4-minute read

What types of things should you be reading to broaden your knowledge on business subjects with an aim of progressing your career opportunities? Update your reading list here!

Ever notice the back wall?

We’ve all been on a Skype, Zoom or Teams web conference at one point or another and noticed what’s in the background of the people we’re talking to. Rest assured, some of them will have overflowing bookshelves boasting a bedazzling array of bloated tomes on business and current affairs subjects. Does it ever make you wonder what YOU should have on your back wall? Is your career being impacted by the fact you don’t read enough?

Even successful people make time to read

I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard interviews from industry leaders like Bill Gates and Richard Branson regarding their thirst for reading. Sure, not every business leader can chart their success based on the strength of their reading list, but it’s noticeable, I think, just how many successful people say they take time to read. And read a lot.

Types of source

Thanks to Google and Amazon, knowledge is plentiful and accessible these days. No more long walks in the rain down to the local library only to find they have a miserable choice of volumes on the topics you care about. These days, you can think of any topic that comes into your head and you will find tens if not hundreds of articles, journals and books a mouse-click away.

This gives you plenty to choose from. Here are some key areas to think about.

News and blog sites

Sites like Medium, Reddit and Mashable are popular places to learn new things about your career passion or subject. Sites like Reddit—who position themselves as ‘the front page of the Internet’—are particularly helpful because they curate content by theme, making it simpler to find interesting content.

Suppliers and vendors

All businesses want to be the authority on their chosen subject these days. You will find most suppliers will publish a blog and provide regular updates on their site covering topics that have currency. It’s not uncommon these days for companies to pay for ‘staff writers’ who blend knowledge of the subject with good writing skills. Every now and then, you will come across an informative article that really steps up your understanding of a subject.

Industry bodies and professional organizations

I find industry bodies and professional organizations bring an extra layer of richness to my business reading list. Articles from these organizations are written BY industry professionals FOR industry professionals. This means the quality and relevancy of content tends to be higher. Also, there’s less risk of a bias perspective being presented.


They’re losing popularity as a medium, but sometimes reading a book is the very best way to dig deep into a topic. Picking out books that are already receiving widespread attention in the media can help to shorten the reading list. Alternatively, why not ask your colleagues (or bosses) for their recommendations? Personally, I’ve gained more from reading the books recommended by my peers than any other source—and you never know, it might just impress them!

Research reports, articles and white papers

Google searches can source a variety of research reports, articles and white papers. Sometimes, it takes a bit of playing around with search phrases to get the best results.

As a general principle—to source current reports in your territory that are factually based on a subject, google something like ‘Facts,’ (then, your topic..) ‘Workforce Management,’ then the location ‘US,’ then the date ‘2021.’

Alternatives to reading – Podcasts and videos

If you really aren’t a great reader, then there are many more alternative ways to trim up your knowledge on a subject these days. Probably, the most popular medium today is video, although podcasts are growing rapidly in their popularity and are not to be ignored for the insight they can yield.

Six of our best knowledge sourcing recommendations

#1 Google Alerts news-feed service

This is another useful service to have relevant reading content fed through to your inbox. With Google Alerts, it’s possible to choose the precise terms that matter most to your career interests and have it served up to your inbox at a frequency that suits you.

#2TEDx Talks

It might not be information that’s written down, but these short video presentations are made by subject matter experts and are a fantastic ‘bite sized’ way to develop your knowledge of a subject. The standard of presenters on TEDx Talks is extremely high, making it easier to get through the content and learn something when compared to a dry academic presenter or white paper.

#3 Forbes articles

Deservedly coming third on our list is Forbes, the global media company, focusing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and lifestyle. It offers perspectives and insights on a broad variety of business topics. Many of the articles are written by individuals that ‘walk the walk’ and really understand the deeper detail of the topics covered. Additionally, all Forbes articles are carefully vetted, so the standard of writing is extremely high.

#4 Harvard Business Review (HBR)

It might be slightly on the academic side for some tastes but Harvard Business Review is a general management magazine published by Harvard Business Publishing. It covers a broad spectrum of topics, largely formed around academic research projects. Some of the best and most lead-edge business ideas have originated from its publications.

#5 McKinsey & Co. Quarterly Magazine

Arguably the most thoughtful management consulting firm on the planet, McKinsey brings a top-down holistic perspectives to the hype-curves of the day. It’s reports are backed up by the huge global resources of this insight-led adviser to big business.

#6 Gartner.com reports

If you’re in the enterprise technology space, Gartner is the go-to analyst firm that literally defines what markets exist! Their website is brimming with well written articles on the hottest topics in business technology.

Final thought—Reading can help your career, no matter what you read

It may not be what you read, but the fact that you do, that influences your future career success. People who read more, have larger vocabularies. That can make all the difference when it comes to your next career-making job interview. Being articulate and well-spoken will help you in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to your colleagues with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem.