Traveling is prime reading time. Sitting at a café alternating between people watching and reading is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon while on vacation. It’s also one of the times I can focus and think bigger picture about my own life and career.
As a career coach and organizational development consultant, it’s probably not surprising that I have a bunch of career-related reads that I consistently recommend to clients and friends who want to accelerate their own growth or spend time reflecting on their career.
Here are a few to inspire you on the next leg of your journey!
WHEN TO JUMP By Mike Lewis
Is there a voice in your head that pops up every now and then with excitement around something you think you’d really like to be doing in your career but seems a bit crazy?
If so, this book is a must read.
Author Mike Lewis shares the story of how he found himself working in a coveted venture capital role secretly wishing he could take off and play professional squash to actually making it happen and traveling the world.
Lewis’ first book maps out the various stages that people go through when thinking about and eventually looking back on their big career leap. It’s told through dozens of stories he collected from other ‘jumpers’ he met over the years who left their ‘should be’ paths for ones that got them really excited.
As someone who made a jump from a safe, respectable, good paying job into the unknown a few years ago I laughed and nodded a bunch. I wish this book had been around when I was contemplating my jump to provide extra fuel and tips for making it successful.
PARIS LETTERS By Janice Mcleod
If you’re a romantic at heart who dreams of leaving your life behind to travel long-term and see where the wind takes you, this might be the read for you.
A fun, true story of a woman, Janice McLeod, who was supremely unfulfilled in her job and set out to save up enough money to travel through Europe for two years. She meets a handsome butcher and tells the story of what happened when she dared to create a new life for herself in a foreign country.
We get to live through her adventure, how she reinvents herself and figures out how to make money in a whole other industry. A lovely and inspiring, easy read.
FIERCE CONVERSATIONS By Susan Scott
Sometimes when we take off and travel we’re craving adventure. Sometimes we’re also running away from something or someone stressful. I’ve been there - a toxic job and stressful personal situations were all catalysts for me to hit the road years ago and re-center myself.
If that’s the case for you, you might want to pick up Fierce Conversations. After reading it, I have come to realize that there are conversations we should all be having with various people that we’re not. Our conversations day-to-day with our colleagues and loved ones are the relationships we have with each other.
Susan Scott’s book provides a great framework for thinking through why and how to have more challenging conversations that need having. As she says, ‘While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a business, a marriage, or a life—any single conversation can.”
If you’re coming back to a work environment or personal relationship that needs to change, read this book.
PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL By Dan Ariely
Do you run your own business? Do you work in communications or marketing? Do you interact with people in your line of work?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, this is a fun and super insightful read for you.
Over the last year, I’ve become a huge fan of Dan Ariely’s work and he’s got a number of wonderful books on behavioral economics and psychology. This one brings them all together in a way that’s super helpful for your personal and professional life.
Ariey shows us that even though we think we’re making smart, informed and rational choices in our everyday lives, we’re often not. His experiments showcase the mysteries of human psychology and allow us to see our actions differently.
If you like reading about interesting experiments that involve human decisions and actions, you’ll love this book. And he’s super funny.
DESIGNING YOUR LIFE: HOW TO BUILD A WELL-LIVED, JOYFUL LIFE By
William Burnett and Dave Evans
If there is one book that you should read while traveling that’s fun and is sure to help you navigate any career transition you find yourself in, this is the one!
I thought the book was so fantastic, I actually created a program around the principles and exercises the author’s share.
Written by two Stanford professors, this book helps you see your career (and your life in general!) in the most positive and inspiring way – but not in a fake 'dream big' way. It's all about applying a design thinking approach to your career. It maps out for you how to find things you enjoy doing and build on those to create multiple versions of your life you could enjoy. The idea is to build your way forward instead of trying to think it all through and coming up with one magic answer.
Too many times I see people think there’s one perfect answer for what they should be doing in their career that will make them happy, and once they find it, presto!, they just have to execute it and make it happen. Life’s not really like that – we’re always building on our last steps and figuring it out one step at a time. We need to re-frame how we think about creating a meaningful life and career for ourselves.
They make you feel like the impossible might really be possible – with concrete, realistic exercises and tools to create a life and career that work for you. I guarantee this book will change your outlook on your life and work, all for the better.
So those are my top reads for any adventure you’re on. But if you’re looking for something a little lighter that still might inspire some thoughts about your career path and life goals, I’m always a fan of entertaining celebrity memoirs? Here are my fav's:
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Happy reading & venturing!
Blog post by Emily Lamia. Emily is a career coach, and the founder/CEO of Pivot Journeys, and organization that offers professional development coaching and programs for individuals and organizations.