People often ask me what books and resources I recommend. I read a lot – from fiction to business to everything in between, and I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
So I’ve put together my shortlist of favorites. The books, resources, courses and tools below get my gold stamp for good value, savvy knowledge and useful practicality. Enjoy them for business, entrepreneurship, freelancing, copywriting or just a great read.
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.
- The diva of the TV show, Dragon’s Den, Arlene Dickinson explains how to influence people in her book, Persuasion: A New Approach to Changing Minds.
- Want to learn storytelling techniques that punch up your blog posts, articles and content with big impact? Get a copy of Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. It’s the perfect guide to storytelling (and even storyselling) and teaches you how to use stories to create profound action with your words.
- 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.
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries. Discover how to stand out from the competition and avoid dilution.
- Rework by Jason Fried. This easy read teaches you better, smarter, easier ways to reach your entrepreneurial goals. We loved it, hands down.
- The Wealthy Freelancer. Need we say more?
- Discover the ten most common obstacles to your success, learn which hold you back right now and get action tips to shatter the roadblocks between you and your goals. Seek and Destroy is the fantastic free book from Peter Shallard, THE Shrink for Entrepreneurs. (Did we mention it’s free?)
- Discover easy techniques that let you use blogging as a marketing strategy to bring real-life customers to your business – any business at all. Beyond Bricks and Mortar teaches you how to blog for business in an easy, profitable and intelligent way so you can profit from more sales and customers.
- Influence by Robert Cialdini. This book is the bible every freelancer needs to own. It’s sales psychology at its best!
- A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech. Discover cool tricks, tips and advice on unleashing your creative genius.
- 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 an empire. An inspiring book that contains stories and examples for a well-written read!
- 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 Business by Charles Duhigg.
Copywriting and Creative Writing Books
- When you write for a living, you need time and space to produce the words. Kelly Stone put together one of the best resources I’ve ever read. It’s called Time to Write, and it’ll help you carve hours out of your week. Happy writing!
- If you write sales letters and landing pages for your business, then this book is the most complete I’ve found on the subject yet. Check out Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy That Grabs Their Attention and Compels Them to Buy by Maria Veloso.
- Short, sweet and like a bullet of advice to the head, Stephen Pressfield takes creative blocks to battle in The War of Art. Everyone who has ever struggled with writer’s block needs to get a copy of this.
- Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. These guys took viral storytelling to the max!
- Need to write for websites? Then you need to grab a copy of Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works by Janice Redish. It teaches you what people really need to see on web pages… and it’s not huge chunks of text.
- A master of writing chilling words and penning bestseller books, Stephen King lays out the craft in On Writing. A must for those who enjoy creative fiction and descriptive language. No adverbs, please!
- Natalie Goldberg teaches you how to get real about your writing in Writing Down the Bones. If you get stuck, jammed up and suffer from writer’s block, you’ll enjoy finally finding your release!
- I love persuasive writing, so when I read Joe Vitale’s Hypnotic Writing: How to Seduce and Persuade Customers with Only Your Words, I grinned. It’s not the best writing in the world, but it has great techniques you can put to good use!
- So many people struggle with writing voice that Laraine Herring wrote a book about the battle. Check out The Writing Warrior: Discovering the Courage to Free Your True Voice. Then get out there and win the war!
- Learn how to be a freelance writer with expert guidance that helps you avoid the hard road of painful mistakes. Write For The Web is THE “how to be a freelance writer” guide that sets you up to start on the right foot. You’ll be ready to find clients, pitch for gigs and take on good jobs that pay.
- A top copywriter, Robert Bly knocks it out of the park with his step-by-step guide to writing copy that gets results with The Copywriter’s Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells.
- Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps by Susan Gunelius. Need to learn to write web copy fast? This 10-step guide takes you there.
Great Fiction for a Good Read
- The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.
- The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch.
- A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.
- The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan.
- Anne Bishop rocks, hands down. With vivid characters, witty dialogue and engaging storylines, she knows how to write sexy fiction packed with great entertainment. Highly recommended for a curl-up reading session in your favorite chair.
- Diana Gabaldon made the name Jamie Fraser famous – and put the sexy in Scottish. Check out her Outlander series for a story you’ll never want to put down.
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.