9 books you should read to up-level your business and brain

I’m a self-proclaimed book nerd, and I especially nerd out over business, self-help and personal growth books. I feel like book recommendations are the things those in my inner circle come to me for over and over again, so I thought I’d round up a few of my favorites for creative entrepreneurs here.

Here’s a fun fact: I’m a self-proclaimed book nerd, and I especially nerd out over business, self-help and personal growth books. I feel like book recommendations are the things those in my inner circle come to me for over and over again, so I thought I’d round up a few of my favorites for creative entrepreneurs here.

Book 1: The war of art by Steven Pressfield

WHY I LOVE IT

I read this book about once a year. Yes, you read that right- it’s one I come back to over and over again. It’s a quick read, and always leaves me inspired + fired up. It’s all about resistance and the age-old struggle resistance creatives and business owners face overcoming it. Every time I read it, I have a different takeaway and it continues to illuminate ways to stop procrastinating and actually get great work out into the world.

FAVORITE QUOTE

The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.
— steven pressfield

Book 2: Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield

WHY I LOVE IT

Turning Pro is Steven Pressfield’s follow up to “The War of Art”, and it delves further into a concept he presented in the first book: The amateur and Pro phases of his life and work. Turning pro, he says, is an essential key to unlocking our greatest potential.

FAVORITE QUOTE

What we get when we turn pro is, we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and to live out.
— steven pressfield

Book 3: Blue Ocean Strategy/ Blue Ocean Shift by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

WHY I LOVE IT

This is technically 2 books- the first talks about the strategy and the second is a follow up with more examples and deeper insights since the first came out. Essentially, the blue ocean strategy is a way to create a niche for your business so you can separate yourself from competitors and swim alone in your own blue ocean. If you’re going to read one book on business and/or brand strategy, this is it.

FAVORITE QUOTE

The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition
— W. Chan Kim

Book 4: E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

WHY I LOVE IT

E Myth was originally written 30 years ago and then updated as “E Myth Revisited” in 1995. That’s over 20 years ago! So you won’t find things about email lists, or social media marketing in this book. Not even close. But what you will find is a whole lot of solid advice on how to set up and run a small business that’s based around systems, and these lessons can still (and should) be interpreted and applied by online businesses today. It’s good sense stuff that just doesn’t go out of style.

FAVORITE QUOTE

I believe great people to be those who know how they got where they are, and what they need to do to get where they’re going. Great people have a vision of their lives that they practice emulating each and every day. They go to work on their lives, not just in their lives. Their lives are spent living out the vision they have of their future, in the present. They compare what they’ve done with what they intended to do. And where there’s a disparity between the two, they don’t wait very long to make up the difference.
— Michael Gerber

Book 5: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

WHY I LOVE IT

Oh boy, I could go on and on about The Big Leap (and I have, to many, many people). Reading this book changed my life. For real. It showed me how, where and why I was playing small, and how to go about changing that. Fun fact: The first time I read it, I finished the last page and immediately went back to the beginning and started rereading it. Yes. That good.

FAVORITE QUOTE

If I cling to the notion that something’s not possible, I’m arguing in favor of limitation. And if I argue for my limitations, I get to keep them
— Gay Hendricks

Book 6: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

WHY I LOVE IT

Because Brene Brown helps you understand why being vulnerable is maybe one of the hardest, yet most rewarding and life-affirming things you can do. She talks about having the courage to stand in our vulnerability in a world where everyone else is (seemingly) confident & self-assured, and why this matters so much.

FAVORITE QUOTE

One of the biggest surprises in this research was learning that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. In fact, fitting in is one of the greatest barriers to belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.
— Brene Brown

Book 7: Creative Confidence by  Tom Kelley, David Kelley

WHY I LOVE IT

I’m a big fan of Design Thinking and this book presents design thinking concepts in such a succinct way- encouraging readers to use the techniques to cultivate more creativity into their lives, businesses, and the products + solutions they’re delivering to their customers.

FAVORITE QUOTE

It turns out that creativity isn’t some rare gift to be enjoyed by the lucky few—it’s a natural part of human thinking and behavior. In too many of us, it gets blocked. But it can be unblocked. And unblocking that creative spark can have far-reaching implications for yourself, your organization, and your community.
— Tom Kelley

Book 8: Self Coaching 101 by Brooke Castillo

WHY I LOVE IT

I am a huge fan of Brooke Castillo. In fact, I’m in her Self Coaching Scholars program, and I implement the self-coaching techniques she lays out in this book almost every day in my morning routine. I highly, highly, recommend listening to her podcast “the Life Coach School” on a regular basis. This book is the perfect primer to understand how to use the self-coaching method to change just about every aspect of your life- including your business.

FAVORITE QUOTE

Your mind is a tool to use as you wish. Your mind does not have to be the one running the show; the part of you that watches your mind is a much better master and is aligned with your true intentions for this life.
— Brooke Castillo

Book 9: You are a Badass at making money by Jen Sincero

WHY I LOVE IT

While I love Jen Sincero’s first book “You Are A Badass”, I love this one even more. I think a lot of creative entrepreneurs- especially ones in the health and wellness industries- feel that if they’re making money, or striving to make money, somehow they’re not being true to their calling. Jen blows this all out of the water and shows how abundance is our birthright, and actually helps us do even more great work in the world.

FAVORITE QUOTE

“When you transform your financial reality, it’s not just about gleefully watching the numbers grow in your bank account, it’s about who you had to become to make that growth happen. You had to shed your old ways of being, and grow into someone who thinks big, someone who finds possibility more interesting than you find your excuses.
— Jen Sincero

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what you thought of them! Or- are you inspired to add some to your reading list? Let’s chat about it in the comments!