There are so many business books for entrepreneurs available and it can be hard to know where to begin and which one to select first. In this guide I have listed all of my favourite business books for entrepreneurs, creatives, and bloggers, sharing why they are great and what you can expect to learn from each of them.
If you are subscribed to my 4 For The Weekend Email then you will know that I share a book, podcast or app every week with my readers to help you find great content that will drive your business forward amongst the hundreds of options out there! Every week I will add to this blog post, so make sure to bookmark or pin this post so that you can access it easily in the future when you are looking for a good read!
Now let’s dive into my favourite business books for entrepreneurs, creatives, bloggers and small business owners!
1) The ONE Thing by Gary Keller
If you feel constantly overwhelmed with a thousand things to do each day like I do, then I can’t recommend this book enough! We all have too much on our plate these days and it’s too easy to get distracted, focusing on lower priority items while ignoring that thing we know that we “should” be doing instead.
The core of The ONE Thing is around identifying that one thing that is most important to pushing your goals forward and working on that first. It sounds easy, but by making this one change can have big results for work and life!
2) Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
One of my favorite productivity books, Eat That Frog is based on the idea that if each morning you have to eat a frog, the rest of your day will be all downhill from there. Of course this is a metaphorical frog, which represents the one important task on your daily to do list you are dreading.
If you can start the day by ticking off your most dreaded but necessary task, you will feel great when it is finished and you can build on that to have a productive day!
3) Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
What can an FBI hostage negotiator teach us about negotiating in everyday life? A lot, apparently! I absolutely hate negotiating, whether it is for a media collaboration or a scarf in Marrakech. However, reading this book definitely improved my negotiation skills and gave me some perspective on how to approach negotiations.
My big takeaway from Never Split The Difference is negotiations are all about connecting with the other person and showing you understand where they are coming from. This builds trust, which then leads to an honest conversation to push negotiations forward. I (hopefully) won’t be negotiating a hostage release any time soon, but I have a little more confidence the next time I’m bartering with a savvy Moroccan rug salesman.
Negotiation is key in every business whether you are a freelancer taking on clients, a blogger securing paid brand collaborations or a small business working with suppliers – so this one is a must read for any entrepreneur.
4) Atomic Habits by James Clear
Atomic Habits talks about productivity by making small changes to your routine which add up to big results over time. In particular, the book discusses 4 simple rules to create new habits: 1) make the habit obvious, 2) make the habit attractive, 3) make the habit easy, and 4) make the habit satisfying.
I personally have formed a few new habits to bring balance to my life over the last few months. Instead of making these overwhelming tasks I made them easy to implement.
One of the habits I wanted to form was to integrate daily exercise before my work day – I did this by starting a 30 day yoga challenge (by Yoga With Adriene if you are interested!) which has at home workouts of just 20 -35 minutes each day – much less overwhelming than trying to attend a 1.5 hr in person yoga class everyday!
This is just one example of creating a habit but making it easy for you to adopt, the book dives into this in much more detail.
5) The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
This was Malcolm Gladwell’s debut book which dives into what makes ideas and trends spread like wildfire. Everyone is always looking for ways to make their own content go viral, whether it’s their latest photo on Instagram, newly published blog post, or that trending Pinterest pin, but the concept of making new ideas seemingly explode in popularity over night has been around for a long time.
Gladwell is an excellent writer and uses real world examples to illustrate his points, which makes taking the lessons from the book much more enjoyable. Even though the book was written almost 20 (!) years ago, the same concepts of why certain things hit the tipping point of popularity still apply today. If you’ve always wondered why certain ideas or products seem to be household names overnight, then The Tipping Point is the book for you!
6) Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
People are becoming more and more aware of how much time we spend staring at our screens, and the importance of disconnecting to get our best work done. I am as guilty as anyone of spending too much time on my laptop and phone, but Digital Minimalism provides some great actionable strategies to spend less time on our devices and more time focusing on high impact tasks.
If one of your 2020 resolutions is to reduce your screen time and be more productive, Digital Minimalism is the perfect way to jumpstart your year!
7) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*&k by Mark Manson
Most of you have probably heard of this one since it took the “self help” world by storm, but it really is one of the best modern day mindset books that I’ve read. Despite the somewhat aggressive title, The Subtle Art is not advocating that you simply not care about anything, but instead only caring about a very small number of things that really matter to you.
It can be easy to get caught up in comparisons, especially in today’s Instagram first world, so this book is a great example of actionable advice to help you focus on the things that truly matter.
8) The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
We’ve probably all heard how important it is to save a little each month for retirement, but did you know just how much little actions can add up in the rest of our lives too?
The Compound Effect is the simple yet super important principle that very small but consistent improvements will lead to much bigger results over time.
For example, imagine if you tried to get 1% “better” at something everyday. Where do you think you would be at the end of the year? Thanks to the power of compound math, you would be over 37 times (!!) better after 365 days.
While we don’t always have exact metrics to measure our lives (I have no idea what sending a ‘1% better’ email would look like), what we do know is that by consistently improving, even only a tiny bit each day, can lead to huge improvements over time.
What is one thing you could start doing 1% better tomorrow?
9) 10% Happier by Dan Harris
This is a perfect real world look at meditation, especially if you are a bit skeptical or find the thought of meditation too “woo woo” for your tastes. Dan Harris is a news anchor for ABC, and after having an on air panic attack decided to go down the road of investigating various techniques for meditation and anxiety.
I really like 10% Happier because it is a very actionable look at how meditation can help us in our daily lives. I found the Power of Now a bit too esoteric and vague to apply to real life, and it was comforting to see that Dan felt the same. Instead, he simply describes a daily meditation habit as making him “10% Happier” in his life, and who doesn’t want that?
If you want an entertaining and informative book about meditation, be sure to give it a read!
10) Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Do you feel like you are always trying to play catch up, jumping from one idea to another instead of just focusing on that one main thing that would push your goals farther?
In today’s noisy, distraction filled world, it’s easy to start down one path, only to see someone else recommending to do something totally different. This applies to everything from SEO, to Instagram, to finding that perfect chicken tikka masala recipe (#guilty).
Essentialism is a great book that argues against the idea of trying to do everything, and instead shows the value of saying no more often and focusing on a small number of high priority tasks instead.
If you feel like you are bouncing from one idea to the next without making real progress, and I’m sure most of us feel like that sometimes these days, then be sure to give Essentialism a read to claim back your focus on what really matters!
11) Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg
I am all about improving habits (Atomic Habits was one of my favorite books last year) so any time there is a new “habits” book I’m first in line!
Written by the Director of Stanford’s Behavior Design Lab, BJ Fogg has a lot of experience in learning why some habits stick and others don’t.
In this book, he outlines the best ways we can actually learn new habits, including 1) Making the habit something tiny instead of large, 2) Adding the habit to part of your existing routine, and 3) Creating positive emotions when you practice the habit.
12) The 12 Week Year by Brian Morgan and Michael Lennington
We often set ambitious goals for what we can do in a year, but what if we could hit our goals in only 12 weeks? The title of this book might sound a bit gimmicky, but the takeaways in it are really valuable for productivity!
The main gist of the book is that instead of focusing on 1 year (i.e. 12 month) goals, we should instead focus on 12 week goals, and make action plans to hit those targets.
This requires us to be very focused and create weekly reviews to see how our progress is going, but by following some of the tips in the book it’s possible to accelerate our growth and hit our goals much faster than we originally thought!
13) Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz
One of the biggest problems we face as entrepreneurs is not having enough hours in the day to get everything done.
As a self admitted workaholic, I find it really hard to step away from my businesses because I’m worried they will fall apart without me, and I bet you feel similar about your projects!
Clockwork is a great book by the same author who wrote Profit First (another highly recommended book) that outlines steps we can take to have a business that works for us instead of us working for our business.
The book covers some great topics including micromanaging, identifying priorities, and fixing the weakest parts of our business first, so give it a read if you are looking to take some steps back from your own projects!
14) Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson
Why do some people, products, and companies seem to explode in popularity when so many others never get discovered?
In this super interesting book Hit Makers, Derek Thompson dives in to finding why some things take off while others never get off the ground. The book covers everything from popular Etsy shops to Disney to mobile apps in an attempt to find the secret sauce that leads to success, as well as the lessons we can take away from it as entrepreneurs.
It’s not a quick weekend read, but it will give you some great ideas and insights that you can apply to your own personal brand and products!
19) Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
There is an often overlooked secret to every brand and company… You are NOT the hero of your brand, your customer is!
This might sound obvious, but what really separates exceptional companies and brands from mediocre ones is this attention to the customer.
For us as bloggers and small business owners, the exact same principles apply. You always have to make your “customer” (i.e. your reader) feel like the center of the story you are telling with your content by providing value.
Building A Story Brand does a great job of outlining these ideas and how you can apply them to your own work, even if you are a company of 1, so give it a read!
20) Believe It by Jamie Kern Lima
I knew this book was for me when opened it on a random page and read the sentence, “Paulo decided to channel the TV show Survivor, putting up paper signs around our office saying ‘outwit, ‘outplay’ ‘outlast’. ”
Fellow Survivor fans will get that reference… But on a serious note, Believe It, by the founder of IT Cosmetics, shares the wild but true story of a struggling waitress who turned her against-the-grain makeup idea into an international best-selling brand that sold to L’Oréal for a billion dollars.
Jamie was told that “No one is going to buy makeup from someone who has your body”, but that didn’t stop her pursuing her vision.
In this book she shares the powerful lessons she learned along the way so that you too can go from underestimated to unstoppable!
21) How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith
As we all know, women face very different obstacles when looking to climb and become more successful in certain industries, and How Women Rise covers some ways that women can tackle the unique challenges we face!
Leadership experts Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith have coached thousands of people, both women and men, on what it takes to reach the levels of success we are after, and have distilled down their top 12 tips particularly for women in this book.
If you feel like you’re not quite hitting your top potential in your job, give it a read!
Thank you for reading! I hope that you found this article useful to choose your next business read! Please let me know your own favourite business books in the comments so I can give them a read and add them to this list.
If you have questions or want to share your own favourites with the community you can join our private Women’s Blogging Collective community
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