Summer reads for a positive career shift

4 Summer must reads: Surveys and research from the past five years highlight the most in-demand soft skills. We've selected our top choices and recommend a book for each skill to help you improve. This way, you can learn and enjoy the process.

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Summer reads for a positive career shift

Summer reads for a positive career shift

Summertime is the perfect season to read. Picture yourself on a green lawn after a picnic, relaxing on a beach between swims, or watching a sunset from a balcony – a book could be the perfect companion. Here’s an idea: use vacation time for career growth without checking work emails. Improve your soft skills – personal qualities that help you communicate well with others. These skills are not only professionally beneficial but also useful in everyday life.

Surveys and research from the past five years highlight the most in-demand soft skills. We’ve selected our top choices and recommend a book for each skill to help you improve. This way, you can learn and enjoy the process.

#1. Creativity

“The Creative Act: A Way of Being” by Rick Rubin

Rick Rubin is an American sound producer and record executive. He is known for his unconventional ways in music and out (like walking around barefoot, for example, for a better connection to nature and Earth). The book is a collection of ideas on creativity. There are no numbered chapters – only areas of thought. It could be a reminder that creativity does not mean there’s a piece of art that is being created.

One can be creative at anything: planning a trip, hosting a party, working on a hobby project or performing a work task. The text may be an inspiration to simply make something, whatever it may be and tune into the energy of the “Source”. Rubin recommends, instead of reading the book from cover to cover, to occasionally flip a page whenever you feel stuck and see what happens. In case the line does not resonate enough in the given moment, check out a different section.

#2 Focus and time management

“Deep work: Rules for a Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport

Cal Newport is an American author and professor of computer science. With so many things going on at all times, and so many tasks to perform, Newport teaches us to prioritize and concentrate. He categorizes all work into ‘deep’ and ‘shallow’ tasks.

Deep work are the activities to be done in a don’t disturb mode. Something that can bring actual personal or professional value, challenge and help the progress. Shallow work are simpler logistical style tasks. They are easy to replicate and may be performed even when distracted. According to Newport, it’s the deep work that may increase one’s commercial value among other professionals: it helps to learn complicated things quickly and have focus to create the best possible work.

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#3 Negotiation, Communication, Teamwork and Adaptability

“Surrounded by Idiots” by Thomas Erikson

Thomas Erikson is a Swedish behavioural expert, author and lecturer. The provocative book title refers to the thought some might occasionally have on how people around are not smart enough or frankly dumb. Untrue, according to the book. Everyone is different and has their own ways. By achieving a better understanding (within a work team, let’s say) it’s easier to cooperate and see more clearly each other’s reasoning. Also, by understanding other people’s nature, negotiations might get more productive.

Erikson identifies four main behavioral types: analytical (blue), stable (green), dominant (red), and inspiring (yellow). Most people are a combination of two colors. This book helps readers recognize these types and adapt accordingly. It works the other way around too: you will learn more about yourself to maybe better use your strengths.

#4 Consistency and Commitment

“Atomic Habits” by James Clear

The book by a bestselling writer and speaker James Clear teaches how to create good useful habits and break the bad ones. Habits, personal and professional, are in integral part of everyday living, how nice it could be to transform this part for the better. Small things and actions have incredible power and are not to be underestimated, according to Clear. He suggests to focus on small improvements every day, which will make a drastic visible change in the end (1% better each day). In order to learn a new skill, you can start practicing just for a short time every day.

The book outlines four laws of behavior change:

  • make it obvious
  • make it attractive
  • make it easy
  • make it satisfying.

May be helpful to become a more committed and consistent individual.

We hope you find a book that excites you and enjoy a wonderful summer!
As always, we encourage you to use your best judgment, think critically, and remember that the suggestions above are just opinions. Whether it’s vacation time or not, the Exactpi team is here to help you find the perfect match. Check out our sunny opportunities: Exactpi Vacancies.

Meet the author:
Anna Nasonova is Russian but also speaks English, French and basic Dutch, so she is a true international. She knows better than anyone what you encounter when you start living and working in the Netherlands and is happy to help you with this in her role as international Talent Sourcer.

Would you like to learn more about this topic or have a conversation with one of our Multilingual experts? Feel free to contact Anna.

Anna Nasonova - International Talent Sourcer

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