13 People Share The Books That Changed Their Careers

Who says summer reads can’t have substance?

Image courtesy of  artisteer/ Getty Images

Everyone has a book that changed them. Leading up to National Book Lovers Day on August 9th, we asked our Thrive Global contributor community to recommend the books that made an outsize impact on their lives -- and we were floored by the number of amazing recommendations that rolled in.

Welcome to the first installment of our Books To Thrive By series, which focuses on books that will change the way you view career success. These reads will reignite your drive, motivate you to think outside the box, and even inspire you to make big decisions about your career.

Look out for three more posts this week, recommending books that will alter the way you see yourself, your relationships, and the world around you.

Want to evangelize your own game-changing book? Share a photo of the book on Instagram with the hashtag #BooksToThriveBy for a chance to be featured on Thrive’s Instagram.

Happy reading!

How to be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott

“This book changed how I viewed time and productivity. It made me realize you can’t manage time, but you can manage your attention. And if you know when you are at your best and your attention level and energy is highest, then you know when you can do your best work. It has also changed my relationship with my inbox -- I no longer dance to the tune of everyone else’s to do list -- I work out what I need to achieve each day on my big projects and prioritize those.”

–Jackie, law firm executive, London, England

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

“Written by the co-founder and creator of Nike, this book takes you on the journey of how Nike came to be, and candidly shares the trials and tribulations of all of it. It’s a must read for anyone with a pulse, especially if you own a business or are interested in creating one. It has allowed me to view building a business in a more positive light.”

–Jennifer Leibick, cycling instructor/health coach/domestic engineer, San Francisco, CA

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

“This book was such a game changer for me in so many ways, but a few wins include: launching my own business, finally paying off student loans, and a seriously improved my mental mindset. I've revisited this book time and time again over the last 2.5 years and it's never let me down. It's just the right mix of wisdom, humor, and motivation to get you going on building a life you love.”

–Teresa Ruiz Decker, entrepreneur, Santa Cruz, CA

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

“This book gave me reassurance and helped me value my "gut instincts" about my personal and professional decisions. After reading it, I understood that these gut instincts are actually based on our ability to process and filter key variables we experience quickly.”

–Jennifer Zar, sponsorship manager, New York, NY

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

“It opened my eyes to what the business world could be like, and it inspired me to become a better leader. My life did a 180 after reading this book. I went back to school and got my MBA. I left working on a farm for an office job and joined the tech world. This book made a direct impact on my life and my success.”

–Meredith Crawford, business coach, Oakland, CA

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

“This book allowed me to succeed. It made me realize my imposter syndrome was common, and I wasn’t alone or crazy. It made me realize that it was normal to struggle as a woman in business, and that the path to career success wasn’t a straight ladder, but a weaving jungle gym. I read the book when my career was stagnant, and after reading it, I was inspired to take action and get back on track for professional success.”

–Charelle Griffith, marketing consultant, London, England

The Dip by Seth Godin

“I was maintaining two careers and had my current business as a side hustle, and this book convincingly showed me that I was never going to be truly great at all three of them. It become clear to me that I was scared to commit to one of them out of fear. Rather than waiting until I had to make a change, The Dip helped me approach the decision as what I got to change.”

–Charlie Gilkey, author, Portland, OR

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

“This book caused me to look at business in a completely different way. It helped me realize that we can so easily remove ourselves from the rat race of life if we can simply understand the concept of ‘enough’ - enough money, enough house, enough car, enough stuff. It also explains that money is what we trade our life energy for; doing so will make you reconsider that next purchase when you think about how long you had to work to earn the money you're about to spend.”

–Michael Hambrick, personal finance coach, Atlanta, GA

See You At The Top by Zig Ziglar

“This was the first book that exposed me to the thinking that I’m in control of what happens to me. It taught me that it’s up to me if I succeed or not.”

–John Boudreau, consultant, Wilbraham, MA

Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu

“As a new mom, I was majorly struggling to balance work and home life. This book inspired me to focus on the things that matter most and let go of society's ridiculous expectations of women. It allowed me to feel more free and productive than ever before.”

–Taylor Bento, financial paraplanner, Knoxville, TN

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenge by Amy Cuddy

“This was an incredibly empowering read about how women can control their confidence from the inside, and that confidence is not a gift or something that needs to be earned…it’s something inherent within us all.”

–Sara Reed, career and life coach, Milwaukee, WI

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“This book changed my professional life. I read it during a stage in my career in which I was longing for a sense of inner peace. This simplistic, though powerful, book, has taught me that the discovery of the worldly treasures we all seem to be seeking, at certain stages in our lives, is indeed found within.”

—Jassir de Windt, communication expert, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

“I read this book after I lost my mom. I turned 30 a few weeks later and had a midlife crisis. I no longer knew what my purpose was, all I knew was that I wanted to bring value to the lives of others including myself. This book taught me that everyone has a ‘why. Why do you get up in the morning? Why does your organization exist? Your why is your purpose that inspires you to do what you do. When you think, act and communicate starting with why, you can inspire others.”

–Karee Upendo, entrepreneur, Racine, WI

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