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5 Books You Should Read Before Starting Your Career

So, you’re in college or getting ready to start, but you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up.

Sound about right?

Don’t worry – this is true for pretty much everyone except those fortunate few who were born with a built-in passion and a road-map to achieve it. Not knowing is normal, but there are ways to get a better idea about it before you end up as a fifth-year with an undeclared major and a reputation as a cautionary campus tale.

It’s very likely that the last thing you want to be doing in college or as you’re preparing for it is reading more books, but the five suggestions below might actually help you save time, save money and help you have more fun in school.

1. The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People

This book has been around since 2007 and has gone through three editions, and that’s not even the best proof of its tried and true approach to solving that ubiquitous career conundrum – what should I do with my life?

Written by career counselor Carol Eikelberry, the book is a great pocket guide for creative types who haven’t quite decided to trade in their Arts classes for business and science courses in hopes of attaining an applicable skill before graduation. The message is that no matter how bizarre your skill set, there is someone out there who needs it.

2. What Color Is Your Parachute? 2012: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

The “What Color is Your Parachute” legacy continues in 2012 with the 40th version of an old classic that is arguably the world’s most popular career handbook.

Sweeping revisions of the book make this year’s title even more valuable to job seekers in a career landscape that seems to have changed overnight. The recession, shifting product needs and evolving attitudes in the workplace (and interview arena) have acted to redefine what we thought we knew about what we want to do with our futures, and this book remains a helpful resource.

3. Outliers: The Story of Success 

Originally published in 1976, Malcolm Gladwell’s journey into the minds of some the world’s most accomplished individuals in their chosen fields is at once an inspiration and an inside look into what makes “the best of the best” better than the rest of us.

The inspiration comes from finding out what makes these people tick; what drives them to greatness in the things they do. It is an experience that can help readers look at themselves in a new light and perhaps discover what it is that sets them apart from the rest.

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie first wrote this book in 1936 amid the trials and turmoil of the Great Depression. His intention was to give people hope for success in a time when such a thing was unthinkable, and what he ended up with was a book that delivered helpful advice based on simple human truths.

The fundamental theme is that success is the product of effective communication and it is a message that resonates today, particularly as the country moves through a historic recession. People skills will never go out of style and, in one way or another, are how we find ourselves in the careers that we do.

5. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)

Uber-marketer and author Tim Ferriss has experienced undeniable success with the sale of this game-changing career guide. His philosophy of working less and making more is a concept that can be embraced by all – and many are willing to testify that the secrets are all right here.

Ferriss provides a great deal of advice that is good for anyone at any stage in their career, but can be especially helpful for providing some perspective when it comes to work in the real world … and how horrible it can be.

Conclusion

The good news is that it is never too late to find your passion or decide to do something new, whether you’re just starting out or have been in a job you hate for years. Not everyone is born knowing what they want to do or who they want to be, but these books can help you find out.

This article was written by James Madeiros, a staff writer for Teacher Certification Degrees, a resource site for learning all about an education degree, state requirements for teaching, and careers in education.

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Information about this author is included at the end of the blog post.
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4 Responses to 5 Books You Should Read Before Starting Your Career

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  4. Konrad Braun says:

    I personally have read #4 and #5 and can not recommend them enough. #4 probably had one of the biggest impacts on my life any book ever had. Well worth the read!

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