As a tech professional, you pride yourself in being at the top of your game. You landed the position you’ve always wanted — or you’re on your way there. But is the path you’re following truly a path you’ve chosen, or is it just what’s expected of someone in your field?
There are many ways to define a successful career in tech. Here are five books that will shift your perspective and help you think outside the box about your future, from flexing your creative muscles to getting in touch with your inner wisdom.
The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett
Are you analytical, or are you creative? In tech, we’re largely considered systematic, data-driven, and task-oriented. The creative types come up with the ideas, and we execute them with the highest standards.
The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time reveals a truth about creativity: There’s a science behind the most successful ideas. Nobody is born with or without the creativity gene. Today’s neuroscience gives us an unprecedented ability to decode the necessary moments of “inspiration” behind popular ideas. We can, therefore, engineer those moments. Named one of this year’s best books on creativity, The Creative Curve debunks the myth of the “creative genius” and lays out a clear process by which anyone can learn to be more creative.
Why tech talent should read it: LinkedIn analyzed the most sought-after soft and hard skills in 2019. The top soft skill? Creativity. “While robots are great at optimizing old ideas,” LinkedIn senior editor Paul Petrone explains, “organizations most need creative employees who can conceive the solutions of tomorrow.” Gannett’s book gives technical workers the tools they need to not just build, but actually dream up, disruptive technologies.
None of Your Business by Shawn Dill and Lacey Book
When you build your career around providing a service, you grow passionate about that service. That’s especially true if it’s a service that can change lives. But service entrepreneurs often neglect to spend sufficient time building and promoting their business. They have the skills to provide top-notch service, but they’ve never learned to build a client base. The idea of marketing themselves and their value might feel foreign or even unethical.
Spouses Shawn Dill and Lacey Book have worked to scale Shawn’s chiropractic practice to 16 locations, employing more than 30 doctors. They learned a lot along the way and now teach other entrepreneurs. In None of Your Business, the authors explore how growing your business allows you to share your passion and create the lifestyle you dream of.
Why tech talent should read it: In a world where software is positioned as a service, tech professionals may fall into the same boat as healthcare, hospitality, and other service industries. You’ve acquired a skill set — often specialized and focused on “hard skills.” What no one happened to mention during your Advanced Python class was how to build a business upon that skill set.
Your Next Adventure by Marshall Rowe, Jim Fitts, and John Weeks
For many entrepreneurs, life after the sale of a business can be devastating. A recent study by Exit Planning Institute reveals why: More than half of the surveyed small business owners reported having given “little to no attention” to their transition plan. And 80% had never sought advice about the transition of selling their business.
In many cases, entrepreneurs know how to close a deal, but they haven’t thought through the implications of an acquisition. They’re not prepared to take care of the most important pieces: themselves and their families. Your Next Adventure teaches business owners how to plan for the surprising aspects of selling a company.
Why tech talent should read it: When you finally achieve your dream, you should be prepared. Being aware of the emotional and lifestyle changes associated with selling your business is part of that preparation.
Future Proof by Diana Wu David
The tech sector can be unrelenting as you climb to the top, poising yourself for a promotion or an offer from a top firm. But a recent study by Blind revealed that more than half of tech professionals are experiencing burnout, and stress levels are at an all-time high.
Today, though, the definition of work is changing. More professionals value opportunities to do meaningful work without losing themselves in their careers.
You can have a fulfilling career without personal sacrifice — if you know how to take advantage of changing work trends. In Future Proof, Diana Wu David will inspire you to carve out your place in the future of work by experimenting, reinventing yourself, collaborating, and redefining success.
Why tech talent should read it: Future Proof encourages you to “get off the treadmill” and break free. Think you have job security for life? Diversify your future options to make your career more resilient. Your future professional self will thank you.
Be Wise Now by Gael McCool
When life throws you a curveball, how do you know when to use your head and when to follow your instincts? When facing a challenge, most people reach outward for the help they need. They don’t trust the tools they already have: intuition, soul, and other aspects of self that society teaches us to ignore. In Be Wise Now, Gael McCool explores how to turn inward and reconnect with those gifts — both natural and acquired — to create a healthier whole.
Why tech talent should read it: In the cutthroat world of tech, we all face setbacks and disappointments. Build your own resilience by getting in touch with your inner wisdom — a complement to your methodical nature. When you learn how to use it, you might realize your intuition is driven by data, visible or not.
Tech is a demanding field, but tech experts shouldn’t feel required to give up the other aspects of themselves. These five unconventional reads can help professionals get back in touch with their inner selves. After all, when you make it to the top, you don’t want to lose what makes you unique.
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