7 Books for Better Self-Awareness

Feb 20, 2014 | Resources

books self-awarenessUnderstanding yourself — especially how you work and communicate best — can make you a more valuable asset to your company and executive. By recognizing and accepting your specific set of personality traits, you can better leverage your strengths and work on areas that need improvement. This will help you not only excel in your administrative role, but it will make you a more effective leader, manager, teacher, learner, colleague, and partner.

So how do you go about better understanding yourself and how you work? The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment Tool is a great way to identify your individual personality traits.

However, if you’re looking to do some informal self-exploration, these books can give you some very valuable insights into your personality type, strengths, and what truly motivates you.

1. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath: We often spend more time focusing on our weaknesses than fine-tuning our strengths. Rath’s book explains how to uncover your top five talents and put them to use in your personal and professional life. The StrengthsFinder assessment is an extremely valuable piece to include in your professional portfolio, too.

2. Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work by Otto Kroeger and Janet Thuesen: Delve into your personality with a scientific method that will help you gain a great understanding of why you and others act the way they do. Personality type is observable. Before long, you’ll begin recognizing behaviors in your children, spouses, friends, and extended family that give you clues about how to achieve more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.

3. Type Talk at Work by Otto Kroeger, Janet Thuesen, and Hile Rutledge: Learn more specifics about how your personality type factors into the way you work with this follow-up to Kroeger and Thuesen’s Type Talk book. You’ll also gain insights into how and why our colleagues work the way they do and how you can more effectively work with them.

4. Stand Out by Marcus Buckingham: Want to get an edge and be more successful professionally? Buckingham’s book and online assessment tool will help you uncover your strengths and offer insights into how you can excel in your administrative role. It’s a one-of-a-kind invitation to discover and activate your unique competitive advantage at work every day. It’s also another fantastic resource to share with your executive and to include in your professional portfolio.

5. The Art of SpeedReading People: How to Size People Up and Speak Their Language by Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger: Communication is critical in your personal and professional life. And learning to recognize and appreciate various personality types is key to communicating effectively. This book will teach you to do both by offering you quick tips for reading people and learning to speak their language.

6. The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are by Dr. Kevin Leman: This book is a fascinating look into how birth order impacts a person’s personality, as well as his or her personal and professional relationships, parenting style, career, and more! If you want to understand why being the oldest, youngest, or only child makes you the way you are, this is a great read.

7. Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead: In this book, Sally explores the powerful ways of attracting people’s attention and influencing their behaviors. It also explains how companies use these tactics to entice consumers to buy their products. Read it and gain valuable insights into why we are captivated by some things and bored by others.

If you want to get a better handle on your personality type, become a more effective communicator, and increase your career opportunities, I highly recommend taking a look at one, some or all of these books. A little reading can go a long way in helping you understand yourself better both personally and professionally!


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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. 

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