In the never-ending quest for professional improvement, you may find accelerated success by enrolling in workshops, picking the brain of your favorite mentor—or simply devouring an insightful, strategy-packed career book.
But how do you know which tomes are truly helpful and worth your time?
Enter: LearnVest. We read five career page-turners for you, chatted with the authors and mined the best tips you can apply to your own career strategy—starting today.
1. The Book: “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success”
By Megan McArdle
According to Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle, failure has significant power to lead us to success—if you know how to harness it. Citing business, economic and psychological research, she argues that the professional skill we should all be cultivating is the art of bouncing back.
McArdle’s big tip: Relinquish your fear of failure.
What that means: When we expect that professional failures can—and will—occur, we give ourselves permission to take a leap or two. And if a soul-crushing failure strikes as a result, you can skip the shock-paralysis mode—because you were already expecting a few bumps in the road—and quickly change your course.
So diagnose and assess failures early, then accept them—and move on. “Realize you are not a failure—you are a person who has failed,” McArdle says. “Failure is how we learn and can set us up for the next achievement.”
Her advice in action: Even some of the most recognizable, successful people floundered before they ultimately got it right. And while you may not ever experience large-scale failure, the takeaway is the same. So next time you hit a professional snag—you miss a deadline, bomb the presentation or are late to an important shareholder meeting—allow yourself to feel bad for just a minute … then spring into action: Take responsibility for your mistake, come up with a recovery plan—and then use the experience as fuel for your future successes.