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Ten Books to Develop Your Career in 2020

Dave Stark
Product Marketing Manager, Oracle CX

Part of career growth is continual learning and to help give a path to that, below are ten books that I personally, not as any official Oracle endorsement, feel could be great reads for someone looking for new ideas to help build their career. Some of the concepts from the books will resonate more than others, and more with some people than others, but there’s some good content for the new year.


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The Talent Code and The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

The Talent Code was published in 2009 and Coyle notes at the beginning of the book how it in part a search for talent hotbeds, whether in the favelas of Brazil or successful classrooms, and he covers well three drivers of talent in deep practice, ignition, and master coaching. The Culture Code came out in 2018 and featured the subtitle The Secret of Highly Successful Groups, with it going over the concepts of build safety, share vulnerability, and establish purpose.


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Give and Take by Adam Grant

The book was subtitled Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, and ideas from it that stood out were from Chapter Three: The Ripple Effect, with it noting that it's not about getting credit, one should show up, work hard, be kind, take the high road, and from Chapter Five: The Power of Powerless Communication, with the notion that effective communication often from asking questions and listening to the answers, expressing vulnerability and seeking advice.


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Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Brown notes that this book an attempt to answer how organizations cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how the value of courage gets embedded in the culture of an organization. She also covered how a leader is someone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential.

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Grit by Angela Duckworth

Grit features the subtitle The Power of Passion and Perseverance and the sections of the book are What Grit is and why it matters, Growing grit from the inside out, and Growing grit from the outside in. Duckworth wraps up the book with writing about a culture of grit, and how if someone wants to be grittier, they should find a gritty culture and join, as the way to be great at something is to be part of a great team. Additionally, she notes that if someone a leader and wants people in their organization to be grittier, they should create a gritty culture that fosters development.


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Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

This short book has the subtitle 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur and Sivers in it tells the story of starting the online music store CD Baby in 1998, with concepts in two primary areas, customer focus and how to run a business (with these ideas also applicable to someone simply doing work). Some key points covered were: be transparent, make your decisions be about your customers, pay close attention to how you deal with people, don't be a slave to a plan, know what things are important to you, and try to spend your time doing the value-add things you’re good at and really want to do.

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The Power Paradox by Dacher Keltner

Keltner is a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and writes on the first page that "we rise in power and make a difference due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst" and this idea of how power granted, and then what can occur with people who have varying levels of power is explored throughout the book. He defines power as making a difference in the world, altering the state of others, and notes how power most commonly isn't something that's grabbed, but given by groups to people to those who are acting in ways that advance the greater good.






Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

Duhigg wrote about the science of productivity, with the book broken down into eight chapters, titled Motivation, Teams, Focus, Goal Setting, Managing Others, Decision Making, Innovation, and Absorbing data. This final chapter covers data through the story of a failing Cincinnati public school and how when teachers had ownership of the data on classroom performance, they conducted trials and experiments to see if subsequent data would reflect improvement. The basic idea is that data matters when ownership taken by the people who can impact it, with those people coming up with and implementing ideas, evaluating the results, and course-correcting.


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Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

This memoir from the Nike creator covers the path he took to business success, along with some solid maxims about business from Knight, including "don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." Another thing that stands out is the writing extremely well crafted, with it done J.R. Moehringer, who previously wrote Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open.






Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

Subtitled The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, Tools of Titans features wisdom and recommendations from well over a hundred people. One notion from the book was the idea of doing work before worrying about doing good work, if someone stuck, they should simply start, and see what then results.

Develop Your Teams' Career

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