9 Essential Reads for Career and Life Transitions

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Helen Keller

Times of transition and change can seem overwhelming and even terrifying. Whether it is returning to school, starting a new career, being promoted to a job that stretches your talents or juggling a new side hustle, being motivated and informed can transform a scary process into an exciting adventure.

Here are some great reads that can help you prepare for your best future.

  1. Tap into your emotional intelligence and become a better professional 
Primal Leadership book cover

The authors establish the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. In our rapidly changing, technological world, self-awareness and empathy are essential traits of visionary leaders.

2. Break out of the cycle of stress and sacrifice

Specific advice to break out of the downward spiral of stress and burnout. Emphasizes the need for physical, emotional and mental renewal.  Tips on using mindfulness, hope and compassion to maintain resonance and effective leadership in your organizations, teams and relationships.  Includes pointers on how to identify where you are in the “sacrifice cycle” and how to break out of the vicious cycle of stress and sacrifice.  Utilize the numerous exercises included in the book to become and remain an effective and resonant leader.

3. When it is time to make decisions…

For anyone with an important decision to make.  Kahneman explains System 1 (intuitive, fast, emotional) vs. System 2 (logical, deliberate, slow) thinking and how these drive decision making.  How biases impact our decision making and how we fall into the trap of thinking we are rational.

4. Are you ready for high stakes conversations?

Are you about to have a crucial conversation–one in which the stakes are high, emotions are strong and opinions differ such as ending a relationship, critiquing someone’s work or giving your boss feedback?

Check out the resource-filled blog

5. Need motivation?

Here is a new way to think about motivation—it is no longer just rewards like money (carrot and stick). Three elements of true motivation—autonomy (direct our own lives), mastery (create new things) and purpose (do better by ourselves and our world?

6. When it is time to navigate and negotiate your transitions

Essential read whether you’re negotiating salary, buying a car or making a business deal, the authors offer a toolkit that will improve your negotiation skills and help you know when to walk away.  In Part III, the authors discuss blindspots, deception and ethics in the negotiation process, providing clear explanations of how these affect real world negotiations. 

7.  The future of work: thrive and survive

Break out of that silo! Focusing on HR and using a global lens, the insightful authors highlight how the intersection of tradition and innovation impact organizations and the agile transitions needed to thrive in a future of work (the future is now) dominated by artificial intelligence, digital technology and contract work. Ideas and suggestions are transferable to those navigating the Fourth Industrial Revolution (that’s all of us!) and the disruption it has brought. The epilogue is a “manifesto” that applies to everyone, whether in HR or not.

8. Being “fuzzy” and fitting into a data driven world


Hartley is a venture capitalist who proposes that contrary to the common assumptions that the techies (majors in computer science, math) drive innovation, it is the fuzzies (those who majored in humanity/social sciences) who are truly innovative.  The soft skills of the fuzzies will be critical to achieve ongoing innovation and an integration of techies and fuzzies will be essential as we enter the world of artificial intelligence and big data. This book is perfect for fuzzies who wonder how they’ll fit into a techie world and techies who worry about the fuzzies in their lives.

9. Restructure your life for transitions

Does the traditional education-work-retirement model still work for you? The authors propose creative approaches to creating a fulfulling life with a shifting balance between work and leisure that plans for making transitions in relationships, finances, education and career during your wonderful 100 year life.

Please share your essential reads for making transitions in your life, whether it is going back to school, being promoted, relocating or any other important change.

For more about maintaining work-life balance read here

Quick, fun read on leadership

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