5 Books Worth the Read for Young Professionals

5 Books Worth the Read for Young Professionals

Some of the most successful and influential people of our time openly admit that the books they’ve read over the years have expanded their skill-set and sharpened their intellect. Our resident bookworm, Siza, shares the top 5 books every young professional should read.
by Sizakele Nene
07. 30. 2018

Some of the world’s most influential people always refer to reading as the one thing that’s helped them climb up whatever ladder they now own. Warren Buffett dedicates 4 hours a day to reading, Mark Zuckerberg reads a book every second week, Bill Gates gets through 50 books a year and Oprah, well, she’s had a book club for over a decade now. It’s not just about staying entertained, but accumulating knowledge like compound interest, as Buffett puts it. Where to start? Have no fear, we’ve put our heads together to build you a solid list of 5 books that’ll definitely be useful for any young professional.

1. The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

This book comes highly recommended by the likes of Oprah and Tony Robbins - so there must be something there, right? One of our designers rated it a favourite because it provides practical insight on how to build a solid future in a stressful world by focusing on the present moment. While Tolle does place emphasis on meditation and spirituality, this book is still a simple, helpful reminder to be mindful of, and fully invested in the present because, after all, what else is there?

2. How to Use Your Enemies — Baltasar Gracian

The working world isn’t always friendly. In fact, difficult people can be the highest mountains to climb; and sometimes if you’re even a little pliable, you risk becoming a doormat. This book teaches you just how to manoeuvre these problems dressed as people without having to sell your soul. Taking the ‘high road’ means being smarter and able to make certain personalities work in your favour so that, ultimately, you reach your goals. Plus, with only 88 pages, it won’t take a year to finish.

3. The Year of Yes — Shonda Rhimes

There are so many lessons about saying no to the things you don’t want, but very few that talk about saying yes to the things you do want. Being able to see what it is that you’d like, going for it and then taking full advantage of the opportunity isn’t always addressed. In essence, this book is just Shonda’s experience with being able to identify her needs, put them first and then allow them to lead her to heights she didn’t even know she could reach, without the oversimplification. It’s about purposefully moving out of that comfort zone and exploring territories you previously would’ve said ‘no’ to without a blink - an invitation to a function, coffee with someone from a different department, that online course you’ve seen a couple of times. What if you said ‘yes’ to these things? Wouldn’t life be a whole lot different, not to mention interesting? You certainly would find yourself living for Friday a lot less.

4. The Alchemist - Paolo Coelho

I thought this suggestion a little strange for this particular piece, but what’s life without a little allegory? The Alchemist is a quest story, documenting the adventure of a man who is comfortable with his simple life as a shepherd, until he dreams of a treasure located in Egypt. Contrary to people’s advice, he is reluctant to go in search of the treasure at first but he does eventually and his life is changed irreversibly. Where am I going with this? Well, it’s easy to become complacent and even believe you’re happy not setting and pursuing your goals. What is that treasure you’ve often dreamed of but you’ve been a little too scared to search for? Don’t ignore the signs, the most successful people have taken risks, taken losses, and made massive wins.

5. Why Your Twenties Matter - Meg Jay

There are so many mixed signals about being a twenty-something in the professional world. There are those who will tell you to steer clear of any professional commitments and those who expect you to be a top executive enjoying a fancy life with all the trimmings by the time you’re twenty-eight. Not only do these beliefs leave the average twenty-something conflicted, but they make this decade a lot more gruelling than it probably ought to be. Jay, who’s a qualified psychologist, speaks of the cases she’s seen of young professionals struggling to make up their own minds despite these diverging opinions. What does this decade matter in the greater scheme of things and what should you be doing, if anything? The idea is to make the moves now that’ll make the real "adulting" a lot less stressful later on. The how, why, and when are all discussed in what I would call a relatable read.

There you have it folks, a comprehensive list of gripping reads that are not only easy to read, but will certainly help in your quest to build a base of knowledge in your foundational years as a professional; whatever your field.