Book covers of suggested reading for career change

5 books to read if you need to start a new career

Many people have been left without jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Others have found that the recent lockdown has given them a wake-up call that the career they currently have doesn’t involve the work they once dreamed of doing. Either way, starting a new career from scratch can be scary.

But if you’re leaving a profession that doesn’t fulfil you, taking the first step in following your dream job, or just looking to find a steadier career path, it may be a good idea to press pause first and figure out the best way forward.

Of course, most of us don’t have the luxury of lots of time to use brooding about the work we want to do. But we can usually spare some hours to read through good advice written by others to help us on our way. 

So, that’s why we’ve put together a list of 5 essential books to read if you NEED to start a new career, like NOW.

Getting There: A Book of Mentors – by Gillian Zoe Segal

Few of us have access to seasoned mentors who can guide us on paths that they themselves have trodden. That’s why this book can feel like a beacon in the dark.

Segal has interviewed an astonishing range of contributors who’ve struggled with setbacks, overcome their doubts, and learned a few crucial lessons as they journeyed through their careers and lives.

Interviews include billionaires like Warren Buffet, best-selling authors like Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney, supermodel and entrepreneur Kathy Ireland, and a host of “regular” people to remind you that whatever you’re going through right now – you’re not alone.

The Multi-Hyphenated Method – by Emma Gannon

A whole swathe of folk suddenly found themselves working from home this spring. If you were one of them and realised that for, whatever reasons, you are much better suited to a career through your laptop then this is the book for you.

Gannon combines tales from the WFH trenches alongside practical advice and actionable tools that can be used no matter what industry you’re planning to plug into.

It’s especially helpful for women who want to stop having to make excuses for the multiple hats they wear, the overlapping schedules they have and the unconventional hours they often work around.

The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters – by Wes Moore

If the last few months has given you pause to wonder about your path to purpose, then you may find this New York Times bestseller by Wes Moore, the CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, one of America’s largest antipoverty organisations, an inspiring read. 

Moore grew up during hard times in the Bronx and Baltimore only to find his adult life would lead him into challenging arenas too.

He was a combat officer in Afghanistan, a White House fellow during times of war and a Wall Street banker when the financial crisis hit.

In this book, he uses these experiences and the inspiration of people he’s met throughout his life to define what “success” really means to him. And from there, discussing areas that are rarely explored in career planning such as courage, grace and service, he examines how he – and others – can shape a life and career of meaning.

When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want – by Mike Lewis

Even people who seem to have great career success can find themselves at a crossroads if their job just doesn’t seem to fit with who they are.

That was the case for Mike Lewis, a high-flying venture capitalist who harboured a secret hope of becoming a professional squash player.

Lewis finally did jump from corner office to squash court – but not before he had carefully planned how to do that. He’s now the 112th best squash player in the world, and the founder and CEO of When to Jump, a global community of people who have left one path to pursue another. 

If you find it increasingly difficult to ignore the call to a career so completely different from your current one, this book may help. Through it you can identify the steps you’ll need to take so that you can make the change you want to but with utter clarity and confidence.

Reinventing You – by Dorie Clark

Sometimes we forget that when it comes to our individual lives, we’re actually in charge.

No-one says changing career or finding purposeful work is always easy. But there are steps that everyone can take to focus them on where they want to go career-wise and how they might get there.

An adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Clark gives readers a veritable blueprint in this book on how to determine their unique abilities and communicate the powerful contribution they have to make in their chosen field.

It’s a great read for anyone concerned with building a “personal brand” or, more specifically, shaping how decision-makers in your industry might see you.

If you’re struggling with your career right now, why not book a FREE consultation chat with a career coach?

Siobhan Colgan

Siobhan Colgan is a business owner and writer. As part of her work as a writer, she also helps other creatives and would-be writers find their voice. Email her at to find out more.

Add comment