5 New Self-Development Books You Need to Read

Hands holding a stack of books

The reason you’ve been so successful in your career is the understanding that you’ll always evolve and grow. You put a lot of effort into self-development, both personally and professionally, and one of the ways you soak up new ideas is by reading a lot of professional development books or listening to business podcasts.

But you’ve made your way through your at-home library a few times now and you’ve listened to what seems like every episode of your favorite podcasts. You’d love to add a few more books to your collection. The thing is, you want new material — books published this year, and every list of top business books you find online seems to only cover 2018 and before.

Where are all the new books?

Don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of the best business and self-development books published in the past six months so you can kickstart your reading and grow as a professional in 2020.

1. Leadership Is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say and What You Don’t by L. David Marquet

You know that words matter. What you say can make or break a deal, but you may not be as cognizant of your word choice while you’re talking with prospects, peers, or your superiors as you’d like. Sure, you’ve been told to think before you speak, but that’s not always an option, is it? Leadership is Language lays out a clear distinction between “good” and “bad” language and may very well help you understand how to adjust the words you use to build better relationships (and close deals, too).

2. Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein.

When was the last time you felt joy at work? Sure, you like your job, and you enjoy your successes, but you may also feel weighed down by meetings or like you’re swimming in paperwork. 

If you found yourself caught up in the Kondo home organizing craze, you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a new book on the scene that takes her organization principles and relates them to the professional sphere. This book goes beyond the simple act of tidying. Here you’ll learn efficiency, focus, and taming your own mindset clutter.

3. Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg, PhD

Are you the type of person who needs to start small to create a big change? Do too many steps make you feel overwhelmed? Does a goal so huge seem unreachable? Well, we’ve got a perfect book for you. 

With the experience of coaching over 40,000 people, BJ Fogg sure knows how to set goals and create habits to make those goals achievable. In Tiny Habits, Fogg takes readers through his three-step behavior formula: make it easy, make it fit your life, and make it rewarding. The premise is that change can be easy if you’re willing to take small — miniscule even — steps, and these actions will snowball into big results.

4. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

To you, a client is a client. It doesn’t matter what their sex, race, religion, body type, and more, is. But to your clients, who are showing up as their whole selves, it’s important that you recognize who they are and what sets them apart as individuals.

If you’re servicing a diverse clientele — or more importantly, if your clients aren’t very diverse — this book can help you understand the role racism plays in our society so you can take steps to challenge any inner beliefs and step forward to create safe spaces and work toward an equitable society.

5. The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova

There’s a lot that poker can teach you about business, but the most important one may be that skill is simply not enough. Instead, master poker players need to learn how to read people, how to control their emotions, which “card” to play, and many more lessons. The same can be said for any profession. Your skill will only take you so far. You also need soft skills, like understanding human decision making and how to adjust your actions based on other’s behaviors.

In this book, writer Maria Konnikova convinces Poker Hall of Fame inductee Erik Seidel to mentor her. The lessons she learns along the way are more than simple poker skills. It’s a read that will make you consider just how you play the game of business, and what tricks you can keep up your sleeve to achieve your goals and live up to your full potential.

2020 has brought a new wave of great personal and professional development books. Consider these five only a beginning…you’re going to have a lot of reading to do!

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Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila is a content strategist and writer who believes in the power of words and how a message can inform — and even transform — its intended audience. Reach out to her on Instagram at @ErinOllila, or visit her website erinollila.com.