Business Moms + Books

Coming Soon

I am a non-stop reader-doer.

I pull in information from a variety of sources on a daily basis. Then I act on it. If you are reading books about business or your career and you are not putting what you read into practice in less than 14 days, you are wasting your time. You do not have time to waste on a-ha moments that are here today, forgotten tomorrow. You’ve got too much to do.

Like anything else, learning is work. You are self-educating. Every book on this list represents a possibility for you. By internalizing the messages of the authors, you can become different and better. Reading is not a magic bullet, though. It’s just not enough to read. You must engage. If you aren’t doing anything to interact with the material, its author or the community of thought that surrounds it, you aren’t getting your money’s worth, even if the source was free.

Here are some books that have made it to my “Essential Reading,” list. You’ll hear me refer to them regularly anytime I speak at length about anything.

Full Disclosure, the links below are affiliate links.

That means, when you decide to build your very own arsenal of business knowledge to help you make more money in the next year than you’ve made in the last five years combined, Amazon will throw a few cents my way when you buy from the links below. It doesn’t cost YOU anything extra, it’s just a way that Amazon thanks people who link to their website. Thought you’d like to know.

Now here are a few of my favorite titles, in obsession order.

The War of Art. (Quick Read!) If you have ever procrastinated for an instant, you are in good company. Getting things done requires unbelievable levels of commitment to showing up. Everyday. Whether you feel like it or not. Whether you are inspired or not. No matter what. Let author Steven Pressfield show you the inner demon that we creatives must all face daily to win.

Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. Oh, Austin Kleon. How his work gently instructs. These simple books (Quick reads!) impart more wisdom in their small packages than twenty years of books I've read on art prior to these. If you are serious about being a prolific, wonderful artist, not just someone obsessed with making money from their art, you want to get these into your soul. (Hint, one of these paths is a dead-end!)

 

Business Model GenerationThis book is unbelievably visual and user friendly. If you avoid reading business books because they are jam-packed with walls of tiny, hard-to-conceptualize words – this book is the exact opposite. I literally almost never leave home without it. But then again I am a nerd. When I speak on developing a Business Canvas instead of a business plan in the early stages of your venture, or during a re-evaluation of your business, Business Model Generation is my go-to reference. You can take away a business’ power to overwhelm you by making the whole thing visible on a single page. Its is easier than it sounds. In fact it’s so easy that once you read the book you can do it again and again and again, in less than half an hour.

 

Stand Out. Two words: Quick read. No wait, three words: Glorious quick read. As author Dorie Clark details it, you can bring your big idea into the world in a way that matters. If building a brand, a platform or a mission statement has been difficult for you, this book will help you look at yourself and your position in the world in a completely new light.

 

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. Not to be confused with The Millionaire Mind. What good is making more money if you also spend more money? This book will not teach you how to write a budget, chose a CPA or make a million dollars in a month. Instead, you can re-program your mind to hold on to the wealth that you’ll generate in the upcoming months. Once again, this book is small – a very quick read.

The Right-Brained Business Plan. Should you ever feel the need to make a full-fledged business plan, this is the way to go. Forget writers block, forget staring at a blank page wondering how to pull off this mega-document. Bust out some paints and glue, turn on some music, pour yourself some herbal tea and let Jennifer Lee show you how business looks from the fun side of your brain.

What Color is Your Parachute? Oh how do I love this book, let me count the ways. I can’t even do this book justice in a few sentences, for the career seeker OR the business owner. Suffice it to say, you can gain unbelievable edge by knowing yourself and the market better than you ever thought possible. If your name was Jack, and you’d never taken the Flower assessment in this book, I’d say you don’t know Jack.

 

The Education of Millionaires. I’ve written before about profanity in the workplace. It’s getting to the point that I can’t pick up a book anymore without finding it strewn with profanities. I wish I could suck all the strong language out of this book and make it required reading for everyone I know. Its core message is that you can beat today’s system by learning some key skills that you may have never considered. Entrepreneur, Careerist, student, teacher, I don’t care who you are, this book is a golden place to start building your mindset of success . . .unless of course you are offended by strong language.

 

How to Get Organized When you Don’t Have the Time. I just have to add this one because I love it. Its one of many old titles that don’t get the credit they are due. Long before there was Getting Things Done, there was Stephanie Culp. And it was good. This book was part of the system I used to quickly go from zero to hero in my military career. You can streamline your life and optimize your goals. As a 19 year old know-nothing I scored promotions, cash, my own home, a fully paid off car and four zeros in my savings account in under four years. This book was a part of that success.

 

The Lean Startup. I love Eric Reis. I hope to someday be even half the energizing speaker that he is. Yet I often find that when I love the way a person speaks, I have trouble with the way they write. The Lean Startup is no different. I own the book, I read the book frequently, but listening to Eric Reis speak the exact same words that he wrote is exciting in a very meaningful way. There is an energy to this author that mere print hasn’t yet captured. Before you hear him speak, read the Lean Startup. You can decide before you sink thousands into your business, print business cards or even launch an ad campaign, whether your idea is verifiably sound and whether you’ll make money. Read the book, and then take some time to hear the author speak. Like his mentor, Steve Blank, Eric Reis just might save you a LOT of heartache.

 

Now for the blogs:

 

Entrepreneurial guru Ramit Sethi once said, “If you are looking for blogs for motivation, that is not a good sign of success.”

Given the fact that he wrote a best seller on finance without any financial credentials and turned a blog no one ever heard of into a powerhouse with over 150,000 readers per week, I’m inclined to agree that it’s a better bet to get motivated by strategically writing a blog rather than reading other blogs.

That being said, some blogs have content that never gets old. I turn to these authors’ blogs repeatedly, but I want to encourage you to read their books and get a feeling for the man behind the blog.

 

Steve Blank

This man is my hero when it comes to the elusive art of Customer Development. I am convinced that if everyone had to get a certificate proving they internalized everything Steve Blank teaches before they could start a business, fewer people would start businesses. The few who did start businesses after learning Steve Blank’s philosophy would start much better businesses that would bring less headaches and more cold hard cash.

Steve Blank’s self-named website is a treasure trove of free advice, but before you cherry pick, get your hands on a copy of his book: The Startup Owner’s Manual

 

Why you’ve got to read this: If we work together on your business or your career, I WILL ask you about your customer validation. Three simple questions: Who wants what you have to offer? How do you know? Did you ASK them? You need to get very, very good at answering these questions. You can KNOW, not FEEL that you have the answer to the question, “If I build it, will they come?” Own the content in this book. Live it. Do it. Customer Validation is not a spectator sport.

 

Tim Ferriss

Ok, I know he writes those “Four-Hour” books that you either read obsessively or militantly avoid reading. For Tim Ferriss to take the proper place in your heart however, you have to understand the struggles he overcame. He’s not the best businessman in the world, he’s not the best writer in the world, but the man knows what it means to look a challenge in the face and destroy it. His blog is named after the book that started it all for him, The Four Hour Work Week. Pick up this book, but please, please, don’t just cut to the good parts. Spend some time getting inside Tim’s head.

Why you’ve got to read this: Success isn’t about passing a milestone that leads to happily ever after. That thing that holds you back in your career and business will keep resurfacing in different forms. How are you going to beat it every single time? Introverts, especially, take the time to understand how Tim Ferriss works. The man is a titan of making everything look much easier than it truly is for him. You can face recurrent challenges and build a better business because of it.

Ash Maurya

If you checked out Business Model Generation and found it too complicated, it is worth taking a look at author Ash Maurya’s simplified version and the philosophy behind it. I would tell you to check out the tremendously informative Practice Trumps Theory blog, but at the time of this writing, the content there seems to be morphing into a new venture called Lean Stack. I’ll keep you posted on whether this new site is the powerhouse that the last one was. In the meantime, pick up Ash Maurya’s Running Lean.

 

Why you’ve got to read this: If you couldn’t get your arms around the Lean Start Up, please, please use Running Lean to cast some light on Minimum Viable Products. If more business owners understood this simple concept and applied it well, the economy would weep happy tears. You can run a business that keeps pace with the change around it and never runs out of gas. 

 

These resources are just the tip of the iceberg. I’d love to talk with you about how to get the most out of your reading, your education, your experiences and your habits. Reach out. Let’s get more done together.

 
 

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