Tuesday, July 19, 2016

4 Quick Books That Will Boost Your Career Now

If you follow my blog, you know that I read a lot of books. Earlier this year, I came across four books that can impact your work performance right now. Not only do they offer concrete tips. they're quick reads (one or two days).

If you're looking to improve your productivity, creativity and presentation skills, read on. These books offer advice with real world examples and stories to keep you turning the pages to learn more.

The Daily Edge: Simple Strategies to Increase Efficiency and Make an Impact Every Day by David Horsager

Efficiency and productivity are major themes in business. David Horsager (@DavidHorsager) explains how to re-organize your daily tasks to be more effective at both.

He demonstrates how to use Difference Making Actions (DMA) to achieve your goals in 90 days. Every morning, write down the five most important things you can do that day to reach your current goal. Those five items are your focus for the day.

Learn how to:
  • Plan your day.
  • Avoid many of the time-sucking activities in which we engage.
  • Maximize many of the actions we do every day (including meetings!).

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

This book comes recommended by Ann Handley (@AnnHandley) and Jason Miller (@JasonMillerCA). With those two endorsements, it's a must read. Austin Kleon (@AustinKleon) covers 10 themes that will have you exploring your creativity in new ways.

Kleon starts with the notion that nothing is original. Something influences every artist and every work of art. With that thought, allow yourself to take things that you love and that inspire you and recreate them. The key is to put your own spin on it.

One of my favorite examples is how Kleon was such a fan of Jurassic Park, he wrote his own sequel. Look to your favorite artists and "fix" their work by creating it the way you would want it to be.

Also, surround yourself with the best and smartest people you can. He says you're only as good as the people who surround you. It's said often ... if you're the smartest person in the room, find a different room.

Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh Macleod

To enhance creativity, Hugh Macleod (@HughCards) recommends doing just what the title says: ignore everybody. He explains that while you don't know if your big idea is good, neither does anyone else. even close friends won't understand it as well as you do.

Known for drawing cartoons on the back of business cards, Macleod believes everyone is born creative. We were all given a box of crayons in kindergarten. As we get older, boring text books replace our creative outlets. Most of us hear our inner voice that wants to be creative and "wants the crayons back." But, our "adult" voice tries to quiet that inner voice.

His 40 keys help you ignore your "adult" voice to explore your creative ideas.

Steal the Show by Michael Port

Ok, this book will take you more than a day or two to read. I'm including it because it goes into detail about how to improve any presentation you have to give.

Michael Port (@michaelport) posits that all presentations are performances. This approach will help you prepare keynote presentations, client pitches, job interviews and more.

He describes the mindset you need to find your voice, identify your role for each situation and work through your fears. He then explains the principles to build your presentations to achieve your objectives. These will teach you how to prepare your performances to engage your audience. Finally, he goes into detail on how to craft and build your presentation.

Going far beyond the picture-your-audience-in-their-underwear advice, you'll learn to connect with your audience to inspire and persuade them. Whether you're a professional speaker or just give occasional presentations, this book will help you improve your performance.

These books include so many tips, it's easy to find at least a handful that are applicable to your career. These aren't changes that are hard to implement. Most include helping you rethink how you approach your day or your processes.

Do you have other books that have had positive impacts on your work? Let us know your favorites in the comments below.

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