Looking for good HR books to read that will help you take control of your career and won’t put you to sleep? Here are my top 25.
1. “Career Rehab” by Kanika Tolver
Kanika Tolver wrote “Career Rehab” for people just like you — someone who isn’t in love with their job or the daily grind. Her book strips away the layers of everyday distractions and gets down to what she refers to as the “good bones” of your resume so you can build your dream career.
I recommend this book because Kanika is the CEO and founder of Career Rehab in Washington, D.C. Her company focuses on assisting career transformations for students, professionals and retirees. Kanika knows her stuff, and her social media posts are a perfect example of her passion for helping others connect purpose and passion.
2. “The Talent Fix” by Tim Sackett
It is always exciting to find a new hiring playbook. In “The Talent Fix,” Tim Sackett writes about how corporate talent acquisition departments fell short for decades because of people, process and technology solutions. Tim provides his readers with solutions that can turn around teams and improve an organization’s ability to hire nearly overnight.
Tim’s playbook is full of tried, true and trusted concepts that have been applied in the field for several decades.
3. “Lead From the Outside” by Stacey Abrams
Some of the best HR books have little to do with business and a lot to do with leadership. Stacey Abrams builds confidence, provides insight and applauds courage through personal stories and helpful exercises.
“Lead From the Outside” is a road map that gives valuable guidance for women, people of color, the LGBTQ community and millennials ready to make their mark on the world.
4. Anything from HR author Steve Browne
Steve Browne is an HR superstar. His personal anecdotes bring broad concepts about HR strategy and people strategy to life with actionable insights. Steve is unafraid to tell his story of learning and evolving in the world of HR. Check out his books “HR on Purpose” and “HR Rising!!” I am not big on making guarantees, but you will learn a lot from both books and fall in love with Steve.
5. “The 9 Faces of HR” by Kris Dunn
Popular HR blogger and Chief HR Officer Kris Dunn writes based on HR experience. In “The 9 Faces of HR,” Kris presents a compelling reality that every HR professional on Earth can be classified as one of the “9 Faces” based on career level and the ability to innovate and drive change.
Regardless of whether you are a solo HR professional trying to pave your way or an HR leader trying to build a cohesive team, Kris’ no-BS playbook will empower your career and prepare you for the future of human resources.
6. “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty
We live in a world where thought leaders and social media influencers want us to wake up early, meditate and plunge ourselves into ice-cold baths to awaken our inner selves.
Jay Shetty is the real-life deal as a former monk and as an author and podcaster. “Think Like a Monk” is a road map to overcoming negative thoughts and bad habits, and how to access the calm and purpose that lies inside of all of us.
7. “Black Sheep” by Brant Menswar
Brant Menswar wants us all to be black sheep, meaning 100% original. He took his former rock star experience and turned it into being a business consultant and public speaker. In “Black Sheep,” Brant shows us all how to unleash our inner black sheep to empower our lives using the five core values that make us who we are. Work rules are made to be broken.
8. “Total Leadership” by Stewart Friedman
Stew Friedman wrote a bestselling book years before COVID-19 that speaks to who we are now post-pandemic. His book “Total Leadership” will give you the tools you need to achieve “four-way wins” to improve performance at work, home, community and inside yourself.
9. “The Memo” by Minda Harts
Minda Harts’ book, “The Memo,” is an ultimate career guide tailored for women of color. However, there are must-know lessons for anyone who feels an overwhelming commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging. It is all straight talk, with practical and valuable takeaways for everyone.
10. “Own Your Career Own Your Life” by Andy Storch
Andy Storch writes a career guide based on his life and experience. It is full of effective tips for personal development, career guidance, and corporate career planning and development. “Own Your Career Own Your Life” is a must-read for practical tips, and his memoir-like writing style will keep you captivated.
11. “Long Life Learning” by Michelle R. Weise
We survive life and career because we are continuously learning. In the fascinating book “Long Life Learning,” Michelle R. Weise writes that workers of the future will no longer have a beginning, middle or end of their careers. It is about always moving forward with ongoing and diverse training and development plans. This is your framework for developing competencies for the future.
12. “Great Leaders Have No Rules” by Kevin Kruse
Known as the ultimate authority of contrarian thinking, Kevin Kruse wants leaders to throw out their playbooks and rethink everything about “managing” workers — including learning how to effectively manage themselves.
“Great Leaders Have No Rules” teaches us a new and innovative approach to find better, faster and easier ways to succeed as a leader. It will challenge all of your assumptions about talent management, employee engagement and employee performance.
13. “The Coaching Habit” and “The Advice Trap” by Michael Bungay Stanier
Michael Bungay Stanier has two books that I think you need in your library. First, “The Coaching Habit” blows up the old models of leadership consultants and challenges you to drill down to the core of human behavior.
Meanwhile, “The Advice Trap” makes sure you’re not too obnoxious doing it. Both are must-reads for anyone who is passionate about human performance and building a great company culture.
14. “Moving From Panic to Purpose” by Amy Waninger
At some point, most of us have felt stuck in a job. “Moving from Panic to Purpose” is a practical workbook that propels people to move beyond their fears of the unknown and to quickly focus on moving forward. Amy Waninger de-risks the next steps in your career and makes managing those changes manageable.
15. “The Jackass Whisperer” by Scott Stratten
Scott Stratten once said to Brené Brown, “Don’t try to win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.” In “The Jackass Whisperer,” Stratten unapologetically includes that quote as he challenges you to be less of a jackass yourself. It makes me laugh so hard that it has caused awkward moments in public.
16. “The Remix” by Lindsey Pollak
Lindsey Pollak is the absolute queen of multigenerational research and discourse. Her book “The Remix” highlights the way workers and business leaders tackle all sorts of situations when diverse people of every generation come together to work. Lindsey explains that collaboration and agility between and among generations will drive optimal business outcomes. A lot can be said for learning from each other.
17. “Originals” by Adam Grant
If you’ve never read an Adam Grant book, “Originals” is the best place to start. Adam teaches how workers can take risks and chase new ideas, while leaders can avoid being jerks who engage in groupthink.
Whether you’ve had a fresh idea but felt scared, or you’re just looking to spark innovation on your team, “Originals” is for you.
18. “Clocking Out” by Raymond Lee
Why read one story when you can read 10? “Clocking Out” by Raymond Lee offers 10 stories that bring key components of effective career transition to life. Choice, mindset, agility and trust are all central to Raymond’s storytelling. He shows us how those elements can make or break a career change.
19. “How I Built This” by Guy Raz
“How I Built This” is all about telling stories from entrepreneurs who took a risk, put themselves first and bet on enormous ideas. Guy Raz puts together inspiring and diverse stories of success — and failures — to learn from and push us to keep reaching for our dreams.
20. “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College” by Alexandra Levit
Alexandra Levit is a researcher and futurist. The bestselling and super-practical book “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College” is about what kids need to learn after leaving school and getting their first job. It is the perfect book for late-stage millennials, Gen Z young adults and for those of you that manage someone in that cohort.
21. “The Calling” by Rha Goddess
As a seasoned coach, Rha Goddess wrote “The Calling” based on her work with clients. Rha helps people recognize their skills and challenges while taking accountability for their lives and forgiving themselves and others. “The Calling” is a guide to find your true calling and redefine what success means to you.
22. “Redefining HR” by Lars Schmidt
Lars Schmidt’s “Redefining HR” guides modern HR leaders to a place where they can adapt, think differently about HR practices and show enough bravery to help everyone reach their full potential, including themselves.
23. “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley
Written communication is at the core of how we convey ideas, issues and accomplishments. “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley is a super-handy guide that highlights the principles of good writing. Bonus: She shares how to write the greatest resignation letter ever.
24. “Begin Again” by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
We can’t build back better unless we take a good hard look at the past. Glaude examines history and how we can apply it to the world we live in today. I learned so much from “Begin Again” and about James Baldwin.
25. “The Five Minute Journal”
“The Five Minute Journal” is a smart little workbook that reminds us to show gratitude in our daily lives. Do you want to recognize the abundance in your life and feel appreciation for everything around you? I recommend you start here.
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