Recommended Resources for Career, Lifestyle, Quarterlife Crises, Blogging, & Freelance Writing

books
image by azrasta

I’ve been flying through books and online resources like it’s my job. That’s what happens when a lover of reading and learning takes on such projects as launching a new blog, trying out freelance writing, and figuring out what to do with one’s life (NBD).

The value of many of the items I’ve used is incredible. I’ve been blown away, really. I feel indebted to their creators–they’ve helped me so much! I’d feel like an asshole not trying to spread the word about their work.

Originally, I developed a “Resources” page (no longer available) to house reviews and links (yes, affiliate links, whenever possible/applicable. I was really banking on making enough money for one coffee a month, ya know?) associated with all the books and products I found exceptional…but it started to get ridiculous. As in, I was reading so much good shit so fast that I was adding awesome things for people to check out all the time, and the page grew into a section of pages, which was becoming annoying to manage…

Here’s what I’m saying: I want you to know about these resources–I want to sing their praises–but I no longer want the hassle of keeping the pages updated, nor do I want the content taking up precious real estate on my site anymore, K? Homegirl likes a clean website, and I was cluttering things up like an elderly woman does with plastic flamingos and lawn gnomes. No likey. (Besides, I need room in the site navigation for a few new pages coming soon… THE DRAMA! THE SUSPENSE! ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT NEW PAGES?! I KNOW YOU ARE! I KNOW YOU CARE ABOUT NEW UPCOMING PAGES ON MY BLOG!!!!!!)

I’ve chosen two near-and-dear-to-my-heart items (also the two I have true/non-Amazon affiliate relationships with) to promote indefinitely (to your right, in the sidebar under “Recommended”), but outside of those, I think I’ll just shoot an email to my newsletter subscribers or write a review post or something for all other noteworthy books, products, exercises, and whatever else I come across.

This is a boring post so far, I’m sorry. I think this is all stuff I’m not supposed to tell you, too. Like, if I let John read this before I publish it, he’ll tell me no one cares about the administrative details of my site, and that I shouldn’t even mention any of this. But I feel like I’m pulling a fast one on you guys by not always being transparent, so I hope you appreciate all this stuff you don’t care about. Or something like that. Let’s move on.

Here are some truly remarkable resources I think you’ll find helpful. As mentioned, some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I’ll get about four cents of any sale made through this page (though it doesn’t change your price at all).

Jung Typology Test

Discovering my personality type by taking the Jung Typology Test was an enormous breakthrough for me as I flailed about in a quarterlife crisis. I learned what my natural strengths and preferences are, how I experience the world, and how I make decisions–in short, I finally felt like I understood myself. This brought a lot of clarity and relief, and the knowledge propelled me forward in my quest to identify my ideal career.

Take the test

Do What You Are

This book will also help you determine your personality type (through a couple of different methods), but focuses on what it means for your work. What’s better is that it goes beyond simply offering information to include actual action items (hooray!) and relevant exercises to help you determine the best career for you. I didn’t finish the book knowing exactly what to do, but I had certainly narrowed my options down and had a good sense of the direction I should go.

Read more

Strengths Finder 2.0

After coming across the third mention of this book, I knew I had to get it. The main idea here is that we should each figure out the talents we naturally possess, and focus on developing those into strengths (as opposed to spending–wasting–time trying to improve our weaknesses). The thought is that we can be professional powerhouses by finding ways to use our strengths more instead of attempting to get better at the things we’re crappy at, resulting in an average ability level at best. While the book and assessment seem to be more intended to help you make the most of a role you’re already in, knowing your talents can really help you identify an overall good career fit, too. My results revealed a lot about the jobs I would and would not be successful in.

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The Art of Non-Conformity

As I read through this book, I kept noticing this “Oh, thank God!” feeling. Chris Guillebeau puts into words what I’d somewhat subconsciously suspected for a long time: there are other ways to live than the one way you’ve been exposed to. Our eyes are closed to other roads, other possibilities, other ways of seeing the world and our work…and Chris opens them. This book will forever alter your worldview–for the much, much better.

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The $100 Startup

Interested in entrepreneurship? Here’s your guide. Also written by Chris Guillebeau, and also a source of that “Oh, thank God!” feeling–this time when it comes to strategies for launching, operating, and growing (if desired) a business. You don’t need a lot of money to get your brainchild out into the world, nor do you need to screw people over or trick them into buying to be successful. You do need to put some careful thought into how you can provide real value and truly help people, as well as what makes sense for you to offer, how best to offer it, and whom to offer it to, though–you’ll learn how to go about all this, and more, in this book.

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279 Days to Overnight Success

Another slam-dunk (free!) resource by Chris Guillebeau, this guide lays out the process of–and key concepts involved in–building a successful online platform. If you blog just for fun/creative release/whatever, this probably won’t interest you. But if you’re ready to take things to the next level, spread your message, get some traffic, and maybe even sell some stuff through your site, you need this info.

Read more

Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success

When I first started seriously thinking about freelance writing, I did a ton of research on what I’d need to do to be “legit,” and ended up completely overwhelmed. I came across a recommendation for Kelly’s book, and purchased it right away…and found that pretty much all my questions were answered. You can have zero knowledge of the publishing industry or what pitching story ideas or working with editors is like, and come out feeling like you have a decent grasp on it all after reading this book. You’ll also have a template for each of the common emails and letters you can expect to be sending as a freelance writer. Another book worth way more than it costs!

Read more

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Discuss

Have you used any of these resources? If so, what was your experience like? Any related items you’d add to the list?

Did you like this post? You did??!! Then, maybe, sign up for email updates, yeah? Thankee.

Your thoughts?
  1. I have a resources page with Amazon affiliate links 🙂 . My blog has been up since mid-March and I’ve snagged 55 CENTS in revenue. Wooha! Not sure what I’ll do with that payload when it arrives.

    And I’m currently reading the Renaissance Business book. Gonna have to add that one later too….

    Also: I LOVE peeking behind people’s curtains 🙂 . As a blogger, it’s neat to see how other bloggers decide things.

    • Cassie says:

      I actually really like the way you’ve displayed your links, Angie. I kept feeling compelled to write a small review for each one, and then I’d stress over whether I was doing it justice, and then I’d stress over knowing I’d be adding more, and then I’d stress over the section growing so big… Eventually I decided I needed to go about it differently. Who knows, I may find a way to incorporate the links into my site down the road. Because I do really feel compelled to promote them…

      I LOOOOOOOOOVE the Renaissance Business book. Such a fantastic resource!

      • Thanks! I plan to eventually put buttons under each book that, when clicked, goes to a feed of any blog post that is tagged with that book. EVENTUALLY. So many things to do!

        The Art of Nonconformity is on my list. Gotta finish the Renaissance Business book first 🙂 . But so far I love it!

        • Cassie says:

          Oh, nice feature! Ugh, yes, it’s amazing how many things you can add to a blog to-do list…

          AONC is absolutely awesome. I want to hand it out to every person and be like, here, think this way…

  2. Brodie says:

    I’m with Angie, I love the admin talk. I feel like I have a backstage pass or something!

    I’m also loving the list. I’m a big fan of Chris Guillebeau and I can’t gush enough about how helpful those three books have been for me. And Renaissance Business is… just wow.

    I just took the Jung test (I’m INFP). I got a tad emotional and my “rose-colored glasses” fogged up for a second there. How can a 5 minute test teach you so much about yourself? Great suggestion!

    • Cassie says:

      Really happy to hear support for the admin stuff! I swear, sometimes the things I think people will be bored with are big hits, and vice versa.

      Yeah, I really can’t say enough about Chris Guillebeau or Emilie Wapnick either. Just fantastic people and work.

      Your reaction to the Jung test is so common–it’s so creepy how accurate and insightful it is, right?

  3. Melinda says:

    Hey Cassie,

    Great post once again. I have read the $100 startup and I enjoyed it a lot. So it’s a great resource, no doubt about it.

    However, if you are just starting out then startbloggingonline.com is a great place to get yourself going.

    And of course, copyblogger.com is also extremely good for “new” bloggers.

    Cheers,
    Melinda

    • Cassie says:

      Great suggestions, Melinda. Yeah, $100 Startup is definitely more for bloggers who are already at least somewhat established. And Copyblogger, yes, have been a fan for quite some time. They’ve really helped shape my view on content marketing…and actually, marketing as a whole.

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. I read Do What You Are my final semester of college and it was so helpful in calming me the hell down about what I was gonna do with my life.

    I’m just starting out as a freelance writer so I’ll definitely check out Writer For Hire. I feel like I have no idea what’s going on (but I know that writing is what I’m meant to do)

  5. You can start out a blog now. A number of people today get started a blog to ensure that
    they are able to get online exposure.

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