Personal and professional development is a lifelong process, one that takes a commitment to learning and self-exploration. Though it might not be realistic or attainable to take every class or webinar on bettering yourself, you can still work on professional development in the comfort of your own home with some choice reading. Here are some great titles to get started on your quest.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Written back in 1936, this book by Dale Carnegie still rings true today. After nearly 20 years of leading business classes, Carnegie was given the idea to write a book by a publisher at Simon & Schuster, a top publishing company at the time. The book contains tons of insights into a variety of interpersonal techniques that work for not only the professional life, but the personal one, too. The book opens with a list of twelve points it will tackle, including:
- Getting you out of a mental rut
- Increasing your popularity
- Enabling you to win new clients
- Improving your public speaking
- Increasing your earning power
Overall, the book is highly recommended for improving the way you interact with others, and how you communicate your hopes and goals. Though it may be the oldest book on the list, it consistenly comes up when discussing professional goal setting.
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High
In the professional world, some conversations will be difficult, and might arise unexpectedly. There might be discussions around layoffs, internal change at companies, salary negotiations, and high-pressured sales calls. In this bestselling book, writers Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler detail some powerful lessons for handling these tough interactions. Inside, you’ll find actionable steps to ensuring you’re able to communicate needs and wants, even if the person across from you is acting irrationally.
This book can play a huge part in professional development, but it can impact your personal life, too. When we talk with others, sometimes highly-charged emotions come out to play. By utilizing the information in “Crucial Conversations,” you can greatly improve your communication skills and learn how to take control in situations when others are not considering their own habits.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
We all want to be effective and productive in our daily lives. However, sometimes finding the path toward this goal can seem a little murky or overwhelming. In “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” author Stephen Covey lays out a checklist that outlines how effective people get things done. It also gives concrete examples of implementing these lessons in everyday life. Without too many spoilers, this highly-popular nonfiction book outlines the seven principles as:
- Don’t work yourself to death
- Be proactive
- Begin with an end in mind
- Prioritizing and putting first things first
- Thinking about how everyone can win
- Seek to first understand, then be understood
- Synergize your efforts with others
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
Few writers or modern-day thinkers are as well respected as Malcolm Gladwell. The journalist and public speaker found a way to blend storytelling with actionable advice on how people interact with each other and the world. In this revered book, Gladwell explains how individuals or groups of people can impact the world forever.
By reviewing and analyzing industries such as fashion, tobacco, direct mail, and children’s television, he identifies key personalities who push a small idea into the modern world. Though the book’s ideas might be a bit conceptual, there is a lot to gain, including an understanding of how your actions can best influence others in your professional world. It’s a stimulating read that will leave you thinking about what you give and take from your reality.
Though these books are an excellent starting point, they are only the tip of the iceberg. After reading, take time to explain some of the key takeaways to others in your professional life. Not only will this further cement the lessons in your mind, it also will help others around you grow in their decision-making, communication, and critical thinking.