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  • Writer's pictureRajeev Chitguppi

5 Books On How To Learn Like A Pro & Build A Great Career

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

We all live in a highly competitive world. In today's world of multi-dimensional career paths, it is only the great learners who have a distinct competitive advantage. In a world where change is the only constant, adaptability is the greatest necessity. In the past, you could get away with doing one thing and doing it well. In today's world, it is important for you to be a great learner and continue to learn newer things. How to prepare yourself to become a great learner and build an illustrious career? I have hand-picked 5 books to make you a pro.

Cal Newport's clearly-written manifesto flies in the face of conventional wisdom by suggesting that it should be a person's talent and skill - and not necessarily their passion - that determines their career path. Newport, who graduated from Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa) and earned a PhD. from MIT, contends that trying to find what drives us, instead of focusing on areas in which we naturally excel, is ultimately harmful and frustrating to job seekers. The title is a direct quote from comedian Steve Martin who, when once asked why he was successful in his career, immediately replied: "Be so good they can't ignore you" and that's the main basis for Newport's book. Skill and ability trump passion. Inspired by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs' famous Stanford University commencement speech in which Jobs urges idealistic grads to chase their dreams, Newport takes issue with that advice, claiming that not only is this advice Pollyannish, but that Jobs himself never followed his own advice. From there, Newport presents compelling scientific and contemporary case study evidence that the key to one's career success is to find out what you do well, where you have built up your 'career capital,' and then to put all of your efforts into that direction. Click here to buy or read more

Future-proof your career and maximise your competitive advantage by learning the skill necessary to stay relevant, reinvent yourself and adapt to whatever the workplace throws your way in this essential guide. Faced with tumultuous economic times and rapid technological change, staying ahead in your career depends on Continual learning a lifelong mastery of new ideas, subjects and skills. If you want to accomplish more and stand apart from everyone else, you need to become an ultra learner. Scott young incorporates the latest research about the most effective learning methods and the stories of other ultra learners like himself among them Ben Franklin, Judit polgar and Richard Feynman, as well as a host of others, such as little-known modern polymath like Nigel Richards who won the world Championship of French scrabble without knowing French. Young documents the methods he and others have used and shows that, far from being an obscure skill limited to aggressive autodidact, ultra learning is a powerful tool anyone can use to improve their career, studies and life. Ultra learning explores this fascinating subculture, shares the nine principles behind every successful ultra learning project and offers insights into how you can organize and execute a plan to learn anything deeply and quickly, without teachers or budget-busting tuition costs. Whether the goal is to be fluent in a language (or ten languages), earn the equivalent of a college degree in a fraction of the time or master multiple skills to build a product or business from the ground up, the principles in ultra learning will guide you to success. Click here to buy or read more

One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results.

Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

'Cal Newport is exceptional in the realm of self-help authors' New York Times

'Deep work' is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Coined by author and professor Cal Newport on his popular blog Study Hacks, deep work will make you better at what you do, let you achieve more in less time and provide the sense of true fulfilment that comes from the mastery of a skill. In short, deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive economy.

And yet most people, whether knowledge workers in noisy open-plan offices or creatives struggling to sharpen their vision, have lost the ability to go deep - spending their days instead in a frantic blur of email and social media, not even realising there's a better way.

A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, DEEP WORK takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories -- from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air -- and surprising suggestions, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored.

Put simply: developing and cultivating a deep work practice is one of the best decisions you can make in an increasingly distracted world and this book will point the way. Click here to buy or read more.

People say when you want to change your life, you need to set big goals. But they’re wrong.

World-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered a simpler system for transforming your life. He knows that lasting change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call. He calls them atomic habits.

In this ground-breaking book, Clear reveals how these tiny changes will help you get 1 percent better every day. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks (the forgotten art of Habit Stacking, the unexpected power of the Two Minute Rule, or the trick to entering the Goldilocks Zone) and delves into cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter. Along the way, he tells inspiring stories of Olympic gold medalists, leading CEOs and distinguished scientists who have used the science of small habits to stay productive, motivated and happy.

These small changes will have a revolutionary effect on your career, your relationships and your life.

How to learn effectively when you have to be both the teacher and student. Work smarter and save yourself countless hours.

Self-learning is not just about performing better in the classroom or the office. It's about being able to aim your life in whatever direction you choose and conquering the obstacles in front of you.

Replicable methods and insights to build expertise from ground zero.

The Science of Self-Learning focuses not only on learning, but what it means to direct your own learning. Anyone can read a book, but what about more? You will learn to deconstruct a topic and then construct your own syllabus and plan. Gathering information, initial research, having a dialogue with new information - unlock these skills and you will unlock your life.

Make complex topics painless and less intimidating to approach and break down.

Peter Hollins has studied psychology and peak human performance for over a dozen years and is a bestselling author. He has worked with a multitude of individuals to unlock their potential and path towards success. His writing draws on his academic, coaching, and research experience.

Develop habits and skills to fulfill your career or hobby goals.

-Understand the learning success pyramid and how self-regulation and confidence impact learning. -How to stay motivated in tedious and tiring learning. -The SQ3R Method and conversing with information.

Science-based methods to help your brain absorb and retain more.

-Speed reading and comprehension. -How to plan and schedule like Benjamin Franklin. -How to extract information like juice from an orange.

Most people have multiple careers in their lives. Self-learning is how you keep up and adapt.


In the fast-paced and highly competitive world that we live in today, it is crucial that we all improve our learning and development skills in order to achieve our career and personal bests. Hope these five books help you become a great learner and to develop a career in line with your personal and professional aspirations. All the best.


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