Here's a list of business and personal development books that have most benefited me in my career growth.
1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss
In this book, Voss shares his insights and experiences from high-stakes negotiations to provide readers with effective negotiation strategies applicable to both professional and personal settings.
The author is a former FBI hostage negotiator. He knows a thing or two.
The author challenges conventional negotiation tactics and introduces a unique approach that focuses on empathy, active listening, and emotional intelligence. Voss emphasizes the importance of understanding the emotions and motivations of the other party to build rapport and foster open communication.
Through real-life examples and practical techniques, Voss teaches readers how to navigate difficult conversations, defuse tense situations, and reach mutually beneficial agreements. He introduces concepts such as "mirroring" and "tactical empathy," which help negotiators establish trust and gain valuable information from their counterparts.
The book also delves into the psychology of decision-making and how to use this knowledge to influence outcomes in negotiations. Voss highlights the significance of using calibrated questions to guide discussions and extract crucial information.
Moreover, "Never Split the Difference" covers the art of handling difficult negotiators, recognizing and countering common negotiation tactics, and maintaining a strong position without damaging relationships.
2. So Good They Can't Ignore You, by Cal Newport
The author challenges the conventional wisdom of "following your passion" as the key to career satisfaction and success. Newport argues that the popular advice of pursuing your passions can be misleading and counterproductive. I go a step further and say that "follow your passion," is the strategy of people who never make forward progress, our passions being very, very changeable.
Instead, Newport proposes the concept of "career capital" as the foundation for a fulfilling and successful career. He suggests that becoming exceptionally skilled and valuable in your field is the key to unlocking passion and finding meaningful work. By developing rare and valuable skills, individuals gain more control over their careers and open up opportunities for growth and advancement.
The book introduces the idea of the "craftsman mindset," emphasizing the importance of deliberate practice and dedication to honing one's skills over time. Newport presents compelling examples of individuals who achieved success by focusing on developing their expertise and becoming indispensable in their professions.
Furthermore, Newport challenges the notion of simply searching for the perfect job and instead advises readers to focus on what they can offer the world through their skills and contributions. By adopting this mindset and continuously improving their abilities, individuals can create fulfilling and rewarding careers.
3. Managing Up: How to Move up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss, by Mary Abbajay
The book offers practical advice and strategies for building successful working relationships with supervisors, superiors, and bosses of all types.
Mary Abbajay explores the concept of "managing up," which involves effectively collaborating with and influencing those in higher positions within the organization. The book emphasizes the importance of understanding one's boss's communication style, preferences, and priorities to align better with their expectations and goals.
Through real-life examples and relatable anecdotes, the author provides readers with actionable tips on how to navigate the dynamics of the boss-employee relationship. This includes techniques for proactive communication, handling disagreements, providing feedback, and managing expectations.
"Managing Up" offers readers valuable insights into the different types of bosses they may encounter, from hands-on micromanagers to hands-off delegators, and provides tailored approaches for effectively working with each type.
One of the things I love the most about Abbajay's book is that she does not take the reader's perspective for granted. When reading the book, I, the reader, may think my boss is a micromanager. The reality is that I may need detailed levels of management because I stink at meeting timelines, communicating about progress, or raising flags when things are going wrong. Abbajay frequently ask readers questions that amount to examinations of conscience to help them understand where the problems genuinely lie. This approach is extremely valuable for actual growth rather than mere commiseration.
4. Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn't, and Why, Second Edition: 12 Things You'd Better Do If You Want to Get Ahead, by Donald Asher
The book provides valuable insights and practical advice on how to advance in one's career and increase the likelihood of getting promoted.
The author explores the dynamics of workplace advancement and sheds light on the factors that contribute to individuals being promoted or overlooked. Asher identifies twelve key strategies and behaviors that can significantly impact a person's career progression.
Through real-life examples and case studies, the book delves into various aspects of professional development, such as understanding organizational dynamics, building strong professional relationships, showcasing skills and achievements, and positioning oneself for opportunities.
Readers are guided on how to proactively manage their careers, take on new challenges, and demonstrate leadership potential. The book also addresses common misconceptions about promotions and offers actionable steps to overcome career obstacles.
5. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, Third Edition, by Grenny, Patterson, et al.
The book offers valuable insights and practical strategies for handling important and emotionally charged conversations effectively.
The authors emphasize the significance of crucial conversations – those discussions that have high stakes, strong emotions, and varying opinions. These conversations can occur in various settings, including personal relationships, workplace environments, or even societal contexts.
Through their research-based approach, the authors provide readers with a framework to navigate these challenging conversations. The book introduces essential tools and techniques for improving communication, fostering mutual understanding, and reaching positive outcomes.
The strategies presented in the book revolve around creating a safe environment for dialogue, mastering dialogue skills, and staying focused on the desired results while respecting the perspectives of all parties involved. It emphasizes the importance of listening actively, expressing oneself honestly, and finding common ground to resolve conflicts constructively.
By applying the principles from "Crucial Conversations," individuals can enhance their communication skills, strengthen relationships, and handle difficult discussions with confidence and empathy, leading to more successful and productive interactions in both personal and professional spheres.
6. Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, Second Edition, by Grenny, Patterson, et al.
The book provides insights and practical strategies for creating positive and lasting change in individuals and organizations.
The authors explore the concept of influence and how it can be harnessed to drive transformative change in various aspects of life, whether it's personal habits, organizational culture, or societal issues. They present a framework based on extensive research that identifies six sources of influence: personal motivation, personal ability, social motivation, social ability, structural motivation, and structural ability.
The book delves into the power of combining these sources of influence to effectively persuade and inspire people to adopt new behaviors and overcome barriers to change. It provides real-life examples and case studies to illustrate how the principles of influence have been successfully applied in different situations.