7 mins

2016’s 10 Best Books for Being Your Best at Work

Whether you want to become a better boss or be the next Zuckerberg, these 10 reads will help you excel when it comes to work and leadership.
by Caitlin Schiller | Dec 15 2016

We all want to succeed professionally. Ideally, we’d also like to lead a happy life at the same time. These two aspirations often seem at odds with one another, but they absolutely needn’t be. You can have it all if you have smart strategies for keeping them in balance.

Blinklist’s community is full of bright, ambitious learners and leaders who know a thing or two about succeeding at life and in work. And so, this year, we looked to them to help us compile a list of the nonfiction books on leadership and work that made the highest impact on their professional lives. Whether you want to become a better boss, you aspire to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, or you simply want to go into work with a smile on your face every morning, these ten reads will help you achieve your potential at work and in your world.

1. The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

Effective coaching in the workplace is an art and, as outlined in The Coaching Habit, one that can—nay, should—be trained into a habit. Know how to fit coaching time into a busy work schedule; have the right questions ready to motivate others; be aware of the difference between coaching and preaching—with these and other easily acquired skills you can genuinely help others empower themselves.

 

2. The Startup Playbook by David S. Kidder

We’ve all dreamt of coming up with the next big start-up idea – after all, Google and Facebook were born in a garage and a university library, respectively. But how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? The Startup Playbook looks at five highly successful companies such as LinkedIn and Zipcar to determine what differentiates them from the thousands of start-ups that are founded every year.

 

3. Words that Work by Dr. Frank Luntz

A single word can make the difference between wooing and repelling someone, between seizing an opportunity and watching it slip through your fingers. So much success in life hinges on what we say in specific situations. Words that Work teaches you how to use language effectively in business and everyday life, making sure you’ll never again find yourself at a loss for words.

 

4. The Power of the Other, Dr. Henry Cloud

Life is too short to surround yourself with people who bring you down. Positive relationships, on the other hand, are invaluable influences on your success in life and at work. With The Power of the Other you can learn to avoid toxic relationships and only allow truly valuable people into your life.

 

5. The Psychology of Selling, Brian Tracy

It’s a common misconception that being good at sales is an innate skill that can’t be learned. As demonstrated in The Psychology of Selling, each one of us has the potential of excelling at sales. Taking advice from some of the most successful sales gurus across the globe, The Psychology of Selling teaches you the secrets of the trade, from boosting your self-esteem to winning your clients’ trust.

 

6. Sprint by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky & Braden Kowitz

How can you tell if your idea is marketable or not? Rather than go through the lengthy traditional process and possibly end up disappointed, the authors of Sprint have come up with a time- and cost-effective way of testing out ideas to make sure that they’re really worth pursuing. Introducing “sprint”, a concentrated brainstorming and prototyping session that will quickly and efficiently determine your idea’s potential worth.

 

7. Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, Philip E. Tetlock / Dan Gardner

Why simply forecast things, when you can superforecast them? Much more than just a playful neologism, superforecasting is a skill that can be learned in order to get ahead in our ever-faster-paced world. Whether you want to play the stock market or guide your business in the right direction, these sets of tools and techniques are invaluable to anyone dealing with uncertainty – remember: forewarned is forearmed.

 

8. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant

It’s those who think outside the box that make real change happen and move the world forward. These are the people Adam Grant defines as “originals” in his inspiring book, which explores the value of fostering your original and unconventional ideas, teaching you the art of implementing and sharing them with others.

 

9. Leadership Is an Art, Max De Pree

What makes a good leader? In Leadership Is an Art, Max De Pree shows that it isn’t just results that matter, it’s how these results are achieved. Genuine leaders cultivate healthy relationships with their employees based on mutual respect and understanding. This will not only result in a more pleasant and productive work environment, but also contribute to long-term, sustainable success.

 

10. The Third Wave, Steve Case

We currently find ourselves at a turning point, the so-called third wave of the internet and information age. The internet is no longer just about surfing the web, connecting with friends and acquiring information, it’s quickly starting to affect to all aspects of our lives and reshaping every industry sector. Businesses and entrepreneurs looking to ride the third wave have to urgently develop new sets of skills and priorities or they risk being left behind.

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