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I actually enjoy judging books by their covers when it comes to the chick-lit I like to plow through on the beach in the summer time. However, when it comes to books about business and creativity, I rely on personal recommendations from others. The following four books are ones that have really stuck with me and I am constantly recommending. They are worth the read if you’re a creative, a business owner, or a person in the world who enjoys reading non-fiction books about living a fuller life. Disclosure: the links to the books are to Amazon and if you purchase through them, I make a small percentage off of that sale.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
This book is a bit older now (from 2014) but the lessons in it are timeless. I had heard about it on a podcast and picked it up hoping to better understand my customers and how they purchased from me. Well, I’ll tell you what- I DID learn more about how customers buy (hellooo Paradocx of Choice) but I learned a ton about my own habits and actionable ways to change them or start new ones.
One of my biggest takeaways: many things in our lives that we think are choices (they may have started out that way) are in fact subconscious habits.
Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers
If you’re looking for an quick and easy read, this book is a compact 96 pages. Don’t let the size fool you- Anything You Want is both the story of an entrepreneurial journey and a pep-talk for those running their own small businesses. In a sea of books by scientists telling you how you should be doing things, this book is full of “real talk” and life lessons from an entrepreneur who fell into owning a business backwards. I relate to Mr. Sivers big time because I never started exit343design with a calculated business plan or got an MBA; it organically grew as time wore on and my interests in business developed. Actually, writing about it right now, I want to go back and re-read it.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
This book! It came recommended by so many people, so if you’re reading this list, you may already know what I’m talking about. Essentialism is a way of life, labeled by the author. It’s broken down into sections: what Essentialism as a concept is, how to determine what’s most important to you, how to eliminate the superfluous, and how to keep on keepin’ on as an “essentialist.” I think there are a variety of books in the world espousing this message (I know The Joy of Missing Out is popular and very similar) but I really appreciated the structure, science, and real-life examples in this one. No book is going to give you ALL the answers, but I do think Essentialism provides some compelling “food for thought” about clearing out the clutter in your life.
Favorite quote: If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Yes, the same Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love fame. It took me a little bit to buy in to some of the “woo woo” of this book, but I am here for it! I’m not even done reading this book yet and it inspired me to write this whole blog post; I had to share it with someone else! This book is a creative permission slip for anyone who is open to it. I love it because it’s both inspirational, but rooted in reality and actual stories of Gilbert’s life as a creative writer. It doesn’t even matter if you’re creative in a traditional sense, this book is for anyone who is feeling held back and wants to move forward being their authentic self.