Your Must Read Books as a Professional Geek

A column article, Mission: Professional by: Steven Savage

Ever visit the career and business shelves of a large bookstore and actually tried to find something to help you? It's like looking at some hellish vortex of battling cover art, repetitive themes, vague attempts to stand out, great ideas, and total B.S. It seems everyone wants to write some helpful book to help you in your career, though it'd be more helpful if they helped you figure out just why the hell you should be reading it.

I'm a reading fanatic anyway, and I like to really research and read the right career and business books. It keeps me informed. it stretches my boundaries. It also lets me save money by avoiding buying crap because I'm a total cheapskate.

So being a cheapskate, and knowing that you want to have an idea of what books you should be reading as a professional geek, I want to give my list of books you should read, or consider reading depending on your interests.

Note there's nothing here on working in comics - I'll leave that to the progeeks who work there. I'm talking the career stuff you need.

JOB SEARCH

The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search: The Proven Program Used by the Worlds Leading Career Services Company by Orville Pierson

One of the best books on the job search you'll ever read, by a man who has been around the block and then some. Slow, sober, and intelligent, this book gives you a strategy for finding a job that is clear and logical. Some may find the book a bit dull, but Pierson's wisdom is indisputable. 
RATING: Must Buy. Also you may want to check out the sister book Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Great Job.

NETWORKING:

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz

The classic networking book everyone tells you to read... is actually a book you need to read. Easy to understand, personable, and clear, this is a book to help you really "get into" networking. It's unavoidable for any pro - if only because everyone will talk about it.

RATING
: Must Buy.

Guerrilla Networking: A Proven Battle Plan to Attract the Very People You Want to Meet by Jay Conrad Levinson and Monroe Mann

This is a book on basic networking with techniques, and is especially useful for people who are in a rut networking-wise. This isn't the book for people who are starting out networking or who are sophisticated professionals - this book is for people who do networking but it's really not working or they're just following "the plan."
RATING: Must Buy if you're having trouble getting your Networking mojo going, or if you are trying but it's not working.

STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS
So many people want to start their own business - and plenty of books are available to help. Which ones will help you?

Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur by Pamela Slim

This is a guide to starting your own business, from brainstorming ideas to building business plans. It's in no way a complete book - and it clearly notes that you'll need to go elsewhere for some information. Instead this is a broad, effective overview of starting your own business, with exercises and encouragement on the way. It's also fun, easy to read, and friendly.
RATING: Must Buy if you want to start your own business.

Craft Inc.: Turning your Creative Hobby Into a Business> by Meg Mateo Ilasco

This is a book on turning craft hobbies - making physical objects - into a paying proposition and your own business. Though it has occasional odd digressions, it's a well-written book with plenty of great advice, from a woman who really has been in the whole craft-into-business world.
RATING: Must buy - if it fits you.

BUSINESS ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP

Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright

A book on organization, focused mostly on business, but based on a deeper study of business and human psychology. The book presents a theory of social organization, of Tribes, and how organizations can evolve to become better tribes. Smart, easy to understand, and insightful, this is a book everyone who has to deal with people should read - and the lessons in it can be applied to any organization.
RATING: Must Buy. 

The Management Myth: Debunking Modern Business Philosophyby Matthew Stewart

Matthew Stewart, who knows how management works thanks to his professional experience, demolishes a most of modern business philosophy in this intelligent yet merciless book. Its an interesting book that will help you understand why so many stupid things happen, and the psychopathology behind them. However it is most valuable to people who are managers, experienced pros (over five years as a professional), or have worked with problematic organizations.
RATING: A Must-buy if you work in management or deal with management in larger companies.

OK, folks, you've got your reading list - now get to it!

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