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Five must-read books for successful people


I’ve been fascinated by career and life coaching for as long as I’ve been in recruitment. Although these industries can look very different, they’re closely related.

In many ways, it’s the job of the team here at 1-1 Recruitment to be coaches of a sort. We’re here to help people find their true calling, be the best they can be, work hard at the areas of their career that will give them the most benefit, recognise their strengths and understand what makes them happy.

As a team we try to identify these factors within ourselves, as well as the beliefs and assumptions that hold us back.

I’ve often turned to books for help in my career. One of my favourites is “Take yourself to the top” (below). It’s a book I love, one that has been a continual source of inspiration and guidance and reference I often turn to for help.

There has been an explosion of self-help and coaching books in recent years. I am sure there are many more excellent books out there waiting to be discovered, but here are five I have found to be inspiring and, better still, useful.

1.      Take yourself to the top – Laura Berman Fortgang

In a nutshell, this book is a guide to the difference between “getting by” and taking charge of your life.

Laura Berman Fortgang is a leading life coach and speaker. In this book she shares the secrets she has learned along the way – the tools and techniques that help people to become the best version of themselves that they can be. A manifesto and guide to reaching your full potential, getting out of a rut and making a success of yourself, this book is full of practical tips and actions you can take that will make a difference.

The author starts with identifying the factors that hold you back in life and the difficult challenge of overcoming them. She also identifies the value of making a five-year plan, which is something I have taken to heart.

Usefully, this book contains specific advice for people in various walks of life, from entrepreneurs seeking more success to professionals suffering from burnout or simply people who are quietly struggling through life. Owning this book is like having a life coach in your corner all the time.  It will take a bit of self-discipline to reap the rewards offered by this book, but it’s worth the effort.

Find the book! 

 2.      The artist’s way – a course in discovering and recovering your creative self – Julia Cameron

Everyone is creative and everyone can gain joy and enrich their life through their own, highly personal form of creativity. Although this book is nominally for artists, it is much more besides. It provides some really useful ways of recovering from “artist’s block” and some great exercises for recovering (or discovering) creativity.

These ideas can be applied to the many different areas in life in which creativity has a role to play.

Best of all, it’s a tonic for the “limiting beliefs” that stifle creativity within (let’s face it) most of us.

One commentator on Amazon described this book as “A game-changer for anyone creative” which is powerful praise - and it’s hard to disagree.

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3.      Rules of Management - Richard Templar

How is it that some people seem to find it easy to inspire, lead and deal with the complexities and politics of management while others agonise, struggle and fail with this very particular and demanding challenge?

So much of management is about behaving in the right way, but when you don’t know the rules, they can seem like a code that’s impossible to break. This book attempts to alter that by very straightforwardly setting out the rules for good management. The rules are easy to read, understand and absorb.

A lot of Templar’s rules are common sense. But in much the same way that coaches often get us to recognise truths we already know, his trick is to make us re-examine these truths and appreciate the wisdom of them.

I’m going to be a bit sneaky here and recommend a second book – Rules of Life, by the same author. It’s equally inspiring and equally good.

Find Rules of Management! 

Find Rules of Life! 

 4.      Top to Toe - Nicky Hambleton-Jones

The subtitle of this book says it all: “The ultimate guide to being who you want to be”.

Business owner, dietician, stylist, entrepreneur and TV presenter Hambleton-Jones is renowned now, and will be especially familiar to anyone who watched Channel 4’s Ten Years Younger.

But once upon a time she was facing her third consecutive redundancy and felt she was living the wrong life. We already know that she turned it around, and in some style.

Like many successful people, Hamilton-Jones had self-belief, persistence and a vision. This book is full of lessons learned from the author’s experience of making her dreams a reality.

Replete with ideas about how to tweak different areas of life to make you feel more energised, powerful, positive, optimistic, confident and stylish, this book is like a personal trainer for your self-esteem. It could also help you to realise your dreams.

Written in a direct and energising style, it’s infectious and accessible and deals with subjects as diverse as creating a personal style, finding a dream job and losing weight. Inspiring and empowering.

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 5.      Be your own life coach – Fiona Harrold

Beginning with the importance of setting goals, the author (another renowned life coach) provides practical tips for achieving your personal and professional dreams. Central to her approach is the defeat of limiting beliefs and her conviction that anyone can do anything if they believe it strongly enough.

Harrold believes that self-esteem is a vital part of happiness and part of the mission of this book is to teach the reader how to change their view of themselves. It provides practical exercises the reader can do to help them absorb the lessons within it. Read it with a notebook and pen to hand! One of my favourites, this book is like an old and trusted friend.

Find the book!

I hope this article inspires you to look into one or two (or even all) of these great books. If you do, please do tweet us to let us know what you think of them! 

Contact 1-1 Recruitment to find your ideal career!