Resources: Books

For Self-Assessment

Anderson, N.,(1984), Work with Passion: How to Do what You Love For a Living, New York and Mill Valley, Graf and Whatever Publishing. This is the one that started it all for me back in 1988. Nancy provides a step-by-step guide to changing your career. It was the first time in my life that I had considered a change and she led me through. I liked the assignments in each chapter where I didn't just read about making change, I participated. The book is full of real-life examples of other career/job changers which can provide lots of ideas.

Kiersey, D. and Bates, M.,(1984)Please Understand Me,Del Mar:Prometheus Nemesis Book Company. Provides a questionnaire to help you identify your four letter personality type, similar to the Meyers-Briggs method. It's a good place to start if you've never done this before. The book is great at explaining how there is no best personality type, but that each has its strengths and weaknesses. The key is to know your type and thereby know what types of people you may best get along with in personal and business relationships, or what types of jobs or careers might suit you best. It can be a useful tool for self-understanding, but shouldn't be used to limit yourself or make excuses for non-achievement.

Rath, T., (2007), StrengthsFinder 2.0, New York, Gallup Press. If you are unsure what your true talents are, this book will help you find your strengths and suggest ways to optimize them in the workplace.  In addition to the book, you can take an online assessment, then get a customized guideline to show how your strength themes play out in your life.

Tieger,P.,(2007), Do What You Are: The Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type, Little, Brown & Company. From Amazon: Do What You Are introduces Personality Type - how you process information, make decisions and interact with the world around you - and shows you which of the 16 types describes you best. It lists dozens of occupations that are popular with people of your type. Then, using workbook exercises and real-life examples to highlight the strengths and pitfalls of each personality type, it shows you step-by-step how to use your unique strengths to customise your job search,ensuring the best results in the shortest period of time.And if you plan to stay in your job, Do What You Are provides savvy advice for getting the most out of your current career.Every other career guide offers generic, one-size-fits-all advice. But because it is based on personality type, Do What You Are helps you determine what you need to be more successful and satisfied.

Sinetar, M.,(1989), Do What you Love, the Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood, Dell. This now classic book was the one that started it all. Along with Joseph Campbell's "Follow Your Bliss", these phrases became the jargon of the 90's. It's one thing to throw a cliche around, but another to get into the depth of this book to find your "right liveliehood." It is more than just quitting your job and becoming a basket weaver in Thailand. A meaningful career change takes work, and this book can get you started with the self-examination required.

Sher, B. and Smith, B.,(1995), I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was: How To Discover What you Really Want and How to Get It, Dell. The title of this sums it up perfectly-the dilemma of knowing what you DON'T want but not being sure of what you DO want. From Amazon: "A life without direction is a life without passion," says motivational specialist, therapist, and career counselor Barbara Sher. In I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, a sort of broader, less dense, and less intimidating version of What Color Is Your Parachute?, she reveals how to "recapture long lost goals, overcome the blocks that inhibit your success, decide what you want to be, and live your dreams." This is a perfect book for new college graduates or anyone sick and tired of languishing in a dead-end job or relationship--yet reluctant to make drastic life changes due to uncertainty about what would actually inspire them.Whether you're looking to make improvements in your job or personal life, Sher will teach you how to determine what your goals are, and how to successfully reach them--even if right now the only thing you know is that you're vaguely to very unhappy and haven't the foggiest idea what to do with yourself.

Bolles, R.,(2011), What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job Hunters and Career Changers, Berkeley, Ten Speed Press. This is another classic originally written in the 70s, but totally updated in 2011. What I like about this one is that he addresses both conventional job hunters as well as business owners(entrepreneurs). He also addresses the concept of a personal mission statement, something that I feel is crucial to finding not just a job, but work that will provide meaning in your life. From Amazon: This year’s edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? has been vastly rewritten, because job-hunting has increasingly become a survival skill. Career expert Richard N. Bolles describes the five strategies most needed to survive, and explains how to incorporate social media tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter into your job-search. The new ideas are wrapped around the familiar core message of Parachute: WHAT, WHERE, and HOW, with an emphasis on finding your passion and identifying your best transferable skills. With fresh insights into resumes, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation, and how to start your own business, this book will give you the tools, exercises, and motivation you need to find hope, land a job, and fulfill your purpose in life. In the words of Fortune magazine: “Parachute remains the gold standard of career guides.”

For Business/Revenue Generating Ideas

Guillebeau, C., (2012), The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More, London, MacMillan Publishers. A friend saw this book recently and said she  immediately thought of me and gave it to me as a gift.  She's a great friend!  If you have ever wanted to start your own business, or even thought about setting up a "side business" for "extra income" this book is for you.  There are several great books along this same theme on my resource page including "Boomers Into Business" and "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and "Making a Living Without a Job" as well as others but this book is much more detailed as well as concise.

The information in the book is based on interviews with about 1500 "unexpected entrepreneurs"- real people who have been successful creating their own small businesses.  The author based his criteria for selection based on the following factors:

  • Businesses were built on the passions of the owners
  • Low startup cost-less than $1,000, most far less than that
  • At least $50,000 a year in net income
  • No special skills required-these are businesses anyone can operate
  • Participants agreed to disclose their financial information in detail, both revenue and expenses
  • Fewer than 5 employees

Part 1 of the book is all about these unexpected entrepreneurs and how they got their ideas and got started.  Often, they did not intend to create a "company" but were looking to augment their income.  When their "side job" started earning more money than their main job, many quit to do their own businesses full time.  In this part Chris explains how to find a money making idea based on what you love to do.

In Part 2 Chris gets into the nuts and bolts of running a business.  He has boiled down everything I learned in 4 years of business school to less than 100 pages, starting with a one page business plan!

In Part 3 you learn how to leverage yourself to expand and create more income- or as Chris says "become as big as you want to be, but no bigger".

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new way of earning a living.

Orrell,L., (2011), Boomers Into Business: How Anyone Over 50 Can Turn What They Know into Dough Before and After Retirement, Intelligent Women Publishing of Wyatt-MacKenzie. The author is a marketing expert so naturally this book has a heavy marketing influence. It has lots of good information that anyone in business would find useful, especially with regard to social media promotional strategies.

Burchard,B.,(2011), The Millionaire Messenger:Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice, New York, Morgan James Publishing. A good how-to for creating an information based business. Burchard oversimplifies things but I think what he outlines is doable. I've been using some of his strategies for my business.

Kimball, C.,(2008), 55 Sure Fire Home Based Businesses You Can Start for Under $5,000, Irvine, Entrepreneur Press. While there may be 55 businesses listed the likelihood of you having an interest or aptitude in many of them is small, but still good reading if you are looking for ideas. Note that a home-based business does not mean that you work at home . There may be local zoning restrictions on some of these businesses, so be sure to check in your locality.

MacLeod,H.,(2011), Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination, New York, Portfolio/Penguin. While the title may be tongue-in-cheek, this is a seriously good story about a guy who took his passion for writing and built a successful career. Not surprisingly this is well-written and entertaining, but serious too.

Gillman,S.,(2011), 101 Weird Ways to Make Money: Cricket Farming, Repossessing Cars, and other jobs with big upside and not much competition, Hoboken, Wiley . For those who prefer a non-conventional work life, this book gives lots of ideas of things you can do to earn money. Think outside of the "job" box with this one. Many of the 101 ways won't be to everyone's liking, but will get you thinking creatively about how you can use your skills and experience to generate revenue. Jobs and businesses covered include cricket and maggot farming, environmentally friendly burials, making and selling solar-roasted coffee, daycare services for handicapped children, and many more. If you are in the exploration phase it's worth a read.

Winter, B.(2009), Making a Living Without a Job: Winning Ways for Creating Work You Love, New York,Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks. Another one of my favorites, Barbara Winter tells you how to be "joyfully Jobless" and find ways to make a living using skills you have. This is all about thinking like an entrepreneur, not an employee, and forging your unique path. If you are a multi-tasker like me, you'll love this one.

Dennis, F.,(2010), The Narrow Road:A Brief Guide to the Getting of Money, New York, Portfolio Penguin. Written by an enormously successful business builder, each chapter is only 1-3 pages long on many different money making and company building topics, yet each is a gem. Dennis gives his advice on everything from hiring talent, how much to pay your staff, to how to decorate your office and what your balance sheet should look like. If you have any desire to start a company, or you already run one, this is a must-read.

Wilkerson, C.,(2011), The Barefoot Executive: the Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss & Achieving Financial Freedom, Nashville, Thomas Nelson. While she doesn't exactly come right out and say it, my impression is that Wilkerson became successful through a mult-level marketing company. She gives good advice on how to work at home, yet still create family-work balance. Working mothers will likely relate well to her message.

Other related topics

Freedman, M.,(2011), The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond MidLife, New York, Public Affairs. Freedman writes about the new social phenomenon of those in the stage between "young" and "old". As our population ages the concept of retirement at age 60 or 65 is becomiing a thing of the past. Many will continue to work past age 60 for a variety of reasons and Freedman proposes ways that the working world can and should adapt to include this very valuable and experienced workforce.

For Women

Friedman, C. and Yorio, K.,(2008), The girl's guide to kicking your career into gear, New York, Broadway Books. A great book whether you are considering a career change or not. Written by and for women, it provides a unique perspective on the business world. .

Girasole, M., Hanson, W., and Perry, M., (2009), The Sassy Ladies' Toolkit for Start Up Businesses, Two Harbors Press. Written by three successful female entrepreneurs, this book provides practical advice as well as inspirational stories of women who started their own businesses. It offers step-by-step guidance to take you from dream to reality.