The best books to manage your career

Ted Fleming Author Of Develop: 7 Practical Tools to Take Charge of Your Career
By Ted Fleming

Who am I?

I am a strategist, human resources executive, and business consultant who is passionate about helping people reach their potential, find enjoyable work, and perform their best. Born in Chicago, I grew up in New England and call Connecticut home with my wife Kathryn. I love learning and have found books to be the gateway to exploring innovative ideas, gaining insights, and achieving success. I am an avid tennis and squash player, and reader. I am part of an international book club that meets several times per year to explore diverse topics.


I wrote...

Develop: 7 Practical Tools to Take Charge of Your Career

By Ted Fleming,

Book cover of Develop: 7 Practical Tools to Take Charge of Your Career

What is my book about?

What are the differences between a rewarding career and job frustration? Why are some people able to climb the corporate ladder while others are stuck?  

In Develop: 7 Practical Tools to Take Charge of Your Career, I answer these questions and provide readers with simple, relevant, and easy to apply guidance for finding the right job or growing in an existing job. It offers actionable tools and techniques that you can apply systematically to achieve your career goals. The book is based on more than two decades’ experience managing, advising, and researching career growth. I offer an insider’s view for navigating organizations where the path to advancement is complex and success strategies are often kept secret. 

The books I picked & why

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What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success

By Richard N. Bolles, Katharine Brooks,

Book cover of What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success

Why this book?

In June 1983 I just graduated from college, did not have a full-time job, and was living in my mother’s spare room. While I contemplated my next move, I scoured the help wanted ads and went to my local bookstore to get guidance. Luckily, I bought a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute.

The approach I read in this book started with “who am I,” not what job I wanted. The book helped me identify my goals, interests, skills, and preferred work environment.

Katharine Brooks has updated the information and content of the book while maintaining the spirit and intentions of the late Richard Bolles. If you are just starting your career journey, start with the most popular and bestselling career handbook.

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success

By Richard N. Bolles, Katharine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With timeless advice, up-to-the-minute insights, and more than ten million copies sold over fifty years, the world’s most popular and best-selling career guide is fully revised and expanded for 2022.
 
“One of the first job-hunting books on the market. It is still arguably the best. And it is indisputably the most popular.”—Fast Company

What Color Is Your Parachute? is the world’s most popular job-hunting guide. This completely updated edition features the latest resources, strategies, and perspectives on today’s job market, revealing surprising advice on what works—and what doesn’t—so you can focus your efforts on tactics that yield results.
 
At its…


The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to the Career You Love

By Ken Coleman,

Book cover of The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to the Career You Love

Why this book?

I am a huge fan of financial guru Dave Ramsey. Why mention finance in a list of career recommendations? Because an excellent job is the best wealth builder! I listen to one of Dave Ramsey’s podcasts weekly, and that is where I learned about Ken Coleman, his books and career show.  

If What Color is Your Parachute helps you understand who you are and what type of work you want, Coleman’s The Proximity Principle offers a plan for landing that job. Coleman says the best jobs are at the intersection of your talents, passions, and mission. We become who we hang around. If we hang with readers, we will read. Coleman provides advice for getting around the right people and being in the right places to land your ideal job. 

The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to the Career You Love

By Ken Coleman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Proximity Principle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Right now, 70% of Americans aren’t passionate about their work and are desperately longing for meaning and purpose. They’re sick of “average” and know there’s something better out there, but they just don’t know how to reach it.

One basic principle―The Proximity Principle―can change everything you thought you knew about pursuing a career you love.

In his latest book, The Proximity Principle, national radio host and career expert Ken Coleman provides a simple plan of how positioning yourself near the right people and places can help you land the job you love.

Forget the traditional career advice you’ve heard! Networking,…


The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter

By Michael D. Watkins,

Book cover of The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter

Why this book?

Getting your dream job is only the first step. You want to start strong and deliver value to the organization as quickly as possible. That is where Michael Watkins’ book comes in handy. When I was the head of talent management for a Fortune 50 company, we gave a copy of this book to each newly hired executive.

This book outlines how to promote yourself and learn your new role faster. It helps you analyze your business situation and choose the right strategy to get things done. Finally, it shares how to build a winning team that delivers results. You want your boss, peers, and subordinates to feel good about you.  This book helps you achieve early wins, energize your team, and build your credibility.

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter

By Michael D. Watkins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The First 90 Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named one of 100 Leadership & Success Books to Read in a Lifetime by Amazon Editors The world's most trusted guide for leaders in transition Transitions are a critical time for leaders. In fact, most agree that moving into a new role is the biggest challenge a manager will face. While transitions offer a chance to start fresh and make needed changes in an organization, they also place leaders in a position of acute vulnerability. Missteps made during the crucial first three months in a new role can jeopardize or even derail your success. In this updated and expanded version…


Up Is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility

By Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams, Lynn Cowart

Book cover of Up Is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility

Why this book?

Beverly Kaye is a training and development icon who received the "Distinguished Contribution" award from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) for her impact on workplace learning over the past three decades.

Most career development and mobility books focus on getting a promotion or new job. But career mobility can also mean growing, stretching, learning, and transforming, without ever changing your job title, company, or location.

Kaye, Williams, and Cowart do an expert job of helping readers analyze their current situation and make good choices by balancing money and meaning. Whether it is time for you to grow right where you are by enriching your skills, making a lateral move, or stepping back and realigning your objectives - this book will guide you through it.

Up Is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility

By Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams, Lynn Cowart

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Up Is Not the Only Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Up Was Never for Everyone!

Move up or move out. When those two options appear to be the only ones, dissatisfaction grows and engagement suffers. In decades of studying careers around the globe, Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams, and Lynn Cowart have found that, in fact, there are more options. And rethinking career mobility can lead you to them!

The authors show how managers, coaches, and employees can partner to determine what's best and what's next. Keep the same job but discover new ways to learn and grow? Explore moving to a position that could be a better fit? Step back…


Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

By Bill Burnett, Dave Evans,

Book cover of Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Why this book?

Burnett and Evans are innovators and Stanford University design educators who created a hugely successful course, Designing Your Life. They have helped thousands of people change the way they think and live.  

As the head of talent development for a Fortune 5 company, I would take leaders on immersion site visits to companies like Google, Apple, and HP and universities like Stanford and MIT to learn how to think like a designer. This helped my leaders develop products and services that customers craved. Designing Your Life shows you how to apply design thinking principles to career development.

Use this book to design your ideal life by learning how to adopt the mindsets of curiosity, bias to action, reframing, and radical collaboration.

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

By Bill Burnett, Dave Evans,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Designing Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • At last, a book that shows you how to build—design—a life you can thrive in, at any age or stage • “Life has questions. They have answers.” —The New York Times

Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. Look around your office or home—at the tablet or smartphone you may be holding or the chair you are sitting in. Everything in our lives was designed by someone. And every design starts with a problem that a designer or team of designers seeks to solve.

In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Refuse to Choose! Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams, Being Mortal, and The Blue Zones if you like this list.