HBS Career & Professional Development is excited to share with you some of our favorite books from the Harvard community that will help you propel your career forward. Covering topics including authentic leadership, thinking differently, career visioning, and being the boss, these books offer an opportunity for alumni to reflect on their careers and take the steps needed to continue down a path of success or make a change.

True North

Our society needs strong leaders to help solve major world issues. More importantly, for profits, nonprofits, and government agencies alike need authentic leaders who are true to themselves and lead from a place of integrity. Yet it can be difficult not to emulate others who have been successful and find yourself straying from your own values. In True North, Bill George outlines a five point Personal Leadership Development Plan that will help you reflect on your values and motivations, build an effective team, and stay grounded.

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd

How can your company stand out to consumers? Youngme Moon suggests that the key is to think differently and take risks so your offering is not simply the next model, but something new entirely.

Chasing after the success of your competition can put you in a position of constantly copying instead of innovating. To make your company or your offering distinct, you need to be more adventurous in your approach, even if that sounds risky or daunting. In Different: Escaping the Herd, Moon challenges business leaders to rethink their business strategies and inspire differentiation that leads to success.

Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life

Francesca Gino wants you to break the rules. Or at least question why some rules exist, and what would happen if you did things differently.

Rebel Talent profiles successful business owners, pilots, magicians, and military leaders to highlight how they challenged the status quo and carved their own path. Instead of asking “what should I do?” they asked “what could I do?” In combination with the book, use the Rebel Test to identify what kind of rebel you are, and learn how you can use your natural inclinations to push the boundaries of what is possible.

Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Discovering Your Next Career Path

Throughout life there will be times when you find yourself at a professional or personal impasse. During those times it can be difficult to get past the feeling of being stuck and move forward. In Getting Unstuck, business psychologist and Senior Fellow and Faculty Advisor to Career & Professional Development at HBS, Dr. Tim Butler, helps readers do just that.

Getting Unstuck provides the reassurance that this “stuck” feeling is quite common, while also giving you the tools you need to navigate it. The exercises within this book will help you reflect on where you find meaning and fulfillment, understand what inspires you in your career, and take action to make change.

Power of Habit

If you are ready to make a change, but you are left wondering how to make those changes stick, then let Charles Duhigg help you along that path with The Power of Habit. Profiles of Michael Phelps, Martin Luther King, Jr., Howard Schultz, as well as a number of companies across industries, highlight how implementing habits leads to success. You’ll also learn the science behind habits in order to understand how and why they work.

Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times

Dive into the power of biography with Nancy Koehn in Forged in Crisis as she tells the stories of President Abraham Lincoln, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, Frederick Douglass, clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and environmental crusader Rachel Carson.

Learn about each individual from their youngest days to understand how they developed into courageous leaders who each a left profound impact on the world. While the challenges in your organization will look quite different, exceptional leadership can take on many forms. Take inspiration from Koen’s book as you continue to develop as a leader.

Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader

Linda Hill and Kent Lineback’s book Being the Boss offers a guide on how to continually manage yourself, manage your network, and manage your team to succeed as the boss. Based on a combined six decades of research, teaching, and management practice, Being the Boss weaves together case studies, prompts for self-reflection, and best practices to help managers lead their teams effectively and find satisfaction in their roles. Regardless of experience, Hill and Lineback’s book offers insights to spur continuous improvement.