Box of Crayons Blog


Jenny Blake’s Five Essential Books for Pivoting Your Career

After two years at an Internet start-up followed by five and a half years at Google — where she held the position of Career Development Program Manager — Jenny Blake left corporate life in 2011 to start her own company. An international speaker, career and business strategist and executive coach, Jenny is also the author of a terrific book called Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One. If there is anyone qualified to recommend books on pivoting your career, it’s Jenny. I’m pleased to have her as my guest blogger today. (By the way, if you haven’t listened into my conversation with Jenny on creating your next big move, be sure to tune in here.) And, be sure to follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

Book 1: Choose Yourself!

By James Altucher

He sets the stage for why the standard narrative around climbing the corporate ladder is out, and provides practical advice for “choosing yourself,” building your idea muscle, and maintaining a daily practice that ensure one’s mental, spiritual, emotional and physical foundation is strong before tackling bigger, more stressful changes.

Book 2: Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto)

By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
He captures the core message beautifully in the subtitle: Things That Gain from Disorder. Antifragile, while not a career book, outlines how and why organism that meet this quality actually grow from disorder, randomness, chaos and uncertainty. Sounds a lot like our new career landscape if you ask me 🙂

Book 3: 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story

By Dan Harris
Funny, sardonic take on his journey to starting a meditation practice as a self-proclaimed “fidgety skeptic” after having a panic attack on national television. Meditation has been such a crucial practice for me when pivoting—it smooths the edges of my anxiety and gives me access to a deep well of inner wisdom.

Book 4: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking

By Oliver Burkeman
As Burkeman states in his subtitle, this book is about “Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.” I love his exploration of topics most self-help shies away from, like the power of negative thinking, worst case scenario planning, and reflecting on failure and even one’s own death. A wonderful “antidote” indeed to the pressure to measure success (or even happiness) by traditional standards.

Book 5: Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead

By Tosha Silver
This recommendation is a bit sideways as it’s not a business book per se, and it won’t be for everyone. If you’re a hardcore rationalist it may not resonate, but what I loved about this book are the quirky stories that highlight how to surrender when we hit a wall and can no longer see a way forward. Practicing “outrageous openness” helped me through the trickiest moments of my pivots, and has given me a lighter, more accepting, curious, and intuitive perspective on life in general.

About Jenny

Jenny Blake is an author, career and business strategist and international speaker who helps people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny is the author of PIVOT: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One, and Life After College, which is based on her blog of the same name. Today you can find her at where she explores systems at the intersection of mind, body and business.



Twitter: @jenny_blake

Podcast: Pivot Podcast

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