13 Best Books for Career Change – Read Before a Career Change

The most helpful non-fiction titles for a career turn

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As soon as we become a part of the workforce, we find out that finding a new job even within one field is never trouble-free. Consequently, switching to a different professional path can be grueling to a greater extent. And yet, on average, people change careers 5-7 times in a lifetime. Why is that so?

Nowadays, we have moved past the formula of spending 3 to 4 decades at one company without enjoying it much. Instead, we now understand that finding a dream vocation might take not just one career change, but two, three, or even seven of them! 

If you are reading this article, the best chances are that the prospect of taking up a whole new occupation has been in your mind for quite some time. If not, the seed of doubt whether you should stay where you are has been planted. Either way or the other, you are searching for advice — and books are the right source of it. 

To spare you the research troubles, we have compiled a list of the best books for changing careers and finding a job. So go on reading to find out about titles that may turn your life around!

1. Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger

This title is a long-time classic among the best career change books. Having helped more than a million people since 1992, Do What You Are remains a must-read if you are eager to spice up your working history. What sets it apart is that its approach towards discovering a perfect profession is based on your personality type. This way, you don’t get trivial generalized advice but specific directions to figure out your dream job.

2. The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose by Oprah Winfrey

When considering a professional path switch, it is easy to end up at a crossroads wondering: ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ At times like this, a simple pro-con list won’t do any good. That is when it is imperative to dig deeper and start questioning your life’s objectives. And who possibly could be more helpful in this case than Oprah Winfrey? This American treasure condensed her wisdom together with the expertise of other prominent people in The Path Made Clear. Thanks to its motivating insights, Oprah’s book has earned its place among the best books for changing careers. Most importantly, it will help you discover your life’s purpose since it’s hard to find a fulfilling line of work without this knowledge.

3. What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career-changers by Richard N. Bolles

There is no list of books about changing careers without What Color Is Your Parachute?, which is more than understandable. Ever since it was published in 1970, more than 10 million copies have been sold. The reason for its popularity lies in the timeless and easily applicable tips in this title. What Color Is Your Parachute? will be especially helpful for the most cynical of us who gave up on finding an enjoyable vocation. After all, as the author says: ‘It is possible to get a job where you can use your favorite skills, work with the kinds of people you most want to, and gives you the surroundings where you can do your best work.’ And we couldn’t agree more.

4. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

Not a huge believer in lifetime passions and in turning them into full-time work? Then Cal Newport is your guy. What makes So Good They Can’t Ignore You different from other books for a career change is that it completely debunks the idea of a passion-oriented job search. At first, the author researched numerous cases of those who earned their livelihood by doing what they relished. And eventually, Cal turned his findings into revolutionizing strategies for a rewarding occupation shift. So if you want your life’s narrative to become a success story as well, give So Good They Can’t Ignore You a read.

5. Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO:  50 Indispensable Tips to Help You Stay Afloat, Bounce Back, and Get Ahead at Work

Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO should immediately go up on your to-read list of the books for a career change if you prefer practice to theory. This book is an absolute gem, as it offers action-oriented tips for redirecting a career, leaving the old job, and meeting set goals. Even more so, Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO includes true stories from people who have gone through the occupation shift process. Sure, learning from your own mistakes is effective. But when you can analyze other people’s professional failures and successes, why not do so?

6. Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff

Another staple among the best career change books is Quitter — and don’t let the title fool you. Having been a serial job-hopper, Jon Acuff is a definite has-been in these matters. Therefore, there is much to learn from the author. Not only does Acuff motivate you to follow your professional dreams, but he also teaches you to make the most of your current occupation. So much for quitting, huh? However, you still can count on Jon’s wit and wisdom to accompany your work transition.

7. Choose Yourself! Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher

He started 20 businesses and sold most of them. He has been through bankruptcy, divorce, and lost his house. And despite all that, James Altucher paved his way back to the high ranks of prosperous entrepreneurs. Wondering how? Then his title Choose Yourself!, one of the ultimate books about a career change, will introduce you to the strategies for when life is falling apart. Because sometimes a career change is a necessity, inflicted upon us by societal factors. For such scenarios, Choose Yourself! will provide you with much-needed case studies, examples, and interviews to get out of an undesirable financial situation.

8. How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric

How often do you wonder if your work is fulfilling? And what factors make it so? Such characterization might seem too abstract. But Roman Krznaric boiled it down to three key elements: meaning, flow, and freedom. If your position lets you experience all of them, consider yourself lucky. If not — How to Find Fulfilling Work will guide you through the search for the perfect job. Roman’s opus is one of the best books for changing careers for a reason. It doesn’t just give you the secret instructions but also makes you self-reflect throughout the reading. And who doesn’t want to be both conscious and successful these days?

9. Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau

Not everyone can afford (or want) to hand in a resignation letter and dive into the world of entrepreneurship. The security of a regular paycheck can be too critical to lose. And yet, you are sitting at your office desk and dreaming of creating something and profiting out of it. Well, then you need to read the Side Hustle more than other books for a career change. This title is the ultimate action plan to try out something new work-wise without risking it all. Even more so, Chris Guillebeau promises to turn your idea into income in just 27 days. Care to check it out and start hustling for a diversified and satisfying career?

10. Metaskills: Five Talents for The Robotic Age by Marty Neumeier

Among all the books about changing careers, at least one will warn you about AI taking away once secure jobs. And if you feel like your work is on the verge of automation, it’s best to start considering other options in advance. In this respect, Metaskills is undeniably pertinent. In it, Marty Neumeier outlines five requisite skills at times of robots: feeling, seeing, dreaming, making, and learning. Then, the author goes on with detailed explanations on how to boost them to succeed in a digitalized world. Consider it a new-age manifesto that will make sure you aren’t left without work as years come.

11. Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career by Scott H. Young

Another integral part of any vocation shift is learning information and skills necessary for the new job. However, by the time you are pondering professional change, the studying methods you are used to might be irrelevant. Or even worse so — proven entirely ineffective. It doesn’t mean you can’t reprogram yourself, though. It is more than possible with the assistance of Ultralearning, which is one of the most essential books for a career change. Reading this research-based title will mean a complete reinvention of oneself, gaining a competitive edge, and securing a thriving career. So if you’re ready for that, give it a shot.

12. Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Design School, But Should by Michael Janda

Are you thinking about diving into the creative industry? Or have you recently started your path there and aren’t getting desirable results? One way or the other, Burn Your Portfolio can provide you with invaluable advice to flourish in this field more than other best career change books. You may wonder: “How a design title will help me if that’s not what I aspire to do?” However, Michael Janda’s expertise is widely applicable. After all, working with famous brands for 20 years makes you business-savvy in many aspects, as it happened for the author. Why not feed off his indispensable knowledge then?

13. Never Get a Real Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke by Scott Gerber, Sean Pratt

As scary as ditching your 9-to-5 for the sake of starting a business may be, Scott Gerber will address all your fears with tactical tips. This self-taught millennial has founded several booming companies and decided to share his hard-earned knowledge in Never Get a Real Job. The title turned out to be provocative, bordering on cheeky but astonishingly practical. And, consequently, it has made it to our list of the best career change books. Thus, if you dread having to spend another day in a cubicle but are still having doubts about whether to leap or not, Scott will give you the final push.

Deciding to change your career and going through with it are two different things. But the books we collected will help you accomplish the latter with ease. And if you are looking to get all the necessary advice fast and simple, the summaries of all these titles are available on the Headway app.

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