly belittled or underappreciated employee damages your self-esteem and ego. Even if you are your boss, if you are getting your confidence and self-worth in the opinions of others, you probably won't get very far. In "You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You've Got to Get What You Want" by Sarah Knight, you learn how to be yourself.


Although it sounds like an easy concept, today's society has made it difficult to be yourself, especially in the workplace. Instead of being walked over by your bosses or letting your work/other's opinions take over your life, Knight teaches readers how to forget it and embrace their true identity. 

"You Do You" is a continuation of a series of guides presented by Sarah Knight. The first book in this series, "The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a ...." has a 4.6 star ranking on Amazon.