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Self-improvement business books to read over your Christmas break

They say the average CEO reads 60 books a year. Of course, it’s easy to commit to that much reading when you’re steering the sleigh rather than pulling it along.

If the last 50 weeks have seen you rushing around without a spare moment to commit to self-improvement, now is the time to relax, unwind and recharge your batteries ahead of the coming year. Between festive markets and much-loved Christmas films, take some time to read an inspirational book or two: sure, you won’t manage to reach the 60-books-in-a-year mark in the space of a few days, but even one page has the power to transform your life.

Whether you’re happy in your current role or using the break to seek new opportunities, the following books can provide the advice, inspire drive and spark ideas ahead of your return to work in the New Year:

1. When to Jump by Mike Lewis

Torn between leaving or staying at your current job? Perhaps you’re pondering a career change, or maybe you’ve been playing with the idea of starting your own business. If you have reached a turning point in your professional life, When to Jump is the perfect book to read before the New Year. A collection of real life stories, the book tells the tales of those who have taken a leap of faith in order to make a positive change in their life. If you’re rushing between family get-togethers and Christmas fairs, take the time to read at least a story or two in the day: it will undoubtedly leave you feeling encouraged and inspired to embrace fear and follow your dreams.

2. The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha

Dubbed by readers as “ground-breaking”, “revolutionary” and “a two-hour ticket to change your life”, Neil Pasricha’s ‘The Happiness Equation’ will set you up with the positive outlook you need to take on a new year. While the book began as a letter to Pasricha’s unborn child on how to live a happy life, the formula upon which it was based soon evolved into a full guide. The advice it presents seems simplistic: want nothing, do anything, have everything. Yet, what follows are a series of examples that leave you looking at both your professional and personal life in a new way.

3. The Myth of the Nice Girl by Fran Hauser

Climbing the career ladder in a male-dominated environment isn’t easy, and the challenges you will come up against can leave you feeling discouraged and demotivated. If that sounds familiar, Fran Hauser’s ‘The Myth of the Nice Girl’ is an essential read during the Christmas break. More like a manual or guide, this book is filled with advice for females in all facets of professional life that doesn’t centre around “acting like a man” but presents the not-so-radical suggestion that people can be both kind and highly successful. Whether you’re eager to climb the career ladder or simply seek to gain more confidence in what they do and how they do it, get this one on your list (or slip it in a stocking for an inspirational women you know).

4. Daring Greatly – Brené Brown

Whenever we dare to take on something new – be it a job, relationship or hobby, we feel vulnerable: naturally, our instinct is to fight this feeling in order to appear confident. Following 12 years of research, Dr Brené Brown challenges this approach and presents vulnerability as a strength; one we should embrace rather than shutting ourselves off from. Daring Greatly explores the paradox of courage and presents the idea that by allowing ourselves to feel driven by this feeling rather than ashamed of it, just about every area of our life can be transformed. If you’re looking for a book that inspires self-improvement from a new angle, Dr Bréne Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly’ makes for a strong choice.

5. Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy

Whether you’re eager to take the next step on the career ladder, start eating healthier or commit to a couch-to-5K, willpower won’t see you succeed. That’s according to Benjamin Hardy, the author of Willpower Doesn’t Work and one of the leading voices on productivity and happiness. In this book, Hardy presents self-control as a muscle, one that will only flex if we have the drive or commitment to make it happen. For those looking for an inspirational read to round off the year and a pleasant reminder not to wait for change to come, this is the one for you.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.    

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Kate Allen

Kate Allen

Kate founded Allen Associates in 1998 out of a determination to build a recruitment business which delivered a bespoke service centred on the needs of clients and candidates.

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