Career Development Self-Help Books

It is increasingly rare for a person to stay in the same career for the entirety of his or her working life. Making a career change, whether consciously chosen or by being downsized or laid off, is inherently stressful and challenging. Old ways of thinking must be refashioned into a new idea of oneself -- one that, hopefully, is more congruent with the true self.

The self-help books recommended in this section emphasize paying attention to your heart as well as your mind in the process of changing your work. The more meaningful and enjoyable your work is, the more productive and satisfactory your new career direction will be.

Recommended Self-Help Books on Career Development

Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work's Chaos by Michael CarrollAwake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work's Chaos

This collection of teachings is designed to illuminate the power that mindfulness can have at work. By surrendering to the moment one becomes alert, open, and unusually skillful. In brief chapters, Carroll expounds some thirty-five slogans designed to be both fodder for meditation and mnemonic devices for when that particular message can help the most, during an opportune moment at work. "Welcome the tyrant" helps one to disarm a cranky boss; "avoid idiot compassion" reminds one to eschew giving merely superficial help. 2004, Shambhala

Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow: discovering Your right Livelihood by Marsha SinetarDo What You Love, the Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood


Author Sinetar urges the reader to find the work best suited to his or her needs and talents. She provides assessment tools and guidance for overcoming fears, learning to take risks, and building self esteem. 1989, Dell

Falling Awake: Creating the Life of Your Dreams by Dave EllisFalling Awake: Creating the Life of Your Dreams


Businessman and philanthropist Ellis says, "Life can work." Falling Awake presents twelve major Success Strategies to assist you in reaching the life of your dreams. 2002, Breakthrough Enterprises

I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Disocrer What You Really Want and How to Get It by Barbara Sher, Barbara SmithI Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It

Whether you are looking to make improvements in your work or personal life, the authors will show you how to identify what your objectives are, and how to successfully achieve them--even if right now the single thing you are certain of is that you're vaguely to extremely unhappy and haven't the foggiest idea what to do with yourself. 1995, Dell

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2011: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard Nelson Bolles, Mark Emery BollesWhat Color Is Your Parachute? 2014: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

A 50 Greatest Self Help Book

Still the best-selling job-hunting book in the world thirty years after its debut, this self-help book guides the reader through a process of self-discovery by offering detailed exercises for the reader to complete. Parachute helps you focus on what's important to you in a career . . . not only money, but the things that make work satisfying. An Amazon reader/reviewer says, "I recommend this book to everyone who is trying to work through the puzzle to pay the rent without losing your mind or soul." 2013, Ten Speed Press

When Smart People Fail: Rebuilding Yourself for Success by Carole Hyatt and Linda GottliebWhen Smart People Fail: Rebuilding Yourself for Success


This self-help book describes the feelings of fear, isolation, shame and remorse associated with losing a job, status or money. Hyatt and Gottlieb emphatically stress that career failure is something that eventually touches every professional. They describe the process of dealing with emotions associated with failure and how men and women may respond in different ways to experiences of failure. They offer a comprehensive strategy for personal reinvention after suffering a career setback through discovering how one has failed, learning from the failure, letting go of old ways of understanding oneself, expanding one's career choices and making the transition from the old professional to the new centered and focused individual. 2009, Simon & Schuster

Win-Win Negotiating: Turning Conflict into Agreement by Fred JandtWin-Win Negotiating: Turning Conflict into Agreement


The author argues that conflict can be a positive force leading to increased communication, teamwork, and healthy change in an organization. He presents examples of many creative negotiating techniques such as "unpacking" -- dealing with each point of disagreement as a separate issue, and "determining the mini-max" -- how to get the most and give up the least without alienating your adversary. 1987, Wiley