Home / Blog / 8 Professional & Personal Development Books GPOers Recommend

8 Professional & Personal Development Books GPOers Recommend

Check out eight books that have impacted GPOers in their personal and professional lives.

GPOers are big on innovation and growth — and our bookshelves are overflowing with nonfiction books about everything from writing to time management to philosophy. Not all books are winners, and some are simply miles above others. We asked our team to recommend their favorite books focused on professional and personal development to save you from reading through books that might not be as valuable. Check them out!

1. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse

Recommended by: Logan Brewer, Account Director

Based on Kruse’s study of ultra-productive people, this book explores how to maximize your time effectively to achieve your goals. Kruse provides insights and practical strategies derived from the experiences of entrepreneurs, Olympic athletes, top students, and billionaires. 

Logan says: “Since there are only a finite number of hours in a day, I wanted to use all the time I could with work, sleep, exercise, and spending time with family and friends. This book helped me learn how to cure procrastination, leave work on time as much as possible, manage my inbox daily, and use other systems to boost productivity. Great read and tactics from some of the world’s best at what they do and how they manage their days.” 

2. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Recommended by: Holiday Newton, Content Operations Manager

Everybody Writes is a comprehensive guide for improving writing skills, especially in content marketing. It aims to help you become a better writer, storyteller, communicator, and marketer by offering proven strategies, real-life examples, and engaging frameworks. Plus. it’s hella entertaining.

Holiday says: “This book is bursting at the spine with practical advice, tips, and tricks for becoming a better writer. I think it’s fantastic for business writing, but much of the advice can also be applied to creative and personal projects. The pages of my copy are full of sticky note tabs calling out interesting sentences, helpful templates, dos and don’ts to watch for in my writing, little tricks (I’ve used the “Dear Mother” tactic for overcoming writer’s block more than once), and more. I often refer back to this book for its information, but Ann Handley’s voice makes it a simple delight to read. Beginner or seasoned pro, every writer has something to gain from this book.”

3. The Places That Scare You by Pema Chödrön 

Recommended by: Kelsey Conner, Web Content Writer

Chödrön explores Buddhist teachings that encourage facing fears, pains, and insecurities directly to cultivate a fearless heart. Through mindfulness and loving-kindness practices, readers are taught to open themselves to fully experiencing life, transform personal suffering into compassion, and develop a sense of interconnectedness with others.

Kelsey says: “Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön presents the everyday challenges of life as an opportunity for one of two actions: let them scare you and make you become hard and resentful, or allow them to make you kinder, softer, and more open. The Places That Scare You is about accepting the things that come your way (whether they’re big E Events like the death of a loved one or unpleasant interactions with someone you don’t get along with) with grace. It’s also a masterclass in acceptance, living in the moment, and facing the things/places/people that scare you head-on. After all, much of our fear isn’t about what we know will happen; it’s about what could happen and the unknown. Applicable to work, relationships, and every aspect of life.”

4. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Recommended by: Haley Collins, Director of Operations & Content

Meditations is a collection of personal reflections offering insights into Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius stresses the significance of self-reflection and the interconnectedness of all things, urging readers to embrace change, practice kindness, and live a life of purpose until death.

Haley says: “Control your perceptions. Direct your actions properly. Willingly accept what’s outside your control. These are three of the most essential parts of Stoic philosophy worth carrying with you every day at work and home, and into every decision. Meditations introduced me to Stoic thought practice and work! At first, however, I wasn’t quite sure how to make sense of Marcus’ personal writings. Some sentiments landed and others… I just didn’t know how to position them in my own life. That’s also why I also recommend The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday (get the two-book set with the journal). “

5. On the Shortness of Life by Seneca

Recommended by: Haley Collins, Director of Operations & Content

On the Shortness of Life is a philosophical essay addressing the nature of time and how to best use it to lead a fulfilling life. Seneca encourages the reader to focus on meaningful endeavors and cultivating one’s inner self, emphasizing that true satisfaction comes from living wisely and in accordance with nature.

Haley says: “Yeah, yeah. See a trend? This Stoic bent of mine isn’t a phase, it’s a practice! Alongside reading my favorite fiction author (Stephen King), I like to learn about living better. This book is only 40 pages long and teaches us about the value of time well spent and directed properly. ‘It is not that we have such a short space of time,’ writes Seneca, ‘but that we waste much of it.’ For all of Seneca’s personal faults, he still has a way with words that resonates with me and reminds me to live in the present.”

6. The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter

Recommended by: Bracken Christensen, Lead UX/UI Designer

Easter explores the idea of embracing discomfort to encourage significant personal growth. Through personal anecdotes and scientific research, Easter suggests that facing challenges and stepping out of our comfort zones can enhance our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Bracken says: “Do hard (very hard) things. Practice being bored. Step off the hedonic treadmill. Embrace discomfort. Liz Plosser (editor-in-chief of Women’s Health) puts its best: ‘This revelatory, illuminating book is packed with big ideas on how our overly comfortable lives and routines have chipped away at our physical, mental, and emotional health.’”

7. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Recommended by: Holiday Newton, Content Operations Manager

On Writing serves as both an autobiography and a guide for aspiring writers. King shares his writing journey alongside the tools every writer must have. The book is divided into several sections, each focusing on different aspects of writing and King’s personal life.

Holiday says: “This book perfectly blends the entertainment of a memoir with the valuable lessons of a textbook. The opening and ending memoir parts are a masterclass in storytelling, and it’s interesting to see the journey one (prolific) writer’s life took. The middle section about writing may be more focused on creative/fiction, but a lot of the advice can still be applied to content writing. I read this book while younger and recently reread it after completing a writing degree and gaining professional experience. I found different, valuable takeaways both times. And even if you aren’t a writer or a Stephen King fan (trying not to judge you), it’s a great read.” 

8. You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

Recommended by: Logan Brewer, Account Director

In this motivational book, Jen Sincero empowers readers to improve their lives by changing their mindsets and attitudes. Using a blend of personal anecdotes, humor, and practical advice, Sincero guides readers through the process of overcoming self-doubt, embracing their unique qualities, and pursuing their goals with confidence.

Logan says: “Understanding why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use a tactic known as The Force can help the self-sabotaging beliefs we put in our way and behaviors that stop you/me from getting what we want out of our lives. Funny and inspirational stories along with sage advice, easy exercises, and maybe the occasional swear word to help you change those beliefs and behaviors.”

GPO’s Commitment to Learning and Growing

We use the tips, tricks, and strategies learned in our favorite nonfiction books to help us perform our best at GPO. Whether it’s enhancing our writing skills, embracing discomfort to create change, or learning how to make the most out of the 24 hours we’re given a day, expanding our knowledge through reading helps us grow as professionals and humans. Give a few of our recommendations a read, and let us know what you think!

frustrated woman with her head in her hands sitting in front of a laptop with notebooks open around her

Help! A Competitor is Copying My Content!

  • Content Marketing

Get actionable advice for reclaiming lost traffic when a competitor copies your content

Read more
black old fashion alarm clock in front of gray background

Time-Saving Tips: How AI Can Streamline Your Workflow

  • AI

Learn how you can leverage AI to increase efficiency and speed at work.

Read more
group of professional SEO content writers collaborating

7 Benefits of Professional SEO Content Writing

  • Content Marketing
  • Organic Search

Discover the benefits of hiring professional SEO writing services.

Read more
Subscribe to our newsletter
Privacy Policy
  |  Copyright © 2024 GPO