5 books to help you get what you want from the new decade

5 books to help you get what you want from the new decade

Ready to make a big change?

BY Steph Clarke, 5 min READ

We’re three weeks into the new year, and while we’ve already ditched those unrealistic New Year’s resolutions, personal development is one thing we’ll always make room for in our calendars. Premium member, podcast host, and bookworm, Steph Clarke leads us through her reads to help get the most out of this new decade. 

If you want to level up your work

So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport

This is one of the most inspiring books I’ve read about doing your best work; the title alone makes me want to be better.  Inspired by a Steve Martin quote to budding comedians, Georgetown University Professor Cal Newport takes a harsh look at today’s work and career advice.  He shares the need for us to be less distracted by the unhelpful ‘find your passion’ rhetoric and more deliberate in building career capital by being great at what you do.

Quote: “Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before.  In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.”

If you want to create more meaningful gatherings

The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker

‘The way we gather matters’ and whether you are planning a wedding, a funeral or a team meeting in 2020, this book is a must-read.

Priya goes deep into why the purpose for gathering must be absolutely clear; even if it’s just Sunday lunch with friends, and how we often miss vital opportunities to connect deeper and better with each other.

Containing amazing stories from bringing kids together from either side of the Gaza Strip to challenging the purpose of a baby shower, the book is full of practical (and sometimes unusual) tips for hosting more meaningful gatherings.

Quote: “Hosting is not democratic, just like design isn’t.  Structure helps good parties, like restrictions help good design.”

If you’re planning a career change

Pivot by Jenny Blake

Often referred to as the book that changed people’s career trajectory, the Pivot method will help you plan your next career move, change or promotion.

Starting with better understanding your strengths and experiences, the book takes you through a thorough process of self-reflection and action-planning to build (or re-build) confidence.  It also contains plenty of inspiration for experiments and activities you can use to fill in any CV gaps to land your dream role.

Quote: “I do not believe in resigning yourself to a subpar working life just because friends and family (whose top priority is often to keep us safe) or society tells us so.”

If you want to lead with courage

Dare to Lead, Brene Brown

With leadership (rightly) becoming more scrutinised across industries and society, we’re entering a decade where it will no longer be optional to lead well or not.  If you want a head start in this sea-change, this book will do more than shift the dial.

Brene puts a sharp focus on the clarity and courageous conversations needed (both with yourself and with those you work with) to be a brave leader and how to put these into practice.

Quote: “Clear is kind, unclear is unkind.  Feeding people half-truths or BS to make them feel better (which is almost always about making ourselves feel more comfortable) is unkind.”

If you want to change your life

Atomic Habits, James Clear

This book is the cornerstone for habit building – containing the best practices for solid, sustainable behaviour change.  Using the cue – craving – response – reward model, James explores the internal and external success [or failure] factors of habit formation.

With examples throughout the book from business, career, health, fitness and relationships – you can easily relate the lessons to the lifestyle changes you want to create.  This is the book I recommend the most and has the biggest impact on the people I know who have read it.

Quote: “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become”


Steph Clarke is a Business Chicks Premium members, and leadership and team facilitator based in Melbourne.  She is the Host and Chief Bookworm of the Steph’s Business Bookshelf podcast, where she shares the three big ideas she’s learnt from the best business books she’s read.


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