Books to Boost Your Professional Growth

Books have power, the power of ideas contained in them. What they also have is the might to get you thinking in a direction you might never have thought in. They have the potential to guide a person looking for help to solve or understand a problem. While the internet is filled with information but, books provide you with researched and vetted information.

We have curated eight such books that will help you fulfill your boost your professional growth potential and help surmount the obstacles in your path to professional excellence. Here is a:

Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life by Stuart Diamond

In your workplace or the company of friends, family and other acquaintances, underlying every encounter is ‘negotiation’ and Stuart Diamond’s book teaches you professional growth strategies to achieve better results in both the professional and personal domains. However, knowing your professional development goals is the essential beginning step before anything is negotiated.

This book is a valuable source of guidance for aspiring and working professionals to help them polish their negotiation skills and advance their careers.

Some inspiring quotes for personal and professional development:

“When the other party realizes you care about their feelings, they will listen more, making them more persuadable.”

“It doesn’t matter how often the other person says no, disagrees with you, or gives you a hard time. Keep asking, stay focused on your goals (without making yourself the issue). Persistence, after all, is a focused effort, over time, to meet your goals.”

“With persistence comes self-confidence: the belief that you can do it.”

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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

In this gem of a book, David Allen proffers a necessary toolkit on how to get more in any situation in life. First published in 2001, it has become an influential text for professionals, each chapter unfurling the secrets of living a life of balance between productivity and sereness.

‘GTD’ has now become shorthand for approaching professional and personal projects, tasks and commitments so that the outcome is maximized and stress is minimized in the pursuit of it all.

Allen has given impressive professional growth principles rooted in big ideas that are practically viable. For instance, he suggests organizing your tasks and actions into appropriate categories such as ‘Next Actions’, ‘Projects’ and ‘Someday/Maybe’ to facilitate prioritizing the essential things first to boost your professional growth.

Therefore, anyone seeking a more organized life with increased focus and decreased mental clutter should definitely give this book a try!

Inspiring quotes to promote professional growth:

“There is usually an inverse relationship between how much something is on your mind and how much it’s getting done.”

“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”

“Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.”

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker

No matter where you stand in the professional hierarchy of your organisation, this book is a valuable tool for all working professionals, or ‘knowledge workers’ as Peter Drucker calls them.

The book is centered around the notion that effectiveness is not a trait inherent in us but must be learned and polished in the pursuing our endeavors. Contrary to what some people like to believe, being effective does not mean doing more tasks. Rather, it is about doing the right tasks that align with your own personal growth as well as with the ideals of the organization.

Trucker stresses the importance of tracking your time to allocate it effectively, prioritizing tasks and focusing more on your strengths instead of weaknesses and on opportunities instead of problems.

Inspiring quotes:

“Good executives focus on opportunities rather than problems. Problems have to be taken care of, of course; they must not be swept under the rug. But problem-solving, however necessary, does not produce results.”

“It’s not important to get things done, it’s important to get the right things done.”

“If there is any one “secret” of effectiveness, it is concentration. Effective executives do first things first and they do one thing at a time.”

The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

Do you want to get out of a mediocre life and achieve big dreams and goals? If yes, then this book is for you.

For people stuck in the same position in their organization for years, David Shwartz’s approach can do wonders. Explained in an effortless manner, the book encourages you to self-reflect and master your mind through an understanding of psychology, ambition, goal-setting and social behavior.

If the learnings are really put into practice, the book is indeed life-changing!

Inspiring quotes:

“Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success.”

“People who get things done in this world don’t wait for the spirit to move them; they move the spirit.”

“Big thinkers train themselves to see not just what is but what can be.”

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

The distractions around us have made it increasingly challenging to have prolonged concentration.

Cal Newport addresses this issue in his book, focusing on creating a healthy environment in which more time is spent on ‘Deep work’ (a productive state of flow without succumbing to distractions).

It is a useful book for the working class, in particular, and for anyone in general who wants to enhance their ability to produce high-quality valuable work.

Inspiring quotes to advance your career:

“If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.”

“What we choose to focus on and what we choose to ignore—plays in defining the quality of our life.”

“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

One of the most empowering books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is an essential read for anyone seeking meaningful professional growth. In his step-by-step guide, Covey presents a framework of seven habits that enhance effectiveness, in addition to fostering career and personal development.

Each habit is imbued with actionable principles that professionals can apply in their daily lives- like proactivity, win-win thinking, priority management, synergy and collaboration, etc.

The book is filled with practical and insightful professional growth strategies for anyone aspiring for success and a more fulfilling life.

Inspiring quotes:

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

“Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).”

“To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Why do some people achieve success while some can’t get out of a life of mediocrity? Malcolm Gladwell answers this question in his book, by narrating the success stories of successful people from various fields- music, sports, technology etc.

The book explores the factors contributing to success- not just personal factors like talent or efforts, but also external factors like culture, environment and opportunities.

If you are someone wanting to know the cause and effect of greatness through interesting case studies, give this book a go!

Inspiring quotes:

“No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.” “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

“It is not the brightest who succeeds. … Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is, rather, a gift. Outliers are those that have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.”

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

It is a simple yet empowering allegorical narrative that unveils profound truths through the eyes of four characters living in a ‘maze’. There is a hardworking duo of mice, Sniff and Scurry, along with two ‘Littlepeople’ Hem and Haw who look and act like people but are the size of mice.

They embark on a journey to look for ‘Cheese’ – a metaphor for all that we yearn for in life, whether its career-related or related to some other aspect of life.

As the narrative unfolds, the four of them grapple with unforeseen circumstances with the cheese constantly moving. Eventually, one of them is successful in dealing with it and writes the lessons he has learned on the Maze walls.

Written in an engaging manner, the story is a very short one but with insights that have a lasting impact.

Inspiring professional growth quotes:

“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”

“Being in the uncomfortable zone is much better than staying in the cheese-less situation.”

“Life is no straight and easy corridor along which we travel free and unhampered, but a maze of passages, through which we must seek our way, lost and confused, now and again checked in a blind alley.   But always, if we have faith, a door will open for us.”

As with any book, it is valid only when the lessons are put into practice. The written word possesses the capacity to shape our career and provide the needed inspiration only if we embrace it with an open mind and start implementing the suggestions that are most relevant to us.

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