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Entrepreneur Press’ Business and Pleasure series is dedicated to the books that will take your entrepreneurial endeavors to the next level and bonus entertainment guaranteed to help you escape the daily grind. We hope you find your next read here.
When does a job become a career? Is it after your fifth year at a company? Your first promotion? Graduating from a cubicle to an office? Or is there something more?
Part of our work as a book publisher involves researching the things that entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and those who work for them think about. This month, we looked at what makes a career, how to develop the skills to enhance it, and what it really takes to turn your job into a career.
Our conclusion? It starts with you. You’re the key to a great career. You can be the driving force behind a new project (looking at you, intrapreneur!), you can start that new company, you can broker that deal that will change your trajectory. But how, you may ask? Start with these books.
For Business, I suggest The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo
This was a wonderful book that really was more of a conversation and less of a how-to. Zhuo shares her own experiences (both pitfalls and successes) at a major company with readers who may be struggling with their management role. The biggest takeaway for me was the “do this, not that” or reframing of communication with team members. I recommend this book to anyone who’s just been promoted to managing people. Because real talk, it is hard and there is no such thing as a natural-born manager. (Prove me wrong, I’ll wait.)
For Pleasure, check out The OA
We know you need something to binge. So, if you haven’t already devoured The OA on Netflix, please do yourself a favor and start with Season 1. Full of mysteries, layers of storylines and interdimensional travel, this is a must-watch for any sci-fi and supernatural fans. Season 2 released last month, so you have plenty of what-just-happened scenes to keep you busy.
Watch on Netflix
For Business, Editorial Director Jennifer Dorsey suggests The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Confidence is hard to come by. For many, harnessing the power of your own confidence is a skill that must be learned–it’s not always innate. But then why do some people just exude confidence (especially at work) like it’s coming out of their pores? As if they were just…born with it?
Authors Kay and Shipman dive deeply into research and neuroscience (don’t worry–it’s not boring!) and talk to leaders in business, entertainment, and sports to get to the heart of what makes a confident leader. Spoiler alert: it requires more than just faking it ‘til you make it. You’ve got to honor yourself, step away from your inner perfectionist and stop trying to please everyone. This work will speak deeply to anyone (women especially) who needs to find their swagger and honor the confident warrior within.
For Pleasure, check out The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Truth be told, this was a hard show for me to love at first. Why root for this woman so deeply privileged, with every advantage available? What is her struggle? Why do I care? But then, she took the mic, bailed Lenny Bruce out of jail and took control of a life that was previously defined by everyone but her. The gilded cage, as it turns out, was just the setup. Mrs. Maisel is a free bird now, and I can’t wait to see where she flies next.
Watch with Amazon Prime Video
In Mentoring 101, John C. Maxwell presents an overarching look at what a mentoring relationship could and should be. With examples from his own experience and others’, he outlines not only the mentor’s role–how to find someone to mentor, how to appropriately train them, etc.–but also what qualities form the ideal protégé. As someone who’s looking more for a mentor than for an opportunity to be one, it was fun to do some self-assessment along the way, thinking, “Do I do that? Is that how people would describe me? Am I good fit for being mentored?”
My two main takeaways were Maxwell’s theories on the right way to view others and the right way to teach others. He argues that mentors should look at and treat everyone like a “10,” which in turn, brings out the best in people. When it comes to training, he suggests you teach your protégé like a master would teach his apprentice: by demonstrating the tasks first and gradually pulling away so that student can grow on their own. This book had a lot of great nuggets, but it also felt very short and simple. I’m ready for 201!
For Pleasure, check out the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown
I went into the Red Rising saga knowing it was a dystopian story–and that’s it. What I found was a heck of a lot more than dystopia. In the first book of the trilogy, we follow Darrow, a Helium miner on Mars who suffers loss, torture and betrayal on his journey to bring to life his wife’s dream: a better world, without chains. In a caste system defined by colors, where Reds and Golds sit at opposite ends, Darrow learns leadership skills even I aspire to as plot twist after plot twist is thrown his way. Fair warning: Don’t get attached to any characters; they’ll probably die as soon as you love them.
Honorable Mention: Unstoppable by Ben Angel
In order to find success and fulfillment in any career, you need to start with a solid foundation: yourself. If you’re feeling burnt out all the time, consistently stressed or depressed, or simply unmotivated to move forward, it’s bound to poison every facet of your life. In fact, Ben Angel can speak from experience: he felt like he had no energy for his passion projects or his job, and traditional medicine wasn’t helping.
Rather than surrender to this toxic stress cycle, Ben set out on a 90-day mission to find and conquer the root of his rut, and the result of that journey is Unstoppable. Striving to biohack his way to peak productivity, he’s tried nootropics, wearable devices, supplements, and more to find the right routine for him. But this is a guide for you–so you, too, can discover the key tools and tactics to have better health, more energy, and limitless potential.
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This article originally appeared on entrepreneur.com