People often say that books are like old friends. I think they can sometimes be better than old friends, because a good book can offer wise advice, brilliant inspiration, and great ideas without any hidden agenda. Books give us the opportunity to explore a notion in its embryonic form and go deeper if desired.

So if you are contemplating an encore career and need a reliable guide, there are six books that you simply must read. The first three are essential:

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence – Reviewed and Updated for the 21st Century by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez with Monique Tilford. How do you know when you have enough money to live the life you most want to have? The recent update to this bestselling classic first published in 1992 will help you discover how much is “enough,” discover how much you want to expend your “life energy,” learn that you can live well on less, and realize that financial independence it is easier to achieve than you think.

Don’t Retreat, Rewire: 5 Steps to Doing Work That Fuels Your Passion, Fits Your Personality, or Fills Your Pocket by Jeri Sedlar & Rick Miners. Do you know what drives you (or why you really work beyond money)? This talented husband and wife team discovered in their extensive research that there are actually 85 different “drivers” of why people work. Knowing yours is a powerful first step to finding meaningful work. A good balance of practical advice and real life stories, plus great exercises to help you reconfigure your thinking and find the job that best suits your passions and interests.

The Power of Purpose: Finding Meaning, Living Longer, Better by Richard J. Leider. How do you live on purpose? What is your purpose? How do you find out? This recently revised and expanded edition of the best-selling book that was first written nearly 25 years ago explains why having a clearly defined purpose is critical to your success (and longevity) in this next stage of life. Here’s the good news: you already have your purpose within you. Detailed and practical methods for finding your calling will help you access it. Real life stories will inspire you.

The last three books will give you an idea of ​​three possible paths for your encore career:

What color is your parachute? 2010: A Practical Handbook for Job Seekers and Careers Changers by Richard Nelson Bolles. This nearly 40-year-old best-selling bible for job seekers has been updated annually for years, and it just keeps getting better and better. If you know that your career is still within the existing job market, this book is essential. Starting with identifying your strengths and preferences and working your way through a step-by-step on how to look for work in the 21st century, you will even learn how to find a good job when “there is no work”!

The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. If you are remotely thinking about starting your own business, don’t take another step until you read this book. It is a brilliant manual on how to design your business as a system so that you can make your business work without having to try so hard. E-Myth offers an expanded view of why you want to be in business and a fresh approach on how to get there successfully.

Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know by David Bornstein and Susan Davis. This book has just come off the press and is the first to offer an excellent overview of what it means to be a social entrepreneur. You will learn what the difference is between a social entrepreneurship and a regular business enterprise and traditional non-profit organizations. If you think you want to innovate unique social solutions to social problems unique to your encore career, this is the place to start.

Be sure to read the updated versions of the classics named here. These six books will provide you with a solid foundation and excellent possible pathways for your “retirement” career – your encore career.