The Australian Career Book Collection

The Australian Career Book Collection is a genre-based, alphabetical career book listing of The Australian Career Book Collectioncurrent Australian career books written by established career and industry professionals. The books are suitable for career counsellors needing reliable information and client exercises, course developers needing referenced material for course presentations, tertiary students in career programs needing practical career development strategies, and individuals seeking career development through self-understanding and job search techniques to improve their employability outcomes.  

The selected books are based on high quality evidence and research, and national career policy direction. The collection is curated by the Award Convenor of The Australian Career Book Award – supported by The Royal Society of Arts Oceania, and lists books associated with the RSA at the high quality level valued since its founding in 1754. The RSA has established the Future Work Centre to research work changes occurring across international economies, and to provide guidance on issues like automated intelligence and work insecurity – issues covered by this collection.

The Royal Society of Arts link

Some books in the collection are award finalist books, and others have been written by Award Committee members, or by RSA Fellows. The Convenor has used the award criteria: readable; reachable; reliable; relevant; and researched as control measures to ensure the quality of the collection.

What’s a career book?

A career book can be defined broadly as a work that helps readers ‘manage career and work life’ within the context of The Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework – the Australian Government’s 2013 transition from the Eight Employability Skills to the Core Skills for Work.

There are many definitions of ‘career’, but a dynamic understanding suitable for current times may be more helpful than a meticulous tick-the-box approach. An essential element is work. This is purposeful activity that generates products or services for the external community. It can be paid, bartered, or voluntary work. This work should be a free choice of the person who is not intimidated, coerced, or enslaved. There should be some sense of achievement at the end of the work, and opportunity for personal development and future advantage as a result of that work. That’s a career.

The collection 

The collection is arranged in alphabetical order within five career book genres, and contains the highest quality books linked to the Royal Society of Arts. There is some crossover of the genres, reflecting the creative nature of the writers and the aim of appealing to a wide popular audience. The listing presents a snapshot of the book contents, and 3 KEY Ideas from each book.

The five genres are:

  1. The ‘how-to’ book

The ‘how-to’ book is one we’d immediately recognise – How to kickstart your career, or How to write a great CV. It’s packed with advice on career implementation and career development. There’s usually some kind of personal self-assessment of the reader, some analysis of important issues in the job scene, a number of entry points into the text, and targeted reader exercises. That’s all expected … but the Convenor is also looking for a consistent vision or overarching narrative operationalized throughout the text defining a practical and effective action package for the reader. A key aim for career coaches is to help their clients develop a career vision for their stage of life, so it’s only fair that career writers have a strong vision evident in their books.

  1. The list book

The second type is the list book – 101 ways to improve your career. The list book may not have the narrative complexity of the ‘how to’, but should be packed with practical advice to solve the reader’s micro-problems, advice that’s easy to find with an easy layout, and a great index. The more it looks like a computer manual, the better. 

  1. The career memoir

Then, there’s the career memoir book – generally written by some international entrepreneur or national celebrity – I did it my way. This may be short on specific advice on how to start that international airline, but will be big on inspiration helping readers ‘get up and find’ their ‘get up and go’, and then ‘get out and do’. This type of book may not have in-depth exercises, but should deploy some writing strategies to encourage deep reflection by the readers to help them turn inspiration into perspiration, perspiration into implementation, and implementation into exultation.

  1. The interview book

The interview book, or case studies book will be packed with inspirational stories of people who overcame challenge and adversity to develop a stellar career. These will usually be well-known people from industry, the media, entertainment, and particularly sports. If they overcame illness, injury, bankruptcy, humiliation and prison, or just leaving football … how easy is it for you? 

  1. Specific sector preparation

There are also specific sector books that prepare readers for specific occupations, or that provide advice to cohort groups on how to enter and thrive in these work environments. 

Thought leadership

Some books jump the genre rails and become thought leadership books. They’re rare, and unpredictable. They change, not just what career changers do, but the approach of the career coaches helping them. The RSA is a society fostering 21st century enlightenment, and is keen to promote thought leadership across all sectors

Books will remain in the collection while they are relevant to Australian work conditions and career issues, and continue to help people manage career and work life. Authors or their publishers may be contacted via the listed internet information.

I’d like to acknowledge the origin of the five business book genres (with some adjustment for the career sector) as Jacqui Pretty in Book Blueprint: How any entrepreneur can write an awesome book (2015). The Collection logo tagline ‘manage career and work life’ is core skill one from The Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework, Australian Government (2013),

The Convenor may be contacted on and information on The Australian Career Book Award is at under the award tab. 

Lawrence Arnold                                                                                                                            2020

The Australian Career Book Collection

The Australian Career Book Collection

Book snapshots below have been developed from a reader perspective, and present differing ideas and approaches to career issues, as is appropriate for the audience and purpose of each book.

The how-to book

Arnold, L. 2017. The Australian Career Passport: Cross the career border with your core skills for work. ISBN 9780994500311 

RSA link: Lawrence Arnold FRSA, Award Convenor of The Australian Career Book Award – supported by RSA Oceania, & Award Committee Chair 2018-20

The readers: Individuals 17-70 years of age undertaking career implementation, and the career coaches helping them individually, or in workshop groups

3 KEY Ideas

  • The book explains employability using the Dr Mel Fugate model as: career identity; personal adaptability, & human/social capital, all if which can be improved by individuals using targeted strategies
  • It introduces The Australian Career Passport 16-page core skills audit with skills descriptors for adults and integrated skills descriptors for senior school students
  • It uses this skills assessment as the foundation for comprehensive career implementation for individuals and workshop groups by linking skills to employability, job search strategies, CV & ATS strategies, and job interview technique.


Chapters: Your employability; What employers want; Your core skills: Navigate the world of work; Interact with others; Get the work done; The Australian Career Passport core skills audit; Forensic investigations; The changing face of job applications; The most important document ever written; Jump the job queue; The 3Rs of recruiting – recruiters, robots, and rorts; The job interview 1: be prepared; The job interview 2: questions and answers; Negotiate the numbers; Appendices – The outcome professionals; Recruitment methods used by employers


Arnold, L. 2015. The Australian Career Mentor: Career guidance for experienced professionals and new graduates. ISBN 9780994500304 

RSA link: Lawrence Arnold FRSA, Award Convenor of The Australian Career Book Award – supported by RSA Oceania, & Award Committee Chair 2018-20

The readers: Individuals seeking career direction, and the career coaches helping them individually, or in workshop groups

3 KEY Ideas 

  • This book translates the Australian Government’s Core Skills for Work ( manage career & work life; work with roles, rights, & responsibilities; communicate for work; connect & work with others; recognise & utilise diverse perspectives; plan & organise; make decisions; identify & solve problems; create & innovate; work in a digital world)  into daily English and places them in a matrix with values and attitudes to operationalise the core skills concept in daily life
  • Introduces the Australian Core Skills Audit  which is individual, adaptable, and national
  • Links individual results to the Career Change Generator to speed career decision and career change both for individuals and career coach workshop groups


Chapters: Your career plan; Your core skills; Career assessments; Your career values; What’s the attitude?; Career change generator; Career investigation; Education … of course!; Impress with your brand; Career confidential; The A List – your career support system; Working with a career coach; Appendix – The Australian Core Skills Audit


Gibbings, M. 2018. Career leap: How to reinvent and liberate your career. ISBN 9780730352198

RSA link: Michelle Gibbings FRSA, finalist book author 2018

The readers: Anybody on the diving board ready to leap

3 KEY Ideas:

  • The Career Reinvention Cycle as a concept and planning guide: Assess your career; Architect your career; Activate your career; Accelerate your career … to play the new game to future-proof your career
  • Assess your career specifications: alignment with life goals; autonomy; learning & challenge; money & financial security; status/power; achievement; work environment and flexibility …+ others that you define
  • Leap style: Navigator – precise steps and low risk profile; Surveyor – push the boundaries, seek options, stretch the mind; Pioneer – experimental, unstructured; unconventional


Phases: Assess; Architect; Activate; Accelerate


Jackson, K. 2019. Resilience at work: Practical tools for career success. ISBN 9781138305120 

RSA link: Kathryn Jackson, FRSA, finalist book author 2019

The readers: Organisations, career coaches, counsellors, and ‘… people who are specifically seeking more strength in their world of work’

3 KEY Ideas

  • The ‘wish list’ of 12 resilience attributes: self-esteem; self-efficacy; autonomy; conscientiousness; agreeableness; openness to experience; self-directedness; low rumination; communication; detached coping strategies; problem solving skills; optimism.
  • Use the four foundations for resilience (Emotional Honesty, Self-Care, Connections, Learning) to check you are investing in the right wellbeing strategies
  • Own your wellbeing – don’t outsource to other people or your employer, but use the new science of wellbeing and a strengths approach to design your own journey, and so craft your own successful, positive career


Chapters: An introduction to resilience at work – My resilience story; How to use this book. Resilience mindsets and frameworks – How to become more resilient; resilience frameworks and foundations; The world of VUCA change. The resilience foundations – Emotional honesty; Self-care; Connecting; Learning. Concluding thoughts – Planning for resilience and measuring your progress; Extending the reach of resilience.


Maxwell, J. 2017. Rethink your career in your 40s, 50s, and 60s. ISBN 9780733338106

RSA link: Joanna Maxwell FRSA, awarded book author 2018

The readers: The title says it all, but many of the strategies on self-awareness, direction, and presentation are useful for anyone at any age rethinking career direction

3 KEY Ideas

  • Older workers are just as valuable to economic and social growth in business as younger ones, bringing assets such as experience and psychological stability
  • People are not necessarily more successful because they are ‘more talented but because they practised more’, and older workers have done their 10,000 hours of practice
  • People  get much further in careers by polishing strengths rather than compensating for weaknesses


Sections: Reimagine; Review; Research; Redesign


Smith, G. 2019. Career conversations: How to get the best from your talent pool. ISBN 9780730371991 

RSA link: Greg Smith FRSA, awarded book author 2019

The readers: CEOs and managers involved in career discussion with staff. Individuals could also follow the program independently

3 KEY Ideas

  • The key message is that leaders and managers in organisations need to shape their career conversations with employees from a solutions perspective, and not merely identify issues and problems
  • Key skills, including goal setting, critical listening, communication, structuring career conversations using the GROW model, and solution-focused principles are featured
  • The GROW model: Goals; Reality; Options; Wrap-up is the structural base to inform these career conversations, and encourage staff to develop their career action


Chapters: The case for proactive career development; Reimagining careers; Fit your own mask first; Building career self-insight; What’s your personal brand?; The goal of goal setting; Who motivates the motivator?; The skilled listener; Facilitating communication techniques; Structuring unstructured conversations; Leading a career conversation; Ethics and protocols for career development; Now you’re ready to hold career conversations!


The career memoir

Clarke, A. 2019. Future fit: How to stay relevant and competitive in the Future of Work. ISBN 9780648410072 

RSA link: Andrea Clarke, finalist book author 2019

The readers: Employees wanting to stay competitive in a time of rapid change

3 KEY Ideas: 

  • The future of work is about being connected to our purpose and power – things that cannot be automated
  • Organisations will reimagine talent models and redefine business practices, and people need to work differently to ‘grow and prosper’ in this new environment
  • To click into this emerging world the eight skills are: reputation capital; communication skills; adaptability; creativity; networking; leadership; problem solving; continuous learning


Chapters: Bombshell in Baghdad; Building reputation capital; Sharpening communication skills; Tapping into adaptability; Nurturing creativity; Actively networking; Redefining leadership; Refining problem solving; Embracing continuous learning


de Crespigny, R. 2018. FLY! Life lessons from the cockpit of QF 32. ISBN 9780670078738

RSA link: Richard de Crespigny AM, finalist book author 2019

The readers: ‘… those who want to learn how to master their minds, fail well, and recover from adversity so they can triumph when it matters most.’

3 KEY Ideas

  • Resilience for work can be developed with specific strategies and Deliberate Practice; a formal and rigorous de-briefing after traumatic events is an organisational and psychological necessity
  • The eight resilience elements are: knowledge; training;  experience; teamwork; leadership; crisis management; decision-making; risk-taking
  • A ‘just culture’ where people are nurtured through their mistakes, but also who are held accountable for behaviour is the ideal in any work situation


Chapters: Sharing the lessons of resilience; Mastering your mind; maximising your performance; Surviving crisis situations: you can make it through; Managing crisis: how not to trash your brand; You’re going to fail: failing well & just culture: Making good decisions & understanding risk; bias & black swans; Leadership: lead, follow or get out of the way; Teamwork: there is no success without it; Post-traumatic stress: dealing with your own and helping others; Lifelong resilience: you have what it takes to FLY!


Thought leadership

Cremen, S. 2020. From career to calling: A depth psychology guide to soul-making work in darkening times. ISBN 9780367444518

RSA link: Suzanne Cremen, Finalist Book author for The Australian Career Book Award 2020

The Readers: The audience is seen as ‘the educated layperson and professional’ not necessarily with a Jungian psychology background

3 KEY Ideas:

  • Career is a journey of the spirit and the soul. Spirit – flying high ‘in the peaks’, looking for the light to find clarity. Soul – ‘in the depths of life’ confronting challenges that call for ‘imagination and a symbolic way of thinking’ and ‘the conscious work of traversing the vales’
  • A job – focus on the financial and practical. A career – focus on advancement. A calling – focus on fulfilling, socially useful work. Vocation is a calling from the psyche speaking through ‘non-rational means, such as symptoms, complexes, synchronicities, images … and through dreams’. A calling usually happens at midlife, but can appear earlier through externally forced crisis
  • 20th century vocational guidance has focused on tools and processes exploring the sensing and thinking dimensions, but should ‘evolve to encompass the faculties of feeling and intuition as ways of knowing too’

But there’s more …

As well as the processes of the internal psyche, the individual is also influenced by the ‘collective unconscious’ – the external factors that affect us all: economic recession; pandemic disruption; political ideology and actions that cut into our lives and thinking. It can also include big positives like cultural context. In the Australian setting, the group of identified external factors has been assembled in Symptoms of the orphan archetype within Australia’s cultural complexes (page 115), a one-page chart explaining why Australians are the way we are.

Chapters: Job, career or calling?; Approaches to vocational guidance; Vocation as soul’s opus; relevance of psychological type; Jungian understanding of the psyche and vocation; From career to calling; Undercover shamans at work; Fate transforms to destiny; Complexes as pathways to vocation; Callings arising from culture; Money and vocation; Living on the edge between worlds


Miki, M. 2020. Quietly powerful: How your quiet nature is your hidden leadership strength. ISBN 9780648515951

RSA link: Megumi Miki FRSA, awarded book author for The Australian Career Book Award 2020

The readers: Quiet professionals who want to lead and remain themselves

3 KEY Ideas:

  • The bias in organisations for outspoken/charismatic leaders wastes quiet talent which is often overlooked
  • Quiet professionals need to stand up and stand out by deploying their real personality strengths, not a re-worked extrovert persona
  • Quietly powerful is: being comfortable through authenticity and knowing strengths and weaknesses; being present through thoughtful resilience; and being purposeful through work focus and collaboration

Sections: The quiet wasteland; Talent in hiding; Disregard for quiet talent; Quietly powerful leadership; The not-so-quiet people and organisations


Specific sector preparation

Leonard, H. 2018. Generation experience: 8 steps for mature-age business success. ISBN 9780992298746

RSA link: Hunter Leonard FRSA, finalist book author 2019

The readers: Mature people with a lifetime of work and industry experience wanting to crystallise this into a practical plan for a new business or consultancy

3 KEY Ideas

  • The book is based on survey research of10 000+ SME businesses over ten years
  • Most SME owners are technically excellent but don’t have business general-management skills
  • There are eight steps to success (plus one pre-step) and organising the business around the customer should be at the heart of planning and operations


Sections: Step 0: Are you business ready?; Step 1: Strategy and leadership; Step 2: Managing money; Step 3: Managing people; Step 4: Marketing & public relations; Step 5: Sales & business development; Step 6: Delivering on promises; Step 7: Managing quality; Step 8: Facing the future


Collection materials may be without alteration copied and distributed with respect for the asserted moral rights of the listed authors.

Further  information on The Australian Career Book Collection and The Australian Career Book Award – supported by the Royal Society of Arts Oceania may be obtained by contacting the Convenor, Lawrence Arnold . Further information on The Royal Society of Arts including articles, videos, RSA Animates, and upcoming seminars and webinars can be found at .