Reading Your Way to the Top

Career books can be a valuable tool for success. Take a look at BusinessWeek's list of the 10 best: five from 2006 and five from past years

Everyone can use some career advice, regardless of age or professional title. And there's no shortage of career- and job-related books available to help you do everything from finding a new job to changing careers or making the most of the job you have now.

In looking over the best career books of 2006, BusinessWeek chose, in no particular order, Winning: The Answers: Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business Today by Jack and Suzy Welch; Success Built to Last: Creating a Life That Matters by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson; The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life by Lee Eisenberg; The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen Covey; and The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset by John Maxwell.

The books that made our list for 2006 run the gamut from general business questions to managing your life outside of work. That range reflects both the increasingly large role that work plays in many people's lives and the continued blurring of boundaries between the personal and the professional.

Updating the Classics

When it comes to the best "classic" career books—that is, those published since 2000—the range is wider, including the humorous Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel by Scott Adams; Po Bronson's profile-heavy What Should I Do With My Life?; and the interactive Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, which gives buyers of the book access to an online strengths-assessment tool. Also on the list of classics: the perennial favorite What Color Is Your Parachute?, updated for 2007, and You're in Charge—Now What? The 8-Point Plan by Thomas Neff and James Citrin, which helps leaders figure out what to do in the first 100 days.

Whether geared toward helping you figure out what you should be doing, could be doing, what you want to do, or how to do it better, the books have this in common: They're tools that you can use to help build a better life—personal, professional, or both. But as with any tool, it has to be used. So don't get the books and let them gather dust. Read them and put their advice into action.

Click here to see a slide show of the best career books.