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7 Essential Books for Your Winter Reading List

Amy McDonnell, CareerBuilder writer

It’s that time of the year: Temperatures have dropped, sniffles and sneezes have intensified, and thoughts of giving up on your job search and instead curling up with a good book, a heavy blanket and a mug of hot chocolate have probably crossed your mind more than once.

Fortunately for you, putting down the laptop — and picking up a good book — can actually help you feel more refreshed and ready to continue your search. Sometimes, a slight pause to fill your head with new ideas, motivations and inspirations is the best way to get fresh perspective, bring about a change of heart, or get the dose of self-love you need to get back into the job-search game — and this timeto really bring it.

Whether you need to organise your life, channel your creativity, muster up the courage to take a career risk, or learn from the greats to improve your skills or adjust your path, one of the books listed below is for you.

So go ahead — grab that cocoa and get to reading.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

We all want to be successful, and many of us want a magic bullet for it. As Gladwell points out, though, that “magic bullet” doesn’t really exist. We tend to pay too much attention to dissecting the personalities or outward characteristics of what makes people successful, instead of digging deeper and finding out where they came from and how their past experiences shaped them. This book is full of a-ha moments and it will make you think about your own success — and it’s also super entertaining to read.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

If you’re anything like me, you start to feel messy and out of control in other areas of your life if your home is a mess. Kondo takes her readers through a step-by-step guide of her “KonMari Method” of decluttering your home, and, essentially, your life. As Kondo explains, only items that spark joy should be kept in your life. It sounds like one could apply that to more than last year’s sweaters, doesn’t it? There’s a reason this one’s been on the hot list of pretty much everyone I know this past year. Start decluttering — and you may be surprised how organised and renewed you feel in every other aspect of your life.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Love, Parent and Lead by Brené Brown

Researcher Dr. Brown challenges us to be vulnerable — and that vulnerability isn’t a weakness as we’re so often led to believe, but rather the key to meaningful connections in our lives. She argues that being vulnerable and open is actually one of the most courageous — albeit difficult — things we can do, and that it’s the clearest path to success in our professional and personal lives.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Isaacson does a remarkable job of illustrating the intricacies of Jobs’ very complex personality, and it’s an inspiring read. It’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement of Apple’s early days as you learn how the company was built from the ground up (who would have thought it all started in a garage?). Don’t be surprised if Jobs’ obsession with perfection and innovation gives you the push you need to make a change in your job search — or overhaul your strategy altogether and aim for something bigger than you previously thought possible.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

As in her first book of essays, “Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me?”, Kaling is endearingly self-deprecating and honest, and she shares her stories of working hard to get where she is — from both a personal and professional standpoint. She also doles out some smart career advice, particularly for women who struggle with confidence issues or who also wonder, “Why not me?” Her voice is relatable and refreshing, and you’ll likely find yourself laughing as much as you’re learning from Kaling. After soaking up advice like, “Work hard, know your sh!t, show your sh!t, and then feel entitled,” you’ll be ready to conquer the world. And you should do just that.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action  by Simon Sinek

I saw Sinek speak at a conference once, and he instantly drew me — and everyone else in the audience — in with his common-sense ideas and passionate storytelling. Sinek had one main, driving question for all of us — and for those reading his book — which is, “Do you know your ‘why'”? In other words, what is the purpose, cause or belief that drives you to do what you do? As Sinek says, “It doesn’t matter what you do; it matters why you do it.” Take a cue from the best leaders out there, and take a different approach in your job-searching and soul-searching. Start thinking about why you do what you do. Slowing down and learning to be intentional about your efforts may help you make the positive changes you need to land your dream job.

The Sweary Coloring Book for Adults by James Alexander

Because sometimes you just need to let it all out — and it’s best to do that with crayon in hand (rather than at a loved one). Whether the job search is frustrating you, you hate your current job or [enter literally ANY other reason here], adult coloring books are all the rage — and this one looks to be especially satisfying. Get the swear words out of your system — and then job search with a happier, curse word-laden-free heart.


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