By Anisa Purbasari Horton, Fast Company
Maybe being better at your job, or getting a promotion, or even switching careers is on your list of resolutions for 2019. Or maybe you just want to be more competitive or expand your thinking. Whatever your motivation, why not use these last few days of the year to read one of our picks for the best books on work life and business for 2018? Then, start 2019 off with a renewed inspiration.
1. Can You Learn To Be Lucky? Why Some People Seem to Win More Often Than Others by Karla Starr
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” according to Roman philosopher Seneca. Journalist Karla Starr takes the investigation of “luck” one step further, by examining whether or not people can cultivate these opportunities they’ve worked so hard to prepare for. Starr investigates all the unintentional ways that humans self-defeat, like being overly focused on a specific opportunity, and overlooking better ones as a result. Through interviews, scientific research, and Starr’s personal experience, she concludes, “I discovered not only that many ‘random’ outcomes do have predictable causes, but that we can prepare for these and nudge the system toward our favor. I learned that getting the luck of an unplannable collision depended on how willing I was to put myself in a place where those encounters were more likely to happen.”
2. My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired by Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander
Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, what you do when you wake up can set the tone for your day. As Spall and Xander wrote, “It’s difficult to have a good day without starting your morning with intention. Your mornings are a blank state, an opportunity to start again.” Everyone’s needs and lifestyles are different, and their morning routines should reflect that. Rather than give a prescriptive approach, this book examines the morning habits of successful people across various disciplines–from Olympic medalists, professors, and entrepreneurs. Whether you are looking to adopt a morning workout routine, or for ideas on how to make your mornings a little less hectic as a working parent, there are plenty of ideas on how to craft the right routine for yourself.
3. Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity and The Power of Change by Beth Comstock
Former GE’s vice chair Beth Comstock knows about implementing change. During her 30-year career, she initiated GE’s digital and clean energy transformation, and pushed a company that was set in its ways to implement new ideas and adopt innovative solutions. In this part-memoir, part-biography, Comstock shared some of the most valuable lessons she learned at GE, from the advantage of being an “outsider,” to understanding when a battle is worth fighting.
4. Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
Building and maintaining good habits are crucial to achieving any goal–whether it be in your personal life, career, finances, or health. But far too many of us fail to maintain the habits necessary to get there, or we struggle to give up the ones that hinder us. Author James Clear argues that the key is in making tiny changes that, over time, compounds into large transformations. This book shows you how.
5. Calm Clarity: How to Use Science to Rewire Your Brain For Greater Wisdom, Fulfillment and Joy by Due Quach
When Quach was an undergraduate student at Harvard, she struggled to feel accepted by her college and her peers. A Vietnamese refugee who grew up in inner-city Philadelphia, she couldn’t relate to her privileged classmates who lived sheltered lifestyles and were neurotically obsessed with their grades. It wasn’t until later on that she realized she had endured PTSD from her experiences as a child. After a not-so-successful attempt at therapy, she began to study neuroscience and mind-hacking techniques to “rewire” her brain, which she shared in this book.
6. Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder by Chip Conley
Older Americans are staying in the workforce longer and longer, and in this day and age, that requires updating their new skills and understanding how to reinvent themselves in a constantly changing landscape. Hospitality entrepreneur and Airbnb’s strategic adviser Chip Conley shares his advice in this book on what it takes to thrive and stay relevant.
7. Building on Bedrock: What Sam Walton, Walt Disney and Other Great Entrepreneurs Can Teach Us About Building Valuable Companies by Derek Lidow
These days, entrepreneurship is often synonymous with tech startups and venture funding. But that’s not the reality for a lot of business owners. CEO, entrepreneur, and business professor Derek Lidow gets into the heart of what it really takes to build a long-lasting business from the “why,” the ‘how’, and how to know whether you are suited to the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship.