Books To Read After Being Laid Off

Experiencing a job loss can be a challenging phase in one’s life, one that brings about not just financial concerns but also emotional distress. It’s a time when you might feel unmoored and uncertain, yet it’s also a time that can become a period of personal growth and transformation.

This blog aims to help you navigate this critical phase by presenting a curated list of books that provide not just solace and understanding, but also practical advice and strategies to move forward. These books cover a range of topics, from managing your emotions and cultivating a positive mindset, to honing your job hunting skills and planning your financials.

Remember, this time can also be a great opportunity for learning and self-improvement.

So, let’s dive into the list and explore how these books can guide you on this journey.

The Emotional Journey

Job loss often triggers a mix of emotions: stress, fear, anger, and even a sense of grief. These feelings are entirely normal, and it’s important to acknowledge and work through them. Here are a couple of books that can help you navigate this emotional landscape.

“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson

“Who Moved My Cheese?” is a simple yet profound parable about change. It features four characters living in a “Maze,” dealing with unexpected change in their search for “Cheese.” The “Cheese” is a metaphor for what we want in life, and the “Maze” symbolizes where we go looking for what we want, like the organization we work in.

The book provides valuable insights on how to anticipate change, adapt quickly, enjoy change, and be ready to change quickly, again and again. It’s a comforting read that reassures you that change is a part of life and that adapting to it leads to new opportunities.

“Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life” by Eric Greitens

In “Resilience,” former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens shares letters he wrote to a fellow veteran, exploring what it takes to bounce back from hardship. He combines his personal experiences with philosophy and literature to give insights on building resilience in the face of adversity.

The book suggests that resilience is not a fixed attribute, but a muscle—one that can be built and strengthened. It provides practical advice and wisdom on building this resilience, useful for anyone going through a tough time. Greitens’ empowering message is that you can become stronger and more fulfilled on the other side of hardship.

Mindset Shift

When faced with job loss, cultivating a growth-oriented and positive mindset can be a game-changer. It can transform the way you perceive your situation and help you see it as an opportunity for growth rather than a setback. Here are two books that can guide you towards developing such a mindset.

“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck

In this groundbreaking book, psychologist Carol S. Dweck explores the concept of “mindset” and how our beliefs about our abilities can impact our lives profoundly. She introduces the idea of ‘fixed mindset’ vs ‘growth mindset.’ A fixed mindset assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static. In contrast, a growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as an opportunity for growth and stretching existing abilities.

Applying these concepts to job loss, you can begin to see it as an opportunity for development and to cultivate new skills and experiences.

“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl

Written by Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, “Man’s Search for Meaning” is a powerful book that explores the importance of finding purpose in life, especially in the face of adversity. Frankl, a psychiatrist, recounts his experiences in Nazi concentration camps and describes his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positive about and then immersively visualizing that outcome.

In the context of job loss, Frankl’s experiences and philosophy underscore the importance of finding meaning and purpose even in difficult circumstances. It can inspire you to look beyond the immediate setback and find a broader perspective on your life and career.

Job Hunting Strategies

Once you have worked through your emotions and established a positive mindset, the next logical step is to start your job search. It can feel daunting, but there are many resources out there to help. Here are two books packed with practical strategies and insights on job hunting in the current market.

“What Color Is Your Parachute? 2023: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success” by Richard N. Bolles

“What Color Is Your Parachute?” is a classic in the world of career advice. Updated annually, it offers time-tested and up-to-date advice on the job market. The book takes you through the entire job search process, from writing your resume and LinkedIn profile, to networking and interviewing effectively.

Its unique approach is that it encourages job seekers to reflect on their unique talents, skills, and passions and to use this self-knowledge to identify potential job targets. This not only helps in finding a job but also in finding one that will bring satisfaction and success.

“Knock ’em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide” by Martin Yate

Martin Yate’s “Knock ’em Dead” series has been a go-to resource for job seekers for over three decades. This comprehensive guide covers everything from writing resumes that get you noticed, to effective job search strategies, networking, interviewing, and negotiating the best salary.

Yate offers practical, step-by-step advice and includes many examples and checklists. The book also emphasizes the importance of transferable skills, how to identify them, and how to communicate them to potential employers, a valuable insight for those considering a career change.

Skill Development and Career Transitions

In this rapidly changing job market, continuously developing your skills is critical. Moreover, being laid off might also present an opportunity for a career transition. Here are two books that provide insight and guidance in skill development and career pivots.

“Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One” by Jenny Blake

Jenny Blake, a former career development program manager at Google, brings you “Pivot,” a book that proposes a method for skillfully navigating career changes. She suggests seeing career development not as a straight ladder but as a basketball player pivoting: keeping one foot firmly grounded while exploring different opportunities with the other foot.

The book provides a four-stage method – Plant, Scan, Pilot, and Launch – to clarify your strengths, identify new opportunities, test these possibilities, and take action. It’s a great resource if you’re considering a new direction in your career.

“The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career” by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

“The Start-up of You” is written by Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder, and Ben Casnocha. They argue that everyone should manage their careers as if they were a start-up business. That means being adaptable, proactive, creating opportunities, and strengthening your network.

The book is filled with practical advice and strategies to invest in yourself, build robust professional networks, take intelligent risks, and adapt your career plans as you change. It encourages you to think of yourself as the entrepreneur of your own life and offers invaluable advice for surviving and thriving in today’s uncertain job market.

Financial Management During Unemployment

Being laid off can create financial uncertainty. It’s vital to have a plan in place to manage your finances during this period, minimizing stress and facilitating a smoother transition to your next job. Here are two books that can help you establish a solid financial footing during unemployment.

“Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence” by Vicki Robin

“Your Money or Your Life” is a comprehensive program for personal financial recovery. It’s about transforming your relationship with money and achieving financial independence. This step-by-step guide helps you learn how to get out of debt, save money, reassess your priorities, and more.

Robin’s approach involves keeping track of every penny going in and out, being conscious of spending habits, and finding inspiring ways to save money. The book also tackles the concept of aligning your spending with your values, making it a unique resource not just for financial planning but for life planning as well.

“The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness” by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” offers a bold approach to financial management. It outlines seven organized, easy-to-follow steps that will lead you out of debt and into a total money makeover. It’s a straightforward way to tidy your finances, maximize savings, and make your money work for you.

Ramsey’s method emphasizes getting out of debt, paying cash for everything possible, investing in retirement, and giving generously. His no-nonsense, tough-love advice has helped millions to take control of their personal finances. This could be an excellent time to implement his strategies, setting yourself up for financial success in the future.

Additional Recommendations

Here are ten more excellent books to read during this time. Each of these books offers valuable insights and perspectives that can be beneficial during a period of job loss and transition.

“Lean Out: The Truth About Women, Power, and the Workplace” by Elissa Shevinsky

This book offers a critical and thoughtful analysis of the tech industry and its issues with diversity and equality. It’s a must-read for women looking to navigate their careers in a predominantly male industry.

“Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear

Clear’s book provides practical strategies for forming good habits, breaking bad ones, and mastering the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results. It’s a great guide for personal development and self-improvement.

“Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers — and Seize Success” by Dawn Graham

This book is a practical guide for individuals seeking to change career paths. It includes real-life examples, self-assessment tools, and practical strategies to navigate the job market.

“The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage” by Daymond John

This book highlights the importance of resourcefulness in building successful ventures. It’s an inspirational read for those considering starting their own business.

“Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport

Newport’s book outlines the value of focused work and provides practical strategies for improving productivity. It’s especially useful in a world full of distractions.

“Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder” by Arianna Huffington

In “Thrive,” Huffington redefines what success looks like and suggests that well-being, wisdom, and wonder are equally important. A good read for those looking to balance their personal and professional life.

“Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future” by Dorie Clark

This book is a step-by-step guide to reinventing yourself professionally. It’s a valuable resource for those considering a major career change.

“Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant

In “Originals,” Grant explores how individuals can champion new ideas and how leaders can encourage originality in their organizations. This book is recommended for those interested in innovation and creativity in the workplace.

“The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” by Ken Robinson

This book explores the concept of being in your “Element” – the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. It encourages readers to find their “Element” for a more fulfilled life.

“Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, and Liking Your Life” by Patty Azzarello

This book provides practical, actionable advice for professional advancement. It’s a valuable resource for those looking to stand out in their careers.


Facing a job loss is no doubt a tough experience. Yet, with the right mindset and resources, you can turn this seemingly bleak period into a time of growth and opportunity. Each of the books mentioned above provides unique insights and practical advice to help you navigate this period effectively.

Remember, it’s not just about finding another job; it’s about understanding your emotional journey, shifting your mindset, learning effective job hunting strategies, considering skill development and career transitions, and managing your finances wisely. These books will guide you through all these areas, helping you to emerge from this experience stronger, wiser, and ready for the next phase of your career journey.

Take this time to invest in yourself. You may discover new interests, develop new skills, and find new opportunities. The key is to keep learning, stay positive, and believe in yourself. Your next opportunity might just be around the corner. Stay resilient and keep moving forward!

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