If you’re anything like me, you’ve bought more business books than you’ve read. And you’ve started reading a lot more than you’ve ever finished.
We’ve all bought business books thinking they contain the magic business bullet. Could this one with the funky cover contain the secret to a better business? Will it mean I can work six minutes a day?
If you’ve ever been let down by business books that boost the boring, here’s five that have something to say beyond ‘hustle’.
1. Rework – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
One of the first ‘business’ books I ever finished. Why? It had super cool typographic title pages and simple but memorable snippets of info. If you can flick through a business book and something new always takes your eye, it’s a winner.
Read it if: You’re not sure about business books and want some inspiration on working for yourself, how to be a better boss, or how to be a better employee.
“There are four-letter words you should never use in business. They’re not fuck or shit. They’re need, must, can’t, easy, just, only and fast. These words gets in the way of healthy communication.”
2. Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur – Kate Toon
Full disclosure. I love Kate and proudly call her a friend. But aside from that, she’s a super smart lady who’s built businesses from her back garden. She says in her pyjamas. But I’m sure she prefers a good mu-mu.
Read it if: You’ve ever wondered why your small business can’t stay that way, and if you’re the only ‘entrepreneur’ who doubts yourself. And if you love to laugh, because it’s fecking hilarious.
“Don’t wait until you have all your ducks in a row, because by the time you get started some of those ducks will be dead (or at least incredibly elderly).”
3. Life without lanyards – Matthew Fenwick
I bellyflopped into freelance writing after a long stint in government communications and marketing, then I met Matt online and discovered this gem.
Read it if: Your business works with government, you’ve worked in government, or you just appreciate good writing that takes you on a realistic journey through change. Loads of great pointers about finding your path and setting up the business you want, whether you wear a lanyard now or not.
“If you’re even slightly prone to self-doubt, questions like ‘Am I making a huge mistake?’ will be regular visitors. That’s normal. It comes with not living to a template; not having an easy point of reference to check yourself against.”
4. The Social Association – Mel Kettle
Sure, it’s a book about social media for associations, but it’s a must read for anyone in the social sphere. The guidelines and recommendations Mel talks through are applicable to all sorts of businesses and organisations. Packed with examples to bring it all to life, I read this with a highlighter in hand!
Read it if: You write or manage any kind of social media (or want to). Brimming with gold nuggets on understanding your social audience and the platforms they use, simple engagement strategies, and what to measure (and how!).
“Posting behind the scenes images makes you instantly more relatable to your audience. People love to see the daily routines of people they follow.”
5. Why not me? – Mindy Kaling
OK, it might seem like a stretch to include a memoir from an actress as a business book. But… she’s a writer and comedienne with some serious smarts.
Read it if: You like quirky, thoughtful comedy you can apply to build your business and your confidence.
“Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.”
What’s a business book you actually finished?