Each year I put out my annual list of must read books for entrepreneurs to dive into.
By some freak chance these blog posts have consistently come up on first page of Google and sent a ton of traffic to this site which I’m thankful for and hopefully given visitors some great reading recommendations.
To date I’ve released:
That’s like reading one book every two weeks, so totally doable in terms of investing time in reading them – think of it like your almost free education!
We’ve covered everything from mindset to landing more clients and we’ve also done it a little differently. Rather than me tell you what I think is best (I mean I do that all the time anyway right!), I decided to crowdsource your recommendations, too.
I had a great amount of feedback and suggestions on Google Plus and Facebook (plus within groups too). Lots of the recommendations included books I’d had on lists from previous years that are solid favorites, like:
- Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills by Marianne Cantwell
- Rework by the guys at 37 signals
- The 100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau or;
- The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content by Tim Ferriss
I’ve narrowed it down to 20 books with a mix of your suggestions and mine.
Making More Money
After reading Kate Northrup’s book, I really woke up to the fact that I needed to change my relationship with money quickly if I wanted to continue creating freedom in my lifestyle.
She has ridiculously valuable exercises that gets into the nitty gritty of why you think the way you do about money and how to transform your relationship so you can earn more in your business.
The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime
If you’ve been looking for an updated version of Rich Dad Poor Dad or some other book about how to achieve lasting wealth, this is the book you need.
It’s realistic in that he lets you know the facts about what it means to become a millionaire, but he also gives you actionable steps to take to reach that money milestone.
Natalie… I found “The Millionaire Fastlane” an awesome book for understanding the entrepreneurial mindset!!! – Tommy Crowley
This is a great book for consultants, freelancers, or contractors that are looking to charge more but aren’t sure where to start.
Plus, if you’re like me and have huge ass revenue goals for this year, you’re going to find a wealth of knowledge to ensure that you achieve those goals this year. Thanks for this Karley!
Mindset & Inspiration
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
People are always raving to me about Gay Hendricks and how it’s completely changed the way they approach their business.
And it makes sense considering she is all about breaking through limiting beliefs that hold you back from truly having the freedom you want and deserve.
Hannah Braime and Claire Kerslake both recommended this book , and Hannah said:
“The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. Not a business book per se, but it talks about overcoming self-limiting beliefs and living in your “Zone of Excellence.”
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Ever since Brene’s Brown Ted talk and seeing her speak at WDS 2012, I haven’t stopped hearing about how she’s influenced businesses, relationships and lifestyle overall.
(Thanks for recommending it Suze Kenington!)
And the need for more vulnerability is huge. We put on armour and never take it off to let people in or to be the person we want to be.
But if you’re vulnerable you can experience love, joy, empathy, creativity, and gratitude. We need to get naked again.
Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. To have the hard conversations.
– Brene Brown
The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
While it might be cliche to say that nothing compares to you, that kind of thinking is what is going to set you apart and help you thrive in business.
Seth Godin focuses on two main concepts in this wisdom-filled book: Don’t try to fit in, and you want to stand out.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
After I talked about creating new habits so you can achieve your goals for the new year, I was happy to see that Tam Le recommended The Power of Habit. There is blur between how we live our lives and how we run our businesses, and if we want to be achieve our ideal lifestyle, we need to be cognizant of how to build good habits in both.
As Aristotle said: ““We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
When you’re in charge of creating valuable content, how can you find your voice so you can be as authentic as possible?
Srinivas Rao has put together a collection of his journey into vulnerability and taking risks, which can be a game-changer if you’ve been keeping quiet and know that you have more to say. Remember. Nothing compares to you. So get out there and take risks.
QR Codes Kill Kittens: How to Alienate Customers, Dishearten Employees, and Drive Your Business into the Ground
The marketing world is full of a lot of noise and advice that may or may not work for your business.
In QR Codes Kill Kittens, Scott Stratten (the guy behind Unmarketing) asks to stop the madness that is following the trend of “what’s working for that person.”
He shows you how to filter out the bad (&downright stupid) advice and what you should be doing with your marketing to create business that lasts.
In Youtility, a great recommendation by freedom fighter Rick Noblett, Jay Baer reminds all of us that we shouldn’t be thinking about making our launches more exciting or using more gimmicks. We should instead be thinking about how we can be of service to our customers and community in order to make the biggest impact and to beat out our competition every time.
80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall
This isn’t just a book to help increase your marketing efforts. It’s a book that will show you how to increase your revenue, your audience, your traffic, and your happiness all while being ridiculously productive. By learning the 80/20 rule, you’ll be able to transform the way you run your business and the way world perceives your brand. Thanks Jack Zenert for making this phenomenal recommendation!
This book is a must-read for every single blogger out there. In it, Cialdini teaches one of the keys methods of persuasion – the Law of Reciprocity.
As bloggers, a cornerstone of our business is giving away free content to our community and when you start to understand the psychology behind what we do and are able to leverage other similar techniques, you can create a strong foundation for taking your business to the next level.
I’m glad Navid Moazzez recommended this as I recommend it weekly to clients and friends.
The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker
What makes someone want to buy your product? What motivates them to click and follow through with the ‘Add to Cart’ action?
Tom Asacker tackles the question of belief and motivation in a book full of inspiration and a-ha moments that make you want you to read it slowly to savor the wisdom. Read it when you need to be re-inspired or when you need to see an old problem with new eyes.
Thanks for the recommendation Tom Hanley!
Click here to get the book on Amazon – The Business of Belief: How the World’s Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe
Entrepreneurial DNA by Joe Abraham
Have you ever wondered if your personality type is really cut out for the business world?
We all take a different path to entrepreneurship and turn up as different people, no matter which traits the articles say are best for business and leadership. Entrepreneurial DNA, recommended by Paul Strobl, is a book that will identify your unique style as an entrepreneur and help you find your strengths and weaknesses so you can be aware of them and use them to your advantage.
Funny story about this book.
You might know that I have a product series called BYOB – Build Your Online Business.
Well I was introduced to Gloria McRae when she was getting ready to launch BYOB – Be Your Own Boss. Turns out that we had different content but similar beliefs and lots of synergy.
She is all about freedom and getting paid to do what you love. Read this if you need that extra push to go from side-hustle to full-time entrepreneur.
Want to watch my interview with Gloria? Click play below!
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes in big business?
Unlabel, recommended by Navid Moazzez as one of the best he’s read in a while, does just that. What’s more it will show you how to flex your creativity muscles to boost your brand, marketing efforts, and ultimately your sales. It’s a straightforward business book with a rally cry to buck all of the traditional ways we build business.
Read this if you want to add unique edges to your business and be more controversial.
How would you like to be the obvious choice among your competition and land new clients sans slaving over impressively time-consuming proposals?
Deemed as a go-to book for creatives by Karley Cunningham, the Win Without Pitching Manifesto will show you how to run your business to be more lucrative and gratifying.
Read this if you’re feeling stuck in a rut with client work and want to see your business with new eyes.
The Suitcase Entrepreneur by yours truly
A few freedom fighters from the community recommended that my book be on this list, and here are what people who have read the book are saying about it.
“Jam packed full of resources, and overflowing with tips and practical steps that help you become your own boss and live life by your own terms. A heavy-resource book. I love the book, the message, and the clear steps to take to create the life I want.” -Paul Cola
“This lady knows what she is talking about and shares her expertise in a humble and very accessible way. I love it. I got so inspired reading it that I took a ton of notes and really felt motivated to get busy with my own personal endeavors so that I could experience more financial freedom doing what I love!” – Amy J. Patee
Speaking & Book Publishing
After seeing Nancy Duarte speak at WDS, it was obvious to everyone in the room that she had discovered a genius formula for crafting everything from blog posts to keynote speeches that create movements and incite passion.
Read this book, recommended by Diana Tedoldi, if you’re looking to start or refine your remarkable speaking career.
I met Tim Grahl right around the time when I had just released my book, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, which was such a great connection since his book is all about selling books!
Tim Grahl has tons of strategic advice for you, the new author, to make the most of every marketing effort and create a successful launch.
“With so many people self-publishing books and struggling with sales, I’d suggest Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl. Incredible book.” – Jules Taggart
Body of Work by Pam Slim
Now that we live in such a diverse environment where we can wear many different hats, how do explain our work in an impactful way?
Pam Slim, creator of Escape from Cubicle Nation, seeks to answer that question through case studies and inspiration that will help you understand the body of work you’ve compiled and the body of work you’re looking to create.
“Heartfelt, practical and actionable, this is the rare book that will change your life if you let it.”
–Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception