Whether you're a new graduate ready to start your first job or a seasoned professional, learning how to succeed in business can be costly both personally and professionally. Wherever you are on the ladder of success, here are four new books to help you learn the secrets for climbing to the top.

Be a Kickass Assistant Heather Beckel writes from her experience as George Stephanopoulos' assistant during Bill Clinton's campaign and first term. In this insightful and irreverent book, Beckel says that if you have the desire to work hard and be great at your job, she can teach you the skills necessary to succeed: organization, diplomacy, problem solving, prioritizing, time management and communication. Even if some of these skills don't come easily to you, once you master them, they'll be a great asset in any career path. Although this book is targeted to those starting in an assistant position, it's also valuable for anyone hiring or managing assistants. Career nugget: Many new graduates will find themselves starting out as assistants, and Beckel offers great clues on how to make the most of this role from giving good phone, to handling a boss who's a jerk and coping with your own mistakes.

Organization Smarts David Brown aims his book at portable professionals people always ready to move on to a new opportunity who need to be savvy about the new organization they're in. Whether you're a consultant or new employee, organization smarts are what make you versatile, adaptable and effective. Brown, a professor at the Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at New School University, uses mini-cases and exercises to help professionals play and win the career-defining games of organizational life. Career nugget: Learn how to understand the real organization, its cultures, customs and power relations. Brown teaches you to recognize what others really want for themselves and from you and explains the keys to establishing a credible reputation, remembering that some of it is shaped by other players, not just by your own actions.

Promoting Yourself Here are 52 lessons for getting to the top and staying there from Hal Lancaster, who recently retired from his post as The Wall Street Journal's popular career columnist. In these succinct and easy-to-read lessons, Lancaster addresses many everyday business situations, including managing a hostile crew, surviving a new boss, going over the boss' head and adapting to continual turmoil. For those in dead-end jobs, the author gives pointers on writing and posting resumes and pursuing alternate career paths. Career nugget:Lancaster dismisses psychobabble and puts the emphasis on real-world experiences, drawing on the stories of managers and professionals in the trenches. These real-life accounts offer a road map for overcoming difficult on-the-job situations.

When You Mean Business About Yourself Both philosophical and practical, author Ray Capp emphasizes what people can learn from successful businesses and outlines how people can capitalize on this learning to advance their goals, objectives, self-understanding, success and happiness. Companies strategize. They have clear goals, and their moves are deliberate and consistent with those goals. They know how to market themselves and what their strengths are. Capp suggests that, like successful organizations, individuals should realistically evaluate what they do best and make utilizing those skills their priority. Career nugget: Don't believe that if life gives you a lemon, make lemonade. If you're a lemon at something, find out what you're good at, and stop making the best of a bad situation on a long-term basis.


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