One of the things I recommend to anyone who wants to excel at entrepreneurship, blogging, writing and social media – or anything else, really – is to read about it. I am obsessive about reading and rereading books that can inspire me to grow and flourish in any aspect of life. So since people ask me what I read for inspiration when it comes to professional growth, here are some of my favorite books. Some of them I have on my Ipad on the Kindle or Ibooks app. Others I own in paperback or hardcover. And a few I also have on audio, because that way I can listen to them while driving, doing housework or walking the dog.
I find that every time I reread them I pick up something new that I did not grasp the first, second or even third time. You will notice they are not technical books that explain the exact steps to build a profitable business or career, but they do help develop the traits required to do this. Anyone can follow guidelines, right, but not everyone has what it takes to go out on a limb to try and make a living off of your art!
The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau
I have read this book several times, and I always find something new in it. I first read it when I had just soft launched my website Viva Fifty! , and then again when I had already made Viva Fifty Media a profitable business. I could relate to the subject matter because I started my business with a $500 investment and bootstrapped it, to make a decent living in the first year and surpass that in the second. I´m now starting on my third year. This book is about exactly that. Stories of entrepreneurs who wanted to make a living following their passion and who did not want to have investors or venture capitalists. It´s a great read.
The Desire Map, by Danielle Laporte
This is one of those books that I´d rather listen to than read, although I have both the audio and the e-book. I listen to it a lot because it helps me stay focused on what matters the most to me: How I want to feel when I work, spend time with family or engage in a fitness activity. Laporte believes that ultimately everything we do, whether it be launching a new business or being addicted to drugs, is based on the pursuit of a certain feeling. So if we are able to discern how we want to feel in different aspects of our lives, then it will be easier to figure out what we can do to feel that way. I´ve also filled out the workbooks and I use her planner, so I can stay focused on my core desired feelings daily. I also love her book The Firestarter Sessions.
The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, by Chris Brogan
I received this book as a gift during Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in 2015. I´ve read it twice and listened to it a few times too. The subtitle Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators speaks to me. It´s not so much about giving you the steps to launch your business as it is about validating that those of us who aren´t cut out for regular jobs or 9-5 schedules actually have an edge in today´s professional world. Even age, gender and the way we dress is not of so much consequence, as long as we can leverage our quirks and creative traits to move forward. I also recommend Trust Agents, which Brogan coauthored with Julien Smith.
The Happiness Advantage, by Shaun Achor
I enjoyed this book so much that I immediately read the next one, Before Happiness, also by Shaun Achor. As someone who has faced many tough challenges in life, and who battled depression a few times too many, this book was and still is very helpful. Although for years now I’ve had a pretty good handle on my overall mood, it never hurts to understand the way the brain functions, in order to be a couple steps ahead of its runaway nature. At this stage in my life, experience tells me that happiness is not the result of accomplishments – not at all. These can help increase your self-esteem and even give you joy momentarily, but seriously, happiness needs to come from within. And it is a prerequisite to succeed in any endeavor. I love this author.
Anything by Seth Godin
I believe I´ve read or listened to all of Seth Godin´s books. If you can listen to his podcasts, do that too! What he says is pretty much common sense, but common sense is easy to forget when you´re in the middle of solving a problem or having a bad day. Linchpin, Are You Indispensable? really helped me when I was running someone else´s website. It validated my belief that one must always overdeliver in life and in work – wow people and your reputation will precede you. Tribes is a great book for any digital influencer to read. It will help you realize that you do not have to be everything to everybody. You just need to find your online tribe and decide whether you are going to lead or follow, or do a bit of both!
Presence, Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, by Amy Cuddy
Cuddy wrote this book after her TED talk on “power poses” received tens of millions of views. I´m glad I read the book before watching the video, but you may prefer the talk. I feel this book speaks primarily to women who need a little boost before facing certain situations from a job interview to speaking in public. Besides explaining why we women tend to make ourselves physically (and therefore emotionally and mentally) small during daunting interactions or situations, she also tells us what we can do to change this. And believe me, striking a Wonder Woman or starfish pose before an interview or public speaking has helped me a LOT. I can´t wait for you to try it!
There are many more books I could recommend, but I will start out with these. Hopefully you will add your favorites to this list in the comments section!