It’s been a long time since I have posted a book review, so I thought I’d make up for it by giving you 3 choices for the last month of summer. Whether you’re job searching, changing careers, or looking to leverage past experiences, these 3 easy reads will give you some inspiration, strategies and insights to help you move toward your goals.

The Career Coward’s Guide to Changing Careers by Katy Piotrowski

It happens. We prep for one career, and end up somewhere else, doing something different than what we originally planned. Or, perhaps, we get exactly what we thought we wanted only… well, we don’t want it anymore. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to reimagine or reinvent your career path then look no further. In the Career Coward’s Guide to Changing Careers, Piotrowski gently directs readers through a series of exercises and reflections to help you look beyond what you originally thought possible. This isn’t one of those touchy-feely new-age guides, but an approachable and practical book that leaves you feeling motivated and empowered.

What I like about it: Katy Piotrowski is a good writer. Her style makes it feel like she’s talking directly to you. She also gives options for easing yourself into the process. Rather than giving readers some huge task to do, she breaks things down into steps that make you excited to get started. I am not a fan of What Color Is Your Parachute? (no matter how successful it may be) but I can get behind Piotrowski. Added bonus? My clients like her, too.

The Career Coward’s Guide to Career Advancement by Katy Piotrowski

Yes, I picked Piotrowski again, and while this one applies to anyone looking to advance their careers, I’ve got it on here especially for my PhDs. Grad school can beat you down, and if you read the news or talk to the wrong recruiter/counsellor, you can walk away feeling like you don’t have any skills or experiences to leverage in your job search. Think again! I want all of my PhDs to start considering your doctoral program as professional experience. Yes, you can tailor it to the position and make slight changes to market yourself better, but it does count!

What I like about it: This book is chock full of good advice, some of which I’ve used myself when pitching ideas and funding partnerships. It has the same great writing style and breakdown of activities as the other guides, but this book has something a bit extra – it helps you visualize your own value and how you can leverage that to enlist others to help you reach your goals. For PhDs who are trying to figure out how they can add value to an employer, this guide is fantastic! By the time you finish reading it, you’ll feel unstoppable.

How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban

Whether you’re a Mavericks’ fan, a computer aficionado, or you’ve watched an episode of Shark Tank, you’ve come across brash billionaire, Mark Cuban. Truth be told, I wasn’t a fan of Mark Cuban when he joined the venture capital show, but as I watched the way he interacted with entrepreneurs I came to appreciate his style and better understand his approach. A few years later, I am now a full-fledged Mark Cuban fan. He’s not perfect (he’ll be the first to tell you that in his book) but he does have some amazing advice and wisdom to share with his readers, whether you want to be an entrepreneur or just successful in your own field.

What I like about it: This is a compilation of posts from Cuban’s blog that has been curated and edited. I really like the fact that Mark Cuban wrote his own material. You can tell – it sounds just like him, and has that authenticity I want in a good memoir or autobiography. One of the best things about this book is the way he talks about his experiences, both good and bad. Cuban doesn’t puff himself up when he succeeded. Instead, he writes about how he got to that point, and what he did afterwards to keep the momentum going. Likewise, when he screwed up (and he really did sometimes) he was open and honest about what he did wrong, what he learned from it, and how he changed as a result. Guides are fantastic for helping you figure out what to do, but I love to read biographies and memoirs to see how a real person navigated situations. Since I can’t afford to buy an hour of Mark Cuban’s time, I’ll happily read this short e-book while waiting for the new season of Shark Tank.

There you have it. 3 quick and easy summer reads that will leave you energized and excited about what’s ahead. Those are my choices and recommendations. What would you suggest?