A great book will teach you a new skill, inspire you, or expose you to opposing ideas. Even better: it will do all three at the same time.
An important aspect of being a smart business owner or freelancer is educating yourself. And second to first hand experience is learning from other business owners.
Below are five books that have inspired, educated, and challenged me to become a better business owner and freelancer.
Admittedly, this is one of the most boring book covers ever.
But remember, never judge a book by its cover. Within the pages of this book is a fictional story with many lessons to learn.
The crux of the story centers around a plant manager who has to improve the plant’s performance in 90 days or it will be closed. Through the help of an old professor, he is taught that his conventional way of thinking about performance needs to be changed if he wants to succeed.
Why is this book #1 on my list?
Well, I read this back in college. It was a required reading. And, although I was not and have never been a plant manager, the idea of using unconventional thinking to solve problems inspired and opened my ideas to new ideas.
And kick started my journey as an entrepreneur.
You can find The Goal here.
Reading the title of this book, most people think, “Heck, I want that lifestyle. But that’s impossible.”
Let me first tell you: I’ve met many business owners who have done just that. So it is far from impossible.
Difficult, yes. And the point of this book isn’t about getting to a point where you can only work four hours a week. Instead, the point of this book is how to be more efficient with your time, with the goal of living a lifestyle you want to live.
This was the book I read while starting my first business, and while many of the techniques are now outdated, the overall idea still holds true. And inspirational.
I’ve read it twice so far. And each reading, I’ve taken something new from it.
You can find The 4-Hour Workweek here.
If you want to learn how to succeed, who better to learn from than the most successful people?
Napoleon Hill spent 25 years interviewing some of the richest men of his time and finding out their secrets for success. And then combined them into this book.
But the catch to this book is that it was first published in 1937, towards the end of the Great Depression. And the men he interviewed included the likes of Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford Thomas Edison, and many more of the greatest minds of that time.
This book served as a huge inspiration to me.
While many of the ideas in this book are a little extreme (and border on spirituality), overall, it is one of the books you’ll find on almost every business owner and entrepreneur’s book shelf.
You can find Think and Grow Rich here.
This is one of the books on this list that is free.
This is a short read for anyone starting their own business with very little money. So it is perfect for freelancers.
It reads almost like a list of commandments on how to keep your business as low cost as possible while still being effective.
And not surprising, it was written by one of the best minds in marketing and business. None other than Seth Godin.
Considering that it is free, there is absolutely no reason for you not to download and read it today.
You can download The Bootstrapper’s Bible here.
The one thing every freelancer struggles with is pricing.
We only have 24 hours a day, and can only work a percentage of that to keep our sanity.
So if we charge an hourly rate, it puts a cap on how much we can actually scale our business.
Breaking The Time Barrier was written by Freshbooks’s CEO and cofounder and teaches the lessons he learned on how to break his freelancing business from an hourly rate into a value based pricing system.
This allowed him to grow his business and earn a more-than-comfortable living.
When I read it, I instantly implemented many of the lessons learned in my own business and saw huge rewards
Plus, this book is free.
You can download Breaking The Time Barrier here.
These are the top five books that have inspired and guided me in my own businesses.
Obviously, there are many more out there.
I would love to hear what books inspired or educated you! Or if you’ve read any of the books I’ve listed here and if you agree or disagree with me.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.