One of my favourite references as far as reading lists go is Bill Gates. I mean, you can’t attain that level of success without doing something right and I think being an intentional reader is one of the reasons why Mr Gates is so successful. Mr Gates usually has 5-10 books on his annual reading list, and while I think this is worthy of emulation, I also want to set actionable goals. I have a 9-5 job and other deliverables that might not let me read 10 books a year. You might be like me and need a smaller list of recommendations. If so, here are 4 books I recommend for professionals looking for reading suggestions to build their careers.


Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace by Carla Harris:

Expect to win by Carla Harris

This book reads like fiction which is the best kind of book. Carla uses her own experience climbing up the career ladder at Morgan Stanley to share some tried and true tips on how to build your career. For a black woman living in the US like me, this book has been a referral of sorts. I have come back to it quite a number of times to know what to do. It is also very relatable across countries and industries so highly recommended.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins:

Good to great by Jim CollinsThis book is inspiring and then some. There is a reason why it has been on so many bestseller lists. It gives you an insight into how some of the greatest companies got where they were and how others lost their greatness. It is a great read and has sequels that are also worth the time. I highly recommend this for leaders and upcoming leaders; we can all learn a lot from the successes and failures of those that have gone before us.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

Drive by Daniel Pink

This one is a winner with any audience. Talk to most readers in the corporate sector and they have read ‘Drive’. It is a book that explores the things that motivate people to do their best work. Reading it can help you identify what ‘drives’ you, AKA your passion. Once you know this, everything will change; the way you work, the way you play and even the way you love…So yes, make this the year you read this one.

Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong by Jessica Bacal

Mistakes I made at work by Jessica Bacal

Ladies, get in here! Similar to the first book on this list, this is another easy read. I especially like this because it tells you WHAT NOT TO DO. Experience is not always the best teacher and advice from this book can save you some Panadol money. Take advantage and learn from the experiences of those that have gone before. It is a major staple in my library and one book I enjoy giving to my girlfriends in the corporate world.

Written by Damilola Ashaolu