11 books every young professional should read


You’re a young professional. You’ve left the college world behind and are ready to enter the “real” one.

The world of 9-to-5 can be intimidating at first. To help ease the transition, I asked some friends, co-workers, and the members of Ragan.com’s Facebook group what books they recommend young pros read.

The books on this list cover everything from professional development to writing to making friends in a new city. You don’t have to be a millennial to
learn from them; their lessons and insight apply to pros of any age.


“You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career,”

by Katharine Brooks.

Has anyone ever asked you, “What are you going to do with that major?” If so, this book is for you. Even though you just spent four years working on a
degree, you might not land a job in that field when you graduate. This book outlines concrete ways you can reframe your skills and steer yourself toward a
career you love.


“How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships,”

by Leil Lowndes.

When you apply for jobs, you have to talk to a lot of people. From emailing contacts in your network to meeting potential bosses face to face, you want all
communication you conduct to be clear, friendly, and professional. From tips on how to make small talk to insight into body language, this book covers it

“The Book of Virtues,”
by William J. Bennett.

Many of us read stories from this treasury when we were younger, but when beginning a career, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on the importance of values such
as responsibility, courage, persistence, and honesty.


“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change,”

by Stephen R. Covey.

This book appears on most professional reading lists, and with good reason: Covey explains how you can become more effective in both your professional and
personal life. You might want to take notes.

“Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?”
by Seth Godin.

When you land a job, you want to show your boss and co-workers that you are essential to the company. Godin explains how to make yourself irreplaceable,
and why it’s career suicide if you don’t.


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“Lean In,”
by Sheryl Sandberg.

This book by Facebook’s COO combines personal stories with data and research to encourage women
to become leaders in the workplace. It’s an inspiring read for women who feel pressured to have it all.

“On Writing Well,”
by William Zinsser.

Every communications pro should have this book on his or her bookshelf. Zinsser meant his book to complementThe Elements of Style (another essential book), and serve as a guide to putting those elements into practice.


“Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life,”

by Anne Lamott.

If your dream is to be a writer, Lamott can help you achieve it. She explains how to find your passion and voice, and write something you’re proud of. You
just have to take it one step at a time.

9. Work by an author whose writing you admire.

To be a great writer, you must first know what great writing looks like. Find a writer (or writers) whose style you admire, and read everything you can by
him. Determine what you like about his writing, and try to incorporate it into your own.

10. A biography of someone who inspires you.

Is there a great writer, actor, athlete or president you admire? Read their stories, and find out how they achieved success. Chances are they suffered
setbacks and challenges just like you. Learning how others accomplished their dreams and made a difference in the world can be wonderfully inspiring.

“MWF seeks BFF,”
by Rachel Bertsche.

This is a story about finding friendships as an adult in a new city. Whether you have to relocate for a job or just want to expand your inner circle, this
is a fun read about the necessity of friends.

What books do you recommend?

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