6 books on success that employees at cannabis recruitment giant Vangst say you should read to get ahead in the $85 billion industry

Vangst book club

  • Reading books about self-improvement could make you more successful in the $85 billion cannabis industry.
  • Vangst is one of the biggest cannabis-job recruitment firms. It has placed candidates in over 60,000 short-term and long-term gigs.
  • Founder and CEO Karson Humiston said that the highest-performing employees in her office were all members of the company's personal development book club.
  • The club shared their favorite books with Business Insider exclusively.
  • Click here for more BI Prime content.

If you want to get ahead in the rapidly growing world of cannabis, it pays to read books about personal development. That's the key to success at Vangst, one of the biggest job-recruitment firms in the $85 billion cannabis industry.

Founder and CEO Karson Humiston discovered that the highest-performing employees in her office were all members of the company's personal development book club. Advertisement

"[People who] read books about the power of positivity, set their intentions and goals, and then follow through on them, really do outperform people who don't prioritize personal development and self-improvement," she told Business Insider.

The Forbes "30 Under 30" alumna founded Vangst in 2016 with three full-time employees; the Denver-base business has grown to 65 employees. It works with 700 clients across 14 US markets and has connected candidates with over 50,000 short-term gigs and over 10,000 full-time gigs.

Humiston said the salespeople at Vangst who go to the book club are outperforming the salespeople who don't attend. "If you want to be the top salesperson, you need to visualize yourself being that top salesperson and putting an action plan in place to get there," she said.
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Reading books about self-improvement is one way Vangst encourages its workers to be the most successful version of themselves. "You become what you think about, and that's what we try to pass down to our team," Humiston said.

Vangst's employee book club shared a list of favorite staff reads exclusively with Business Insider. Read their top picks below.
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'High Performance Habits' by Brendon Burchard

'High Performance Habits' by Brendon Burchard

Members of the book club recommend their top picks, then vote on the one they'll read together. "It usually takes us two months to get through a book. We meet once a week, order lunch, and talk about the book that we're reading," Humiston said.

From Amazon's book summary: "After extensive original research and a decade as the world's highest-paid performance coach, Brendon Burchard finally reveals the most effective habits for reaching long-term success. Based on one of the largest surveys ever conducted on high performers, it turns out that just six habits move the needle the most in helping you succeed."

Find it here »

'Who Moved My Cheese' by Spencer Johnson

'Who Moved My Cheese' by Spencer Johnson

From Amazon's book summary: "Most people are fearful of change, both personal and professional, because they don't have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens either to the individual or by the individual, Dr. Spencer Johnson, the coauthor of the multimillion bestseller "The One Minute Manager," uses a deceptively simple story to show that when it comes to living in a rapidly changing world, what matters most is your attitude."

Find it here »

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'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' by Stephen Covey

'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' by Stephen Covey

Vangst's employee book club started last year with one of Humiston's favorites: "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Steven Covey. She reads the book every January — a tradition she began eight years ago as a freshman in college.

From Amazon's book summary: "In 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,' author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity — principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates."

Find it here »

'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F-ck' by Mark Manson

'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F-ck' by Mark Manson

Cannabis startups like Vangst require constant problem-solving, so employees need stamina and a positive mindset. Humiston said she looks for people who are confident and willing to figure out an issue, even if they aren't sure how to tackle it at first. "The types of people that we want on the team will run through walls to work through challenges and problems," she said.

From Amazon's book summary: "In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be 'positive' all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people."

Find it here »

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'Team of Teams' by General Stanley McChrystal

'Team of Teams' by General Stanley McChrystal

From Amazon's book summary: "In this powerful book, McChrystal and his colleagues show how the challenges they faced in Iraq can be rel­evant to countless businesses, nonprofits, and other or­ganizations. The world is changing faster than ever, and the smartest response for those in charge is to give small groups the freedom to experiment while driving every­one to share what they learn across the entire organiza­tion."

Find it here »

Currently reading: 'No Hard Feelings' by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy

Currently reading: 'No Hard Feelings' by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy

Humiston said if you want to succeed at anything, whether at work or in life, you have to believe in it and visualize it, which books enable you to do. "Picture yourself in the job you want, not the job that you have," she said.

From Amazon's book summary: "A hilarious guide to effectively expressing your emotions at the office, finding fulfillment, and defining work-life balance on your own terms. Drawing on what we've learned from behavioral economics, psychology, and our own experiences at countless organizations, we'll show you how to bring your best self (and your whole self) to work every day.

Find it here »

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