The Books to Read at Each Stage of Your Career

Last modified 06 March 2024
Career & Development, Entrepreneurship, Leadership
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The Books to Read at Each Stage of Your Career

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve achieved the higher rungs of your career, there’s always more you can learn and greater heights you can reach. Further education, training and mentorship will all be helpful, but it’s important not to overlook the value a good book can bring, written by someone who has been where you are and tried to get where you’re heading. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best books to assist with development at each stage of your career. 

New to the workforce: Give and Take by Adam Grant

This is one of those books that everyone can get something out of, but pick it up when you first enter the workplace and you’ll be spared from making the most common mistakes. Grant looks at workplace dynamics and why success is dependent on how we interact with others. In the modern workforce, he argues, givers get more than they give and gain access to career opportunities that aren’t available to others. Written specifically for a new generation of workers, this is an up to the minute look at employee success.

Ambitious promotion seekers: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

Goldsmith examines the habits and beliefs that hold people back from moving ahead as senior leaders in this compelling book. Goldsmith works as an executive coach helping people who are already in leadership positions, but his advice is applicable to anyone who wants to get to that next stage of their career. He teases out why we have the behavioural habits we do and suggests practical techniques for overcoming the ones that have become barriers.

New managers: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book makes almost every round up list and with good reason. Written in 1937, it was an instant bestseller and has stood the test of time. It offers timeless lessons for leaders on how to be influential and persuasive without having to break out the metaphorical big stick. Carnegie champions empathy and positive reinforcement, and cautions people against trying so hard to win that they lose sight of the original goal.

Would-be entrepreneurs: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert is most famous for her memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love and brings the same relatable insight to her latest work. Big Magic is subtitled Creative Living Without Fear and goes beyond traditional creative professions to encourage everyone to unlock their own flair. That might be retraining, starting your own business or simply pushing through the self-confidence barrier in your current job. No matter what your profession, this is a great manual for finding the courage to pursue your own path.

Business owners and senior management: Scaling Up Excellence by Robert Sutton and Huggy Chao

Scaling up is one of the biggest challenges for organisations, and this 2014 bestseller is the first major business book devoted to tackling that challenge. Sutton and Chao look at the leadership techniques that help their people through periods of successful growth, examine the difficult trade-offs in company culture, and unpack the principles that help to cascade excellence throughout an organisation. This book made a host of top business book roundups in the year it was released, and it’s an excellent read for anyone in senior management or who runs their own company.

Don’t currently have the time to read a book? Try an audio book or podcast instead and listen as you drive, walk, cook, exercise and more! 

Read more: Five Leadership Podcasts for Your Commute to Work

*The Australian Institute of Business (AIB) is Australia’s largest provider of MBAs. Source Ready, B. (2023) Domestic Enrolments Surged During COVID After International Students Locked Out, MBA News. Available at: MBA News.

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