Former Microsoft exec shares 2 books that shaped his career and made him more successful – CNBC

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There are a number of science-backed reasons why you should pick up a book. Reading, be it a novel or a biography is linked with reduced stress, improved language and stronger memory skills, research shows.

But if you read the right books, you’ll not only boost your chances of getting those health benefits. You’ll also learn something really valuable.

Manuel “Manny” Medina, a Harvard Business School graduate and former Amazon and Microsoft employee, says two bestselling books shaped his career.

For Medina, now CEO of sales platform company Outreach, they helped lay the foundation for his transition from cubicle-based Amazon employee in 2003 to director of business partnerships at Microsoft.

He suggests every young employee, regardless of their job title, read these two books:

Manuel "Manny" Medina, CEO of Outreach (center).

1. “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Written by psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the book focuses on why and how people make decisions, observations and decisions both good and bad, focusing on human biases.

“This book was a milestone to me,” Medina tells CNBC Make It. After reading it, “you’ll never see the world in the same way again,” he says.

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The key lesson, he says, is that “To be successful, you really must think things through.”

Every young professional, he says, could benefit from reading Kahneman’s bestseller because it makes readers aware of the biases and logical fallacies humans often make.

“The more good decisions you make, and the less bad decisions you make, the more you’re going to accumulate momentum in your career,” Medina says.

2. “Mindset” by Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck, renowned Stanford University psychologist, pours more than a decade of research into motivation and success in her book “Mindset.”

The book outlines how the key differences between people who feel stuck — and often stay stuck — and those who feel motivated and excel.

For Medina, success is all about growth, whether you’re overcoming an obstacle, learning a valuable lesson or discovering a strength.

“Growth takes you to areas you haven’t tried before,” he says. “You have to be exposed to things you have no experience with, but tell your mind you can succeed.”

The book taught him that if wanted to put in the hard work to become a tech employee, manager and then a leader, he had to prepare mentally.

“You really have to believe [in your goal], otherwise you won’t be able to put your time into it.”

Check out Billionaire Elon Musk says reading these 2 novels made him more successful


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