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Ever wondered what sets successful individuals apart? Well, here’s a revealing stat: avid readers often lead the pack. At Life After Teaching, we’re passionate about the incredible wisdom found in books. But here’s the twist: Our vibrant community of former educators, who have successfully transitioned beyond the classroom, have shared their top book recommendations that were instrumental in their journey. We’re excited to share this selected collection of 35 must-read books for a life after teaching.
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Compound Effect “contains the essence of what every super achiever needs to know, practice, and master to obtain extraordinary success. If you’re serious about living an extraordinary life, use the power of The Compound Effect to create the success you desire.” This is the book that was life-changing for so many of us here at Life After Teaching. that’s why we rate it #1 out of our 35 Must-Read books to help you succeed!
The New Freedom by Rob Cubbon
Who doesn’t want to have more freedom to enjoy life a little more?? The New Freedom “will unshackle you from needless expenses, make you move your life and work online, get you to escape employment, and provide you with actionable strategies to make a living from more meaningful work.”
Rework by Jason Fried
Rework “is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs who want to get out, and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable inspiration and guidance in these pages. It’s time to rework work.”
Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin
Talent Is Overrated is a fantastic book and a national bestseller. “Geoff Colvin shows where we go wrong and what actually makes world-class performers so remarkable. Readers and listeners worldwide have been inspired by this book’s liberating message: You don’t need a one-in-a-million natural gift.”
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
“Since 2002, The War of Art has inspired people around the world to defeat “resistance”; to recognize and knock down dream-blocking barriers, and to silence the naysayers within us.” This is such a good book for mindset, so it is definitely one of the must-read books for success.
The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster by Darren Hardy
“In The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, you will learn the best strategies Darren has ever collected from the most successful people on the planet, covering the four essential skills necessary for entrepreneurial success: sales, recruiting, leadership, and productivity. This essential guidebook will prepare you for the wild ride of entrepreneurship.” Darren Hardy’s books will always make the list of must-read books for success.
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
“The Tipping Point is an intellectual adventure story with an infectious enthusiasm for the power and joy of new ideas. Most of all, it is a roadmap to change, with a profoundly hopeful message: that one imaginative person applying a well-placed lever can move the world.”
The Warren Buffett Way by Robert G. Hagstrom
This edition of The Warren Buffet Way “is a completely revised and updated look at the Oracle of Omaha — comprising Buffett’s numerous investments and accomplishments over the past ten years, as well as the timeless and highly successful investment strategies and techniques he has always used to come out a market winner.”
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink
“Since its release in October 2015, Extreme Ownership has revolutionized leadership development and set a new standard for literature on the subject. Required reading for many of the most successful organizations, it has become an integral part of the official leadership training programs for scores of business teams, military units, and first responders.”
The LEan Startup by eric ries
“The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in an age when companies need to innovate more than ever.”
Getting Things Done by David Allen
“Since it was first published more than 15 years ago, David Allen’s Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era and the ultimate book on personal organization. “GTD” is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots.”
The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin D. Johnson
The Entrepreneur Mind is described as “a riveting book written for new and veteran entrepreneurs. Johnson identifies one hundred key lessons that every entrepreneur must learn in seven areas: Strategy, Education, People, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Leadership, and Motivation.”
Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk
“In this lively, practical, and inspiring book Crushing It, Gary dissects every current major social media platform so that anyone, from a plumber to a professional ice skater, will know exactly how to amplify his or her personal brand on each. He offers both theoretical and tactical advice on how to become the biggest thing on old standbys like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat; podcast platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and iTunes; and other emerging platforms such as Musical.ly.” This is a great choice for entrepreneurs.
The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden
In The Motivation Myth, “Haden shows us how to reframe our thinking about the relationship of motivation to success. He meets us at our level – at the beginning of any big goal we have for our lives, a little anxious and unsure about our way forward, a little burned by self-help books and strategies that have failed us in the past – and offers practical advice that anyone can use to stop stalling and start working on those dreams.” I can’t say enough about the practicality of this book.
Zero To One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
“Zero to One is about how to build companies that create new things. It draws on everything Peter Thiel has learned directly as a co-founder of PayPal and Palantir and then an investor in hundreds of startups, including Facebook and SpaceX. The single most powerful pattern Thiel has noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas.”
Everything is figureoutable by Marie Forleo
While most self-help books offer quick fixes, Everything is Figureoutable will retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks. In the words of Cheryl Strayed, it’s “a must-read for anyone who wants to face their fears, fulfill their dreams, and find a better way forward.”
If you’re having trouble solving a problem or reaching a dream, the problem isn’t you. It’s that you haven’t yet installed the one belief that changes everything.
The One Thing by Gary Keller
“This is a book for busy people. If you want less on your plate and more for your life and career, tune in to the #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. The ONE Thing will bring your life and your work into focus.”
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
“Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable. Every day, consumers come face to face with a lot of boring stuff – a lot of brown cows – but you can bet they won’t forget a Purple Cow. In Purple Cow, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It’s a manifesto for marketers.”
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
“Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has been a top seller for the simple reason that it ignores trends and pop psychology for proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity. With penetrating insights and practical anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity—principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.”
Tribes by Seth Godin
“Tribes will make you think (really think) about the opportunities in leading your fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers….It’s not easy, but it’s easier than you think. Since it was first published almost a decade ago, Seth Godin’s visionary book has helped tens of thousands of leaders turn a scattering of followers into a loyal tribe. If you need to rally fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers around an idea, this book will demystify the process.”
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
The 4 Hour Work Week “explains what a lifestyle entrepreneur is and why you should want to become one. It teaches you how to “kill” your job and design a life, the 80/20 rule and how it increases productivity, how to replace your dreams with goals, and more. Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.” This is an excellent book for reframing your thinking and setting boundaries–that’s why it’s on our list of must-read books for success.
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
In The $100 Startup, “Chris Guillebeau tells you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning, and purpose – and earn a good living. Not content to talk in generalities, Chris tells you exactly how many dollars his group of unexpected entrepreneurs required to get their projects up and running; what these individuals did in the first weeks and months to generate significant cash; some of the key mistakes they made along the way, and the crucial insights that made the business stick. Among Chris’s key principles: If you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at something else; never teach a man to fish—sell him the fish instead; and in the battle between planning and action, action wins.”
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
“You can go after the job you want…and get it! You can take the job you have…and improve it! You can take any situation you’re in…and make it work for you! For over 60 years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book How To Win Friends and Influence People has carried thousands of now-famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.”
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
“Start with Why shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way – and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with why.”
The Dip by Seth Godin
“Whether you’re a graphic designer, a sales rep, an athlete, or an aspiring CEO, this fun little book will help you figure out if you’re in a Dip that’s worthy of your time, effort, and talents. If you are, The Dip will inspire you to hang tough. If not, it will help you find the courage to quit-so you can be number one at something else.” This is an excellent and uplifting read.
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
“Carol S. Dweck, PhD, discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mind-set. In this brilliant book Mindset, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.” Because of its approach to flip the fixed mindset into a growth mindset, this book is a highly suggested one on our list of must-read books for success.
Go Pro by Eric Worre
“Over twenty years ago at a company convention, Eric Worre had an “aha” moment that changed his life forever. At that event he made the decision to Go Pro and become a Network Marketing expert. Since that time, he has focused on developing the skills to do just that.”
The Success Principle by Jack Canfield
“In The Success Principles, the cocreator of the phenomenal best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series, helps you get from where you are to where you want to be, teaching you how to increase your confidence, tackle daily challenges, live with passion and purpose, and realize all your ambitions.” This is an easy-to-read book that packs a punch.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
“In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. “
Quiet by Susan Cain
“Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Passionately argued, impeccably researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.”
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
“This #1 New York Times best seller – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff- offers suggestions for daily changes that can add up to a more relaxed, stress-free you. In thoughtful and insightful language, author Richard Carlson reveals ways to calm down in the midst of your incredibly hurried, stress-filled life.”
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
“To make the journey into The Power of Now you need to leave your analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. Much more than simple principles and platitudes, the book takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light.”
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
“By forcing us to apply a more selective criterion for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy – instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us. Essentialism is not one more thing – it’s a whole new way of doing everything. It’s about doing less, but better, in every area of our lives.”
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
“It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people – from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents – shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean into discomfort.” This book is in our top five on the list of mus-read books for success.
Failing Forward by John Maxwell
“Are some people born to achieve anything they want while others struggle? Call them lucky, blessed, or possessors of the Midas touch. What is the real reason for their success? Is it family background, wealth, greater opportunities, high morals, an easy childhood? New York Times best-selling author John C. Maxwell has the answer in Failing Forward: The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”
All descriptions included are credited to the authors/publishers.
As we wrap up this literary journey, we hope you’ve discovered a title or two that’s piqued your curiosity and found its place on your reading list. But here’s a reminder: while books are phenomenal sources of wisdom, there’s more to explore on your path to success. If you’re hungry for additional resources, particularly in the realm of crafting the perfect resume and making your transition smoother than ever, look no further than our My Last Year Teaching club. Here, you’ll find a wealth of tools, insights, and support tailored to your unique needs, designed to empower and elevate you, just like these books.
So, why wait? Dive into our resources, and let’s continue writing your success story together.