The best books to skyrocket your career

Maura Thomas Author Of Attention Management: How to Create Success and Gain Productivity -- Every Day
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: How to Create Success and Gain Productivity -- Every Day

By Maura Thomas,

Book cover of Attention Management: How to Create Success and Gain Productivity -- Every Day

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 Time management is outdated.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. 

The books I picked & why

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

By Valerie Young,

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 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.


Stress-Proof Your Life: High Performance Under Pressure

By Eliz Greene,

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

Why 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.


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

By Kevin Eikenberry, Wayne Turmel,

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

Why 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.


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

By Art Markman PhD,

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

Why 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.


LeaderSHOP Volume 2: Workplace, Career, and Life Advice From Today's Top Thought Leaders

By Rodger Dean Duncan,

Book cover of LeaderSHOP Volume 2: Workplace, Career, and Life Advice From Today's Top Thought Leaders

Why 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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in change, women, and feminism?

5,309 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 26 books about change
Women Explore 315 books about women
Feminism Explore 160 books about feminism

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Growing Up Roadschooled, The Way Of Transition, and Switch if you like this list.