Note From Julie: Developing Skills and Expanding My Knowledge with Books

Aug 25, 2017 | Career Development

reading each day

One of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to learn something new is to read. And one of the best parts about reading is it’s easy to fit into the small chunks of time that you have available throughout the day.

I recently asked a group of assistants I was speaking to what was the last business book or topic they had read about. There were only a few responses. I encouraged each of them to find out what their executives are reading and pick a book to help develop their knowledge on that topic as well. Or better yet, pick a business topic that you really enjoy or want to learn more about, and find a book to expand your learning on that topic.

In the past few years, I’ve targeted at least one book that I want to read from cover to cover for that year. Then I make it part of my personal development plan for the year. In 2015, I read Forgive for Good by Dr. Fred Luskin. In 2016, I chose Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. My word for 2016 was “choices,” so this book was perfect for me to read, study, and engage with as I navigated the loss of my mother, the launch of my second book, and many other personal and professional transitions last year. That led me to Brene’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, as my book and focus for 2017.

My theme for this year has been “living wholeheartedly” – something Brene outlines with 10 specific guideposts in The Gifts of Imperfection. I have also read Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist this year.. It was a powerful reminder of why it’s vital to reject the frantic and choose a simpler, more soulful way of living. And I’m currently working my way through Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I’ve already started my reading wish list for 2018, which includes The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin and Let It Go by Peter Walsh.

In addition to the book I choose for my personal development, I am constantly scanning and reading sections or chapters of a variety of other books related to topics I’m speaking on, researching, or reading about in the newspaper. I’ve found that I don’t have to read every book from cover to cover to pull valuable information from it. For example, I wanted to improve my presentation training materials, so I have been reading bits and pieces of Beyond Bullet Points, Slide:ology, Presenting With Pizzazz, and Live and Online! I regularly refer to books like What to Do When There’s Too Much to Do, StrengthsFinder 2.0, The Art of Speedreading People, Type Talk at Work, and Vickie Evans’ 100 Tips books for Windows and the Office 2013 suite.

There are countless books out there specific to training you on how to become a more effective communicator, develop your leadership skills, get more organized, and become a better administrative professional. All you need to do is pick one skill or topic you want to improve, research the books available, make your selection, and start reading.

Whether you’re between jobs or simply want to improve your admin skills, there are numerous books that can help you do it! So this week, as many kids head back to school, we’re offering you our list of must-reads to help you expand your admin knowledge. We’re also sharing lots of tips and advice on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.

full weekend of trainingOne more note: if you’re looking for affordable training to advance your career, I strongly encourage you to check out this upcoming global webathon that’s taking place September 22-24. It’s a fundraiser for my friend and colleague, Vickie Sokol Evans, who is fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer. Vickie is a world-class Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) who is self-employed, going through chemo in preparation for surgery, and unable to work full-time at the moment. So Executive Secretary Magazine and more than 50 of their training partners worldwide (including me) have come together to provide you a full weekend of training geared specifically to admins for only $49. It’s going to be incredible! All the proceeds from this event are going directly to Vickie to help her with medical bills and living expenses as she fights breast cancer. I hope you’ll join me for this event as we all come together to support Vickie!

Supporting your administrative success,


P.S. As we mentioned last week, the 24th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence is taking place October 17-20 in Las Vegas. Spots are going fast, and this amazing training and networking opportunity will sell out.


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