It's natural to want to improve at work, no matter how amazing a job you're already doing. Your career shouldn't be about becoming great then reaching a plateau; instead, focus on always becoming better than you were yesterday. If you adopt the latter mindset, you'll be a lifelong learner, which will increase your chances of career success.
Henry Ford considered himself a lifelong learner and has been quoted as having said: "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young." You'll need to continuously learn new things and add tools to your toolbox over the length of your career. Your college degree or vocational training is a good start, but it shouldn't be a stopping point.
Reading often is a great way to embrace the lifelong learner approach that Ford and other successful people subscribe to. If you're wondering what should be next on your reading list, consider the following titles.
1. Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World by René Girard
French philosopher René Girard's book examines some fundamental facts about business that have been misleading people for as long as humanity has been around. PayPal founder Peter Thiel says the book has had a marked impact on his worldview.
2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
If you've heard that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, you've already been influenced by Gladwell's book. In it, he seeks to understand what makes the most successful people among us stand out, whether they're athletes, artists, or business leaders.
3. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Most people attempt to bury their vulnerabilities until they're no longer visible, but Brown cautions against that practice. Instead, she explores how letting others see our true selves, complete with flaws and vulnerabilities, is the key to not only happiness but success. Getting comfortable with being vulnerable will help you approach your team and customers in a more genuine way.
4. Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia
Mackey and Sisodia explain how capitalism can actually be an agent of positive change, using companies such as Whole Foods, Patagonia, and the Container Store to illustrate their points. By adhering to their four tenets of conscious capitalism, you can create both a stronger business and a stronger community.
5. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Ries's book provides a valuable blueprint for starting a business, whether you hope to take on massive competitors or start an Etsy shop in your spare time. He includes ways to validate your business ideas and explains how to use online tools that will be essential to building your venture.
6. The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
Tracy's book distills years of sales experience into an easy-to-read format, helping you learn to connect with many types of customers. His book also breaks down the pitching process to help you hear yes more often than no.
7. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
Hazlitt's book was first published in 1946, but the principles contained within it remain relevant. Economics in One Lesson breaks down many of the fundamental assumptions business leaders have made about the economy and explains why they are actually incorrect and often destructive.
8. Escape From Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim
It can be difficult to leave the relative safety of a full-time corporate job to strike out on your own, but Slim's book helps by walking you through the basics of launching your own business. Because hearing from someone who's already found success can be daunting, Slim includes stories from her coaching clients and blog readers who are undergoing the same entrepreneurial hardships you're currently experiencing.
This time of year, there's nothing better than curling up with a good book. Plus, if that book can make you more successful in your job and spark a love of lifelong learning, that's even better.