Frontlist | 10 must-read books on careers to pursue your passion in 2021

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If 2020 taught us anything, it was that resolutions are futile as far as the future is concerned. It’s one thing to commit to a goal, but when the circumstances that make achieving such a goal shift with a seismic significance you could measure on the Richter scale, one can only hold on and hope for the best. Not surprisingly, if the career aspirations you had at the beginning of last year had fallen by the wayside come March, you’re not alone. Most of us saw our professional lives upended by a global pandemic that cared little for our New Year’s resolutions. Suddenly, we were trading an office space for a makeshift desk in the living room and having to navigate all the pitfalls that come with working remotely – noisy housemates, lagging Wi-Fi, and instant coffee to replace that barista-quality communal coffee machine.

Now that we’ve closed the chapter on the ordeal that was 2020, a fresh start beckons. But as we can learn very quickly, a blank page in the diary doesn’t correlate to a new environment, career, or even a more confident self. We’re still carrying the baggage of years past and so, rather than make resolutions that will come to fail us, it’s time to start working on the habits that will set us up for success – no matter what the events of 2021 throw at us. For this reason, we’re looking to the experts; those that know the secrets to cultivate passion, creative thinking, and how to give your career the boost it needs. At a time where we need to constantly adapt to whatever challenges come our way, these are the career books you need on your 2021 reading list.

1/13

If 2020 taught us anything, it was that resolutions are futile as far as the future is concerned. It’s one thing to commit to a goal, but when the circumstances that make achieving such a goal shift with a seismic significance you could measure on the Richter scale, one can only hold on and hope for the best. Not surprisingly, if the career aspirations you had at the beginning of last year had fallen by the wayside come March, you’re not alone. Most of us saw our professional lives upended by a global pandemic that cared little for our New Year’s resolutions. Suddenly, we were trading an office space for a makeshift desk in the living room and having to navigate all the pitfalls that come with working remotely – noisy housemates, lagging Wi-Fi, and instant coffee to replace that barista-quality communal coffee machine.

Now that we’ve closed the chapter on the ordeal that was 2020, a fresh start beckons. But as we can learn very quickly, a blank page in the diary doesn’t correlate to a new environment, career, or even a more confident self. We’re still carrying the baggage of years past and so, rather than make resolutions that will come to fail us, it’s time to start working on the habits that will set us up for success – no matter what the events of 2021 throw at us. For this reason, we’re looking to the experts; those that know the secrets to cultivate passion, creative thinking, and how to give your career the boost it needs. At a time where we need to constantly adapt to whatever challenges come our way, these are the career books you need on your 2021 reading list.

 

2/13

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Using the same thinking that goes into the field of design, Burnett and Evans provide a blueprint for applying this to the choices you make in your own life, showing that it’s possible to build a system that works for you. By working backward to determine what you want out of life, the book traces how to achieve that productively through thoughtful routines and constant iteration along the way.

3/13

Act Like a Lady: Questionable Advice, Ridiculous Opinions, and Humiliating Tales from Three Undignified Women by Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin, and Jac Vanek

In our social media-dominated world, the pressure to conform to impossible standards of beauty, health, and career objectives are a constant strain on the psyche. While it’s easy to offer up adages like “just be yourself,” having the confidence to go against the grain remains a challenge. Thankfully, this book is here to direct you on the right path. From the creators of the popular podcast LadyGang, the book offers an unapologetic look into the realities of womanhood and provides something of a roadmap for navigating it all. No topic is off-limits here.

4/13

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

It’s 2021 and if you haven’t read Manson’s acclaimed book yet, you’re in the minority. An antidote to those that preach, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” Manson argues that we simply need to recalibrate what it means to be happy because ultimately, life isn’t always a deluge of lemonade – sometimes, “shit is f**ked.” A helpful guide to navigating the challenges of modern life – both in the workplace and out of it – this book suggests we need to figure out what really matters in life in order to find happiness and offers tools to do just that.

5/13

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

Imposter Syndrome is likely something many of us will experience in the workplace. Regardless of our intelligence or qualifications, it’s all too easy to feel like it’s simply a fluke we made it this far (the reality is it’s you – your skills, drive, leadership). Using extensive data, Cuddy shows how your physical presence can change your mental energy and confidence level.

6/13

The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

It’s not hard to find examples of strong women leaders – be it in politics or business. There’s a lot to be gleaned from such role models, but Katty Kay and Claire Shipman do a great job of outlining the many mythologies and stereotypes of confidence and how confidence is projected by women in business, media and politics. This book outlines why so many capable and highly intelligent women lack confidence, and what you can do to change it in the workplace.

7/13

David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

Regardless of our qualifications, sometimes you just can’t help but feel a tinge of imposter syndrome, particularly if you’re starting a new job or taking on more responsibility. While it would do well to work on our self-confidence, it also helps to think of some examples where small beats big, something Gladwell touches on in this book that talks through dozens of historical stories. In showing the advantages of being the little guy, Gladwell also reinforces the notion that we don’t have to feel the most qualified or feel we “have it all” to achieve our career goals. We just need to start.

8/13

What Colour Is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N.Bolles

Considered one of the most popular books for career advice, Bolles delivers a staggering amount of advice for those looking to find their dream job and career of their dreams. This book offers job-hunting strategies and, in its most recent edition, even includes social media and online tactics to help you find a job faster. From designing your resume to networking and figuring out what career suits your personality style, the book covers it all.

9/13

The Third Door by Alex Banayan

At the young age of 18, Alex Banayan sought to track down the world’s most successful businessmen and superstars to figure out how they launched their careers. The result is this book: filled with tales of these encounters and how each person got to the position they’re in today. It’s filled with tips on how to build a network when you’re just starting out, how to best approach someone online, and how to bounce back from rejection.

10/13

Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together by Pamela Slim

If the global pandemic or simply the prospect of going into a new year has you thinking of a career change, it’s likely that there are some nerves and hesitations surrounding such a decision. For anyone that’s found themselves considering a leap into an unknown industry, Slim’s book shows why having a diverse background isn’t something to be feared but rather embraced. A must-read for any entrepreneur or side hustler, this book shows how you can tie your interests together into a meaningful career and create a narrative out of your rich experience.

11/13

Refuse to Choose! Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams by Barbara Sher

A lot of career advice these days suggests we must narrow our gaze and hone in on a niche – to become experts, rather than generalists. Conversely, Sher argues that you can in fact have many interests and passions and still be successful. An excellent read for anyone feeling a bit lost in terms of career direction.

12/13

Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert I. Sutton and Hayagreeva Rao

Whatever your career goals in 2021, this book is an excellent resource for information on techniques to grow and scale your career efforts. Incredibly informative and practical, the pages here contain a thoughtful framework that can be applied to any lifestyle, outlining how to spread a mindset rather than set of rules or guidelines.

13/13

Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry

When we began working remotely in 2020, a new challenge presented itself that wasn’t confined to our Wi-Fi connection – burnout. With little to separate our home life from our work life, many of us burnt the candle at both ends and found ourselves working harder and longer hours than ever before. This book is an antidote to such thinking and reinforces the fact that life is finite.

Source: Vogue Australia

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