Six books to help you with your career

Because the most helpful work advice can come from the most unexpected of published places

As Morrissey once said, “There’s more to life than books, you know, but not much more”. And, for all those didactic tomes out there about how we can boost our prospects in the workplace (Think and Grow Rich; How to Pitch Anything; Work Less, Make More), there are times when perhaps we could learn from the pages of other less obvious novels or publications to give us the cultural edge on a conversation, help us command a meeting room and make the best decisions at those all important negotiations.

We asked Alexandre Assouline, son of Maison Assouline’s founders Prosper and Martine, and Director of Marketing at the luxury publishing brand for culturally discerning individuals, about which are the titles you should be learning from when it comes to giving your career a boost, and he provided us with some surprising examples…

Six books to help you with your career

The book to give you an intellectual edge:

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari

Harari’s anthropological account of how we as a species came to dominate the world provides an edifying recap of history, religion, science and politics. It’s also definitely for those who want to whip out a key fact from it at a work party or conversation to appear super knowledgeable and cultured. Alexandre’s chose this because, “Sapiens combines history and science to recount our species and what it means to be human. It was very thought-provoking, to say the least. It forces the reader to reconsider everything as we know it.”

Six books to help you with your career

The book to help you speak like a leader:

The Luxury Alchemist, Ketty Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge

As a founder of numerous startups, a consultant at luxury consultancy boutique KM and co and Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, Maisonrouge knows a thing or two about running a business. “This book is the perfect guide for anyone looking to build a luxury brand, and gives the reader the keys to drive a company.”

Six books to help you with your career

The book to read when starting your career:

The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

The New Yorker journalist and author of several works is the proponent of the ‘10,000 hour rule’ – that belief it takes that amount of deliberate practice to become truly world class at what you want to be. “The author explains that to succeed in your career, it’s not just the talent that counts, but also the chances you get and make the best out of them. Gladwell’s case studies are interpolated with successful people, and are incredibly interesting and inspiring.”

Six books to help you with your career

The book to increase your confidence at work:

La confusion des sentiments, Stefan Zweig

Some may know Stefan Zweig as the early 20th Austrian playwright and writer, and as the man whose texts and life provided the inspiration for Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Alexandre explains “This is a story of an older man recounting the stories of his youth and how he came to find himself with the help of a professor, his mentor. Through their interactions, he discovers his true self inspiring him to mature and find confidence. He is in constant research of himself emotionally.”

Six books to help you with your career

The book to make you dress better at work:

The Elegant Man: How to Construct the Ideal Wardrobe, Riccardo Villarosa

One look at our guide to dressing for your first job might solve this question in a jiffy, but Alexandre had this to say about Villarosa’s manual concerning the constituent pieces and background you need to ensure you’re always well put together. “This is the perfect guide for the how to dress yourself. It gives you all the essential tips of social codes that have been around for centuries. These days, people forget that how you present yourself almost always gets you half of the deal.”

Six books to help you with your career

The best book for negotiating:

A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

Certainly a curveball of a choice from the young Assouline, but we can’t fault his logic. After all, don’t all workplaces resemble a muddy battlefield teeming with soldiers, shouting instructions to each other under a cavalcade of arrows at some point? Meanwhile, in the middle of this, decisions have to be made and how gain the upper hand over your opponent is crucial. The best way to do it can be gleaned from the pages of Martin’s work because, as Alexandre believes “while we might not have pet dragons to intimidate our enemies, Tyrion and Khaleesi know how to confer their way through any scenario…”

Further Reading