The modern career world is adjusting faster than ever. The way we network, find jobs, and take more risks are ever-changing. It can be difficult to follow our passions, explain our career to other people, and network with other like-minded individuals.

That's why we've found the 12 best career books. So you can learn, from the experts themselves, how to be successful in your career. 

Best Career Books

The 12 best career books below will navigate you through the process of changing your career, climbing up the corporate ladder, or settling in on a job that you love. 

1. What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles 

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles

This #1 best-selling career book is a practical manual for job-hunters and career-changers. With over 10 million copies sold, this book is known as one of the best job hunting books out there. This revised edition features the latest research and case studies that shed light on today’s job market. 

In this, you’ll find surprising information about what works and what doesn’t so that you can focus your efforts on strategies that yield results. This unique self-inventory will help you design your career around your passions, skills, and personality traits. This book also includes various exercises to help you assess your interests and core values, getting you closer to a career that provides optimal happiness. 

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2. Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans 

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

This #1 best-seller is an inspiring and thought-provoking book that will help you build a life that you can thrive in at any stage. In this, authors Burnett and Evans teach the reader how a design mindset can help create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling. This same type of design thinking is responsible for amazing technologies and interior designs.

This empowering book will help you find a career that you love and take away the non-essentials that are depleting your happiness. 

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3. Lean In by Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In by Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg

In this provocative and inspiring wook about women in power, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, fuses singular lessons and personal anecdotes on confidence and leadership. This book is filled with practical advice for women based on both research and Sandberg’s own experiences. 

Whether you’re looking to move past your competitors or change your career entirely, this book will empower you to do so. This book will also help you get past your fears to reach your highest level of success.

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4. So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport dives into his belief that skills mean more than passion during your career quest. In this eye-opening account, Newport debunks the advice that following your passion is the way to go, and explains why pre-existing passions often have little to do with finding our fulfilling careers.

With information from personal conversations with farmers, screenwriters, venture capitalists, and many more, Newport explains how people truly end up loving what they do. By reading this, you’ll be able to avoid the most common pitfalls when developing a compelling career.

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5. Pivot by Jenny Blake 

Pivot by Jenny Blake

In Pivot, former career development program manager Jenny Blake reveals how to make your next career move by doubling down on what’s already working. Careers are not linear, and oftentimes, as the years go on, it becomes increasingly difficult to know what next step we should take. 

In today’s dynamic world of work, the only move that matters is your next one. Drawing from her own experience and other successful pivoters, Jenny Blake dives into her four-step process that will teach you how to double down on your strengths, find new opportunities, determine your next step, and launch into a new career direction confidently. 

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6. The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore 

The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore

The Pathfinder is all about how to choose or change your career for a lifetime of success and satisfaction. This best-seller is a career-design classic for college graduates and midlife career-changers alike! Based on breakthrough techniques from an award-winning career counseling network, this book offers valuable advice and over 100 diagnostic tools that will help you change your career.

In this optimistic guide, you’ll learn how to enter the working world with a positive mindset and how to design a career that you love. 

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7. The New Rules of Work by Alexandra Cavoulacos 

The New Rules of Work by Alexandra Cavoulacos

The New Rules of Work is the modern playbook for navigating your career. Although people in previous generations tended to pick one career path and stick to it, the new world of work has normalized changing careers frequently. Today, careers aren’t as linear and strict as they used to be. Luckily, this gives us the freedom to explore and spend our time doing what makes us happy. 

That being said, it can be difficult to navigate our way through the hundreds of thousands of career options out there. Furthermore, employers don’t find applicants the same ways they used to, and we don’t find jobs the same ways we used to. 

In this modern playbook, Cavoulacos teaches you how to navigate the new job world and find the right career path for you. 

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8. Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

In Leave Your Mark, Aliza Licht shares advice and real talk for both people who are starting their careers and those who are well on their way. In this, you’ll learn how to communicate in the professional world, build your personal brand, and maintain a strong sense of self when your personal and professional worlds are blurred.

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9. The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

The Confidence Code is all about the science and art of self-assurance. In this informative and practical guide, authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman help the reader understand the importance of confidence in the professional world. Their goal is to help women of all ages, and in any stage of their career, achieve a confident mind and personality.

Combining cutting-edge research and personal stories, the authors urge women to lean in and gain confidence to make it in the corporate world. Ultimately, this will help you achieve the success and career path that you’ve always wanted. 

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10. Love Your Job by Kerry Hannon

Love Your Job by Kerry Hannon

Finding a job you love doesn’t require starting from scratch. In the modern professional world, there are new rules for career happiness. Author Kerry Hannon is here to explain them. According to her, focusing on the little things can make a large difference in how we feel at work.

This book is all about the routines, habits, and thought patterns that have the potential to turn into a dream job. By changing these habits and attitudes, you can make your job more enjoyable and engaging. 

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11. Weird in a World That’s Not by Jennifer Romolini

Weird in a World That’s Not by Jennifer Romolini

Weird in a World That’s Not is a career guide for the so-called misfits and failures. This honest, practical guide will help you attain and keep the job that you’ve always wanted. This all-in-one career memoir and real-world guide offers relatable advice on how to achieve your dreams, even if the odds seem stacked against you.

By reading this, you’ll learn how to face your fears, navigate networking, leave the job you hate, and stay true to who you are throughout the process. 

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12. Body of Work by Pamela Slim 

Body Of Work by Pamela Slim

In the modern professional world, it’s increasingly rare to have a stable career in any industry. Now, it’s easier than ever to take risks and explore multiple passions to arrive at where we want to be. That being said, it can be hard to make sense of our career, let alone explain what we do to other people.

In this, Pamela Slim gives us all the tools we need to have meaningful careers in this new work world, find connections among diverse accomplishments, and continually reinvent your brand. 

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Final Thoughts: The Career World

At the end of the day, the career world is adjusting faster than ever. More of us are switching jobs often, taking more risks, and working hard to build a personal brand. The motivating and optimistic career books above are filled with recent data, personal stories, and expert advice to help you settle on a fulfilling career path. 

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