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3 Books to Kick Ass at Work and Life

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Life is about learning; success is about doing. Don’t cheapen your potential by neglecting these opportunities. Reading and audiobooks are an easy way to expand your perspective, gain knowledge, then drop it like it’s hot! The options below fully embrace the CareerPunk mentality and are personally recommended. If you want to take action, check out these three books to kick ass in both work and life!


1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck:  A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Subvert your intellect and learn to give zero f*cks. Mark Manson’s vulgarity is translated into value as he outlines various ways we get in our own way. Explained mainly as caring about the wrong things instead of focusing on what is truly important. Along with the cover-shock title, Manson’s direct no-bullshit approach gets to the ugly dirty point with little regard for sensitivities. In fact, anyone offended is put on blast for not embracing their supposed unresolved shame. At face value, it’s easy to think this type of delivery is arrogant and gimmicky but given the chance, much more revealed.


“Once we embrace our fears, faults and uncertainties – once we stop running from and avoiding, and start confronting painful truths – we can begin to find the courage and confidence we desperately seek.” -Mark Manson


The Subtle Art… makes this list not just because Manson’s voice and message is fully owned and unapologetically brazen, but because it removes the rose-colored lens of traditional self-help motivational books and provides instead a realistic and practical perspective of happiness and how to achieve it.


Ryan Holiday of the New York Times gives a great summation:

“Resilience, happiness and freedom come from knowing what to care about–and most importantly, what not to care about. This is a masterful, philosophical and practical book that will give readers the wisdom to be able to do just that.”


With 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon and 3,700+ reviews, plenty of others agree. If you want to rip the band-aid and be accountable for your success, read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Available here, at Amazon.



2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


At first glance, my eyes rolled and inner cynic chided,

‘Another uninspired compendium of critics telling me to change my habits.’

I decided to read it so I could relish in the satisfaction of being right. I was wrong.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business isn’t a retread of other self help ‘habit’ books. Not at all. In fact, this book doesn’t even try to brand itself as ‘self help.’ Instead, investigative journalist, Charles Duhigg, delivers case study after case study of real world research and application of basic principles that explain why we do the things we do. Sounds like it should be boring as hell but Duhigg’s storytelling approach makes this read as enjoyable as it is educational. The catch here is that while you’re reading it, you can’t help but wonder how applying what you’ve read could improve your own habits.


The author uses various pop culture examples to explain these principles including the evolution and popularity of toothpaste, how Febreeze (yes the spray) avoided implosion, and even the philosophy-into-results coaching of NFL’s Tony Dungy. He also details how leaders have introduced major institutional changes simply by addressing company cultural habits.

The mountains of scientific research and interviews in between further fortify his premise that:

  1. Habits = Cues + Rewards + Belief
  2. Habits cannot be eliminated, only replaced
  3. Willpower can be taught

TPOH currently gets 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon from 4,600+ reviews. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to change themselves for the better. Whether you want to quit smoking, lose weight, improve your work, or even maximize company metrics/revenue, the behavioral analysis in this book provides a roadmap without the ‘in your face, do this, do that’ type of direction common in other ‘habit’ books. Available for purchase, here.


3. Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More

Morten Hansen’s new book looks to be a promising addition for productivity geeks out there like me. This one is currently queued up in my ‘next to read’ list, but I’m so excited about it, I had to give it some attention. The big draw to this title is its dedication to a less-is-more approach that’s backed by well researched performance statistics. Can’t argue with data.

Great At Work is already a Wall Street Journal Bestseller, a Financial Times Business Book of the Month, and named by the Washington Post as “One of the 11 Leadership Books to Read in 2018.” This book can be especially valuable for managers as well, leveraging tried practices beyond oneself and onto teams.


With practical suggestions and examples of how to work smarter, not harder, the concepts of Great At Work are explained in 7 key principles. To top it off, there are apparently mini-quizzes and questionnaires included to evaluate and apply strategies covered. That makes this book not just a good read, but a tool as well.

Great At Work currently boasts 4.7 out of 5 stars from 50+ reviews and is available on Amazon, here.


Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? Share in the comments below!



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