The best books to skyrocket your career

Maura Thomas Author Of Attention Management
By Maura Thomas

Who am I?

I’ve spent my entire career working with people who have achieved impressive personal and professional success, but in a way that leaves them exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed. My passion is to help them see that exhaustion is optional, and they can offer their unique gifts to the world in a way that inspires and energizes them. The collection of books I’ve recommended here provide a wonderful starting point for some of the most common challenges I see my clients experiencing: distraction, overcoming unhelpful habits, stress and burnout, and the growing prevalence of remote work and distributed teams. This collection is for busy, driven professionals who are dedicated to personal growth.

I wrote...

Attention Management

By Maura Thomas,

Book cover of Attention Management

What is my book about?

Have you tried everything to become more productive―but you're still too busy and stressed? That's because the old approaches to productivity just don't work in today's fast-paced, tech-driven workplaces. Time management is outdated. What does work? Attention management is the solution you need.

Attention management is an essential skill to live a life of choice and intention rather than a life of reaction and distraction. It's a collection of behaviors including focus, mindfulness, control, presence, flow, and others, that will support your success in the environment of constant distraction we’re all subjected to today. I’m a productivity speaker, trainer, and author, and the first book in my Empowered Productivity series, Attention Management, will show you how to master this important skill by offering practical strategies that will make an immediate impact. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It

Why did I love this book?

Regardless of your gender, this book will help you overcome the insecurity and self-doubt we all feel sometimes that holds us back. It provides clarity and understanding combined with practical steps so you can walk confidently into your full potential. This book made me recognize when I am holding myself back or worse—self-sabotaging—so that I can adjust my behavior to go after what I want. Not only has this book helped me personally, but I have recommended it more times than I can count, and the feedback is so meaningful and positive. It’s made a huge difference in my career and I think everyone can benefit from the lessons Dr. Young has to offer.

By Valerie Young,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel—and act—as bright and capable as others already know you are with this award-winning book by Valerie Young.  

It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake.
If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not…

Book cover of Stress-Proof Your Life: High Performance Under Pressure

Why did I love this book?

What I love about this book is that it offers such a useful and practical approach to dealing with stress and becoming more resilient. The author teaches readers how to become immune to the most common causes of stress, instead of typical techniques to deal with stress like meditation. My work depends on helping people make the best use of their most important resources—not time or money, but body and mind. And stress is an unavoidable part of life that damages our well-being, dampens our energy, and saps our motivation. Stress-Proof Your Life provides solutions to stress based on original research and unique advice, and every busy person needs these solutions.

By Eliz Greene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The secret to reducing your stress is not a better work-life balance, nor is it in meditation or mindfulness.

Chronic high stress—the kind contributing to heart disease—is not caused by an inability to decompress, but rather external factors that are out of our control—namely, overwhelm and uncertainty. So, while most people are focusing on either eliminating or coping with their stressors, they should be working to become immune to unavoidable stress.

Stress-Proof Your Life leverages insights from Eliz Greene’s 17 years of research, including a 4,000-person study, to provide the reader with stress management techniques that actually work. Through data-driven…

Book cover of The Long-Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere

Why did I love this book?

With the prevalence of remote work since the coronavirus pandemic, team members and leaders alike are struggling to adapt. What I love about this book is that it causes the reader to reflect on the specific aspects of their work life that are frustrating, disappointing, or detrimental to their career. It, of course, offers practical advice for overcoming the most common issues, but there is so much power in the awareness the book generates. For anyone working remotely some of the time, all of the time, or hoping to in the future, this book will be something you’ll refer to over and over again.

By Kevin Eikenberry, Wayne Turmel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Long-Distance Teammate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does it mean to “go to work” when you don't actually leave the house? This is the ultimate guide for remote workers who want to stay engaged as team members, maintain robust work relationships, and keep an eye on their long-term career goals.

Even before the coronavirus hit, remote work was growing at nearly 30 percent per year, and now it's just a fact of life. There are many millions of people who once worked at a central location every day who now find themselves facing an entirely new way of working. Written by the founders of the Remote…

Book cover of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others

Why did I love this book?

Any kind of growth and improvement requires change. And change is hard! In the crowded field of books on habit change, Smart Change is a quiet standout. It’s one of the few on the topic written by an actual psychologist and the benefits of that are quickly apparent. But don’t be concerned it’s written like a textbook—it’s not. It’s relatable, interesting, and filled with easy, actionable ideas on changing any kind of habits and adopting lasting new behaviors that will feed your success. This is a book I refer to over and over again for both myself and my clients.

By Art Markman PhD,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Smart Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An insightful guide that shows how habits of behavior are formed, and how we can transform bad habits into positive behaviors in ourselves and others.

Smart Change explores the psychological mechanisms that form and maintain habits in individuals and groups and offers real, accessible and actionable advice for changing habits. In an engaging narrative, Markman covers a wide range of habits, from individual behaviors like eating better and exercising regularly to work-related behaviors such as learning effectively and influencing customers’ purchases. He proposes that there are five effective tools to help individuals change behavior and to help people influence the…

LeaderSHOP Volume 2

By Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan,

Book cover of LeaderSHOP Volume 2

Why did I love this book?

This book is among my favorites because the topics are all related, yet the book touches on such varied areas of study that are so important to personal and professional success. You can jump around and read a quick chapter on whatever topic catches your attention that day—meaning and purpose, mental mapping, workplace practices and behaviors, trust and teamwork, communication, and so many others. It offers nuggets of wisdom in digestible chapters from some of my favorite business thinkers, like Dorie Clark, Frank Sonnenberg, and Marcus Buckingham. It’s like a personal library of the best advice in bite-sized chunks. If you like big ideas from smart people, you will love this book.

By Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked LeaderSHOP Volume 2 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Wow, what a great book! If you’re looking for a nutrient-rich dose of self-development, you’ve found it in LeaderSHOP.” – from the Foreword by Dave Ulrich, ranked as the #1 Management Educator and Guru by BusinessWeek and one of the world’s most influential thinkers in the field of people development.

How can you find more meaning—and even joy—in your work? How can you make your success not just predictable, but inevitable? How can you know when it’s time for a career switch? How can a dose of humility help you be a more powerful leader? How can behaving like an…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in change, women, and feminism?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about change, women, and feminism.

Change Explore 33 books about change
Women Explore 501 books about women
Feminism Explore 272 books about feminism

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Minivan Mogul, The Effort Myth, and Leading with Grit and Grace if you like this list.