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12 Must-Read Books for Career Success

It is no secret that being an avid reader has a ton of benefits – not only does reading increase your vocabulary, improve focus and concentration, reduce stress and improve your memory – picking up a paperback is also good for your health. It’s also evident that some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and leaders are avid readers.

Of course, these benefits can be obtained through reading almost anything (even fictional novels are praised for their excellence by successful businessman like Bill Gates and Elon Musk). However, there are a ton of fantastic reads that are geared specifically toward helping the reader develop a variety of new skills – from leadership and perseverance to mindfulness and EQ.

We asked our career experts to share their favourite reads for career success and put together a list of the top books for your Christmas wishlist!

1. “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy

The Compound Effect” offers readers the real deal when it comes to becoming a success – no gimmicks, no secret recipe and no magic bullet. Darren Hardy pulls insight from his 20-year journey as a curator of the industry and reveals his six principles of success.

“It reveals the truth about prolonging small changes in our life that compound to negative results. Great read,” says Makeda Waterman.

2. “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Richard Bolles

What Color is Your Parachute” has been dubbed the world’s popular job-search book with its long-trusted guidance for job-hunters and career-changers.

It’s one of Bénédicte Flouriot‘s favourites because, “It is a very practical book with many exercises and activities you can do by yourself. Great trips and exercises forcing you to think, reflect, take action and get to know the best job search practices from defining your dream job to resumes to interviewing to networking.”

3. “The Leader Who Had No Title” by Robin Sharma

In “The Leader Who Had No Title,” author and leadership speaker Robin Sharma offers a story designed to help people from all walks of life achieve great things. In this book, readers will learn how to work with and influence people like a superstar, regardless of your position; how to recognize and then seize opportunities in times of deep change; the real secrets of intense innovation and so much more.

“It’s very easy to read, it’s written as a story and you can really read it as a fable,” Bénédicte explains. “It teaches people that they all are leaders whatever their position. It helps people look at the concept of leadership from a different angle. Most people mix “manager” and “leader” and they should not, as you can be a leader without being a manager! It starts with yourself… Wherever people are in their career, they should do everything to stretch their leadership, it is all about self-empowerment. There is a great example about a housekeeper in the book that shows powerful leadership!”

“It’s also a great inspiration for learning how to seize opportunities and remove fear blocks related to change,” she adds.

4. “Good to Great” by Jim Collins

In “Good to Great,” author Jim Collins identifies and evaluates the factors and variables that allow a small fraction of companies to make the transition from merely good to truly great.Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of 28 companies – the good-to-great companies and a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. They wanted to find out what was different and figure out why some companies became truly great performers while the others remained only good?

After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness – why some companies make the leap and others don’t.

Career coach Lynden Kidd considers this book “Classic ‘how to be better at business’ thought leadership.”

5. “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield

The Success Principles™” teaches readers how to increase their confidence, tackle daily challenges, realize their ambitions and live their life with passion and purpose. The book spells out the 67 timeless principles and practices that can be adapted for your own life – whether you want to be the best salesperson in your company, become a top lawyer, achieve an outstanding GPA, get fit, buy your dream home or just get back in the job market.

“In both work and life there are timeless principles that, when applied, lead to success. This book talks about those in very practical ways and helps the reader learn what can move them forward,” Lynden says.

6. Emotional Intelligence 2.0″ by Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves

Emotional Intelligence 2.0”  offers a step-by-step program to help increase your emotional intelligence (EQ) using the four core EQ skills to exceed your goals and achieve your fullest potential. The four EQ skills are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

“We need to not only know what being emotionally intelligent means but we need to recognize how and when to apply it to our lives.  This book helps with that,” explains Lynden Kidd.

7. “The Goal” by Eliyahu M Goldratt

This thrilling novel-style book follows the story of a plant manager whose factory is quickly heading for disaster and will face closure in 90 days unless character Alex Rogo can turn things around.

“Novel-like in how the book is written, this is another classic as it focuses on the key goals for successful companies and how it is the collective of all the employees who create the syncronicities to create success,” Lynden says.

8. “Grit” by Angela Duckworth

In her book “Grit,” author and psychologist Angela Duckworth explains that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a passionate persistence. Angela has found through her research that grit, which is a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal, is the hallmark of high achievers in every domain.She has also found scientific evidence to prove that grit can grow.

“Beyond talent, beyond creativity, beyond training, beyond being in the right place at the right time; success and achievement require grit.”

9. “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson 

“The Slight Edge” is a way of thinking and processing information that enables you to make the daily choices that will lead you to the success and happiness you desire. In this book, author Jeff Olson teaches readers why some people make dream after dream come true, while others just continue dreaming and spend their lives building dreams for someone else.

“The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret,” explains Lynden Kidd. “Jeff Olson demonstrates that it is the discipline of doing the little, daily, persistent things that end up making massive differences to success at all levels – work, health, wealth.”

10. “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

In this highly scientific, practical book, authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz demonstrate how managing energy, not time, is the key to enduring high performance as well as to health, happiness, and life balance.

“This is a classic, must-read because managing your energy, not your time, really is a key to success in all areas,” says career coach Sally Anne Giedrys.

11. “How to Be Everything” by Emilie Wapnick

In her book, “How to Be Everything,” author Emilie Wapnick explains that having a lot of different interests, projects and curiosities doesn’t make you a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” – it makes you a multipotentialite: someone with many interests and creative pursuits. And that is actually your biggest strength.

Based on her popular TED Talk, “Why some of us don’t have one true calling,” this book helps you channel your diverse passions and skills so that they work for you and provides a practical framework for building a sustainable life around ALL of your passions.

“This is an encouraging, affirming read for those of us who have many interests and feel torn between them,” Sally says.

12. The Leadership Dojo by Richard Strozzi-Heckler

In his book “The Leadership Dojo,” renowned consultant Richard Strozzi-Heckler offers a new approach to leadership and teaches with real-world examples based on his wide experience training decision-makers at companies like AT&T and Microsoft

“For leadership, my favorite is “The Leadership Dojo” by Richard Strozzi-Heckler,” says Sally. “It’s a more comprehensive, big-picture, character-based look at leadership than most of what’s out there.”

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you achieve amazing things in your professional life? Connect with one of our career experts, browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Kristen Moran

Kristen is the editor and community manager at and the Noomii Career Blog. Kristen's desire to ask questions and share information with others led her to pursue journalism. While she has worked at various publications, covering everything from municipal politics to local restaurants, it was her love of self-improvement and sharing inspiration with others that made Noomii the perfect fit. Connect with Kristen on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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