13 books to read when you’re in a career rut

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Sometimes we just need a little motivation, especially when we feel like our careers are going nowhere. 

Fortunately, you are not the only one who has felt this way.

In fact, it’s quite common for us to feel like we need to switch things up in our careers, and this is certainly true if we believe our career is at a “dead-end”, or is overly stressful

If you feel like your career is firmly planted in a rut, use these 13 books to help you break out of that rut and start heading in the right direction. 

1: Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

This best-seller was written for anyone who wants to feel less boxed in at the office. Gilbert has written a truly inspiring book that encourages readers to acknowledge and embrace their own creative inspirations and curiosities, letting our minds wander to where they need to go. 

The book offers action advice on exactly how to more fully embrace our creativity and ways we can use our creative juices in our life and address challenges at work. Big Magic is one of the most inspirational books on creativity that I have ever read. 

2. Driven to Distraction at Work, by Ned Hallowell

This shorter book takes a look at why people lose sight of their focus at work. Career ruts often stem from a lack of concentration and Drive to Distraction at Work offers insightful new ways to tackle the hard problems of distractions and attention deficit disorders, or ADD. 

Learn how to “train” your attention and more fully commit to your job and career, which can prime you to feel more satisfied and happy at the office.  

3. A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink

When you feel like your career isn’t providing you with the creativity you need to feel satisfied, Daniel Pink tells the story of six fundamental human capabilities that are essential to any creative working professional. 

Pink focuses on personal fulfillment and how to think about your life, career, and future in new and creative ways.

4. Surrounded by Idiots, by Thomas Erikson

Sometimes, your career might be plagued by how you interact with other people. Erikson details the four different types of behaviors that people exhibit and offers insightful ways to deal with each type of person. 

Read this book to completely switch up how to deal with your coworkers, clients, friends, and family. Knowing how to properly communicate could improve both your career as well as your life. 

5. Wired to Create, by Scott Kaufman

Scott “unravels the mysteries of the creative mind” in Wired to Create. Kaufman uses examples from history of how influencers, leaders, artists, and innovators controlled their “messy minds” to focus more clearly and boost creative thinking. This book is a truly fun read. 

6. Unstoppable, by Tracy Timm

In Unstoppable, Tracy is a master at describing the proven strategies behind sustainable and ideal careers. She takes a look at how to define your unique “genius zone” and how that zone can build the perfect career. Tracy also reveals clever methods to create more wealth throughout our careers and how to use that wealth to build a solid and well-rounded life. 

7. Switchers, by Dr. Dawn Graham

Dr. Graham’s insightful book Switchers tells the story of completely switching up your career, and how to do it the right way. One of my favorite sections of the book was how to craft the perfect resume that will catch their attention within six seconds. 

Your resume will never look the same. 

Read this book if you are looking for a career change. But even if you are happy where you are, this book offers incredible wisdom in areas like interviewing effectively, utilizing your network smartly, and negotiating more competitive salaries successfully. 

8. Designing Your Life, by Bill Burnett

The New York Times called Designing Your Life “an inspiring and thought-provoking graduation gift”, and it is tough to disagree with that. Burnett’s book encourages readers to take a hard look at their life, every object, every “thing”, to better understand the problems they solve. 

This exercise helps readers build meaningful lives through experimentation and prototyping. In other words, trial and error. It embraces failure. But, it embraces trying again even more. 

Young or old, this book is a good opportunity to start back at the beginning with the whole world in front of you. 

9. Work Your Money, Not Your Life, by Roger Ma

If your career rut stems from worrying about money, this is the book for you. This book teaches readers how to look at their money in a whole new way and how to use the basic principles of personal finance to build wealth on virtually any salary. Use this book to gain financial comfort and more confidence that your career decisions are actively improving your life. 

10. Activate Your Agile Career, by Marti Konstant

This book teaches readers how to be nimble. Through the use of helpful stories, Konstant delivers a remarkably sharp look into how to build careers that are recession-proof and agile, starting from the foundational level. Use this book to reframe your career by using an agile mindset and flexible attitude toward your job and work. 

11. Who Not How, by Dan Sullivan

Career ruts often stem from bad (or non-existent) career goals. In Who Not How, Sullivan teaches us how to reshape our goals by rejecting societal norms and the all-too-common scarcity mindset. This book is a creative and insightful look into how we can expand our horizons through business, wealth, innovation, and relationships. 

12. The Healthy Habit Revolution, by Derek Doepker

A lot of our day gets filled up by our habits. They literally make or break our lives as well as our career. This book helps readers to design better daily habits in easy-to-read chapters that lead up to a 21-day healthy habit challenge. The new habits you build from reading this book will help you change your workday and maybe even your career, but this time, from a solid foundation. 

13. Creative Calling, by Chase Jarvis

When we feel satisfied and fulfilled, our life – as well as our career, will naturally feel more complete. Jarvis has created an “IDEA” system that guides us through reshaping our lives with our dreams, ambitions, community, and daily practices. It’s nearly impossible to not feel more inspired after reading Creative Calling