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26 Books Every Young Professional Should Read

How many books did you read last year? Books are an amazing source of joy, inspiration, and knowledge. If you’re a young professional with a hankering for success, then these are the 26 books you should read.

#1 Welcome to Adulting by Jonathan Pokluda

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This book is a game changer for young professionals. If you think you have life figured out in your 20s, I'd highly recommend reading this book. It navigates all the things young professionals go through, from careers to relationships to finances and everything in between. It will change the trajectory of your life in the best way possible and give your life purpose. This is a book for the next generation of leaders to read.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Crystal McFerran from Crystal McFerran Digital Marketing

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#2 Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

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Extreme Ownership shaped our core values at 9Sail. The book is written by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, two ex-Navy Seals who now do corporate leadership training. The book discusses Jocko and Leif's experiences in Ramadi, Iraq and relates them to the business world. There are many tough decisions that we have to make in war and in life and this book helps to make the options more clear and has changed the way I personally handle myself in business and in life. This book should be a required read as you enter any company because it sets the tone for how the company expects you to handle responsibility and hold yourself to the highest standard.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Bryan Pattman from 9Sail

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#3 How Not To Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenburg

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I steal this one from Gate's reading list however given how much he reads like most professionals should, it's hard to find a book that hasn't crossed his eyes. In this book, Ellenberg relates practical examples of Mathematica to everyday scenarios and equips the reader with an arsenal of thoughtful new strategies based on the interplay of math and everyday decision making.

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Contributors: Benjamin Anderson from Wand USA

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#4 You-nicorn by Danielle Vincent

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From the author:

I wrote a fantastic book called YOU-NICORN: 30 days to find your inner unicorn and live the life you love, which is perfect for young professionals. It is designed to help people resolve issues that are holding them back, identify their dreams, and map a path to get there.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Danielle Vincent from Danielle Vincent

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#5 The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman

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I found “The Founder’s Dilemmas” by Noam Wasserman to be extremely helpful in fundraising, company direction, hiring, product market fit & most of all a very detailed perspective on fundraising. The chapters that discuss negotiating terms sheets are the best out there and recommended by virtually every founder

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Tarek Alaruri from Fairmarkit

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#6 The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

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I try to reread this book at least once per year and often find myself using it as a reference for specific ways to tackle scenarios and strategize running my business. In it, Greene outlines key methodologies every professional should take note from and relates each of his 48 Laws to historical observances and transgressions in history to better see in action how this advice can be useful in your everyday actions.

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Contributors: Benjamin Anderson from Wand USA

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#7 Just Stop by Heather D. Nelson

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Just Stop: 10 Things Everyone Should Stop Saying is a collection of short essays about some of the most commonly used platitudes in today's society. I discuss why flippant delivery can quickly become an errant receipt. I teach how to avoid these common communication pitfalls and how to improve your capacity for human connection thus becoming a more compassionate and EFFICIENT person.

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Contributors: Heather D. Nelson from HeatherD.Nelson

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#8 The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco

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The title sounds like something off of Warrior Forum but, it's nothing like that at all. It's a book that breaks down the beliefs about wealth, finance, and success that western society instills in us. DeMarco questions the get rich slow mantra, the idea of exchanging time for money, and gives you a new way to think about your worth as a person -- intrinsic value. It's an easy read and was the book that changed everything for me. I've since forced friends to read it, and they've reported the same changes occurring in their mind, which manifest in their behavior. There are also some great tales about his path to business successes.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Pat Crawley from Crawley Consulting

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#9 Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar

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I don't work directly in sales, but I still think it's a must-read for everyone, especially young professionals. No matter what you do, you need to sell yourself, whether that be in a job interview or in a meeting where you're proposing an idea for a new marketing campaign. This book gives you the tools to do that. Some of what he talks about is specific to salespeople, but most of the information can be applied to any profession at any level. Highly recommend!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Catherine Giese from Fundera

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#10 Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

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Walter Isaacson takes his readers back to a time when laptops and desktops were metaphors and window’s was a dream. His book talks about how each of the Apple innovations first occurred to Steve Jobs and his creative team. “Steve Jobs” is an authoritative book about those achievements, and it also follows Jobs into the wilderness (and to NeXT and Pixar) after his first stint at Apple. I loved this book. It’s a must-read for anybody thinking about starting a business. It encouraged me to never give up and to keep reaching for the stars because dreams really do come true.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Zondra Wilson from Blu Skin Care, LLC

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#11 Radical Candor by Kim Scott

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As I'm growing in my career and working my way to the manager position this book has allowed me to hone in on those skills and really connect with those that I've been mentoring. I've been able to build trust with my team, make myself indispensable to the company, and proven that while I'm young I'm able to be that manager a team needs all thanks to the skills I've learned in this book.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Karisa Egan from IMPACT

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#12 Emotional Agility by Susan David

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We had this as part of our company book club and I recommend it to everyone! I was really struggling with a difficult client and became very emotionally drained. I was putting my all into this but wasn't getting the results I wanted resulting in extreme stress. During the time I was dealing with this client I started reading this book and it taught me how to learn to work with my emotions whether they be difficult or positive and use them to my advantage. I put these practices to works, especially being able to distance myself from the stress when it's out of my control, which resulted in an improved client relationship and improved mental state for myself.

Contributors: Karisa Egan from IMPACT

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#13 The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks

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As a finance professor, I read many books about finance and the book by Howard Marks is one of the few that profoundly changed some of the views I have held for several years. Reading it forces the reader to question their personal investment philosophy and reflect on their potential biases that we all suffer from. A must-read for both budding and seasoned investors!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Michael Chmura from Babson College

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#14 The Startup’s Owners Manual by Steve Blanks

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The book that changed my perspective on starting a business and how to grow one is The Startup's Owners Manual, by Steve Blanks.  For me, Steve laid out all of the pre-work that was needed to be done before a company should even be started. From getting out of the building and getting feedback from random strangers to being on top of your company and not in it, Steve takes real-world examples and explains everything in detail.  He gave me the confidence and the reasoning to get the ball rolling on becoming an entrepreneur.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Gene Caballero from GreenPal

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#15 Good To Great by Jim Collins

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Although this book focuses on businesses, you can apply their lessons to your personal life.  In the book, Jim discusses The Hedgehog Concept.  The fox is very talented at a lot of things: fast, sneaky, etc.  Yet foxes can't capture hedgehogs. Why?  Because hedgehogs do 1 thing that they're the best at: self-protection.  They roll into a tight defensive ball to protect against the fox.  Find that one trait you can be the best at, which is better than being good at a lot of other skills. After reading this book I decided to start focusing my career into more specific jobs that utilized my top strength.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Kenny Dahill from Burbz

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#16 Permission to Screw Up by Kristen Hadeed

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This self-proclaimed millennial is a Ted Talk featured presenter but she didn't get there overnight. Her book is easy to read, she's honest, she's direct and real. Each chapter reveals a major entrepreneur mistake and a solution she learned from people in with far more business experience than her. Her lessons apply across gender, professional to personal, and generational. Any young professional can learn from her mistakes as they navigate the working world with aspirations of leadership.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Jennifer Moxley from Sunshine Media Network

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#17 Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do by Kate White

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Particularly aimed at young professional women, this book of lessons learned on the job changed the course of my career as a woman. Breaking down why women who follow the rules don't get the results they want in the business world helps women shift their school-days rule following logic. While it plays on gender stereotypes, it shows applications those biases negatively influenced White's or colleagues' careers.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Jennifer Moxley from Sunshine Media Network

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#18 The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

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This one isn't a finance book - but focuses on personal development. Seriously one of the best reads I've ever come across.

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Contributors: Joseph Davis from Davis Financial LLC

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#19 Endurance by Alfred Lansing

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Again, not a finance book - but he's my all-time real life HERO. An unbelievable (but true) story about amazing men at the turn of the century. If Sir Shackleton & his men could do what they did - I can do hard things too.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Joseph Davis from Davis Financial LLC

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#20 Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin

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Rand Fishkin is an enigma in the SEO world. He founded and led Moz to measurable success during the SEO boom and crash of the early 2000s and goes into detail as to how he managed to do so. The biggest asset this book provides is the actual transparency Rand displays. He does not leave out what its like to be a CEO of a startup. The pitfalls, the successes, he has it all. It’s a great start for young professionals trying to get a head start in the world of startups and small businesses.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Alan Santillan from G2 Crowd

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#21 Live the Best Story of Your Life by Bob Litwin

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Author Bob Litwin is an advisor to hedge fund firms on Wall Street and has been #1 in the world in tennis, his book combines business success with sports success and creates a template for any young professional to change his or her story to one of success. First, Litwin says, we have to realize we are telling ourselves a story, and then he gives us 33 tools to live the best stories of our lives.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Suzanne Kingsbury from Gateless, Inc

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#22 Live Large by Elizabeth Cook

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Author and CEO consultant Elizabeth Crook has written the contemporary guide to What Color is Your Parachute, taking the reader through a series of iterative chapters that build on what you know, your innate talents and creating a pragmatic trajectory toward fulfilling your dreams. Great for any young professional trying to understand how to carve out a career.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Suzanne Kingsbury from Gateless, Inc

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#23 Sleep Your Way to the Top by Jane Miller

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Author Jane Miller was the first female CEO of a Fortune 500, made President of a $1 billion division of Frito-Lay at age 36, was the President of Heinz in London, CEO and President of Rudi’s Organic Bakery. Now she mentors young professionals. She has written a witty but very pragmatic book on how a young professional survives (and finally thrive) on his/her way to the corner office.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Suzanne Kingsbury from Gateless, Inc

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#24 Leadership 101 John C. Maxwell

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This short book (roughly 120 pages cover-to-cover) is written by an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach, and author who has sold millions of books.  Dr. Maxwell's companies have also trained more than 5 million leaders worldwide.  This easily digested book is a practical guide to help leaders (especially new leaders) understand their roles, how leadership development occurs, the important traits that leaders share, and the impact that they can have within their organizations.  Dr. Maxwell regularly uses real-life examples that demonstrate how leaders have achieved success while following these principles.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Timothy G. Wiedman from Doane University

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#25 Get Rich Click by Marc Ostrofsky

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Ostrofsky is an investor who has fine-tuned the art of Internet domain investing; he lives and breathes his craft. After reading this book, our perspective on marketing our business has drastically changed for the better. Even as the Internet and technology continue to evolve year after year, the fundamental lessons, proven business strategies and techniques found in this book still serve as inspiration and motivation for us in our day-to-day business activities.

I have read this book at least twice, and some of our workers and interns have followed my footsteps and have read this great book cover to cover. This book shows anyone how to jump into the mix early on and capitalize on an idea. After reading a book like this, your perspective on your business or potential business will drastically change for the better.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Ian Aronovich from GovernmentAuctions

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#26 The One Thing by Gary Keller

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Our CEO at Ferla Bikes originally recommended this book as a great read on productivity. It's an essential read for those who feel they juggle too many tasks every day, but get next to nothing done, which is becoming more and more common for young professionals juggling multiple projects. If I can only choose one thingI've learned from this book, it's that multitasking is a lie - and that you should buckle down on only one project at any given time so that you can do that one project with perfection.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Kaity O'Keefe from Ferla Bikes

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