In these days of instant gratification, there is something truly rewarding about investing the necessary time to learn – really learn. Like the kind of learning you can only get from reading classic books. Important books.
There’s just nothing like starting a new book, digesting the ah-ha moments along the way, and the satisfaction you feel when you finish that last page. But how do you know which are important books – and which aren’t worth your investment?
To answer that question, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
What is the one book you think every young careerist should read?
Take a close look at their helpful answers, and then build your own list of important books. As many young careerists have learned, the investment is well worth the time required.
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
As you’ll learn by reading this classic book, the best way to advance your career is to proactively think of ways to help others. Instead of asking for this or that, or being focused on improving your life, try asking how you can help those around you. Along the way, you’ll be amazed by how much you help yourself by thinking of other people first.
2. The Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.
Short and straightforward as good writing should be, the book addresses the most common pitfalls and takes the fear out of using semicolons, for example. Many young people lack communication skills upon entering the workplace. A great place to start with an assertive voice is by learning how to write, anc communicate, well.
3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
This book is a timeless resource that discusses proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty and human dignity. Not only can it help young careerists solve professional problems, but can also guide their personal lives in a more fulfilling way. This is one book that, even though it was written 15 years ago, is still relevant today.
4. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss
I wish this book had been around when I started my business. Filled with perspectives from people who have seen success in virtually every industry, it’s a great book to challenge your early assumptions and help you move forward. You’ll find it worth re-reading regularly, as what stands out today will be different from what you notice tomorrow.
5. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
This biography examines the life of one of the world’s most interesting and innovative entrepreneurs. Vance depicts Musk as determined and passionate in his unyielding pursuit of his dreams; however his unrealistic expectations of others occasionally endangers his wellbeing and integrity. This intimate look into Musk’s extraordinary mind is a must-read.
6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This book is a classic in terms of getting clarity and focus on your goals and what you are trying to achieve. It is a fast and easy read. It conveys valuable ideas whether you are starting a business or advancing your career. There are things that may seem hokey (like “the ether”), but the underlying notions are incredibly valuable.
7. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
This book studies the psychology and sociology on how corporate environments can change. In it, Hsieh shares the different business lessons he learned in life experiences, from a lemonade stand to Zappos and more. The premise of the book is to show how using happiness as a framework can produce profits, passion and purpose both in business and in life.
8. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
Gerber shares his powerful insights that explain the exact steps on how to start, build and succeed in business. He explains how businesses should be built on processes, not people. You’ll learn how certain elements go into defining the processes for success, and also the necessary steps to take to create the perfect business before you start.
9. Mastery by Robert Greene
This book made me realize I was thinking about my life and career the wrong way; that your twenties are about asking yourself what you want to be good at, irrespective of pay. After finishing the book, I quit my soul-crushing “Big Four” accounting job. I spent a year getting sales experience instead and started my current venture just a year later.
10. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
We all develop habits, but most of us don’t stop to think about it. The earlier you can understand why and how habits form, the better you can do to stop any bad ones in their tracks before they impact your career path or reputation.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched Business Collective. This free virtual mentorship program helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.