Read All About It

August 9, 2018

As any schoolkid knows (or should), reading is one of the most productive and beneficial lifelong habits you can nurture. That’s why we wanted to honor National Book Lovers Day by pointing you toward some suggestions that might improve your own habits, particularly ones that pertain to your personal, professional, and financial routines. This is by no means an exhaustive list—you could spend a week flipping through the self-help section of any decent bookstore—but more so a starting point for recently released and more established volumes that can help you get ahead at work, at home, and at the bank.

Laundry Lists

A simple Google search can point you toward what to read if you’re planning for retirement, want to retire with even more money, or are a millennial who’s ready to outclass your peers in the saving and planning department (in which case, kudos). And even though some of these books may technically be targeted at an older audience, financial fundamentals being what they are means that a few appear on more than one list. For example, Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life and Thomas Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door have been landing in these lineups for years, and remain just as useful in 2018 as they were on the day they first published.

The category of personal finance is no less flush with options. Here you’ll find more guides to being smart with money regardless of your age, and to learning how the world of finances (yours and everyone else’s) really works. On top of that, recent college grads will want to scour this list of titles that’s aimed specifically at young professionals who want to demystify and master their money management from the beginning of their professional lives.

Professional Growth

For most people, and especially for millennials, the quest for that elusive “work-life balance” has become almost as important as salary and benefits, and there are libraries full of books that all claim to be able to unlock the secret. (Bonus tip: The Secret is not one such book.) Understanding what makes people tick can help you navigate the real world in numerous ways, and this list presents 10 selections, several of which you’ll likely recognize. These works can help you plan, sell, lead, develop better practices and behaviors, and just generally deal. And this quirky but useful rundown applies to professional and interpersonal techniques while also teaching you how to spot the gorilla.

For more focused career planning, these books are all designed to help those who feel stuck in their current professions, while this list is aimed at either invigorating the type-A achiever within you, or simply figuring out how to summon it. (Of course, our go-to solution for revitalizing your career is always to encourage you to look into a personally rewarding and world-bettering profession in public service with a PERA-sponsored employer.) And Adam Grant, a professor at The Wharton School, is fast becoming this era’s Malcom Gladwell with his engaging writing and lectures. Whether it’s Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success; Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World; or Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (co-authored with Sheryl Sandberg), Grant offers accessible advice about how to become a better employee, colleague, boss, and person.

Staff Recommends        

With so many titles available, it can be tough to know where to begin. Let us help you out:

Po Bronson’s What Should I Do with My Life? The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question became a New York Times bestseller because of the way it addressed a dilemma that everyone encounters at some point—and often more than once. Jacob Needleman’s Money and the Meaning of Life is a rewarding meditation on the “true role of money in our lives,” and offers the kind of wisdom you’ll return to again and again. And James Doty’s Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart is a memoir that recounts the remarkable story of a boy who shouldn’t have amounted to much but—thanks to a moment of serendipity—became wildly successful and content by using his head, his heart, and his work to serve others.

Happy reading, fellow bibliophiles!