Your Summer 2018 Reading List - 5 Top Books Especially Chosen for Creative Entrepreneurs
This probably won't win me any friends...
...but I'm a little bit of a contrarian when it comes to business books... I rebel against the "must-reads." Good to Great? Meh. No thanks. For goodness' sake one of the top case studies is Circuit City and they went out of business way too soon after that book was published. 30-Day Year? Seems like the whole idea is in the title. Getting Things Done? Too complex. I have high expectations for my non-fiction reads....my time is valuable y'all! And your time is valuable too. So I've narrowed down a long list of contenders to my very top picks for a summer read that's not too heavy, but still enlightening.
1. Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose by Lara Casey
This is one of those popular-in-my-circle books that I eyed for awhile before purchasing. But I finally gave in and brought it on vacation a few months ago. And let me tell you - there's a reason Lara Casey's writing is popular among female entrepreneurs. She drives home some powerful truths here, but every punch is delivered with grace and gentleness. Casey weaves real-life stories and simple illustrations throughout. It's a quick read, but it's not fluff. In fact, it spurred me to really kick my business into gear! If you need a little boost - a pep talk to get you going on your next steps - grab this book ASAP.
2. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
I've talked about this one before, but I'm bringing it up again. If you're a business owner, marketer, or designer, this is a must-read. Donald Miller brilliantly boils down some class marketing principles AND bleeding edge digital marketing research findings into a super simple framework. When you read it you might find yourself echoing, "well of course!" But chances are, while the ideas make sense, you might not be implementing them yet.
3. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Suvive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
This one's a little older, but it's a classic! For anyone who's selling or marketing, Made to Stick provides an entry-level overview of some huge communication concepts. It's an engaging read that teaches a ton of content while keeping you entertained. If you're skimming - find the section on the elephant and the rider - pure gold.
4. To Sell is Human - The Surprising Truth about Moving Others by Daniel Pink
This one is probably the most academic book on this list. But if you're down for some hard-core learning this summer, pick up To Sell is Human. Through case study after case study, Dan Pink walks you through the psychology of sales, pitching, rejection, pricing and more. Although talking about "sales" proper, the book also expands into how we're all selling something or another. And it's true, whether you're marketing a program, selling actual goods, or just trying to sell your boss on your good ideas.
5. One Man's Meat by E.B. White
Ok I'm throwing a curveball here. Yes, this is a book of essays and yes, it has an odd title. If you didn't recognize the name, E.B. White is the author of Charlotte's Web, and he also co-authored The Elements of Style. It's often said that one of the best ways to improve your writing (besides actually writing) is reading broadly. Indeed, I find that reading from different genres gives me new perspectives and new ideas for tackling the tasks at hand. This book of essays pulls from White's column in the mid-20th century. He often references current events, making it feel like stepping into a time capsule. But his writing style is clean, simple, and evocative. You can feel the seasons changing on his Maine farm. And, as I mentioned in my last blog post, that's what makes for truly great writing.
Bonus recommendation: Brand Brilliance: Elevate Your Brand, Enchant Your Audience by Fiona Humberstone
I was just gifted this book by the lovely Kelsea of Kindly by Kelsea, and it's blown me away through its sheer beauty. Paging through it is an experience. Each page is laid out with thoughtful attention - from the font size to the margins. Gorgeous photos pair well with the text. The book starts with the very basic concepts of branding, but I think my favorite part is the case studies - glimpses of well-designed brands that bring beauty to the world and joy to their customers. Pretty enough to be a gift book, it's also practical enough to buy for yourself, and I highly recommend it to fellow entrepreneurs who are working on establishing a brand identity, whether or not you're also partnering with a designer.
What else should be on this list? Send me your recommendations at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy reading!