2018 marks the third year in a row that I’ve compiled a list of newly published must-reads for remote workers. It’s worth noting that this annual list appears in no particular order; however, its wide variety of topics and voices are deemed to be of equal importance for those whose work takes place outside of the traditional office—sometimes even across continents and oceans.
Past lists from 2016 and 2017 have touched upon building inspirational cultures, the importance of seeking mentors, advocating for gender equality, prioritizing self-care, having a strategic focus, and embracing transparency at work. In reviewing top nonfiction books that were published last year, I wondered which might contain the most valuable lessons for location-independent professionals.
Below are some great remote worker reads from 2018:
This could be the year that you stop being busy and start working strategically. Co-founders of remote company Basecamp and New York Times bestselling authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier-Hansson have penned a manifesto that bucks the “hustle to success” business philosophy. By arguing in favor of more rest, fewer work hours, and lighter workloads, these entrepreneurs offer an insightful perspective on productivity that gels with living a more balanced life. Remote leaders and managers can learn from their decades-long experience and adjust their expectations accordingly; their colleagues will likely be grateful for it.
Diversity and inclusion efforts are much-discussed priorities for companies of all kinds, remote included; however, those who are actually getting it right remain few and far between. This straightforward tome (a NYT bestseller) from Ijeoma Oluo offers a deeper exploration into today’s racial landscape that cuts across class divides, ethnicities, and the best of intentions to answer challenging questions many dare not even ask with both clarity and candor. Gain a more meaningful understanding of micro-aggressions, intersectionality, privilege, and systemic discrimination to help guide your internal training and discussions about race in the workplace.
How we design our products and services can demonstrate remarkable foresight or, conversely, unmistakable blind spots with regard to consumer interaction. Entrepreneur and inclusive design expert Kat Holmes digs into the pioneers of the inclusive design movement, showing that elegant solutions for all don’t happen by accident—and that taking a more universal approach supports growth and innovation. If you’ve ever felt left out of user experience considerations (or hoped that you weren’t doing the same to others), you’ll want to read this.
Seeking a go-to guide by remote work experts? Look no further. Co-authors Lisette Sutherland and Kirsten Janene-Nelson tackle all the topics central to creating a thriving flexible workplace. From getting started, to facilitating success in teams, to smart hiring, their highly relevant handbook has been written for each stage of a remote professional’s career, and even offers bonus material such as hiring cheat sheets, managerial action plans, and team agreements.
We’re addicts, and we likely aren’t even bothering to do anything about it. That’s right; the average American spends 56 days per year captivated by a tiny screen. In this recent release, Catherine Price breaks it down for us all, and offers tactical advice to kick the habit. If you’ve ever stared at your smartphone for hours on end, worried about your level of productivity or wonder how you possibly could have zoned out yet again, this book can help you reevaluate your relationship with mobile devices and get on healthier ground with digital tools.
“Work smart, not hard.” You might be able to envision the above title as a Dilbert-esque parody of some sort. Rest assured, however, that this selection made the annual list for very good reason. As it turns out, doing more actually is a flawed strategy. With illustrative storytelling aplenty, management professor Morten Hansen shares research-backed evidence from a broad cross-industry survey that could impact your career for the long term, and make your day-to-day more delightful in the process.
The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business: Make Great Money. Work the Way You Like. Have the Life You Want
Veteran journalist and former Fortune editor Elain Pofeldt has interviewed remote entrepreneurs in enviable positions: those who have successfully created million-dollar solo businesses. How have they achieved such an accomplishment before hiring their first (or any) employee? Anyone who has dreamed of becoming a wealthy free agent in control of a lifestyle business—even if only in passing—will find the personal accounts and lessons learned from these location-independent founders interesting.
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