Books recommendation for Career Bootcamp

Books are critical for career growth. The advantage of learning from a good book is the author’s focus on correctness. For technical or non-fiction books to remain relevant for even a couple of years, the author has to ensure any forward-looking ideas will stand the test of time.

The following collection is a subset of my complete collection of 250+ books. These books were selected as part of the course material for a course I teach on Udemy.

The course is part of a more extensive content roadmap. The mentioned course focuses on a generic career-building SDK. The first-world career advice is futile in the last-mile job market. I am building content to provide a plan B for aspirants who choose to be practical about their careers. I hope you find the books relatable. This is a subset that seemed most relevant. Suggestions to extend are always welcome.

Disclaimer: Most of the links are affiliate links.

Books for Rebels: Age 20 to 25 years

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Focus on the emphasis of sincerity in all the techniques mentioned.
  2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Cathartic for introverts, educational for extroverts.
  3. The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. A good reminder of the basics and remembering what matters regarding money.
  4. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. is An excellent primer for improving written communication in English.
  5. Flow: The Psychology of Happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. An excellent guide to finding work one enjoys without burning out.

Books for Rebels with a cause: Age 26 to 30 years

  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman ( Amos Tversky) Must read. The basis for a lot of behavioral economics ideas and marketing strategies.
  2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini Ph.D.: Will help one understand why advertising works and the mechanics of attention.
  3. High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove: An excellent guide in leadership style that values people. A must-read for anyone currently working or aspiring to work as a people manager.
  4. A Mathematician’s Apology by G.H.Hardy An essay that makes the reader question the validity of the quest for excellence in their respective field of work. Will raise questions that cannot be answered immediately but must be answered. Integrating those questions into major professional decision-making will be helpful.
  5. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz is a handy guide for weaponizing communication skills.
  6. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Dan Heath, Chip Heath: Understanding the decision-making framework to make better decisions.
  7. ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried: A detailed discussion about reducing wasteful rework and optimizing effort with simple strategies.

Books for the settlers: Age 31 to 35 years

  1. The Mythical Man-Month, Essays On Software Engineering by Frederick P. Brooks Jr. is a collection of anecdotes highlighting software engineering practices’ limitations when it comes to implementation in the real world.
  2. Software Engineering at Google: Lessons Learned from Programming Over Time by Titus Winters, Hyrum Wright, and Tom Manshrek is an excellent insight into how software engineering is a very different set of decisions beyond programming, filled with specific problems and advice to tackle them. Many issues only exist at a particular scale, and the book highlights this at the beginning—worth the time.
  3. Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean by Kim Scott is a handy guide for managing a tech industry moving at a breakneck speed. One of the most ignored parts of professional upskilling is retaining empathy; the book is a gentle reminder about doing so without giving up efficiency.
  4. Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr is an excellent follow-up to the Andy Grove books. The new approach to growing 10x in a technology-dominated world. A lot of great insights and interviews. Inspiring, but you must be careful before adopting it at your workplace without planning and analyzing compatibility.
  5. Walden by Henry David Thoreau makes one question the gap between needs and wants.
  6. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is a very moving account of a concentration camp survivor who was also a psychiatrist. It highlights the connection between a sense of purpose and the will to live. The analysis borrows from the experiences of the author himself. The most striking part of the analysis is that circumstances alone are not responsible for much human behavior.
  7. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Michael E. Porter is a research-oriented approach to understanding a particular business domain.
  8. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen is the ultimate guide to understanding innovation in an organizational environment. Other books by him also have great insights.
  9. Blue Ocean Strategy (Second edition) by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim is a nice set of tools to understand the product space and thrive on untapped opportunities. In addition, the second edition highlights the execution failure of an example (correctly identified as an opportunity) praised in the first edition and shows the authors’ conviction in their ideas.
  10. Books by Jim Collins. Though some readers might find content outdated, now the analysis framework is still relevant. “How the mighty fall” is the one to read with particular attention to patterns to avoid.

For Visionaries: Age 36+ years

Some of the books one might have read already, but if you haven’t, do add them to the list.

  1. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Taleb can sometimes get incoherent, but the point being put across is worth the time. Having familiarity with probability theory will make it even more interesting to read.
  2. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy is Advertising 101. Many things still hold in the digital advertising era since the sharing media has changed drastically, but the end-users have evolved very little.
  3. This is Marketing by Seth Godin is a guide to modern-day marketing in the digital age. Beyond spamming and SEO tricks.
  4. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Edward S. Herman, Noam Chomsky is relevant in current circumstances.
  5. The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self, and Relationship by David Whyte, raises many relevant questions. The impact will be felt once the reader chooses to start answering them.

9 thoughts on “Books recommendation for Career Bootcamp

  1. Oh wow, that’s a great list of books. Shame I belong in the last category, lol, but that’s not gonna stop me from trying out said books. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great post! It’s always beneficial to read books that are relevant to our career growth and it’s great that you’ve shared a list of books that you’ve found to be helpful. The breakdown of the books by age group is a nice touch and makes it easy to understand which books would be most beneficial for someone at a specific stage in their career. The disclaimer about affiliate links is also helpful. Overall, it’s clear that you have a lot of experience and knowledge in this area and your suggestions will be valuable for anyone looking to improve their career prospects. Thanks for sharing!

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