11 Books That Can Take Your Career to the Next Level


There’s only so much time in a day, and even regular readers tend to lean towards fiction or celebrity tell-alls. When’s the last time you read something that can improve your career? We made it easy for you by gathering a list of the best business books for any industry that can make you a better employee, boss, manager, entrepreneur, leader....we have the list if you can make the time!


highly effective peopleThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen Covey’s highly acclaimed book was published in 1990 and continues to be a business bestseller. As the title suggests, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People dissects what it really takes, personally and professionally, to become successful not only in their careers but in life too. Covey uses real-life examples that allows the reader to really connect with his thoughts. This is more than a quick-tips book—make notes and be ready to reference it for years to come.




good to great

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't
There are millions of good companies out there, but what distinguishes the good from the great? In Jim Collins’ “prequel” to Built to Last, Good to Great focuses on the qualities that make companies better than the rest. Collins (and team) researched twenty-eight companies and their histories for five years and this is the result of those findings. Whether you just launched, been in business a few years, or are playing with the idea of starting a company, Good to Great will provide you the insights to become one of the elite.




win friends and influence people

How To Win Friends and Influence People

Seems like basic human decency to do unto others as you want from them, but it doesn’t always work like that. Dale Carnegie delves into the “self-help” section by understanding human nature in a way that will never go out of style. He uses real-life examples to propose principles so when dealing with people they won’t feel manipulated, but appreciated instead. It’s a long ways to the top, anyone in a leadership role (or hopes to be) should read this to become a more understanding boss.





The One Minute Manager

The One Minute Manager

You don’t need to be a manager to understand, or learn from this book. The new generations have experienced the rise of technology, changing market trends, and instant (and constant) communication, Ken Blanchard, PhD and Spencer Johnson, MD introduce you to the three “secrets” to leadership. The back of the book’s description tells it best, “This book with help you find meaning in your work and inspire you to discover new ways to help your organization adapt and prosper.” And at the end of the book, you will confidently know how to apply the techniques.




the industries of the future

The Industries of the Future

Alec Ross draws from his experiences visiting startups in nearly 41 countries as the Senior Adviser for Innovation to former Secretary of State to identify the next big ideas in business. Technology is taking over the world—how will it affect your job, and life? Ross addresses each industry by answering the tough questions many people have. The Industries of the Future will enhance your understand of how the world works now and where it is going tomorrow. A must-read for CEO’s and college grads, alike.  




break all the rules

First, Break All The Rules: What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman interviewed 80,000 (yes 80,000!) managers ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small entrepreneurs for this book. At a time when company culture is crucial in retaining talented employees, it’s time for all managers to start breaking the rules. Buckingham and Coffman expose the fallacies of traditional management and invite you to look at the employee engagement process from a completely different angle.




see you at the top

See You at the Top

Renowned speaker and author, Zig Ziglar uses his motivational expertise to show people they are worthy of happiness and success. Before starting any career, having a healthy self-image is important and can influence your decisions. Ziglar speaks about using your positivity to build a solid attitude and aligning your goals. “All of us can get to the top if we specify our goals, stay positive, and never waver in believing in our right to be happy and successful." (Zig Ziglar)




the hard thing about hard things

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Ben Horowitz is the co-founder of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, taps into his experiences on the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur to teach you that business school doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. Using wit, rap lyrics, and sometimes profane language Horowitz will have you feeling inspired to take on all the hard things.






It’s been said many times before—employees don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. In Sydney Finkelstein’s book we get a first-hand look at the difference between good bosses and superbosses. After ten years of research and over two hundred interviews Finkelstein found that it takes more than good management style to win over employees. Superbosses dives further into managing employees with new and useful advice for longtime bosses and new bosses, alike.




power of positive thinking

The Power of Positive Thinking

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s international bestseller has had phenomenal impact on millions of people’s lives. More than the average positive way of life, Peale offers methods to overcome every day living. He teaches you to eliminate negative thinking and reinforces positive affirmations that will create change in your life. Self-doubt can be the killer of many ideas and dreams, this book will help you overcome that and succeed in your personal and professional life.




originals nonconformists move the world

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Step out of the box and into Adam Grant’s world of originality. Originals asks you to disrupt not only your boundaries, but the world’s boundaries, too. Taking risks is part of life, but at what cost do some people stop because it’s too much? This book wants you to reject the thought of conformity and offers insights on how to push the envelope when you don’t think it’s possible. We are at a time now when anything seems possible, so how will you move the world?



We realize taking on a reading list of 11 on top of all your other work is quite the task, but we promise each one is designed to be a reference for your entire career. Start with the one you need the most right now and work your way through the rest!

Last Updated: October 6, 2016
About the author

Cally Martin

Callan is a social media loving, blog writing, event planning freelancer who believes in the power of the oxford comma. Originally from America’s high-five (Michigan), she’s been in Austin since 2015 and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. When not attached to WiFi, she can be found running around the lake or drinking mimosas at brunch.