As a mentorship giveback project, I decided to create a list of books which could be useful in future AWN mentorship programs. I think this list also may be helpful for others who are looking to grow in their personal and professional lives.
As a serial reader, this list quickly became long – too long. So, I decided to pare it down and get more specific. More “bang for your book,” if you will.
Rules for inclusion on this list are two-fold:
1. I have read and recommend the book
2. I think the book could be useful in conversations between a mentor and mentee
I’ve also provided some quick summaries and personal insights about four books on this list.
o The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor
o Daring Greatly - Brené Brown
o Dare to Lead – Brené Brown
o High Performance Habits - Brendon Burchard
o How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
o Good to Great – Jim Collins
o The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
o Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck
o Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
o Girl, Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis
o Who Moved my Cheese – Spencer Johnson
o Half the Sky – Nicolas D. Kristof
o Option B – Sheryl Sandberg
o You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero
o Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
o The First 90 Days – Michael Watkins
The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels – Michael D. Watkins
My mentor recommended this book to me early in our mentorship journey. After reading the book, we discussed it together. The First 90 Days is particularly useful for people going through a career transition, whether it be taking on a job at a new company, making a role change within a company or even undergoing a company amalgamation. My experiences fell into the latter camp.
The book provides strategies on how to hit the ground running and succeed in the first 90 days of a career transition.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t – Jim Collins
My first job out of university was with a company with an exceptional staff training program. Upon hiring, each staff member received a copy of Good to Great. We were expected to read the book prior to the onboarding training program.
We discussed the concepts covered in the book extensively in this first training program. We often referred to the book in day-to-day work, meetings and all subsequent training sessions.
In Good to Great, the author and his research team identify a group of elite companies that made the leap from being a ‘good’ to a ‘great’ company, and sustained their excellence for at least 15 years. The book explores the distinguishing characteristics that enable a company to make this leap.
I often refer to the business concepts in Good to Great and know the book will remain a useful resource throughout my career.
The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor
I love the concept of this book – happiness fuels success, not the other way around. The author is a positive psychology researcher at Harvard. He uses case studies to explain how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive advantage at work.
The Happiness Advantage doesn’t read like a normal business book; I found it hard to put down and brimming with humour. If I could recommend only one business book, this would be it.
Achor also has an energetic and hilarious TED talk on this subject called “The Happy Secret to Better Work,” which is a must watch.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar – Cheryl Strayed
Mentorship isn’t only about seeking direction and feedback related to our jobs; it’s also about sharing parts of our lives. How can I achieve more balance in my life? How will I ever get over the loss of a loved one? Should I move for a job? Can I really be sure I want children?
In beautiful but frank writing, Tiny Beautiful Things provides guidance on many of life’s big questions. The book is a compilation of advice columnist letters and responses, some of which you’re sure to identify with. This is my all-time favorite book – the one I’ve handed out to family and friends, the one I repeatedly return to, and the one that offers something for everyone.
Other books on my to-read list:
Brave, Not Perfect – Reshma Saujani
Fierce Conversations – Susan Scott
The Imperfect Board Member – Jim Brown
Atomic Habits – James Clear
Ted Talks: The Official Ted Guide to Public Speaking – Chris J. Anderson
You can read the first blogs in the 2019 AWN Mentorship series here and here