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5 books to improve your working life

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Friday, August 09, 2013 10:53 am
Summer at the beach: What could be more perfect than a cool drink and a hot…career book? If you're ready for some productive reading for the second half of summer, I've got some books for you. “Tipping Sacred Cows: Kick the bad work habits that masquerade as virtues,” by Jake Breeden, John Wiley & Sons, 2013, $25.95.

According to author Jake Breeden, our workplaces are full of people hampered by the “virtue” of excellence, one of seven celebrated traits that he calls vices in disguise. The other virtue/vices pegged by Breeden are balance, collaboration, creativity, fairness, passion and preparation. His thesis that we blindly over-reach in these areas without enough analysis of results raises the question: What's the better approach? Luckily, Breeden supplies the answers.

“Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work,” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath, Crown Business, 2012, $26.

In this amusing book, the Heath brothers demonstrate how our poor decision-making creates problems for us at home and work. Although both authors are business professors at prestigious universities, their book is not laden with biz-speak or academic phrasing. Instead it's a fast-paced and challenging look at how we can improve our work and personal lives with better decision-making.

“Lie Spotting: Proven techniques to detect deception,” by Pamela Meyer, St. Martin's Press, 2010, $14.99.

In this straightforward guide, author Pamela Meyer moves beyond simplistic discussions of body language into more strategic questions of why people lie and how to reduce the impact of lies in the workplace. A comprehensive section on building trust to create more effective business practices elevates this book into a practical management guide.

“Getting Ahead: Three steps to take your career to the next level,” by Joel A. Garfinkle, John Wiley & Sons, 2011, $24.95.

In this book, executive coach Joel Garfinkle provides three steps for moving forward in your career: Controlling how others see you, increasing your visibility and exerting your influence. This is a good book for people who want to go further in their workplaces but don't know where to start.

“The Finch Effect: The five strategies to adapt and thrive in your working life,” by Nacie Carson, Jossey-Bass, 2012, $25.95.

Author Carson provides a compelling argument that not only can workers change their stripes, but they're hard-wired to do so by virtue of being human. Adaptability is an innate and (re)learnable trait that helps pry open doors the economy seems to be slamming shut. Chapters include discussions on nurturing a social network, developing a gig mentality and harnessing entrepreneurial spirit – all good concepts for workers making their way in an ever-changing environment.

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