Whether you’re actively looking to climb the corporate ladder or you’re happy in your current job, professional headhunters explain that these are the books that will advance your career—and why.
It might seem strange to have a high-tech recruiter to recommend a book by a Greek philosopher who lived nearly 2,000 years ago, but Dave Carvajal, CEO of technology recruiting firm Dave Partners, says it contains some surprisingly modern insights for today’s professional.
“Some of the virtues from the Greek stoics are perhaps more relevant today with the increased pace of innovation and the need to manage the velocity and depth of external relationships,” Carvajal says. Even in an age when social media dominates much of our interaction, this advice proves timeless. “A sense of affiliation with like-minded people leads to high satisfaction rates at work,” he says. “Managing the internal world and self are the only things we can control.”
“The reason it’s so good is that book is about what make messages move and how messages move through people,” John Challenger, CEO of executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said via email of the modern classic from Malcolm Gladwell. “It’s not only about how you look for a job — it’s more about the ideas behind communicating. It really is. Not only does it talk about connectors, people who know lots of people [but] those people are crucial in a job search because they can introduce you to people you need to see.”
This isn’t your ordinary tome on corporate leadership. As Navy SEAL commanders serving during the war in Iraq, co-authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin had to make leadership decisions with higher stakes than anyone faces in a boardroom. “This book shows how full ownership and accountability in business — and in life — are important for success,” Carvajal says.
“As the job market shifts and automation continues to weigh on folks’ minds, a book like this could help them understand the job market of the future and where they fit in,” Dan Finnigan, CEO of software and recruiting company Jobvite, says of Rise of the Robots, by futurist and author Martin Ford. In the future, the increase in robotics and artificial intelligence means people will need to adapt to stay relevant in the workforce. “Skills will have to evolve, and as this technology accelerates, staying abreast of these shifts will be crucial,” Finnigan says.
Challenger says that by pulling back the curtain on the story behind the swoosh, Nike founder Phil Knight tells a story that is as much about entrepreneurial determination and drive as it is about Nike’s improbable growth from start-up to corporate giant. “It’s an inspirational book,” Challenger says.
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