VSGD Recommended Reading List

We asked the community what books they found helpful during career change and here are some of their suggestions.

Topics covered:

  • Designing your life (how to stop feeling “stuck” in your job)

  • Finding career fulfilment

  • Practical advice

  • Figuring out your values

  • Developing your mindset

  • Self-care

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Got a suggestion of your own that should be included here?

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If you feel stuck at your job and don’t know how to start looking for another one…

Designing your life: how to build a well-lived, joyful life
Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

An inspiring and thought-provoking book that shows you how to build—design—a life you can thrive in, at any age or stage.

A well-reasoned, systematic, eminently practical, and joyful approach to navigating your career by approaching the challenge the way a designer would, using experimentation, wayfinding, prototyping and constant iteration.

If you are looking for more career fulfilment…


Get a Life, Not a Job
Paula Caligiuri

With a radically new approach to redesigning your career, get more passion, more fulfilment, better work-life balance, and real financial freedom! You only have one life. Why not love what you do? Discover how others have made it happen - and how you can too!

Learn how to:

  • Start spending more time in a career you enjoy and less on work you hate

  • Identify career choices you'll love and build your skills to match them

  • Transform and layoff-proof your current job

  • Define a mix of wealth-building activities that stimulate and liberate you

  • Escape outdated psychological contracts that let others control your destiny

  • Build the inspiring career you deserve!

If you need practical advice…

What colour is your parachute
Richard N. Bolles

With more than 10 million copies sold in 28 countries, the world's most popular job-search book is updated for 2019 and tailors Richard Bolles's long-trusted guidance with up-to-the-minute information and advice for today's job-hunters and career-changers. 

In today's challenging job-market, the time-tested advice of What Color Is Your Parachute? is needed more than ever. Recent grads facing a tough economic landscape, workers laid off mid-career, and people searching for an inspiring work-life change all look to career guru Richard N. Bolles for support, encouragement, and advice on which job-hunt strategies work--and which don't. This revised edition combines classic elements like the famed Flower Exercise with updated tips on social media and search tactics. Bolles demystifies the entire job-search process, from writing resumes to interviewing to networking, expertly guiding job-hunters toward their dream job.

your best year yet.jpg

Your Best Year Yet
Jinny Ditzler

"Your Best Year Yet" is the perfect guide to help you realise goals and overcome last year's limitations. The proven methods in the book will make this year into the most successful ever. "Your Best Year Yet" is the perfect handbook to help people realise their goals in 12 months. In this clear-cut guide anyone can set aside three hours of their time and transform their life.

"Your Best Year Yet" asks you challenging questions about your expectations, accomplishments and goals for the future. It is not until you take time to sit down and really think about what you want out of the next year that you can start working towards your goals. Ditzler asks us to outline our accomplishments, disappointments, limitations, personal values, goals, our roles in life and shows us how to develop our own programme to achieving our goals and learning from our mistakes.

If you need help figuring out your values…

The Values Factor
Dr. John Demartini

The Values Factor shows you how to create a life in which every minute can be inspiring and fulfilling. The first step is to identify what you find most meaningful the values in life that are most important to you. Once you understand your own unique values and align your life accordingly, you can achieve fulfillment in every aspect of your life: deepening your loving relationships, creating an inspiring career, establishing financial freedom, and tapping into a rich spiritual life.

Dr. Demartini’s provocative thirteen-part questionnaire will reveal to you what you value most. The answers may surprise you! Then, each chapter of this book explains how to align every aspect of your life with your true values, so that you can finally achieve the success that you were capable of all along.

Recommended by VSGD member Olly King: “I know I bang on about this damn book but it has been an eye opener for me: The Values Factor, Dr John Demartini”


These books are great to help develop your mindset

The Chimp Paradox: The mind management programme for confidence, success and happiness
Prof. Steve Peters

If you want to feel more assertive and confident then this is the book for you. Leading consultant psychiatrist Steve Peters knows more than anyone how impulsive behaviour or nagging self-doubt can impact negatively on our professional and personal lives. In this book Steve shares his phenomenally successful mind-management programme that has been used to help elite athletes and senior managers alike to conquer their fears.

"I also love Prof. Steve Peters The Chimp Paradox-fantastic book about dealing with emotions and performance"
- Carolyne Crowe, VSGDer and VDS Training Coach


Mindset: changing the ways you think to fulfil your potential
Dr Carol S. Dweck

This book is for you if:

  • You feel like you’re always negative and you want to be more positive.

  • You always seem to be losing instead of winning.

  • You want to excel as a leader, entrepreneur, parent, vet, etc

“On the upside - there's plenty of evidence that mindset can be changed and coached. Try Carol Dweck's book Mindset for a stimulating read”
- Adrian Nelson Pratt, VSGDer and Emerge Veterinary

Do you struggle with self-care? Then these books are the ones for you…


The Self-Care Project: How to let go of frazzle and make time for you
Jayne Hardy

Self-care is a tool, accessible to us all, which helps us to take responsibility for our own happiness - our physical, emotional, psychological and social needs. Jayne Hardy, founder and CEO of The Blurt Foundation, argues that it is the best preventative measure available to us to combat overwhelm, stress and ill health, in our hectic, modern world.

The Self-Care Project is for those who have been feeling off-kilter for a while but have not been able to put their finger on 'why'. It is a no-nonsense, practical journey to help you do just that.

“I read this book when I had really lost sight of prioritising me. It really helped me get out my negative loop without reading patronising sentences”
- Ebony Escalona, VSGD founder


Why we sleep
Matthew Walker

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world - Alzheimer's, cancer, obesity, diabetes - has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.

Now, in this book, the first of its kind written by a scientific expert, Professor Matthew Walker explores twenty years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence

“This book massively bought home the importance of sleep and made me reprioritise it, which I feel loads better for!” - Gemma Stead


Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world
Mark Williams and Danny Penman

“This book has some zenny meditations on the CD that you can download also” Caroline Murray, VSGDer and travelling vet


It’s all absolutely fine
Ruby Elliot

Opening up about her own struggles with mental health, Ruby draws about everything from depression, body image and eating disorders to anxiety, low self-esteem and working out how to be a 'grown up' in the most inverted comma-y sense of the word.

"I also love the ‘it’s all absolutely fine’ comic by Ruby Elliot. The tag line is ‘life is complicated, so I’ve drawn it,  
it’s now my front line remedy for ‘I need to recharge, be kind to myself and give myself a mental health day/ afternoon /hour /15mins! It lives by my bedside"
Amy Barstow. VSGDer and Assistant Lecturer in Clinical Skills at the RVC


Submit your own recommendations!

Have you read something recently that helped you in your career? Perhaps it was something that boosted your confidence, gave you a different perspective, or challenged the way you think?

We’d love to hear from you - let us know what it was and we will include it in our reading list!

Name *
A quick summary - why was it good, how did it help you, and any other comments!