Working Strategies: Books to help build career and life skills

For job seekers and career changers putting together reading lists, the choices are endless.
I’m devoting the next two columns to books that have come across my desk recently. This week I’ll focus on guides to building skills in your work life; next week we’ll look at books to help in your job search.

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren

  • “Being Strategic: Plan for Success, Out-Think Your Competitors, Stay Ahead of Change,” by Erika Andersen, St. Martin’s Press, 2009, $24.95. She outlines a step-by-step approach to developing a strategic mindset for workplace issues.
  • Recommendation: A good book to pass around your workplace to get conversation started about problem-solving.

  • “Strategic Project Management Made Simple,” by Terry Schmidt, Wiley, 2009, $29.95. Here’s another look at strategy, within the framework of project management. Schmidt outlines painstakingly precise steps for breaking apart a problem, identifying desired outcomes and accounting for assumptions and variables.
  • Recommendation: Use this book to learn the fundamentals of project management.

  • “The Art of Organizing Anything,” by Rosalie Maggio, McGraw-Hill, 2009, $16.95. The book starts with an overview section to discuss concepts and “secrets” of organization. The second section covers methods for dealing with people and time. The final section provides specifics for organizing one’s work life, home life, computer and papers.
  • Recommendation: If disorganization is clouding your thinking, this book would be a good start.

  • “Who’s Got Your Back,” by Keith Ferrazzi, Broadway Books, 2009, $25. Ferrazzi turns his attention to our relationships with the people around us.
  • Noting surveys that show many Americans don’t have anyone to confide in, the author tackles how to create and nurture such relationships. His thesis? That we become better managers and workers if we go beyond mere networking to actual trust-building and friendship.
    Recommendation: Ferrazzi has something important to say about the power of connection.

    Amy Lindgren owns Prototype Career Service, a career consulting firm in St. Paul, Minn. She can be reached at or at 626 Armstrong Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.

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