The most recommended career books

Who picked these books? Meet our 32 experts.

32 authors created a book list connected to career, and here are their favorite career books.
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Book cover of How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life

Bradley Bevers Author Of The Mental Game of Real Estate: How to Thrive as a Real Estate Agent

From my list on showing you how to sell anything without losing your soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to read books. I read over 100 books a year and really try to implement principles and tips from those that I love. I also hate traditional sales advice and have worked on building my business differently from the typical salesperson, trying to serve my clients better by learning and practicing in a different way. Nothing happens until somebody sells something, but there is a better way. That’s why I wrote my book, The Mental Game of Real Estate, about the same principles that I teach my agents every day.

Bradley's book list on showing you how to sell anything without losing your soul

Bradley Bevers Why did Bradley love this book?

I first heard about this book on a podcast, and it sounded interesting. A self-help book written by the creator of the Dilbert comic had to at least be entertaining. After reading it multiple times, I have found it to be one of the best out there.

I learned to manage energy rather than time, that willpower is useless, that passion follows success rather than the other way around, and that systems are much better than goals.

This book gave me a better framework for much of what I was already doing, and I love how it is written as well. I can’t recommend this one more highly, it is is excellent and will change how you see the world.

By Scott Adams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Blasting clichéd career advice, the contrarian pundit and creator of Dilbert recounts the humorous ups and downs of his career, revealing the outsized role of luck in our lives and how best to play the system.

Scott Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you’ve ever met or anyone you’ve even heard of. So how did he go from hapless office worker and serial failure to the creator of Dilbert, one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips, in just a few years? In How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Adams shares the…


Book cover of Women in Science Now: Stories and Strategies for Achieving Equity

Natalia I. Kucirkova Author Of Inspirational Women in Academia: Supporting Careers and Improving Minority Representation

From Natalia's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Professor Innovator Multilinguist Harp- and piano player

Natalia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Natalia I. Kucirkova Why did Natalia love this book?

As an academic familiar with marginalized identities and intersectionality in science role models, I was eager to review this book when approached by Columbia Press.

The book offers diverse portraits of women scientists, highlighting the gender gap in promotions and their shared determination to pursue science despite hardship, personal struggles, and discrimination. The scientific field is known for its intense competition, where only the most dedicated thrive.

What I appreciated was that the book thoughtfully presented portraits of women scientists without imposing conclusions. These profiles emphasized their diverse backgrounds—many non-academic—yet all shared a common passion and curiosity that propelled them out of their comfort zones to embrace science.

By Lisa M. P. Munoz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women in Science Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Women working in the sciences face obstacles at virtually every step along their career paths. From subtle slights to blatant biases, deep systemic problems block women from advancing or push them out of science and technology entirely.

Women in Science Now examines solutions to this persistent gender gap, offering new perspectives on how to make science more equitable and inclusive for all. This book shares stories and insights of women from a range of backgrounds working in various disciplines, illustrating the journeys that brought them to the sciences, the challenges they faced along the way, and the important contributions they…


Book cover of The Staff Engineer's Path: A Guide For Individual Contributors Navigating Growth and Change

James Stanier Author Of Become an Effective Software Engineering Manager: How to Be the Leader Your Development Team Needs

From my list on engineers that want to become fantastic managers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my teenage self stumbled into the world of computer programming, I’ve been fascinated by how technology is built. This isn’t limited to just how the software or hardware is architected; I’m just as fascinated by how teams and companies work together in order to get the job done. I’m currently Director of Engineering at Shopify, and previously I helped grow Brandwatch from start-up to scale up to successful acquisition. Along the way I’ve blogged what I’ve learned and have published two books: one being the subject of this list, and the other being Effective Remote Work. I live in Cumbria, UK.

James' book list on engineers that want to become fantastic managers

James Stanier Why did James love this book?

It heartens me to see that more and more excellent material is being produced about how to be an effective senior individual contributor, and Tanya’s book is a fantastic guide for growth-minded engineers that want to become technical leaders in their organization.

More importantly, as a manager, you get a blueprint of how to turn your senior engineers into true leaders and partners.

I almost see this book as a sibling of my own that I wrote for managers: it skillfully dances between making yourself better, making your team better, and making your company better. Essential reading for any senior engineer to understand what lies ahead.

By Tanya Reilly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Staff Engineer's Path as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For years, companies have rewarded their most effective engineers by suggesting they move to a management position. But treating management as the default (or only) path for an engineer with leadership ability doesn't serve the industry well. The staff engineer path allows you to contribute at a high level, with more free time to drive big projects, determine tech strategy, and raise everyone's skills.

With this in-depth book, author Tanya Reilly shows you ways to master strategic thinking, manage difficult projects, and set the standard for technical work. You'll learn how to be a leader without direct authority, how to…


Book cover of Artpreneur: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity

Stephanie Blanchard

From my list on running a creative small business.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who is drawn to entrepreneurs, especially those with creative businesses; they inspire me. I launched a freelance writing business in 2014, but I’ve always wanted to work for a magazine. One day, it finally occurred to me to combine my interests and start a magazine about creative entrepreneurs! I have interviewed over 100 creative entrepreneurs for my magazine. I created this list because I think it can help others interested in starting a creative business.

Stephanie's book list on running a creative small business

Stephanie Blanchard Why did Stephanie love this book?

Since I write about artist entrepreneurs for my job, I wanted to learn about how an artist can go from creating art to creating art and selling it. So, I picked up this book.

I love how the author drew from her experiences as a Wall Street analyst and successful art business owner. Schulman provides an actionable guide for launching and maintaining a creative business.

This book inspired me to take action in my own business and made me believe that success is possible no matter the field.  

By Miriam Schulman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A step-by-step guide for creatives to transform your passion into a profitable business.

Whether you're a musician, photographer, painter, writer, dancer, singer, or any other creative with aspirations of making a living from your art, this is the perfect time to turn your creative ideas into a sustainable business. With gatekeepers no longer controlling the market, anyone with a laptop and a dream can make a thriving living from their creativity.

This is the definitive sales and marketing playbook for anyone looking to make a living from their art. Each page provides the inspiration and practical steps you need to…


Book cover of Now Try Something Weirder: How to Keep Having Great Ideas and Survive in the Creative Business

David Airey Author Of Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide to Visual Branding

From my list on visual branding.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a graphic designer, writer, and brand consultant. I work with clients of all sizes, from multinationals to companies of one. Since opening my business in 2005 I’ve created logos and visual identities for brands in more than 30 countries. I run two design blogs Logo Design Love and Identity Designed. They resulted in publishing deals to write their accompanying books, and their pages now get millions of views each year.

David's book list on visual branding

David Airey Why did David love this book?

A relatively small, informal book filled with advice on how to keep having great ideas and how to survive in the creative business. Valuable even in you only pick up for a minute.

By Michael Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Now Try Something Weirder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With 233 (to be exact) hints, tips, and pieces of advice, Now Try Something Weirder shows those in the creative industry how to have great ideas (every day).

Internationally award-winning graphic designer Michael Johnson draws on more than 30 years' experience (his CV clocks up eight creative posts, three dismissals, and the launch of his own business) to share his ultimate secrets to enviable success ... who said you should keep your secrets closely guarded?

Looking to improve the way you work with clients, understand and question design briefs, deliver knockout presentations—and generally gain covetable creative confidence? Sometimes the solution…


Book cover of Inside Art Direction: Interviews and Case Studies

Robin Landa Author Of Advertising by Design: Generating and Designing Creative Ideas Across Media

From my list on creative advertising, art direction, and typography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Distinguished Professor in the Michael Graves College, Kean University. I’ve written over twenty books about advertising, graphic design, branding, personal branding, creativity, and drawing. On May 17, 2022, Routledge will publish my new book, Strategic Creativity: A Business Field Guide to Advertising, Branding, and Design. I’ve won numerous awards for my design, writing, and research, including awards from the National Society of Arts and Letters and the National League of Pen Women. In 2015, I received the Human Rights Educator award, 2016 Kean Presidential Excellence award for research, 2013 Teacher of the Year, and the Carnegie Foundation lists me among the great teachers of our time.

Robin's book list on creative advertising, art direction, and typography

Robin Landa Why did Robin love this book?

For many years, Brower was the art director at PRINT magazine and before that at esteemed book publishing houses. He is a brilliant art director and book designer, and we were co-authors a while back. In this book, Brower explores what art directors do in a design studio vs. a corporation, how the role is different than being a graphic designer and much more. Great interviews with pros are included are well. I admire Brower's award-winning cover and interior design of his book.

By Steven Brower,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside Art Direction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Honorable Mention in the Foreword Indie Awards 2016

For many design students, the expectation is that they will one day reach the top of the ladder within a design studio or corporation and become an art director. But what does this mean and how does a design student get there? What does an art director do? How is it different from being a designer? How does one lead and inspire a team, work with freelance designers, illustrators and photographers? Inside Art Direction answers all these questions for design students and professionals alike.

Through interviews with 18 art directors working in…


Book cover of Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together

Emilie Wapnick Author Of How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don't Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up

From my list on when can't figure out what to do with your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Emilie Wapnick is an award-winning author and community builder. She is the founder and creative director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites (people with many passions and creative pursuits) integrate all of their interests to create dynamic, fulfilling, and fruitful careers and lives. Her popular TED talk, Why some of us don’t have one true calling, has been viewed 7 million times and she has been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, Forbes, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, BBC, and Vice.

Emilie's book list on when can't figure out what to do with your life

Emilie Wapnick Why did Emilie love this book?

Pamela Slim offers a wonderful way to reimagine your life and career, build your personal brand, and share your story. Multipotentialites often struggle to describe where they’ve been and where they’re headed in an impactful way. This book argues that your career is not a linear thing—it’s a collection of different types of work that you’re proud of. Body of Work will help you see your life story from a totally new vantage point.

By Pamela Slim,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

These days it's increasingly rare to have a stable career in any field. More and more of us are blending big company jobs, startup gigs, freelance work, and volunteer side projects. We take chances to expand our knowledge, capabilities, and experience. But how do we make sense of that kind of career - and explain it? Pamela Slim, the acclaimed author of Escape from Cubicle Nation, gives us the tools to have meaningful careers in this new world of work. She shows how to find the connections among diverse accomplishments, sell your story, and continually reinvent and relaunch your brand.


Book cover of Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life

Emilie Wapnick Author Of How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don't Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up

From my list on when can't figure out what to do with your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Emilie Wapnick is an award-winning author and community builder. She is the founder and creative director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites (people with many passions and creative pursuits) integrate all of their interests to create dynamic, fulfilling, and fruitful careers and lives. Her popular TED talk, Why some of us don’t have one true calling, has been viewed 7 million times and she has been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, Forbes, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, BBC, and Vice.

Emilie's book list on when can't figure out what to do with your life

Emilie Wapnick Why did Emilie love this book?

Written by a team of documentarians, Roadmap is a great read for folks who are just starting their career—or starting over! It offers inspiring examples of people with weird, creative careers, including tons of interviews where you can learn about people’s specific paths. The exercises in the book emphasize seeking variety and blending your interests, rather than narrowing down your multi-passionate soul.

By Roadtrip Nation,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller is back! The career workbook Roadmap is better than ever.

Roadmap has been updated and expanded with tons of brand new content-including chapters on changing directions mid-career and not letting your past define your future.

Through inspirational stories and interviews, journal-like prompts, and practical career development information, this helpful resource will steer students, recent graduates, and career-changers toward an authentic, fulfilling life.

* Features fresh perspectives from people like singer-songwriter John Legend, surfing world champion Layne Beachley, and MacArthur fellow and radio host Jad Abumrad
* Full of advice for people seeking a fulfilling work…


Book cover of Black Girl Magic Sprinkles

Cynthia Sanders Author Of Mia, the Monster of Fear and the Fairy of Courage

From my list on Black education, dreams, and self-love.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been passionate about Black authors and Black children being writers and writing about their experiences or their children’s experiences since I was a young adult. Ever since the Trayvon Martin incident years ago, these Black history stories and books have been so meaningful to the Black community. I used to read just Urban fiction AA books back in high school, but ever since I became a writer/author I have taken a liking to reading children's books about self-love, fear, and going to college, especially for young black children. I read these books to remind me that we are strong-minded people. That no one can take our light from us.

Cynthia's book list on Black education, dreams, and self-love

Cynthia Sanders Why did Cynthia love this book?

This book is about using some magic sprinkles one day and falling asleep, but waking up in your dreams as a doctor, lawyer, dentist, or even a firefighter is showing young Black kids that they can be all those things and to not let the color of their skin or how they chose to wear their hair stop them from achieving those goals and dreams.

By Chaunetta Anderson, Trinity Anderson, Nana Melkadze (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Girl Magic Sprinkles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Black Girl Magic Sprinkles is a story about a young girl named Trinity, who dreams of one day being a teacher. However, she is discouraged because she does not often see women who look like her in successful jobs. She stumbles upon a jar of Black Girl Magic Sprinkles, and is shown endless opportunities. It takes this encounter for her to realize that Black Girl Magic lives within her and she can be anything she wants to be."Even if you haven't seen it, doesn't mean you can't achieve it; because with just a sprinkle of your Black Girl Magic, you…


Book cover of Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

Muhammad Mashhood Alam Author Of Transforming an Idea Into a Business with Design Thinking: The Structured Approach from Silicon Valley for Entrepreneurs and Leaders

From my list on design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been driving innovation in various capacities with world’s leading companies and start-ups for the last 23 years in Silicon Valley. I've been granted six US patents, won two prestigious design awards including the Red Dot award, and published a book on transforming an idea into a business using Design Thinking. What I've learnt is that at the core of any successful business lies the value to the end user who uses the solutions. As I got exposed to Design Thinking earlier on in my career, I realized its immense power in delivering human-centered innovations. I regularly speak at several industry & entrepreneurial events and various business schools around the world. 

Muhammad's book list on design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship

Muhammad Mashhood Alam Why did Muhammad love this book?

Creative Confidence is a book that explores the idea that everyone has the ability to be creative, and that creativity can be a powerful tool for innovation and problem-solving.

Kelley argues that many people believe that creativity is a rare and elusive talent that only a select few possess, but in reality, everyone can develop their creative abilities with practice and effort.

Kelley provides numerous examples of individuals and organizations that have successfully used creativity to solve complex problems and create innovative solutions.

He also offers practical strategies and exercises for developing creative confidence, such as embracing failure, challenging assumptions, and experimenting with new ideas.

I have personally seen the benefits of creative confidence in my work and the work of others around me.

By Tom Kelley, David Kelley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Creative Confidence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerful and inspiring book from the founders of IDEO, the award-winning design firm, on unleashing the creativity that lies within each and every one of us.

Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the 'creative types'. But two of the foremost experts in innovation, design and creativity on the planet show us that each and every one of us is creative.

In an entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO, and with many of the world's top companies and design firms, David and Tom Kelley…