It’s summer. It’s hot. Co-workers are flittering off to vacation.  Let’s face it: Some days it seems impossible to stay focused on the daily grind—much less direct our attention and energy on advancing your career. Enter the summer reading list. It’s not more work; it’s inspiration. Hopefully, these books will redirect your thinking, boost your spirits, and motivate you to take the next step in your career.  

jim smith coverThe No Excuse Guide to Success: No Matter What Your Boss—or Life—Throws at You
By Jim Smith, Jr.
Career Press
June 2012 

Almost everyone is guilty of playing the blame game. It's satisfying and easy to do. If we despise our work, we can blame our manager or even our short-sighted organization for its inability to recognize our genius. If our personal lives are a disaster, we can blame our spouses, partners, the economy, or even our ancestors. We all know on some level that we are pointing our fingers in the wrong direction, but we just can't seem to help ourselves.

The No Excuse Guide to Success offers 10 proven principles—Winning Ways—that will help you move beyond making excuses and toward living the life you want: 

  • Winning Way 1: Own Your Choices
  • Winning Way 2: Focus on Positive Outcomes and Expect Success
  • Winning Way 3: Embrace the Uncertainty
  • Winning Way 4: Do More with Your Best
  • Winning Way 5: Listen With Three Ears
  • Winning Way 6: Remove Self-Created Barriers
  • Winning Way 7: Pursue Your Passion, Not a Paycheck
  • Winning Way 8: Give Up “Right-Fi8ghting”
  • Winning Way 9: Avoid the “Taking Credit” Trap
  • Winning Way 10: Live with Urgency and Purpose 

Author Jim “Mr. Energy” Smith shows you how to abandon this unworkable routine and stop the destructive pattern of making excuses and blaming others—to stop whining and start winning. He inspires us to be our best.

Not only does Smith inspire us to do our best, The No Excuse Guide to Success is chock full of practical ideas you can use to make life-altering changes in how you approach your career and and break down self-created barriers to success. If you want to find your passion again and have a career with enthusiasm and purpose, this book is for you.


rebounders coverRebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success
By Rick Newman
Ballantine Books
May 2012

Setbacks happen, and failure is always a possibility. But here’s the good news: Amazing success has been achieved by people who once fell flat on their faces. The secret lies in how we respond to life’s bumps and pot holes and unwelcome detours—from getting fired or losing a business to enduring a professional rejection or pursuing a passion that fails to pan out. Misfortune, it turns out, can be a springboard to success.
 
In Rebounders, U.S. News & World Report journalist Rick Newman examines the rise and fall—and rise again—of some of our most prolific and productive figures in order to demystify the anatomy of resilience.

Newman identifies nine key traits found in people who bounce back that can transform a setback into the first step toward great accomplishment. He turns many well-worn axioms on their head as he shows how virtually anybody can improve their resilience and get better at turning adversity into personal and professional achievement:

  • Setbacks can be a secret weapon: They often teach vital things you’ll never learn in school, on the job, or from others.
  • There are smart ways to fail: Once familiar with them, you’ll be more comfortable taking risks and less discouraged if they don’t pan out.
  • “Defensive pessimism” trumps optimism: Planning for what could go wrong is often the best way to ensure that it doesn’t.
  • Know when to quit: Walking away at the right time can free the resources you need to exploit better opportunities.
  • “Own the suck”: When faced with true hardship, taking command of the pain and sorrow—rather than letting it command you—lays the groundwork for ultimately rising above it.

Each lesson is highlighted by candid and inspiring stories from notable people, including musician Lucinda Williams, tennis champ James Blake, inventor Thomas Edison, army veteran and double-amputee Tammy Duckworth, and Joe Torre, former manager of the New York Yankees. In this uncertain and unstable time, Rebounders lays out the new rules for success and equips you with the tools you need to get ahead and thrive.

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finch effect coverThe Finch Effect: The Five Strategies to Adapt and Thrive in Your Working Life
By Nacie Carson
Jossey-Bass
May 2012

What do birds and career success have to do with each other? Everything, according to career expert Nacie Carson, author of the The Finch Effect: The Five Strategies to Adapt and Thrive in Your Working Life. 

A deterioration of the traditional 9-to-5 workforce has turned the job market into daily proof that Charles Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest extends to our professional lives.  With more people in the workforce than ever before--and the global economy changing the needs of businesses in every industry--those wishing to climb up the career ladder are faced with the frightening reality that they need to evolve their strategies or risk extinction. And they need to do it now

In The Finch Effect, career expert Nacie Carson shares a strategy, the "finch effect," that allows professionals at any stage of their career to flourish in the professional market of tomorrow. The "finch effect" was inspired by Darwin's finches, the resourceful birds that Darwin encountered on the Galapagos Islands and that, by rapidly adapting their beaks within a few generations to accommodate changes in their food source, thrived unchallenged while their competition slowly died off.  The finches' survival skills informed Darwin's theory of evolution and today provide a powerful message about the value of adaptation for professionals. The Finch Effect distills the best practices of professionals who have successfully evolved to thrive in today's tough market into five steps: 

  1. Adopt a Gig Mindset
  2. Identify Your Value
  3. Cultivate Your Skills
  4. Nurture Your Social Network
  5. Harness Your Entrepreneurial Energy

The Finch Effect will transform all of its readers to become lifetime members of "the fittest" — that exclusive club of professionals who successfully manage to earn big, achieve their potential, and remain at the top of the career food chain in our uncertain world.