One of the things I most love about helping people create their own business books, is learning from them in the process. It’s like living in someone else’s head for several months, soaking in their knowledge. What a privilege.
But I also love reading books that are already out there, inspiring and changing peoples’ lives. So I’ve done an end of year round-up list of the best business books I’ve read this year, and also those recommended by my circle of business friends who’ve been generous enough to share their best reads with you. Some of them are more self-help than business, because cultivating our inner world has a transformational effect on our business too.
I’ve given the Amazon link for each book in case you want to take a look*. I can’t believe how many I’ve read when I look down the list, and I’ve only given you my top reads. Here’s hoping you feel as inspired as I do!
The most kick-ass business book great read list you’ll see this year
Here are my personal favourites
The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks. I chose this as the book that had most changed my world when I was interviewed on a book writing summit this year. It’s helped me to realise where I’m holding myself back from enjoying success, and making more of it. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
How to be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do by Graham Allcott. I thought I was a pretty organised person before I read this, but now I feel so much more in control of my workflow and priorities. I’ve still got a way to go, though, and will be re-reading this in the new year. New systems, new me.
The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible: How to Sell More, Easier, and Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy. Full of practical and common sense tips, even for people experienced in sales. I was also inspired by the importance he places on sales – it really is the engine of all our businesses. Also recommended by Suzanne Dibble, ‘An all round brilliant book on one of the most important skills for small business owners’.
Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas. OK it was actually last year I read this, but it’s so good I don’t want to miss it off the list. The title might be off putting to some, but it underlines Denise’s no-nonsense Aussie style. This book helped me get over my fear of money and be more ambitious about creating wealth in my life.
Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up to Do Business with You by Daniel Priestley. A fantastic way of getting you past the ‘oh no I can’t serve everyone’ mind-set. Also recommended by Claire Perry Louise (who also loves his Key Person of Influence (Revised Edition): The Five-Step Method to become one of the most highly valued and highly paid people in your industry, ‘Written by an inspirational, outstanding and award winning entrepreneur. The books outline proven methods which have been implemented by thousands of entrepreneurs globally. You can’t beat them.’
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. An essential read for anyone struggling to create something amazing from scratch, it examines the power of resistance. You’re not alone!
The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources by Lynne Twist. A beautiful read and an inspiring journey to go on. This book examines how we started out by creating money as a tool to make our lives easier, but are now ruled and governed by it. It’s inspired me to be more mindful about how I use my resources.
The Inside-Out Revolution: The Only Thing You Need to Know to Change Your Life Forever by Michael Neill. If you’ve ever wondered how to make your life simpler, and help your ideas to come more easily, this is for you.
Find Your Thing: How to Discover What You Do Best, Own it and Get Known for it by Lucy Whittington. Lucy is the ultimate ‘thing finder’ – that is, the one thing you’re brilliant at. Here, she shows you how to find your inner purpose, and turn it into a business you’ll love. I’ve worked with Lucy in the past, and her book is as go-getting as she is.
And here are the books I’ve not read (yet!) but are recommended by my business friends
What to do when it’s your turn (and it’s always your turn) by Seth Godin – recommended by Cathy Presland. ‘Fantastic visuals and everyday inspirations to remind us to act, instead of always just thinking about it’.
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life by Arianna Huffington – recommended by Clara Wilcox. ‘An eye-opening insight into what constitutes true success: not things, but time and happiness’.
How to be Really Productive: Achieving Clarity and Getting Results in a World Where Work Never Ends (Brilliant Business) by Grace Marshall – also recommended by Clara Wilcox (plus, I’m half way through it myself right now, and can also say it’s great!). ‘A practical approach to regaining control over our life and work’.
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller – recommended by Georgina El Morshdy. ‘It was amazing. As a business owner and a mum, it can be a challenge to get life into perspective. Whilst there is no such thing as work-life balance, I’d neglected my health and my family and the One Thing was the wake-up call I needed. The single most important action I took after reading that book was committing to walking 10,000 steps a day. The book said that this simple commitment would ‘change my life’ and it has. This decision has put the importance of feeling fit and vibrant front of mind. I won’t go to bed until I’ve clocked up 10,000 steps and as a result I’ve lost weight, feel fitter, and have tons more energy to invest in my home life and my business. It’s so worth a read.’ Also recommended by Dee Woodward, ‘The title on its own has stuck with me, and serves as a constant reminder to focus on one thing at a time. I’ve since streamlined everything, and no longer set ridiculously lengthy lists of things to do everyday!’
The Miracle Morning: Summary of the Key Ideas – Original Book by Hal Elrod: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8 AM by Hal Elrod – recommended by Julie Dennis. ‘I now start each morning with a focus and purpose that stays with me throughout the day enabling me to stay on track with both business and personal goals.’ Also by Susan Treadgold, ‘My power hour in the morning has been life changing!’
The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success by Jennifer Lee – recommended by Sarah Buchanan-Smith. ‘It has completely transformed my approach to business planning and I now have an inspiring, beautiful business vision that I’m proud of and love. All because I let myself be creative.’
The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin – recommended by Alison Rothwell. ‘It really made me think about creating happiness in my business’.
The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch by Dan Norris – again recommended by Alison Rothwell. ‘It’s a fab book for just getting away from the “big plans” and doing it – getting to a minimum viable product ASAP. It’s a very honest book too – tons of stuff in there which didn’t go to plan’.
Jolt: Shake Up Your Thinking and Upgrade Your Impact for Extraordinary Success by Richard Tyler – recommended by Angela Clark. ‘A different way of looking at becoming extraordinary’.
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek – recommended by Bryony Thomas. ‘It felt like I’d found the unsaid foundations that underpin all of my own writing’.
Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck by Chip and Dan Heath – recommended by Eva Curlee Doyle. ‘Very practical ways to make your message remain with your audience. I love their stuff. They have two other books as well. Very readable, funny, and content-rich.’
Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr – recommended by Sarah Fox. ‘As I read it I realised that ‘playing small’, staying safe, not rocking the boat and hiding my expertise was helping no-one.’
The Presentation Profits Blueprint by Joanna Martin – recommended by Kerry Hales (and one I’ve read too in the past – it’s so incredibly helpful). ‘How to speak and sell with ease and authenticity! If you haven’t seen her speak… She’s just brilliant!’
Selling The Invisible by Harry Beckwith – recommended by Lois Creamer. ‘It’s a GREAT book for those like us who sell intellectual property.’
The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry by John Warrillow – recommended by Karen Skidmore. Karen knows a thing or two about membership schemes so her recommendation is noteworthy. ‘I think every business owner should have a copy of this next to them at their desk because it’s packed full of ideas and inspiration on how to create a business based on sustainable, ongoing offers. When it takes so much effort, time and resources to secure a new customer, it makes sense to incorporate ways of bringing them back again and again. Subscriptions aren’t just for membership info products!’
I just know that in this list are three or four books that will change your life or your business in 2016. My reading list has now grown exponentially, and I’m so grateful for the contributions. Why not pick your top reads now, put them on your Christmas list or buy them yourself, and get ready to rock next year!
*I get a few pennies in commission if you buy from the link, but you’re always welcome to search separately.