While it’s tempting to stream your favorite show in your down time, reading a helpful book instead can give you the tools you need to actually achieve your goals.
Billionaires such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Elon Musk credit much of their success to reading and learning. As Tesla and SpaceX founder Musk recently told Rolling Stone, “I was raised by books. Books, and then my parents.”
Here are four reads that will help you make 2018 a year you accomplish something meaningful in your work life:
1. “Believe It to Achieve It” by Brian Tracy and Christina Stein
If you’re feeling stuck at work, chances are you’re feeling unhappy in general. “Believe It to Achieve It,” by Christina Stein, a licensed therapist, and Brian Tracy, a bestselling author who found success despite not having a high school degree, argues that the key to making a change is first identifying what’s holding you back.
“All you need is one unconscious block deep in your mind, a negative emotion or memory from an earlier painful experience, and your life can go around in circles indefinitely,” Tracy writes.
The book is divided into seven chapters that provide a road map for how to let go of past disappointments and adopt a more productive way of thinking.
2. “This is How We Rise” by Claudia Chan
Time Magazine’s 2017 person(s) of the year was the “silence breakers,” or the many women who spoke out against sexual assault, harassment and inequality and brought increased attention to the subject of misbehavior in the workplace.
The circumstances make Claudia Chan’s book a 2018 must-read for any woman and for many men as well. The book outlines 13 habits to adopt in order to help you overcome obstacles and become more successful.
“When you find a constructive way to tap into your discomfort and use that suffering as fuel,” she writes, “your pain transforms into progress, power, and positive impact.”
3. “Inventing Joy” by Joy Mangano
Inventor Joy Mangano has sold more than $3 billion worth of home products, including her famous self-wringing mop and non-slip clothes hangers. Her life is the basis of the 2015 movie “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence.
To succeed, Mangano didn’t quit her job or take out a massive loan. Instead, she worked very hard creating and peddling her inventions. When department stores wouldn’t sell her mops, she stood in parking lots, demoing the products and selling them herself.
In her book “Inventing Joy,” she gives readers a look into what it really takes to build your own brand and company. “There are paths to [following your dream] in a way that is sustainable for us and our families,” Mangano writes. “Creativity doesn’t have to be all or nothing.”
Mangano’s book also includes an epilogue which lists helpful mental exercises.
4. “Do Over” by Jon Acuff
Acuff, a bestselling author and career expert, has written a book perfect for anyone who finds themselves constantly starting, and then failing to finish, long-term projects.
Conventional wisdom may say that success is just a matter of hard work but, as Acuff writes, that’s wrong. Acuff argues that what prevents people from completing goals isn’t a lack of effort but the desire for perfection.
He outlines steps to take to get through your to-do list, such as learning to set realistic goals, prioritizing what needs to get done and understanding that success will come if you’re open to letting go of perfection.
“Accomplishing a goal is a lot less like taking a train across country,” he writes, “and a lot more like driving a bumper car.”