Reading Your Way To Success: Books We Love That Will Help You Get Ahead


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Maybe you’re excelling at your job and looking to move up the corporate ladder. Perhaps you need a little inspiration. Or maybe you’re just looking for a good read. Regardless, we asked some industry leaders at the top of their game what books made a difference in their lives—and jobs. This is what they said:

Reading Your Way To Success

“The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know” by Katherine Kay and Claire Shipman.

This is an examination of why men still rule the corporate world, despite the fact that women are more educated and experienced than ever (hint: it has to do with confidence). The authors take into account studies on gender, behavior, genetics, and cognition while incorporating their own personal successes and failures. “This one is directed primarily toward women, although it really can apply to anyone,” says Leslie Beck, owner and principal at Compass Wealth Management, LLC. “Its basic tenet is that self-confidence can be learned, and then reinforced—similar to exercising. It’s the action that builds the neural network that establishes true self-confidence.”

“Personal History” by Katharine Graham

This is bombshell autobiography was penned by the former publisher of the Washington Post who helmed the paper during the Pentagon Papers and Watergate scandal. Graham broke new ground as she entered the “boys’ club” of the newspaper business to make it big, and her narrative continues to inspire. Joshua Johnston, manager at Crowe Horwath, LLP, explains, “The book is full of entertaining stories and anecdotes from both her personal and professional life, but she has something truly important to say about leadership as well: taking bold risks when we are absolutely sure it is the right thing to do and not being afraid to do the right thing. Graham’s story teaches us that we’re all capable of great leadership, even if those around us don’t believe it.”

“How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

An oldie but goodie, there’s a reason this title has been cited again and again since its first publication in 1937. Carnegie is the master of financial success, and here he relates that success to the ins and outs of human nature—and what field needs to know human nature more than salesmen? “It’s a great introduction for those needing to know the basics of a good sales pitch,” says Adam Moran, Asian export sales manager at Hermitage Hardwood. “Some of it is a little outdated,” he admits, “but so many of the lessons on business relationships still hold true today.”

“Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't” by Jim Collins

Another one that’s considered a classic, Collins’s hard look at why some companies make it—and many others don’t—takes the success rates of 28 companies into account. Why do some companies make the jump to greatness while others simply stay in the middle of the pack…or fail completely? “Its concepts are quite simple,” explains Jordan Hettinga, senior manager at Ebay Motors. “But many people still need that guidance.”

“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

The man, the myth, the legend, Steve Jobs isn’t just the founder of Apple—he’s also an inspiration…and a cautionary tale. Isaacson uses more than forty interviews with Jobs to construct a biography that tackles the nature of innovation, leadership, and character. Explains Rodney Rodavich, vice president of procurement for TE Connectivity, “He wasn’t a great people person, but he got results. This book made me question, ‘How can you challenge people, not only by holding incredibly high standards, but by getting them to believe in those standards?’”

What are some of your favorite reads? Tweet to @washpostjobs and let us know!

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