26 business books to transform your 2017 (without leaving your armchair)
Do you know the best thing about being a business book ghostwriter? I get to learn so much from my clients. Sometimes I feel like I’m a walking encyclopedia – it’s a privileged position.
As you can imagine, I’m also a big non-fiction bookworm in my spare time. Not only do I love soaking in the knowledge, but each inspiring book I read helps me to become a better writer myself.
So to share the love, I’ve done an end of year round-up of the best business books I’ve read this year. Some of my trusted business friends have been kind enough to recommend their best reads as well, resulting in Amazon receiving a bumper order from me! A few of these books are more self-help than business, and I’ve included them because I believe every book we read has an impact on all aspects of our lives.
Warning: if you only get through half of these in 2017, your year could be transformed.
(I’ve given the Amazon link for each book in case you want to take a look*)
The most awesome business book list for 2017 you’ll ever see
Here are my personal favourites
Playing Big: a practical guide for brilliant women like you by Tara Mohr. I read this on holiday over the summer and can still remember how inspired I felt on my sun lounger. It’s a fantastic mixture of inspiration and practical help, for women who want to live up to their potential.
Will It Make the Boat Go Faster? Olympic-winning strategies for everyday success by Harriet Beveridge and Ben Hunt-Davis. This book has been around a while, but the lessons are just as relevant as they ever were. It’s also a great example of how you can weave an inspirational and exciting story into a book of practical, psychological tips.
The Space Within: finding your way back home by Michael Neill. Following on from reading ‘The Inside-Out Revolution’ the year before, I found this the ultimate guide to gaining peace of mind and a higher level of happiness. Also recommended by my business friend Rachel Henke.
Big Magic: creative living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you’ve ever doubted your ability to be creative, this is what you need. It’s also great if you’re a perfectionist, reluctant to release your work into the world for fear it won’t be flawless.
The Little Book of Emotional Intelligence: how to flourish in a crazy world by Andy Cope and Amy Bradley. A visually enticing book, as well as crammed full of wisdom. If you like your insights colourful and humorous, this is for you.
Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less by Greg McKeown. Invaluable for both business and personal, this will compel you to simplify your life and work and get more out of them at the same time.
The Millionaire Next Door: the surprising secrets of America’s wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. A fascinating insight into how you can generate huge wealth while earning a modest income.
How to Be Really Productive: achieving clarity and getting results in a world where work never ends by Grace Marshall. Not only is Grace a lovely person, but she’s also a great writer and productivity ninja. It’s a refreshing take on productivity, moving away from the old focus on managing your time, to looking at how you can make your time work for you.
Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and Other Introverts by Joanna Penn. Apart from being a superb example of how to present a popular topic to a niche audience, this is a practical guide which is both reassuring and helpful for reluctant speakers. As a result of reading it, I’ve got two speaking opportunities booked for early 2017.
The Tall Lady With the Iceberg: the power of metaphors to sell, persuade, and explain anything to anyone by Anne Miller. Who could resist such a title? And the inside doesn’t disappoint, with boundless examples of how to win people over by using imagery. A writer and speaker’s dream.
And here are the books I’ve not read (yet!) but are recommended by my business friends
The Big Leap: conquer your hidden fear and take life to the next level by Gay Hendricks – recommended by Suzanne Dibble. ‘ It really forced me to focus on my zone of genius rather than my zone of excellence’. Also by Kate Wolf. ‘The Big Leap is amazing! Great to devour in one go and then have on hand to dip into when you find yourself ‘upper limiting’ yourself’.
The One Thing: the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan – recommended by Nicola Semple. ‘This book has has transformed the way that I work. The idea of focusing on one thing at a time makes so much sense and has made me much more productive. I loved the simplicity of the idea that we should focus 100% of our attention on one thing at a time. It has helped me to do more in less time and also given me a framework for evaluating opportunities as they arise.’
The Gifts of Imperfection: let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are by Brene Brown – recommended by Joanne Bonnett. ‘Ten guideposts on the power of wholehearted living, taking the journey from ‘what will people think?’ to ‘I am enough’. Courage, compassion and connection’.
The Zen of Social Media Marketing: an easier way to build credibility, generate buzz, and increase revenue by Shama Hyder – recommended by Gillian Pritchett. ‘There is no better book for keeping up to speed with the fast moving world of social media. I had the privilege of reviewing the first edition several years ago and each time a new revision is published I buy it.’
The Success Principles: how to get from where you are to where you want to be by Jack Canfield – recommended by Tracy Stonard. ‘The principles are a mix of mindset and personal development tools that Jack has studied for 30 years and has used to build his own incredible business. The book itself is well laid out, easy to read and digest’.
How To Predict the Unpredictable: the art of outsmarting almost everyone by William Poundstone – recommended by Sarah Arrow. ‘A witty read that makes you realise there’s a lot less randomness in the world than you thought, and that when you know how, you can predict it’.
The Creator’s Code: the six essential skills of extraordinary entrepreneurs by Amy Wilkinson – recommended by Alison Jones. ‘It’s an incredible distillation of the principles used by the most successful entrepreneurs across all sectors. She undertook systematic, grounded theory analysis of 200 interviews – 10,000 pages of transcripts – to identify the common threads, and she explains them beautifully, in very readable and engaging language’.
The River Flow: new and selected poems by David Whyte – recommended by Joanna Pieters. ‘ This was the year when I realised that I needed to reconnect with literature, art, music, creativity and things of beauty in my life and my work, and discovering David Whyte’s work was a key part of that. It has transformed my business and my joy in it. It’s a wonderful collection about so many aspects of what it means to be human: about taking joy in the moment, about noticing and celebrating small things, about acknowledging pain, and about the journey of life’.
Ego Is The Enemy: the fight to master our greatest opponent by Ryan Holiday – recommended by Louise Kang. ‘It helped me to understand why we do the things we do and how to make better decisions’.
The 12 Week Year: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington – recommended by Susan Weeks. ‘ This rings a bell with me on how I like to plan and organise myself – I learned some handy stuff, which has really helped me move my personal projects forward outside of client work’.
Tools of Titans: the tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers by Tim Ferriss – recommended by Maya Middlemiss. ‘The most fascinating chapter so far has been about micro dosing psychedelics for treatment of depression and PTSD – serious ‘don’t try this at home!’ stuff but it’s really interesting’.
The War of Art: break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles by Steven Pressfield – recommended by Cathy Presland. ‘I don’t totally agree with him about the premise of resistance but it’s such a delightful read for anyone producing any work worth doing’.
The Rise of Superman: decoding the science of ultimate human performance by Steven Kotler – recommended by Sue Revell. ‘It’s a fabulous book (described by one reviewer as ‘electrifying’) which examines how ultimate high performers in action and adventure sports use flow to seriously raise the level of their game. It’s at the heart of the reason I focus on helping people to find their flow: while the book looks as though it’s about daredevil athletes doing the impossible, it’s actually about OUR potential to break through barriers and accomplish seemingly impossible goals because flow is the secret, not only to abundance, but to learning faster – vastly important in times of complex and turbulent change’.
The Chimp Paradox: the mind management programme for confidence, success and happiness by Steve Peters – recommended by Keira O’Mara. ‘ This book can be used in all areas of life and has really helped me understand my reactions to things and think things through more’.
The School of Greatness: a real-world guide to living bigger, loving deeper, and leaving a legacy by Lewis Howes – recommended by Tracey-Jane Hughes. ‘This book really helped me focus on my personal principles. It was also helpful in helping my son, who is aspiring to be an elite sportsman – he’s enjoying reading it and understanding its principles, which can be applied to life, sport and business’.
In Pursuit of Excellence: how to win in sport and life through mental training by Terry Orlick – recommended by Jane Cooper. ‘When I was younger I used to represent Great Britain in the world and European sport of international Baton Twirling. I finally ranked as the highest senior woman in the UK. At the world championships in 1996 in Japan, I was head hunted by a US coach and trained in the USA with the USA team. There they recommended this book, and it became my training bible. It taught me the power of mind, also about a positive mental attitude and the power of drill and perfect performance training. The whole experience set me up for the rest of my life, and taught me how to bring out the best in others while training youngsters who wanted to be winners. They later went on to represent GB in their own right. Every now and again I re-read this book to reinforce the techniques I use today in business’.
In this list are three or four books that will change your life or your business in 2017. Why not pick your top reads now, put them on your Christmas list or buy them yourself, and get ready to rock next year?
And while you’re about it, take an analytical view of why these books have gone down so well with their readers. Was it the subject matter, the way the information is presented, or both? How can the insights you gain from this exercise help make your book a success?
*I get a few pennies in commission if you buy from the link, but you’re always welcome to search separately.