It's no secret that the economy, despite some recent gains, is in a pretty bad place. With almost 9% of Americans out of work, including many new college grads, unemployment isn't rare; unfortunately, it's becoming harder and harder to find work as the recession drags on. Yet there is hope for those who are out of work, especially those willing to learn new skills, polish their resumes, and get back into the workforce. While it's not easy, many people are finding work. Though it may come with a smaller paycheck, a career change, or after months of concentrated searching, work in any form is something to be grateful for in an economic downturn.
If you're unemployed, you likely have a bit of free time on your hands that can be used to do some reading that can help to get you back on track with your career or even find a new one altogether. Here, we've collected some books that are sure to inspire, educate, and motivate you as you manage the good, the bad, and the ugly of unemployment.
There's no way around it; unemployment stinks. Read these books to get some advice on staying positive, getting started with a job hunt, and making the best of a bad situation.
- Little Victories: Conquering Unemployment by Tom Brophy: Unemployment can be traumatic, but this book will teach you how to celebrate even small victories in your journey back into the workplace.
- Powerful Unemployment: Practical and innovative ideas for staying motivated and having fun while looking for a new job by Sheila Boddy: Get right back onto the employment saddle with help from this book. It offers advice on everything from staying motivated in your job search to actually enjoying your time off of work.
- iJobless: 50 Ways to Survive Unemployment by Jenny Holmes: Get some basic tips on cutting back, making money, and job hunting in the 21st century from this helpful book.
- Hardest Times: The Trauma of Long-Term Unemployment by Thomas J. Cottle: If you've spent several months or even over a year unemployed (or perhaps even longer), then you know about the depression and anxiety that can come along with long-term unemployment. Find strength in the stories of others who are struggling just as you are in this heart-wrenching book by Thomas Cottle.
- The Unemployment Survival Guide by Jim Stringham and David R. Workman: It might not seem like it at times, but you will survive unemployment. This book offers up some practical advice that can help you ride out the roller coaster that is your new jobless life.
- Rebound: A Proven Plan for Starting Over After Job Loss by Martha I. Finney: Losing a job can hurt, just like getting dumped or breaking up. And, just like a relationship, eventually you have to bounce back and find something new. In this book from workplace expert Finney, you'll learn how to take control of your life, figure out what led to your layoff and how you can prevent it from happening again, and hopefully get back into the workforce.
- The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen, Gan Golan, Ramona Fradon, and Rick Veitch: Need a lighter take on your situation? This book is filled with superheroes with names like Plan B, Master of Degrees, and Unemployment Man, putting a funny spin on many of the less-than-fun aspects of job loss.
- Gainfully Unemployed: 17 Ways to Maintain Your Sanity While Looking for Work by Jonathan Wade: You'll need your sanity if you want to get hired, so this book may be a big help to those who are looking for work. We kid, but it is a great guide for helping you cope with the stress and depression that can come with unemployment.
- Unemployment Boot Camp: Tactics for Surviving and Thriving in the 21st Century by R. A. Long: Feeling sorry for yourself? Learn how to buck up and start creating your own workforce battle plan with the help of this no-nonsense book.
- The Healthcare Survival Guide, Cost-Saving Options for The Suddenly Unemployed and Anyone Else Who Wants to Save Money by Martin B. Rosen and M.D. Abbie Leibowitz: Many who are out of work are also suddenly out of health care benefits when they need them most. In this book, you'll find advice for getting the insurance you need at a lower cost.
- Landing on the Right Side of Your Ass: A Survival Guide for the Recently Unemployed by Michael B. Laskoff: MBA Michael Laskoff has been laid off or fired several times throughout his career. In this book, he offers tips on searching for jobs, managing emotions, getting recommendations, and more that can help you get back into the game.
Many of us don't cope well with change. We like our routines, and when something like unemployment shakes us out of them, we're often terrified. Here, you'll find some great advice on navigating the many changes unemployment often brings.
- Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson: Change can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. This book will teach you how to see the good side of change and learn how to roll with the punches and come out on top.
- 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever by Steve Chandler: Motivational speaker Steve Chandler offers some actions plans in this book that are ideal for making big changes in your life.
- Work Less, Live More by Bob Clyatt: If you're an older man or woman out of work, perhaps you could consider semi-retirement as an option? This book offers up some ideas that could have you working less and actually enjoying it.
- Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield and Ron McMillan: Unemployment is a big change in itself, but one that may also necessitate making a lot of other changes in your life. Get advice on changing anything standing in your way of success with this great motivational book.
- Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life by Alan Deutschman: While you might not die if you don't make changes during unemployment, you might suffer some serious difficulties getting back into the workforce. Use this book to help you make changes that can affect yourself in both your work life and your personal life.
- Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter and Holger Rathgerber: Change can be hard under any circumstances, but especially so when you're dealing with the trauma of unemployment. This great read will help you to navigate change even in the worst of times.
- Peaks and Valleys: Making Good And Bad Times Work For You–At Work And In Life by Spencer Johnson: Another great read by Spencer, this book offers up a parable that you can apply to your own life, helping you to better understand both the good and bad times in your life.
Uplifting and Inspiring Reads
If you need a bit of a morale boost to help you through unemployment, these reads might be just what you're looking for.
- $100K to Nothing: My Journey From a Six Figure Income to the Unemployment Line in the Worst Economy of Our Time by Dan Holt: Dan Holt went from making six figures to no figures at all, amidst one of the worst economic downturns in decades. Read this book to see how he turned things around and get some advice on how you can do the same.
- As a Man Thinketh by James Allen: We all need a little self-help now and then, and this book is one of the classics in the genre. Read through it to find out how perception may be influencing how you see things in your life and may be hiding blessings and assets you already have.
- The Unemployed Millionaire: Escape the Rat Race, Fire Your Boss and Live Life on YOUR Terms! by Matt Morris: Matt Morris knows what it's like to be in dire straits financially; he was once homeless and deeply in debt. Read this book to learn how he turned it all around, got a job, and eventually made millions.
- Your Best Year Yet!: Ten Questions for Making the Next Twelve Months Your Most Successful Ever by Jinny S. Ditzler: While losing a job might now be your ideal way to start your best year ever, this book will show you how staying positive, working hard, and believing in yourself may just make it possible to turn a tragedy into a triumph.
- Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale: When you're out of work it can be tempting to get down on yourself and your prospects, but as you'll learn from this book, few good things ever come from negative thinking.
- The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked by Ernie J. Zelinski: Why not look on the bright side of being unemployed? This book will teach you how to make the most of your time out of work and provide you with a framework for working life that will have you working less and living more.
- What Should I Do With My Life? The Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question by Po Bronson: It's a scary question that even some well into their working lives don't really know how to answer, but in this book, you'll find some very inspiring answers to this eternal question.
- Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success by John Maxwell: Knowing how to turn something bad into something good will not only help you get through unemployment, but can ease the pain of almost anything negative in your life. Learn how to make just about any failure in your life into something bigger and better down the road with the help of this book.
- Motion Before Motivation: The Success Secret That Never Fails by Michael J. Dolphies: It's all fine and good to make goals for yourself, but how often do you actually act on manifesting those goals? This book will teach you how action, not intention, is the key to success.
Often, the best way to get a job is to use connections you already have or make new ones that can give you an in to a particular field or company. Learn some vital networking skills that can carry you through unemployment and beyond in these great books.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: With over 15 million copies sold worldwide, this book has been a bestseller since it was first released in 1936. While it's been updated a bit, the core lessons have held and still offer some of the best advice on being someone other people want to know.
- Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead by Nancy Ancowitz: Are you the shy and retiring type? While your personality might not lend you to reaching out and networking, shyness isn't a reason to avoid it. Learn how to overcome your introversion and make connections that could get you some work.
- Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You'll Ever Need by Harvey Mackay: If you're out of work you might already be "thirsty," as this book puts it, but it's never too late to learn some valuable networking skills.
- Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi: Learn how to use the relationships you already have, and make a few new ones, to connect your way to the top.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini: Persuasion is a valuable skill in business, but especially so when you're looking for work. Learn the basics of mind manipulation (in a good way) that can help you talk your way into a new job.
- Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected by Devora Zack: For many people out there, the word networking sends shivers down their spines. Yet even if you don't have much experience or hate making small talk, networking can be done successfully, as this book will teach you.
- Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections by Ivan Misner, David Alexander and Brian Hilliard: Whether you're an old hand or a fresh college grad, this book offers up some great tips that can make any networking situation more effective.
- Networking is a Contact Sport by Joe Sweeney and Mike Yorkey: Learn how to be more persuasive, build relationships, and improve your career through this much talked-about book from sports agent and businessman Joe Sweeney.
- Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston M.D. and Keith Ferrazzi: No matter what kind of message you're trying to get across, this book can help you to do it more effectively and with less manipulation.
Can't compete with those who are younger and better trained? Hone your basic business skills, get creative, and work on yourself with the help of these books designed to help you be the best you can be.
- The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino: Renowned salesman Mandino shares the secrets of his success in this book, which you can use in your career or just to help you "sell" yourself to potential employers.
- Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence by Joe Navarro: Sometimes it's what you don't say that makes all the difference. Learn how to leverage your nonverbal signals for the greatest level of success in all you do.
- Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina: One of the best-known personal development gurus out there, Steve Pavlina's book is a must-read for anyone looking to be more productive and successful in their work lives.
- Emily Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success by Peggy Post and Peter Post: Are you being rude without even knowing it? Make sure you're following all business etiquette by referencing this book as you go through your job hunt.
- Business Communication: Building Critical Skills by Kitty Locker and Stephen Kaczmarek: Those who know how to talk to potential employers are more likely to get the job, so give your business communication skills a makeover with the help of this book.
- Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life by Stefan Swanepoel: The animals who live on the Serengeti often struggle to survive, and only those who are the strongest, have the most endurance, and the best support systems can survive. Sound like your work experience? Then give this book a read.
- Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity by Josh Linkner: Those who work in a creative field or anyone just looking to stand out can learn a lot about boosting creativity from this helpful book.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey: This book is a classic for a reason. It offers some amazing advice that can help you become a better leader and lead a happier, more fulfilled life.
Job hunting is often a huge focus for those who are unemployed, but many may not be approaching it in the most effective way. These books can help make the job search less stressful, smarter, and hopefully more effective.
- What Color is Your Parachute? 2011: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles: Even if you've never been out of work before, you've probably heard of this popular book. And with good reason. It's a great read for tackling all aspects of the job hunt, from writing your resume to nailing an interview.
- The Job-Hunter's Survival Guide: How to Find Hope and Rewarding Work, Even When There Are No Jobs by Richard Bolles: Right now jobs are few and far between, so this book may be just the tool you need to ferret out work even when it appears there's none to be had.
- Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0: How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap Into the Hidden Job Market using Social Media and 999 other Tactics Today by Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry: With so many people out of work and on the hunt for jobs, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. That's where this book comes in, offering advice to help you get the job using modern technology.
- The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search: The Proven Program Used by the World's Leading Career Services Company by Orville Pierson: Use the tools and methods of the professionals to land yourself a great new job.
- Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring: Take Charge of Your Career, Find a Job You Love, and Earn What You Deserve by Ford R. Myers: Read this book to learn how to navigate a job search during an economic downturn. You may just find some pretty valuable tips and tools.
- How to Say It on Your Resume: A Top Recruiting Director's Guide to Writing the Perfect Resume for Every Job by Brad Karsh: Your resume is often the first impression employers will have of you, so you have to make sure it does you justice. Use this book to help update, refine, and streamline your resume.
- Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job by Tony Beshara: No matter how many times you interview, the process never really stops being intimidating. Help make it a little less so by learning things you can say and do that make you appear to be the best candidate for the job.
- Push: Job Hunting Secrets They Don't Teach You in College by Nelson Wang: Job hunting used to be a whole lot simpler back when things weren't quite so competitive. Learn how to arm yourself with a whole new set of skills for the complicated job market of today with some help from this book.
- How to Find a Job When There Are No Jobs by Paul Rega and H. Savage: Read through this book to discover some methods that can help you find a job even in times when unemployment is high.
Starting Your Own Business
Always dreamed of starting your own business? With no 9-5 standing in your way, there may be no better time than now to do it. Learn the basics of working smart and being an entrepreneur from these great reads.
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss: Sometimes, working harder isn't the answer when you can simply work smarter. While your new business likely will require more than four hours a week to get off of the ground, use this book to learn some methods that can save you time that you can reinvest in other aspects of your life.
- Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson: Give your work life a makeover by following the advice found in this book. It offers some amazing advice on entrepreneurship that can help you create a lean, mean, and ultimately profitable new business.
- Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams by Mike Dooley: Unemployment is an end, but it's also a beginning. Mike Dooley explains how you can control your own fate, use positive thinking, and work towards your goals to finally achieve your lifelong dreams.
- Jobless: How to Quit Your Day Job and Start Your Climb to the Top by Alan De Keyrel: You've already got the jobless part down, so get some help with the climbing to the top part from this book. You'll learn how to think like an entrepreneur, find customers, market your business, and more.
- Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking by Tim Hurson: If you want to stay ahead of the competition you have to be an innovator. In this book, you'll get some tips, tools, and advice on productive thinking that can make you a standout in your new business venture.
- The Accidental Entrepreneur: The 50 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Starting a Business by Susan Urquhart-Brown: Starting a business sometimes comes with some unexpected adventures. Help take a little of the mystery out of it, with advice from someone who's been there and done it before.
- The Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-by-Step Legal Guide by Peri Pakroo: Make sure your new business is following all the legal basics it needs to stay successful with help from this guidebook.
Depression and Anger
Aside from the financial aspects, there is often a dark side to unemployment that can include depression, frustration, and a whole lot of anger. Learn to work through these emotions with guidance from these self-help experts.
- The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn: While depression is much more than mindset, the reality is that changing how you think can help how you feel from day-to-day. Learn how positive thinking and mindful action can help you to better manage your feelings of depression.
- Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You by Richard O'Connor: If you're depressed, medication and therapy can be a big help. But if you don't change your life, in the long term things may not get better. Read through this book to understand what other things you need to be doing to get your life and your emotional well-being back on track.
- Take Control Of Your Life: Self Help For Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Confidence, Success & More by Dan Jones: Depression, anger, and anxiety surrounding unemployment often stem from a feeling that an individual no longer has control over their own life. This book will help you learn how to take back that control and battle many of the negative emotions you may be feeling.
- The Anger Trap: Free Yourself from the Frustrations that Sabotage Your Life by Les Carter and Frank Minirth: Are anger and resentment sabotaging your job hunt? You may not even realize you're showing these emotions, but getting them under control can make you happier, better able to find a job, and a much more fun person to be around.
- Transforming Anger: The Heartmath Solution for Letting Go of Rage, Frustration, and Irritation by Doc Childre, Deborah Rozman, and Matthew McKay: Getting angry about your situation isn't going to do much. In fact, it might make things even worse. While anger is an understandable reaction, you can learn to keep yours under control with some help from the methods taught in this book.