They didn’t all come out in 2019, but 2019 was the year I read ‘em. A round-up of my favourite reads for business, writing, creativity and all that good stuff.
A Company of One – Paul Jarvis
For: Small business owners .
Essential reading for any ‘solopreneurs’ or small biz owners who prefer to focus on excellent service rather than endlessly upsizing. This book was a satisfying read with lots of case studies and plenty of clearly articulated common sense. It’s helped me reframe the size of my business (just me!) as a point of strength. No wonder it’s been the book on every freelancer’s desk this year.
Takeaways: Bigger doesn’t always mean better
Playing Big – Tara Mohr
For: Women who want to up their career game.
Bought for me by the lovely Laura of Strike the Match, this is a book for women with big ideas who are looking to step things up a gear in their work lives. There are exercises to work through which you can take or leave – I quite enjoyed them but that’s no surprise for a recovering #girlyswot. Helped blast through some psychological walls that I didn’t even know were there. Highly recommended.
Takeaways: Wanting to be seen as a ‘good girl’ keeps you small, perfectionism stops you getting things done, little steps can lead to big changes.
Copywriting Made Simple – Tom Albrighton
For: Copywriters, wannabe copywriters, anyone who writes for work.
A fantastic book for new starters and a great brush-up for those of us with a few more years under our belts. It’s clearly written and helpful without ever losing conversational warmth. I found it very easy to flip through and find answers to questions, like having a helpful, experienced colleague in your pocket.
Takeaways: Too many to list.
The Art of the Click – Glenn Fisher
For: Copywriters looking to make their words even more tempting.
Glenn’s writing is so easy to read, I always feel like he’s sat next to me talking in my ear. In a nice and non-creepy way. And isn’t that what most of us aim for as writers? This book is a brilliant breakdown of how to persuade people to buy things with words, delivered in an irresistibly entertaining way.
Takeaways: Don’t waffle. And lots more, but I’m trying not to waffle.
How to Style Your Brand – Fiona Humberstone
For: Freelancers or small businesses looking to create a visual brand.
As somebody who has worked in marketing departments for the best part of a decade, I naively thought I understood the basics of visual branding. What I hadn’t considered was how well you need to know your business before you take that leap.
This book is a brilliant guide for anybody who wants to create their own visual identity or who is looking to brief a designer. I went through the exercises in the book at the start of the year and realised I just wasn’t ready – I would have wasted my money. A year later? I’ve finally taken the plunge and invested in branding with a designer whose work I love and I’m completely giddy about it. It’s coming soon…
Takeaways: For god’s sake, don’t just ask for a logo!
Work Like A Woman – Mary Portas
I’m a bit late to the party on this book, so I already knew it was going to be a good read. Portas tells the story of her beginnings in a tough business environment, grafting on until she realised enough was enough. She decided to create a business that reflected her own values: collaboration, trust, empathy and instinct. Really inspiring and very honest. Will make you think long and hard about what true leadership looks like.
Takeaway: Change only happens when we work together.
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
For: Anyone who wants to create for themselves.
Not a business book per se, but pretty much essential reading for creatives. As is Gilbert’s style (she’s the author of Eat Pray Love, among other books) a little tolerance for “woo” is required. But don’t let that put you off, beneath the hocus pocus there’s some cold, hard common sense. If you’re looking to put more of your creative work out into the world, this could be transformational.
Takeaway: Don’t get too attached to your creative work, don’t take rejection personally, don’t suffer for your art, just keep going. It’s all about the journey.
Discovered any favourites not on my list? Let me know what I should be reading in 2020!
PS No affiliate links here, just links to booksellers that aren’t A*****n. Trying not to point any more any money in the direction of Jeff Bezos this year…