3 Must-read books for your professional growth


Racquel Simpson, Youthlink Writer

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends. They are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers."
- Charles William Eliot

From dubious myths and palpable tales to anecdotal and true-life narratives, it is no doubt that we have all found ourselves delving into concocted plots and settings at some point in time, in order to unfold and comprehend what we may. Admittedly, some of these authors are so great that their work has resulted in a cathartic response from most of us, but much more can be unearthed from reading than just tears and fury. Developmental books, specifically those about professional growth, are indeed the wisest of counsellors and utterly the most important nuggets for anyone who thinks seriously of his professional advancement.

Marketing manager for Best Dressed Chicken, Oral Ashley, finds pleasure in sharing what he's gained in terms of professional growth from three of his favourite books.

1. Animal Farm by George Orwell

His synopsis: I read this book during my tenure at Campion College. Some of us may be familiar with this book and its contents. It is about the Russian revolution and features the famous quote about all men being equal but some being more equal than others. One can garner some basic cognisance on how to deal with very competitive situations and understanding the dynamics of these situations. One important theme that emerges out of this text is that in a competitive environment the playing field is not always level, but it is what you make of it and how you go about turning those barriers into stepping stones that count.

Three Vital lessons He Learnt

  • I was better able to understand and deal with competitiveness in a very hostile environment.
  • There was more understanding as to how issues such as social class and race affect people on the corporate and professional scene.
  • I have gained an appreciation of the different barriers in the world and strengthened my ability to resolve them irrespective of what they are.

2. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

His synopsis: This book is about how to manage and control emotions in a social and professional setting. A most prevalent theme in this text is situational leadership, which speaks to adapting different leadership styles in different environments. From reading this book, one will better understand that there is not a one-side-to-it-all approach.

Three Vital Lessons He Learnt

  • The big 'walk-away' from this book for me was that as a leader there isn't a one-side-to it-all because persons are different.
  • Learning how to take a situational approach to different persons was also a very vital lesson for me.
  • I have also learnt how to be more rational and more understanding of people and their trigger points in order to bring out the best in them so they can see me as an inspirational leader.

3. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

His synopsis: The 48 Laws of Power deals with power dynamics within the corporate environment. It conveys various scenarios about understanding different leadership styles and dealing with conflicts between people of varying personality types. In a basic sense, this book highlights ways in which one can navigate through very tough environments to survive and stand out.

Three Vital Lessons He Learnt

  • This brought a better understanding to me as to where power lies within the corporate world.
  • A better sense as to how the influential and decision makers are garnered, and so there was a better idea of how to operate within the overall environment.
  • It teaches which lines aren't to be crossed with those above you in the working world, and that is very important.

Name three books which you have read about professional growth and tell us two things you have learnt from them.

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