Category Archives: Book Reviews

image_pdfimage_print

Great Career & Lifestyle Books to Get You Inspired in 2016

booksI love reading, and in particular I enjoy reading books related to how we live and work.  This year I managed to get through a sizeable stack of books (I even managed to write my own, The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation). Below I have a brief overview of those that I found to be most relevant for people looking to make career and/or lifestyle changes. I find that the two generally coincide.

 

 

Enjoyable Books That Made an Impact in 2015  

Mean Girls by Meredith Fuller, is a great book that helps understand the dynamics of working with female colleagues – namely those who maybe causing you some grief. The good news is that you are not alone. At various stages in our careers we all encounter ‘mean girls’. It is nothing you are doing wrong – generally it is all about them!  This great book offers some good strategies to deal with the various types of ‘mean girls’ that inhabit our workplaces.

Sell Your Thoughts by Matt Church, is a book which title goes on to state ‘How to earn a million dollars a year as a Thought Leader’. The book is a part of a program that the author offers. Whether or not you are interested in doing the program and/or becoming a thought leader, what the book does is offer a great formula for guiding you through how to capture your personal brand. It offers the reader some thought provoking career related questions around who are, what you want to be known for, how you want to make your mark and so on. If you are considering self-employment or looking to remain an employee the book is a valuable resource.

Life in Half a Second by Matthew Michalewicz is an inspiring book, based on his life experiences. Matthew is a migrant who is a self-made successful business person and the book is his formula for experiencing success in your life be it business, career and/or personal.  The book is confronting in a great way, forcing the reader to reflect on how they want to live their lives. Given we all have only a finite time on this planet, what do we really want to be doing with this precious commodity called time!

How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krnaric is a book I picked up in December from The School of Life in Melbourne.  As a career strategist the title caught my eye!  The book is an easy read that is peppered with career related exercises which is where the fun and challenging part kicks in. To get the value from the book you have to do the homework! While I agree with most of what is written I feel that the author is too dismissive of any personality profiling – namely Myers Briggs (MBTI).  From his description I suspect his knowledge of how the tool is actually used is limited. Any profiling tool offers a different perspective on who we are. They are not there to typecast or pigeonhole us which the author seems to suggest. We are more than our MBTI type!  He also seems to have an outdated view of careers coaches which was disappointing. In reading his book, I would suggest that what he is proposing when it comes to finding fulfilling work is what most contemporary career coaches advocate. For those contemplating a career change, it is a nice little book to get you started.

What I Am Looking Forward to Reading in 2016

My brothers kindly gave me the following book selection below (at my request) for Christmas. So this wonderful pile of books are sitting patiently on my bedside table waiting to be read. Each book sounded intriguing based on the reviews by the various people who made the recommendations. These were people who were ‘Thought Leaders’ in everything from career coaching, through to leadership development and general business.

  • A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger
  • The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan & Barbara Pease
  • The Workplace Within by Larry Hirschhorn
  • Ego & Soul by John Carroll
  • To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

If you have read any of the books from either list please feel free to share your thoughts. Also further book recommendations are always welcomed.

Download my e-book ‘The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation’

Workbook_CoverI am very excited to share with you that I have successfully published my first e-book The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiationon Amazon.

It would be fantastic if you could help me in sharing this resource which I hope will benefit many working women across the globe.  While you or they may not be looking to negotiate your salary package right now, you hopefully will be in the next 12 months!

Download your complimentary copy today from Amazon 

About The Guide 

The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation has been written to provide the essential information and tools women all over the world need to conduct an effective salary negotiation.

This guide provides all the inspiration you need and all the tools, tips and activities necessary to conduct a successful salary negotiation. All you have to is follow the process and start the negotiation ball rolling – be it with your current employer or a new employer.    Invest in yourself today and start being paid what you are worth!

How to Access the e-book

From the 1st May to 5th May (USA time) – you can download The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation for free for Kindle.   Or you can download the free Kindle app if you don’t have Kindle. After this time the e-book will be US$4.99

If you don’t use Kindle please send me an email and I can send you &/or friends a complimentary PDF version of the e-book until the 5th May 2015.

Email: kelly@thebusywomensguidetosalarynegotiation.com

For more information visit The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation 

 

Thank you for your support and help with sharing this resource.

‘The Confidence Code’ a career must have book for women

the-confidence-codeFor women in the workforce there is a book that I cannot recommend enough called ‘The Confidence Code’ by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman. It offers some great research behind why women don’t have as much confidence as men in general.  More specifically it highlights why women don’t engage in salary negotiation and career promotion conversations anywhere near enough.  A few of these reasons include; our personality types, social conditioning, over valuing competency, over thinking the task and simply failing to act.  Once you read the research and practicalities of why women fail to engage enough in salary negotiation and career advancement conversations you may find yourself thinking differently about the topic. Ideally you will be inspired to take action.

My Top 5 Books for Job Searchers & Career Changers

IMG_5330When working with careers clients, there are various tools, methodologies and techniques that I draw upon dependent on the needs of the client.  In addition to providing clients with workbooks – where relevant I provide additional reading.  Below I have listed my five most recommended careers related books and why.

 

Fierce Conversations, author Susan Scott
It is a terrific book that offers a framework for having difficult or challenging conversations at work or home. In some instances having the challenging conversation can sometimes ease a difficult situation at work that is contributing to dissatisfaction or provide the vehicle in which to have that career conversation about where you really want to be working within the organisation.  Without having these conversations you can overlook ideal career opportunities that maybe right in front of you! It must be added that this book is a challenging one to get through with a lot of exercises to apply the strategies – however well worth the effort.

Business Model U, author Tim Clark
What Colour is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles has stood the test of time and is a great career resource.  However Business Model U offers a more contemporary take on the career change front leveraging a business minded approach to the task. It is based on the structure of creating a business plan and provides practical information in small chunks, including activities and stories by other career changers on how they did it. An appealing book for those who like a more pragmatic approach.

The Happiness Trap, author Russ Harris
Changing jobs or careers requires a lot of time and dedication and with it comes a lot of rejection. Maintaining a positive state of mind can be tough as applications go unanswered, interviewers don’t give you ‘real’ feedback or update you and all you seem to be receiving are countless verbal and emailed no thank you’s. In my recent post ‘How to Tame the Internal Critic when Job Seeking’ I explain how the internal critic within can blare more loudly when you are making a career related change. This book offers practical and easy to apply techniques to help control the internal critic. It is an easy and enjoyable read and one that will help you get through the job search or career change process more confidently.

How to Master Networking, author Robyn Henderson
Networking can be enjoyable – it just depends on how you approach it.  If you view it as simply an opportunity to learn new things and meet interesting new people it can take the sting out of the process.  In her book, ‘How to Master Networking’, Robyn Henderson offers practical and easy to apply techniques to improve your networking ability and enjoyment.  It is a career essential and particularly relevant for professionals and executives to master.

The First 90 Days, author Michael Watkins
While ‘The First 90 Days’ relates to how best to use your time once in the job, it is also incredibly relevant when going through the interview process. As a professional or executive going through the interview process if you can share your ideas and a high level strategy of how you would execute in the role the interviewer cannot help but be impressed. It is this preparation and strategic thinking that makes the top candidates stand out from the others.  This book offers a framework of how to succeed both in the interview and once in the role. It is very detailed offering a step by step approach.

While these are some of my favourite books to assist job and career changers, I would welcome hearing about your favourite books.

 

 

 

 

Discovering Martha Beck

marthaLate last year I came across an article in The New York Times about Martha Beck titled ‘The Merchant of Just Be Happy’  which has since led to a growing fascination with her and her business philosophy.

Martha is a PhD, Harvard educated and spent many years as an academic. With her husband she raised three children and encountered many personal challenges during this time from her own ill health to her middle child being diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome. She has successfully built up a business around ‘Life Coaching’ which she herself says is the closest term to describing her approach to working with clients. Martha is a prolific writer and has made the successful transition from academic to entrepreneur through her life coaching enterprise, Martha Beck.  She combines the practical with the spiritual which is perhaps why she has such a great appeal.

Martha has been big in the USA for many years now assisted by her appearances on the Oprah show and writings for the O magazine.  From my readings of Martha and watching her TED presentations she truly is a remarkable and inspiring women who is authentic and simply focussed on helping people to just be happy.

Her philosophy and approach can be encapsulated by the theme “You will have all the happiness and money you need if you can just find what you’re supposed to be doing and do it.”  This maybe why I am attracted to Martha’s work as I share the same approach in my careers work.  My focus is on working with clients to identify what is going to give them the greatest sense of satisfaction and purpose in their worklife and helping them to achieve their career goals.

I have enjoyed discovering Martha Beck and invite you to take a look.

The Skills Employers Will Value Most Moving Forward

IFTF_FutureWorkSkillsSummaryWhile people are keen to follow the sharemarket, read investor reports and seek advice about where to invest their money, not so many adopt the same approach to their careers in tracking what the market will be doing and needing in terms of skills and expertise. Ironic really, given most of us generate our financial wealth from our day jobs, and the more desired our expertise, the greater the wealth we can grow. While it is not always about the money, we all have living expenses and we also want to ensure we remain current in the marketplace rather than obsolete.

Understandably in the past there was not a great need to manage our careers as actively as there is now. Looking at future work trends would have been unheard of as it was assumed a job or career was for life.  However as technology and globalisation disrupt how we work, the skills sought moving forward have shifted and will continually be evolving.

Daniel Pink writes about this in his terrific book ‘A Whole New Mind’.  The three key takeaways from the book are that we live in a time of abundance where people have too many choices. Following this any jobs / skills which can be automated by technology or off-shored are a threat to workers in the west. We are seeing this with a lot of IT and Banking positions however it is even extending to Accounting, Law and other professions that were in the past thought of as safe and untouchable. Identifying this Pink goes on to highlight the six essential attributes / skills that will be sought after in the future:

  1. Design – Moving beyond      function to engage the sense.
  2. Story – Narrative added to      products and services – not just argument. Best of the six senses.
  3. Symphony – Adding invention and      big picture thinking (not just detail focus).
  4. Empathy – Going beyond logic      and engaging emotion and intuition.
  5. Play – Bringing humor and      light-heartedness to business and products.
  6. Meaning – Immaterial feelings      and values of products. (Wikipedia)

For a brief summary of the key concepts discussed in A Whole New Mind visit Wikipedia

Pink’s book first published in 2005 is few years old now though it seems to all have stood the test of time. A recent report released by The Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute, ‘Future Work Skills 2020’ highlights some of the same messages that Pink did.  The world and makeup of workers has shifted dramatically and will continue to do so.  In the report they look at the six divers of change:

1)      Extreme longevity

2)      Rise of smart machines and systems

3)      Computational world

4)      New media ecology

5)      Superstructure organisations

6)      Globally connected world

From these drivers of change they go on to look at what they predict to be the most desirable work skills in 2020 and beyond.  These include things like:

 

  • Social intelligence
  • Sense making
  • Novel and adaptive thinking
  • Cross-cultural competency
  • Design mindset

The skills and attributes that the world will grow to need ever more are not those that were traditionally prized. Having a high IQ is certainly not going to go astray however without the EQ to support this it may not be as valued as it once was. We are already seeing this with today’s employers. They are looking for employees that are the full package; that have the intellectual capacity, combined with the right attitude, people skills, creative and strategic thinking and so on.  Once referred to as the ‘soft skills’ these are no longer spoken of in a negative way – these are what will help shape the future of work.

For anyone thinking about their career moving forward I would encourage you take a look at the  ‘Future Work Skills 2020’ report and Daniel Pinks book ‘A whole new mind’.

Share your views on the topic.

Summer Reading Ideas

booksI recently wrote a short review for Leading Company for their article ‘A holiday reading list: How to get inspired this Christmas’ which is well worth a look if you are interested in some short reviews on leadership books by various writers and bloggers.

I contributed a review from a terrific book by James Waldroop and Timothy Butler – ’12 Habits that hold good people back.’ Using real-client case studies, executive coaches who’ve worked with clients from some of the world’s biggest companies distil 12 behaviours that lead people to fail in their careers. This book is brilliant for anyone who manages others and /or is looking to manage their career more effectively.

Share your leadership reading suggestions.

Wishing you all the best for the new year.