Biz Book Club

My Favourite Business Books

I have a list of business books that keeps getting longer and I wanted to share a bit about some of my favourite business books with you. For each I’ve explained what the book is and who I think might benefit from it and why. As I find more books that I love I will add them to this list. 

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A couple of quick notes:

1)   I don’t read business books; I listen to them as audio books. I learned a few years ago to stop forcing myself to read business books (because that’s what all other successful business owners seemed to be doing!) since I just couldn’t get myself to focus on them. Instead I listen to audio books when I’m driving, cleaning and exercising. It’s a great way for me to truly focus on the content. So, always pick the way to ingest content that works best for YOU.

2)   Where possible I’ve included affiliate links. Feel free to grab the books elsewhere, but I figured if I’m sharing the links and it’s just as easy for you to grab the books from those, I’ll make them affiliate links. :)

3)   I don’t always finish a business book right away, but there are still a lot of great lessons and I come back to them and slowly work my way through them. Don’t beat yourself up if you need to do the same thing. Make sure you have a sense for why you’re reading a book and investing time into it before you start reading it – it will really help you stay on track.

Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck

Book description:

You already have everything you need for an amazing career. In fact, you’ve had it since day one.

Starting on the first day you got paid to scoop ice cream or restock shelves, you’ve had the chance to develop the four elements all great careers have in common: relationships, skills, character, and hustle. You already have each of those, to one degree or another.

Now it’s time to amplify them and apply them in a new way, creating a Career Savings Account™. This unique approach will give you the power to call a Do Over—whether you’re twenty-two, forty-two, or sixty-two. You’ll have the resources to reinvent your work and get unstuck. You’ll even rescue your Mondays as you discover how to work toward the job you’ve always wanted!

Why I like it

Sometimes we need a do over in life, sometimes we need a pivot, a change or an updated. Jon Acuff is amazing at coming up with simple stories and tasks to remind us of all we have available to us when we're ready for change - the support network, the skills, and all the things we think aren't there but actually are.

This book may seem like it's about changing your career but I think it's just as much about up-levelling your business.

Who is this for?

Anyone looking to up level their current business or change their career.

Amazon link: https://amzn.to/2n8U35M

Thank and Grow Rich

Book description:

Thank & Grow Rich is for anyone interested in hooking up with the magnanimous energy field of the cosmos. Author Pam Grout, who likes to call herself the Warren Buffet of Happiness, says it all starts with getting on the frequency of joy and gratitude. Thanking (rather than thinking) puts us on an energetic frequency—a vibration—that calls in miracles. Science has proven that when we observe the world from a place of gratitude, when we use our attention to spot beauty and gaze at wonder, we develop the capacity to radically rev up our day-to-day experience. Brazen gratitude, it seems, provides a portal—an entry point—straight into the heart of the field of infinite possibilities described in Grout’s bestseller E-Squared. This book also offers an updated perspective on abundance, which goes way beyond financial capital. It shows readers how to grow and expand their creative capital, their social capital, their spiritual capital, and much, much more!

Why I like it

I'm all about gratitude in my life and business right now and this book is an amazing reminder to appreciate what we have, be thankful for all that is going well, and to put our brains and hearts and selves on the frequency of receiving.

This is a book about the law of attraction, miracles, and tuning in to the possibilities of the universe. Definitely higher on the "woo woo" scale than most of my recommendations, but I think you're going to be seeing a lot more of that from me moving forward.

Who is this for?

This is for you if you're looking to feel more connected to your business, to all that you do and to letting more good and abundance flow to you.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.ca/Thank-Grow-Rich-Experiment-Shameless/dp/1401949843

The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate

Book description:

In THE MYTH OF THE NICE GIRL, Fran Hauser deconstructs the negative perception of niceness" that many women struggle with in the business world. If women are nice, they are seen as weak and ineffective, but if they are tough, they are labeled a bitch.

Why I like it

I was excited to read this book because this is something I have struggled with. I often feel that all the steps to success given to women are done so that they should be more like men. That women can't be respected if they're too nice; that they can't get ahead if they don't have a more of a cut throat attitude.

While this book didn't have tons of new information for me, it was really nice to have my feelings on this reinforced by a very successful woman (and other women she knows). You can be kind and nice and still get ahead. That doesn't mean you can't be aware of how to make sure you're being compensated fairly and it doesn't mean that you don't still have to be a good boss (a good boss isn't always happy with everything and asks a lot of their employees). You still need to do those things, but you CAN do it while feeling good about yourself and not feeling like you have to be harsher and gruffer and not show that you care about people (and this is the messaging I feel is more prevalent out there).

Who is this for?

Ambitious women who want to succeed without losing themselves in the process.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.ca/Myth-Nice-Girl-Achieving-Becoming/dp/1328832953

Audible link:  https://www.audible.ca/pd/Business-Money/The-Myth-of-the-Nice-Girl-Audiobook

It Starts with Why

Book description:

 START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

Why I like it

As a coach, I’m regularly asking people WHY they do what they do. It’s a question my coach asks me many times, and to be honest, one I struggle with.

This book goes into figuring out the why in you that helps you stay interested and motivated; the why in you that ties your life together. The why that helps you understand what opportunities you should take and which ones you should skip in your business.

Simon Sinek has a great TedX talk that is a good primer for the book.

Who is this for?

If you haven’t gotten clarity on what your purpose is, who your ideal client is, or how you’re going to decide what comes next in your business, this book can help you start to figure that out.

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2hCGSu8

Audible: http://amzn.to/2znItYE

Finish

Book description

According to studies, 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. You’ve practically got a better shot at getting into Juilliard to become a ballerina than you do at finishing your goals. 

For years, I thought my problem was that I didn’t try hard enough. So I started getting up earlier. I drank enough energy drinks to kill a horse. I hired a life coach and ate more superfoods. Nothing worked, although I did develop a pretty nice eyelid tremor from all the caffeine. It was like my eye was waving at you, very, very quickly. 

Then, while leading a thirty-day online course to help people work on their goals, I learned something surprising: The most effective exercises were not those that pushed people to work harder. The ones that got people to the finish line did just the opposite— they took the pressure off. 

Why? Because the sneakiest obstacle to meeting your goals is not laziness, but perfectionism. We’re our own worst critics, and if it looks like we’re not going to do something right, we prefer not to do it at all. That’s why we’re most likely to quit on day two, “the day after perfect”—when our results almost always underper­form our aspirations. 


Why I like IT

If you've ever beaten yourself up about not finishing something you started....

If you've ever created all kinds of reasons to put off starting something until you've done a long list of other important things...

If you've ever given up on something because you can see how you're never going to get it right anyways...

Then you might also want to read a book I just finished :)

First, let me tell you that while I try to read a lot of business books, I have a hard time with them. I don't have a lot of extra time to listen to audio books and I don't have the capacity to sit down and read them on paper.

So when I finished this entire audio book in 3 days the irony that it was a book on Finishing didn't escape me :)

Finish by Jon Acuff hits you right in your perfectionist tendencies and makes you realize that you may need to let go of your desire to do it all, so that you can actually start accomplishing more.

Plus he does it while being funny, which is my favourite.

Who is this book for?

If you've been struggling with getting started on projects, or finishing them, I highly recommend this book.

And if you, like me, struggle with reading paper versions of self help books, check out Audible. It's made me the biggest difference for me, and Acuff touches on why that might even feel like cheating in this book, when it really isn't :)

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2xSPVKd

Audible link:  http://amzn.to/2znItYE

Confidence Code

Book description:

Working women today are better educated and more well qualified than ever before. Yet men still predominate in the corporate world. In The Confidence Code, Claire Shipman and Katty Kay argue that the key reason is confidence.

Combining cutting-edge research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition—with examples from their own lives and those of other successful women in politics, media, and business—Kay and Shipman go beyond admonishing women to "lean in."Instead, they offer the inspiration and practical advice women need to close the gap and achieve the careers they want and deserve. 

Why I like it

Whether you realize it or not, as a woman you may approach decisions and your life differently then men when it comes to confidence. I really enjoyed this book because it made me understand how women deal with confidence and gave me tips and ideas on how I can make changes to increase my confidence.

Who is this BOOK for?

If you struggle with sales, with negotiations, with making yourself heard, with reaching out to new people or any of the main things I hear small business owners struggle with, I encourage you to read this book and see where you can start making small changes that can have a big impact in your business.

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2vxD2rY

Audible link: http://amzn.to/2znItYE

The E-myth Revisited

Book description:

An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.

Why I like it

Most of us start our business because we’re good at a thing, as opposed to ‘good at business’. The thing is, we need to be good at business and not just the “thing” if we’re going to grow a successful business. This book helps you understand how to shift your mindset from one of doing the work, to one of running the business. One of the most important actions to take after that mindset shift is the creation of systems. 

I fought against creating systems for a long time – mostly because my personality type isn’t one to refer back to systems, but for other clients I work with I see them resist because they feel like it’s silly to write down systems just for themselves when they know what and how to do things without one.

Systematizing your business is one of the best ways to make sure that your business stays on track and is set to grow.

Who is this BOOK for?

If you have visions of growing your business beyond just you, if you have visions of selling your business, if you know you’re going to be ready to start outsourcing soon or if you feel like you’re always overwhelmed and never have time to get all that you want to get done (or need to get done) done, then this book is great at explaining why you may need to shift your thinking and what steps to take to be poised for the next steps.

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2hDqjOO

The Big Leap

Book description:

Why I like it

The Big Leap was a game changer for me. It helped to identify where and how I was getting stuck in my business. There are times that I self-sabotage when things are going well and there are times that I self-sabotage before things are going well. Understanding that I’m doing this and looking for the solutions to stop myself from doing it was THE most important first step I took in seeing my business go from just okay to really taking off.

Who is this BOOK for?

Do you ever find yourself in a place where you feel stuck? You want more, but you never seem to be able to get it?

Or do you ever feel like things are going really well, but then they start to fall apart?

This book will help you identify where you’re getting stuck and why – and awareness is the first step to making changes.

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2wmKW56

Queen of Distraction

This is not a business book so I’m sneaking it in because it spoke to me personally.

Book description:

Do you rule the realm of disorganization, clutter, and chaos? Are you constantly battling to get things done? Are you ready to give up and toss your day planner into the dungeon (otherwise known as your closet)? If so, you might just be The Queen of Distraction . And whether or not you've been formally diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you probably already know that something's got to give. The Queen of Distraction presents practical skills to help women with ADHD achieve focus and balance in all areas of life, whether it's at home, at work, or in relationships.

Why I like it

I was diagnosed with ADHD close to the age of 40 and listening to this book really helped me to realize a couple of things.

1)   A lot of the shame I feel around my inability to do certain things is self-created and really normal.

2)   My brain works differently than other people’s brains – that doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes it different. Embracing other ways of doing things, the best way for YOUR brain, is key to decreasing frustration and finding success. Also, you just need to cut yourself some slack. 

Who is this BOOK for?

If you find yourself feeling perpetually disorganized or suspect you might be a woman with ADHD, this book is great at helping you accept your differences and move forward to solutions. This book can help you move out of “this is how I SHOULD be doing things” to “this is the way I can do things.”

Amazon link: http://a.co/cN0m9Au

Are you an Accidental Salesperson? (May #WWCBookClub)

Whether you’re “selling” ideas to your colleagues, “selling” a date night out with your spouse, or “selling” your kids on eating vegetables, we’re all salespeople. However, entrepreneurs often find themselves in the position of having to consciously and purposefully sell without planning for or anticipating it. It’s also common that these entrepreneurial accidental salepeople haven’t had any sales training.

Lara and I did our very first sales training last fall with Shelagh Cummins and the experience was thoroughly enlightening for both of us. Long-standing mindsets were challenged and changed through the process. But the most important thing we got out of it was the importance of making sales a high priority in our business. Not even just a high priority - it needs to occupy a significant chunk of our time. In a way, it already did…we just weren’t thinking about it that way.

A needs assessment call? That’s a sales opportunity. Thinking about a client or prospect? Another sales opportunity (hint: send an email or - even better - snail mail with something of value for them). Delivering your product or service to them? Yet another sales opportunity. Think of your sales process as an infinitely long hallway with an infinite number of doors that you just keep walking through. Doors will close on business that is won or lost, but you just move on to the next door. The better you are at sales, the more of those doors will close on a win. It’s not a game. It’s just making sure you’re meeting your clients’ needs. 

Six months ago, my picture of a sales person was akin to the stereotypical used car salesman. However, I really want to help other business owners grow their business using this amazing medium we call “social media”. When I see the successes of my clients, it gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment at being part of them acheiving their goals. If I’m helping my client, that is sales and it’s giving me the fulfillment that I want in my own business.

That’s why we’re reading The Accidental Salesperson by Chris Lytle this month for #WWCBookClub. This book was recommended to us when we did our sales training with Shelagh Cummins. It also comes at a perfect time as I’m reinforcing all that I learned with Shelagh by going through The Sales Pilot with Lisa Larter right now. I’m curerently spending just as much time beefing up my sales skills and knowledge as I am beefing up my social media skills and knowledge. That can only be a good thing, right? 

If you’re struggling with the idea of selling, I really urge you to join us this month. I’ve been reading this book for a few weeks now and it is excellent. There are also downloads on Chris Lytle’s site that are some of the most useful freebies I’ve ever downloaded from an author. (I’m in the process of preparing one to blow up and hang on my office wall.)

#WWCBookClub Chat

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have many AHA moments as you read the book. (I had a few “duh” moments too!) We’ll talk about those moments at our Twitter chat this month!

Get the book!

We always encourage looking at your local library first. However, when you’re in a time crunch, buying the book may be easier. This is one I’ll be re-reading regularly - I can already tell.

Paperback (affiliate)
Kindle 

We’ll see you on May 29th for the Twitter chat!

Spin may suck, but the book is really useful (April #WWCBookClub pick)

Normally when we announce our book for the month, neither Lara or I will have read it. This month is a bit different, because we both volunteered to be ambassadors for the launch (THIS WEEK!) of Gini Dietrich’s brand new book, Spin Sucks. Many of you may already know that Lara and I are big Gini fangirls - especially me. Remember this from last year’s Social Capital Conference when Gini came to speak?

Gini is a lovely person, but she’s also really, really smart. That’s why I have followed her blog for years now - and why I was even more excited when I heard she was going to be releasing a book. I’ve found Gini’s blog, also called Spin Sucks, to be full of wisdom and actionable content that any business can use to raise their profile using digital marketing. Sure, she’s in PR and perhaps you’re thinking that’s not relevant to you or your business. The truth is that if you’re using social media, you’re practicing public relations, whether you realize it or not. We just aren’t all doing it well; that doesn’t mean we don’t need to use the (good) tactics. 

So, here’s what I got out of Spin Sucks (affiliate Paperback, Kindle) and why I’m so excited that you get to read it this month for #WWCBookClub!

Gini tells it like it is - no sugar coating

As a business owner, I have such an appreciation for people who ask me hard questions and tell me what I truly need to hear. Diluting the truth will only hurt you in the long run. This book wouldn’t be as useful as it is if it didn’t clearly state the challenges that can be faced.

“You no longer have control of your brand - or perceived control. You can no longer worry just about your marketing messages. You have to be in tune with what the customers say your brand is and how they define it to their friends, family, and social networks.”

This graphic of another great truism is courtesy of Christina R. Green.“Your competitors know the exact recipe to your secret sauce, but no one does it as well as you do. It’s your secret sauce. It was created with your people, your thinking, your culture, your passion, and your vision.”

Lara recently asked a company that’s doing really interesting things with their social content if they would mind doing an interview with us so we could share some of their creative work with our audience. The response was quite surprising. They didn’t want their competitors to know their strategy. It’s one of the false beliefs about social media - that if you have a degree of transparency that you’ll tip off competitors and they’ll take away your business.

The truth is that your competitors are already trying to imitate you. They can figure out your strategy through observation - they don’t need to see your editorial calendar or other planning documents to know what it is. But they won’t succeed for the reason that Gini stated - they are not you and they never will be.

Amazon.ca PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).A plethora of practical application

Have you ever read a book that had a subtitle of “how to…” that really didn’t tell you how to do anything? Spin Sucks is not that book. I’m reading this book again with our book club this month for the sole purpose of identifying as many items that we need to work on as possible. I got quite a few the first time around, but I know there is so much more. This quote reaffirms one of things I tell my clients all the time:

“When creating content, the question “How often should I post new content?” almost always comes up. The answer depends on your goals, but from a search engine perspective once a week is sufficient. What you really want to be focused on is consistency, and quality versus quantity.” 

You’ll find lots of easy to implement SEO tips, and some that you may need some technical help with, but are worth doing to get the additional metrics. 

Above all, Gini will give you a roadmap to telling your story in a way that is compelling and valuable to your audience. We couldn’t have picked a better follow-up book to Youtility!

Buy your copy of Spin Sucks by April 5th and get some fantastic extras!

Meet Gini and hear how much Spin Sucks live!

One last note, for our Ottawa and Toronto readers: Gini’s coming to town next week! She’ll be in Toronto (#3tyyz) on Monday, the 7th and she’s coming to Ottawa (#3tyow) on Tuesday, the 8th.

April #WWCBookClub Twitter Chat

Mark your calendars, because April 24th from 9:00-10:00pm, we’re going to have a chat about #SpinSucks and everything you’ve learned! So, be sure to go buy the book now: Amazon.ca PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).

*****

I received a galley copy of the book in exchange for doing a review as a Spin Sucks Ambassador (though I bought it anyway). Then I bought it again. So these opinions really are my own.

#WWCBookClub - chatting Lean In & the March book selection!

Last Thursday night, we held the very first Twitter chat of the #WWCBookClub where we discussed Lean In. Here’s a recap:

March Book Selection

Our March book is just as exciting as the February book. This month, we’re going to read Youtility, by Jay Baer (Kindle affiliate link; hardcover affiliate link). Karen saw Jay speak last November, so she knows this book will be useful for everyone in our audience!

We hope you’ll join us in reading Youtility as you find out how to create smart, useful marketing without hype!

Biz Book Club: February book selection

Just in case you missed our Facebook announcement, Lara and I have decided to start a monthly virtual book club. We have lots of books we want to read this year and what’s more fun than reading alone? Discussing it all with a fantastic, smart group to hear their insights and perspectives!

We picked three books that we knew would be interesting for a large group and asked everyone to vote for the one they wanted to read in February. 

I’ve only finished one of the three books and it also happens to be the one that edged out the others in the vote. But it is a fantastic book that we can all learn from and have some really interesting discussions about. The vote was nearly a three-way tie, which just tells me we picked some really good ones. So, without further ado:

We’re gonna Lean In this February

I enjoyed Lean In immensely when I read it last fall and though I’d hoped to read it again a bit later in the year, I’m really looking forward to diving back in. (Actually, I already started!) 

If you’ve already read Lean In, I hope you’ll still join us as we explore what Sheryl Sandberg has to say about “women, work and the will to lead”. If you haven’t, pick your favourite way to read - hardcopy, Kindle (affiliate links) - and let’s all get reading!

Twitter Chat - #WWCBookClub

Every month, we’re going to have a twitter chat so we can have a discussion about the book we’re reading. Anyone can join the chat. Our Lean In chat is booked for February 27 at 9pm. 

Beyond February

Stay tuned to our blog, Twitter and Facebook - in the next couple weeks, we’re going to ask you to tell us what business books you want to read this year. 

Be sure to check out the Biz Book Club page where you can sign up to receive updates by email

What do you expect when you read Lean In based on what you’ve heard so far? Leave us a comment below!