The 5 Most Essential Books for the Millennial Professional

This week’s post is my top 5 list of non-fiction books that I believe every millennial professional should read. Not a millennial? These books will help you relate to what it is like to be a millennial in today’s working world.

1.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

This book is especially helpful for those who are just graduating college and entering the workforce. It explains everything what college doesn’t explain which is a framework for how to live a productive, prioritized and fulfilling life. Some of my favorite takeaways from the book are the reminder to “begin with the end in mind” and that the power of taking time to reflect and recharge our batteries - or as my good pal Stephen calls it, “sharpening the saw”.

2.  The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

Ever felt lost as a millennial? Ever felt like everyone else seemed to have their life so planned out? Ever hung around a relationship too long all while knowing that person was not the person for you? Meg Jay’s book changed my life as a young twenty something. Her experience as a psychologist and her ability to leverage metaphors to teach a lesson created one of the most eye-opening books. Shout out to Erin Zauner of the Everything With Love blog (add that to your list if you are a new mom, or are thinking about becoming a mama) for recommending this book to me.

3. What Really Works by Paul Batz and Tim Schmidt

While I was still attending Gustavus Adolphus College, I received this book as a gift from the college president at that time, Jack Ohle. This book as presented itself many times throughout my career. I use it most heavily now as a key piece of my Quarterly Personal Retreats (learn more about these here). College sort-of prepares you to balance life but once you hit the real world, it’s a whole new ball game! What Really Works helped me understand that life was now in my control and I had the power to make decisions that could create balance or imbalance in different areas of my life.

P.S. Seriously - if you haven’t completed a Quarterly Personal Retreat yet, I encourage you to stop reading this blog post, and go do it. You can thank me later!

4. The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins

One of my favorite mentors at my first job out of college told me about this book. He, as an experienced executive, leverages this book annually. I’ve returned to this book at the start of any new job. The author walks you through a series of exercises that help you let go of “what got you here” so that you can get to the next level.

If you aren’t being mindful as you transition into a new job, I can almost guarantee you need the next book on this list.

5. Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer

If you are going through the motions, especially in your career, you might end up wondering “how the hell did I get here?” or “what is my greater purpose? This job can’t be it!”. I know that I did. If you’re starting to wonder these same things and are really serious about getting familiar with your life purpose, this book is for you. If you’re looking for some activities to get you started on this journey (beside reading, of course), check out this blog post for more information!

What books would you add to this list? Leave a comment below!