Steve Hart takes the hard work out of knowing what to read for advancement in the workplace

Key Points:

With the dark nights now well and truly here it's time to have a holiday in the sun or make yourself feel better by reading a good book about improving your career.

We can't help you with a holiday here. But we've taken the hard work out of the big book search, thanks to the guys at Paper Plus. Together, we have selected 10 great books to help you get your career on track and enjoy work more.

So settle back, make a nice cup of tea and dive in.

Authentic Happiness

Author Martin Seligman is in Auckland on Tuesday night during a flying visit to help people that hate their jobs. But for those who can't make it to the professor's event at the Auckland Museum on Tuesday then one of his books may help close your happiness gap.

The book is as valuable today as when it first appeared on the shelves. Seligman says it was the first book to examine how mentally healthy people can become happy, and how happy people can become very happy.

The 2002 paperback was the first time any scientist had placed value in the study of mental wellness. In short, the book is about exercising one's strengths and virtues in order to achieve what Seligman terms "authentic happiness".

The life-changing lesson of Authentic Happiness is that by assessing the best in ourselves, we can achieve new and lasting levels of genuine contentment and joy.

Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman. $37.99
The Success Principles

Jack Canfield reveals the simple set of rules for success that led him to become the multi-million-copy, bestselling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and shows how anyone can follow these principles to achieve their own dreams.

This book offers proven self-empowerment tools and time-tested performance strategies that are the basis for personal and professional success.

Jack Canfield has become the author of more than 50 best-selling books by following these principles _ here he shows how they can help you to take on greater challenges, produce break-through results and achieve undreamed of success.

Decide what you want, believe you deserve it and practise the principles outlined in the book, and with these powerful new habits _ he says _ you can experience astonishing opportunities and extraordinary results in all aspects of your working life.

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. $35.99
The Rules of Work

Some people seem to be just great at their job. They glide effortlessly onwards and upwards throughout. They always seem to say and do the right thing. Everybody likes them. They get pay rises and promotion. They get on with the boss. And they do all this without excess effort.

What's their secret? Is there something they do that we don't?

According to this book, these people know and implement "the rules of work". These rules are about how you are seen to be doing your job _ brilliantly and efficiently. They are about how you appear to others _ successful and confident.

The Rules of Work takes simple information about how people relate to each other in a completely artificial environment _ the workplace _ and uses it to promote your successful rise up the ladder.

This is the book you need if you want to be successful and still sleep at night, and be regarded as a thoroughly decent person by your colleagues and bosses.

The Rules of Work by Richard Templar. $30.00
Now, Discover Your Strengths

Based on a Gallup study of more than two million people who have excelled in their careers, this book uses a revolutionary programme to help readers discover their talents and strengths.

The product of a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human talents, the Strengths Finder programme introduces 34 talents, or "themes", and shows how they can best be translated into personal and career success.

Each copy of the book contains a unique password that gives the reader access to the Strengths Finder Profile, a web-based interview that analyses people's instinctive reactions and presents them with their five most dominant strengths.

Once readers know which of the talent themes dominates their personality, they can make practical applications at three levels: as an individual, as a manager and within an organisation.

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O'Clifton. $27.99
Success Built to Last

Imagine discovering what successful people have in common, distilling it into a set of simple practices and using them to transform your life and work.

Authored by three legends in leadership and self-help _ including Built to Last co-author Jerry Porras _ it challenges conventional wisdom at every step. Success Built to Last draws on face-to-face, unscripted conversations with hundreds of remarkable people from around the world.

Meet billionaires, CEOs, presidents of nations, Nobel laureates and celebrities.

This book will help you discover how successful people build on their strengths and their weaknesses, their victories and their failures.

Discover how you can find meaning in your life and work just as they did and summon the courage to follow your passions.

Success Built to Last by Jerry Porras. $45
What Should I Do With My Life?

Author Pro Bronson tackles the biggest, most threatening, most obvious question that anyone has to face, "what should I do with my life?".

It is a problem that is increasingly encountered not just by the young but by people who have half their lives or more behind them.

The modern route to self-discovery is to trade what you have for a completely different way of life and to face the challenges.

What Should I Do With My Life? by Pro Bronson. $27.99
Winning: The Answers

Jack and Suzy Welch interpret, extend and illustrate the ideas outlined in their best-selling book, Winning, by answering the questions put to them by their readers.

Jack Welch has the singular knack for talking straight and remaining positive and upbeat no matter how difficult the circumstances seem.

Few of us will ever get the chance to hear Jack answer questions in person. But, Winning: The Answers offers the next best thing, the opportunity to take the lessons from Jack's bible of business success one step further.

Hopefully the questions you've always wanted to ask Jack will be dealt with here in this book.

Winning: The Answers by Jack and Suzy Welch. $39.99
What Color Is Your Parachute?

This is still the best-selling job-hunting book in the world. A favourite of job hunters and career changers for more than three decades, it continues to be a mainstay on best-seller lists and has been translated into 12 languages.

The 2008 edition is an even more useful book, with its updated, inspiring and detailed plan for changing readers' lives.

With new examples, instructions and cautionary advice, this book is as fresh as ever and there is a version for youngsters called What Color is Your Parachute for Teens.

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles. $42.99.
What Color is Your Parachute for Teens by Carol Christen, Jean Blomquist and Richard N Bolles. $29.99
101 Quick Tips: Create a Great Customer Experience

Whether you're self-employed, run a business in the trades, work in retail, services or the financial sector _ you have customers.

If so, you won't want to miss these 101 tips to place you head and shoulders above the crowd to build customer loyalty and improve your prospects in the retail industry.

A new book in the 101 Quick Tips series, this volume brings together two of the most respected customer service exponents in New Zealand.

Here they share top tips for communication, acquiring and maintaining customers and promoting excellence within your organisation.

101 Quick Tips: Create a Great Customer Experience by Debbie Mayo-Smith. $15.95
The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

The world has changed dramatically since the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was published.

In order to thrive, innovate, excel and lead in what author Stephen R. Covey calls the new knowledge-worker age, we must build on and move beyond effectiveness _ to greatness.

Accessing the higher levels of human genius and motivation in today's new reality requires a sea-change of new thinking, a new mindset, a new skill set, a new tool set _ in short, a whole new habit.

In his latest offering, Covey sets out to deliver the skills we need in a book that's full of good advice.

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen R Covey. $34.99
Contact Steve Hart at www.stevehart.co.nz