- Devote 10 percent of your time and capital to pursuing your dream, McGinnis says, and you can keep your job and the security that goes with it. McGinnis, who identifies himself as a 10-percenter, provides a detailed plan to identify a promising first project.
2) All the Leader You Can Be - Abundance means living your ideal life, one that is personally, professionally and financially fulfilling. “This life of abundance is something you get to define for yourself,” writes motivational speaker Lisa Nichols. In this follow-up to No Matter What!, published in 2009, the New York Times best-selling author again draws on her life experiences—as a college dropout, a young mother on public assistance and working dead-end jobs—to demonstrate that all people can transform themselves and transition from a life of scarcity to a life of abundance.
Nichols reveals the nuts and bolts of her journey from “broke and broken” to a place of “prosperity and possibility,” and invites readers to follow her lesson plans for achieving abundance in their lives. She stresses the importance of determining what you want for your life: relationships, career and family, and of spirituality, forgiveness, healing from past hurts, trusting yourself, and learning from past mistakes. Nichols conveys her advice with conviction and enthusiasm and proves that her title of “personal transformation guru” is well-earned.
3) Art Thinking - Thinking big is not a new concept; it’s been around since at least 1959, when David J. Schwartz wrote the classic motivational book The Magic of Thinking Big. What Amy Whitaker brings to the discussion is the refreshing notion that business thinkers can learn from artists and writers. At a time when science, technology, engineering and math (the vaunted STEM formula) threaten to crowd the humanities (art, literature, music and scholarship) out of American universities, Whitaker’s approach could not be more timely.
Whitaker holds the title of “entrepreneur in residence” at the New Museum Incubator in New York City. Whitaker takes the human from the humanities and injects it back into the business world. Creativity is messy and uncertain, she argues, and must have room for failure. She provides a program to cultivate art thinking, and how to leverage creative failure into progress, invention, and new products or services.
4) The Big Thing - No one wants to admit to self-doubt, let alone laziness or procrastination. Phyllis Korkki, an assignment editor and reporter for The New York Times, owns up to all three in the subtitle of her new book.
Combining reporting, science and the stories of other high achievers, Korkki identifies the tactics required to bring a “big thing” project to fruition, including goal setting, focus, effort, time management and handling the high risk of failure. She shows how to conquer procrastination, stay on target and find time to be creative even if you have a full-time job. And the proof her ideas work? Her “big thing” was this very book. The principles that helped her overcome her fears can work for you, too.
5) Designing Your Life - Experts and consultants are always trying to show us how one business technique or another can be applied to our personal lives. Designers Dave Evans and Bill Burnett have one of the more compelling takes. Learn to think like a designer, they say, and then you can design the life that will give you good health, satisfaction and happiness. It will also give you the flexibility to change directions when the time comes.
Evans, who helped design the Apple mouse, and Burnett, director of the design program at Stanford University, have been teaching these principles in a popular class at Stanford for nine years. A few simple mindsets are central to the program: Be curious; try new things; reframe the problem; know it’s a process; ask for help. Building a well-designed life is not easy, the writers warn, and it’s often counterintuitive, but the rewards justify the effort.
6) Graduate to a Great Career - Branding consultant Catherine Kaputa offers more than the usual personal branding advice. She provides a wealth of useful specifics such as how to format a résumé for today’s job market, how to conduct yourself in a Skype interview and how to make a résumé stand out from competitors. The best news is for liberal arts majors. It’s not necessary to be a coding techie, Kaputa writes, because tech companies are awakening to the value of the human touch. “Creativity can’t be programmed,” she writes.
7) Master Your Time, Master Your Life - here probably hasn’t been a new time management idea since Aristotle,7 and certainly not since Napoleon Hill. As a result, the best time management book is the one you will use. That said, it is hard to imagine a better treatment than this one from Brian Tracy. He uses plain language, forcefully delivered, to lay out a concise program. Each chapter closely examines related principles and practices; for example, making a science of the humble to-do list. This no-nonsense approach will work for anyone who tries it.
8) Pivot - How ironic is it that a career-development manager working in Google’s much-envied Career Guru program hit a career plateau and needed to take a sabbatical? Jenny Blake used the sabbatical in 2011 to launch her first book, and it went so well she launched a consulting firm instead of returning to Google.
- In Pivot, she shares what she has learned about making a successful career change. Constant change is the new reality, Blake writes. Based on her own experience, she developed a four-stage process: Double down on strengths, interests, and experiences; seek new opportunities and develop fresh skills without discouragement; run small experiments to determine your next step; and take smart risks to confidently launch in a new direction.