Browse Recommended Resources for Writers, Freelancers, and Business Owners

People often ask us what books and resources we recommend – because we read a lot. Here’s our shortlist of favorites that got 5 glowing stars and a big tip of the hat for excellent advice on copywriting, marketing, creativity, storytelling, branding and everything in between. .

Influence, Persuasion and Engagement

  • 412TSZqsFOL._SL110_The Secret Language of InfluenceThe Secret Language of Influence teaches you how to use language to influence, persuade and convince more people to say yes. You’ll learn what to say to potential clients, how to say it so they agree, and why it works so well. Then sit back and watch your sales grow.
  • Savvy marketing entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den expert Arlene Dickinson explains how to persuade people in an ethical, natural way that’s on board with good values. You’ll gain a fresh perspective of marketing from Persuasion: A New Approach to Changing Minds, and be set to attract customers with class.
  • The bible that should be on every copywriter and marketer’s bookshelf, Influence by Robert Cialdini is packed full of smart consumer and sales psychology that gives clear insight on how potential customers think, what they need to hear from you and how to create a persuasive message that convinces them you’re awesome.

Freelancing, Business and Entrepreneurship

  • Ever wonder whether or not you should launch that product? Start that business? Raise your rates? Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by the Heath Brothers will change the way you make decisions in your career – and in your life. A special favorite we *loved*, this book is a must-read for any entrepreneur.
  • Laura Vanderkam is a favorite author of mine, and she changed my life with her book 168 Hours: You have more time than you think.You can read a review here, but take it from me: after reading this book, you’ll never look at time the same way again.
  • Not just for businesspeople and entrepreneurs, everyone can learn how to build habits that help you live a better life from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and BusinessThe Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in life and Business by Charles Duhigg.
  • The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries. Just about everything you need to know to brand your business in a way that stands out from the competition and gets clients bursting through your doors.
  • Rework by Jason Fried. This easy read teaches you better, smarter, easier ways to reach your entrepreneurial goals. Open it at any page to get a straightforward, no-fluff, bite-sized piece of worthwhile (and damn smart) advice that helps you succeed. We loved it, hands down.
  • The Wealthy Freelancer. Need we say more?
  • This book gives you so much more than a how-to guide on managing your time. Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs is the kick in the arse you need to value every minute of your day and know it’s worth its weight in gold. You’ll stop putting in more hours for less pay, stand up for what you’re worth and shed time-sucking obligations that leave you feeling burnt out and poor.
  • A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech. Discover cool tricks, tips and advice on unleashing your creative genius. Packed full of cool exercises and smart techniques that get your creativity flowing (and your productivity going), you’ll be ready to smash out that next blog post and make it a win.
  • Chris Guillebeau knocked it out of the park with The $100 Startup, a practical and useful guide on how you can start your micro-business with next to nothing and grow it into a successful empire. An inspiring book that contains compelling stories and intriguing examples, it’s a well-written read we recommend.
  • Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. These guys took viral storytelling to the max and they teach you how to bring stories into your business so you can convince, compel and engage your prospects.
  • Copywriting and Creative Writing Books

    Software, Tools and Courses

    • Many top bloggers swear by speech-to-text software, and I’ve used it myself. All you need to do is talk at your screen and watch the words magically appear thanks to Dragon Naturally Speaking.
    • Want speech-to-text but hate Windows? Are you a diehard Mac user? You got it. MacSpeech Dictate does it all – just talk away, and the words appear on the screen. Enjoy!
    • THE ultimate course on how to guest blog your way to success, brought to you by the most epic writer I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, the famous Jon Morrow.
    • Available in both Mac and PC versions, Scrivener is a world class approach to writing novels, screenplays or any other type of document, allowing you to keep all your writing and research in one place.
    • DFW_GravatarThe best writing course for businesspeople, Damn Fine Words provides you with a wash, rinse, repeat writing system you can use for any type of content you need to create for your business. This 10-week course comes complete, and you’ll finish it with clear evidence you’re a better, faster, more confident writer… one who knows how to get results from words.

James and the team at Men with Pens helped us write a number of pieces to be used for marketing purposes. James was quick to respond to our questions at...

Nick Domino – Water Damage Defense

James and the team at Men With Pens have been absolutely amazing to work with. When I came to them, I had only the vaguest of vague ideas of what...

Johnny B. Truant – The Badass Project

James and MenWithPens listened carefully to what I wanted and needed , then designed a site and accompanying twitter and facebook pages that went way beyond my expectations. They finished...

Dr. Cory Annis – Unorthodoc

When I hired Men with Pens for the web design (doesn’t it look awesome?), I also kicked off one of the most rewarding professional relationships of my life. James Chartrand...

Peter Shallard – New York Business Psychology Consultant

Working with Men with Pens for my first site redesign couldn’t have been a better experience. Their design and technical knowledge is second to none, they’re scary-fast in terms of...

Amber Naslund – Brass Tack Thinking

Men with Pens? These guys are fantastic! When saw their design, I was so happy, I just couldn't get the wrap-around-grin off my face. Communication skills, creativity, know-how - they...

Mary Jaksch – Write to Done / Zen Habits

I can’t thank you enough for what you and your team has done for our company. Our marketing presence has taken on a whole new attitude, and I think it...

Scott Gin – Better Basketball

I have worked with a lot of designers and copywriters and Men With Pens surpasses them all. After just a few emails they were able to capture my style, tone...

Melani Ward, Marketing Consultant

With a sweep of their magic wand, MWP took my old site and redesigned the look. My traffic went up 35% in two weeks, and book sales have doubled. These...

Mike Davenport – Max Rigging

Men with Pens is a great company, because they are a) smart b) talented c) quick d) funny. What else do you want in a web design firm?

Pamela Slim – Escape from Cubicle Nation

Covered in goals, and bogged down by the steps to accomplish them, I was in need of serious help. That's when I turned to James. One call with her, and...

Adam King – Adam King Studio

My first observation after the Google Analytics code went in is that users are spending 10 times (yes, that's right) as long on the site as they were on the...

Matthew Needham – Big Red Tomato Company

The art in web designing truly lies in the designer's ability to accurately capture the essence of what the client wants, and the skill to translate that into an overall...

Dr. Angelica Perez, Ph.D – New Latina

Our products sales have increased drastically after adding the new copy to our website. Thank you so much! I'll look forward to using your services again in the near future.

Bryant Tutas – Short Sale Superstars

I feel like no words would do them justice and please don’t say, “No pun intended”. This team is out of control good. They do a better job of getting...

Melani Ward

A gal in my yoga class made a huge point of telling me how much she loved the way my blog was written. So personal, so fun, so absolutely ME!...

Andree Kehn – AndreeKehn.com

I liked your straightforward advice to writers re: voice and style advice.

Margaret Atwood

What a delight working with Men with Pens. They acted as great advisers, fabulous designers and thoughtful counselors, guiding me through a website upgrade and new blog design. In addition,...

Dr. Peter Gratale

Men with Pens has this uncanny ability to take my rough ideas and turn them into something great. I am a professional writer, and working with MWP on writing projects...

Marie Rippel

Not only did James Chartrand and the whole Men With Pens team get us everything before our deadline, they were instantaneous in response pretty much all the time and very...

Jaime Mintun

As seen on Third Tribe!: Just had to share a resource for an outstanding team of copywriters, web developers, and all around rockstars that I've worked with several times now:...

Amber Naslund – Brass Tack Thinking

I was recommended Men With Pens, and I have never looked back. They seriously ROCK! I live in Asia and despite a 12 hours time difference, communication was smooth. They...

Tomas Bay – Beat The Monster

Thank you for all the effort you have put in to capturing the essence of what I am truly about and helping my voice to come out, loud and proud,...

Ali Davies

These guys rock. They quickly got to the heart of what we wanted to do, produced brilliant copy first time round and were really lovely to work with.

Marcella and Michael Bungay Stanier – Find Your Great Work

Fantastic! Men with Pens were tremendously helpful in reviewing content for my company's new website. Their critique was right on the mark, and their insights have allowed me to greatly...

Chris Sutton – Easy Ear Training

Men With Pens were just great! They listened carefully to determine what I wanted, then created a website that fit perfectly with my vision but still managed to surprise me....

Dave Rowley – Creative Chai

That looks fabulous, money well spent. I have yet to see a bad design by Men with Pens, and they have certainly surpassed themselves on yours. If I were a...

Judy (for Billybrew.com) – Judy of the Woods

Wanted to thank you for your endless patience throughout this process. You produced a site we're thrilled with. Maybe more important, you made the entire development process a fun ride!...

Janus Javier – Real World Supply Chain

If you're looking for a copywriter, a website architect, an eBook designer ... stop. Here at Men with Pens you've found a wonderful company of professionals who will be with...

Austin Briggs

Working with Men with Pens was one of the best business experiences I have had as a customer. The team was knowledgeable and engaged and provided valuable insight that helped...

Karen Swim – Words for Hire

HOLY HOT COPY, BATMAN!! Ok...can I just TELL you how much I love this copy? Seriously! I just read it to one of my colleagues and she had goosebumps!! THANK...

Jodi Ojo – Model Per4Mance

The feedback I’ve received on the site has been all good. Thank you so much for EVERYTHING. You’ve been a joy to work with, a patient instructor, quick witted, and...

Karen M Hollman, Esq. – The Law Office of Karen M. Holman, PLLC

I've used many web developers from the solo freelancers to the big national firms and have always been disappointed. And then I found Men With Pens. Great rates and amazing...

Kevin Kruse – Kru Research

I have had Men With Pens design two sites for me now. I described what I wanted and how I wanted the sites to feel. Somehow they took the images...

Elizabeth Fayle – Make Way for Biz

James and the gang at Men with Pens totally rock! The cool new site they created for us went live about six weeks ago. Already it’s generating traffic at levels...

Frank and Lou Anne Reddon – EnZepplopedia Publishing Inc.

I simply have to rhapsodize about the following website design from MenWithPens. The site is http://www.petershallard.com - the design is resplendent, the copy compelling, and the content magnificent to boot....

Barbara Ling

I wasn’t really thinking of designing a new website. But curiosity (or my ego) had me intrigued for detailed feedback about how I could improve my existing website? Who could...

Penny Hoff – New Hip Tips

For nearly a year, my associates and I tweaked and edited our online web hosting business website in an effort to generate more customer sign ups. Despite our efforts, new...

John Hoff – eVenture Biz

James challenged us to dig deep and truly understand what we wanted to accomplish, and then built a site that captures the essence of who we are. The site is...

Mark Dyck – Regina Lakeview Community Association

Our school is booming. We're having easily the best January ever, and it's only, what, the 11th? Our new site has had an impact on our overall attitude and perspective...

Shifu Ahles – Blue Dragon Kung Fu

I am thrilled to say that we have had a fabulous response to the new website and in fact we're already starting to see clients (it's only been seven days...

Sasha Stricker – Alberta, Canada

Great customer service, James. It created trust right away. You seem like an honest, stand-up guy, very professional and caring about the client. Your designs are superior to what I’ve...

Michael Toebe – Quick Help Now

Men with Pens took a site that I had built a six-figure business around and that was already "pretty good" and made it spectacular, improving product sales and boosting opt-in...

Brian DeChesare – Mergers and Inquisitions

Your ability to communicate clearly, spec a job realistically, meet a deadline and completely fulfill the work to your client's satisfaction is exceptional. And in short, code is scary to...

Elizabeth Pendleton

I'd never dealt with an online web designer. My family told me I was crazy. How could I put a large amount of dollars into someone's hands I'd never met?...

Dan Miranda – Knicks Vision

When I hired Men with Pens to design my site, I hired them for two reasons: 1. they are capable of creating artistic looks while retaining functionality; and 2. great...

Patrick Vuleta – Silvered Copy

A massive thank you for designing my blog as quickly as you did. It met and exceeded my expectations and I really couldn’t be happier with what you delivered. Keep...

Linda Iruoha

If you’re considering hiring a writer for your website or Blog, you can’t go wrong with James over at Men with Pens. He really takes the time to understand your...

Marc Chase – My Credit Group

Your original website review gave me plenty of great information that allowed me to take another step in the right direction. One thousand thank-yous for offering that insanely awesome offer...

Michael Lindstrom – Strolen's Citadel

I would strongly recommend working with the Men with Pens team. I came to them as a client who knew nothing about web design. I was nervous, didn't know how...

Wendi Kelly

Thank you so, so much for your website review, it was very enlightening! I've been listening to it again and again and had more than a few light-bulb moments (as...

Julie Duran

James is a Genius! I am thrilled and amazed at how much talent she has. Where to begin? The price was excellent for what Men with Pens did for my...

Yvonne Oliver – Dallas Relaxing Massage

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