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7 Business Books for Entrepreneurs

7 Business Books for Entrepreneurs

I have always been a big reader. If I don’t understand something, I read and read (and read) until I do. While I love a good psycho-killer thriller book, particularly in summer, the reading I’ve done the past year is more focused on growth – business and personal growth. After all, if we aren’t growing as a person, we aren’t going to grow in a professional setting. You know why? That “person” we didn’t work on is the one who shows up at the office.

There are SO many books out there it can become overwhelming, leading to “ah forget this!” as you throw your hands up in frustration. Fear not my entrepreneurial friends!

I’ve got you covered with my top recommendations for books for entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, aspiring business owners, and quite frankly, anyone who wants to feel more prepared, confident, and purposeful in their approach to life and business.

Here we go:

Book 1: Building A Story Brand (Donald Miller)

To say I LOVE this book would be a massive understatement. I have a journalism degree under my belt and more published bylines than I could count going back 20 years and still this book had me looking at copywriting and value propositions from a whole new perspective.

Who It’s For:

Anyone who wants to perfect their elevator pitch, better articulate their value proposition (both in writing and person) and budding professional copywriters, marketers, content creators and business owners.

Book 2: Company of One (Paul Jarvis)

This book came at the recommendation of my good friend, and client, Sarah Cissna of The Side Lobby. Since the day we met she had been very solid in her notion of remaining a company of one. No full time employees ever for TSL, contractors all the way! I on the other hand was not so sure if I wanted DCM to be a solo venture or a small agency. This book gave me so much to think about on both sides of the coin. There are pluses and minuses for both options, and Jarvis does a great job of acknowledging each so you as the reader/entrepreneur can make the best decisions for YOU.

Who It’s For:

Aspiring entrepreneurs; new business owners; owners on the cusp of growth and debating whether to hire teams.

Book 3: I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) (Brené Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W)

This is the first of a few Brown books you’ll see on this list. Why? Because everyone in business needs to do the personal work on themselves if they want to bring their best professional self to the table each day. Mindset has SO many implications on how well you write, sell, create, and promote. You have to be in the right headspace.

This book is an ideal way to help you begin the fight with imposter syndrome, or as Brown would identify it: insecurity, shame and fear. Every entrepreneur, author, consultant and public speaker feels it at one time or another and if they say they don’t, they are lying to you.

Brown uses her decades of research as a social worker and shame researcher, along with a variety of case studies, to shine a light on just how much fear and shame affect human behavior. It’ll help you to realize it’s not just you struggling with these feelings and yes there are tools you can employ that’ll help you overcome the fears and lead to a more successful business.

Who It’s For:

Everyone over the age of 15.

Book 4: This Sh!t Works: A No-Nonsense Guide to Networking Your Way to More Friends, More Adventures and More Success (Julie Brown)

book with networking tipsI discover this book through a post on LinkedIn (#socialmediamarketingFTW) and bought it immediately. A power networker and connector, Julie walks through how you can network your way to success. And not in the sleazy, “What can you do for me?” kind of way, but rather approaching new relationships and asking for introductions in a service-oriented and authentic way that leads to true, long-term success.

While it was primarily written pre-pandemic (and going into a networking event isn’t really happening at the moment), there are some adaptations for our current virtual world and many of her practices can be easily translated to an online format with a little creative thinking.

Who It’s For:

Anyone looking to expand their network or feel more confident talking to strangers (or cold calling) with exact tips on how to accomplish both

Book 5: The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (Priya Parker)

event planning business booksThis is a must-read for anyone in the event industry. Events can be entertaining or they can be purposeful, but in a truly successful one, they are both – particularly if you want people to attend and engage. This takes strategy and understanding behind why people would want to come to your event (even a board meeting) so you can structure an environment to attract them and keep them paying attention and even, wait for it….participating!

Parker provides fascinating insight into the elements of human behavior and or desire to convene in groups, whether for business or personal reasons.

Who It’s For:

Event professionals or anyone who wants to host a better dinner party, book club or wine night.

Book 6: One Person/Multiple Careers (Marci Alboher)

Picture this: you have a career, but also have a separate passion or idea for another business on the side. You’re wondering if you can make that passion into a second income stream and/or future career. You don’t know if you have the time or even how to go about promotion yourself.

This book will answer those questions and give you a slew of examples on how others have successfully done it through Alborher’s extensive research interviews. While I personally would have done with about half of the case study examples she provides, you can easily skip through chapters once you’ve gotten what you need from them and move to the next.

(Note: This was not published in 2020 so there is in fact an explanation of what a blog is and how to create one. If you are tech-savvy, skip ahead, don’t walk away.)

Who It’s For:

Aspiring entrepreneurs unsure how to make their dream work with their full-time job; seasoned professionals considering whether to turn a passion into a second career

Book 7: Daring Greatly (Brené Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W)

This is probably one of the top books I recommend all business owners (and leaders) read. Why? Because entrepreneurship is HARD. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and requires inner strength, resolve and true f’ing grit if you are going to not only survive, but thrive.

If you’ve decided to depart from the slash lifestyle (at least for a while) that means you’ve left a corporate gig and it is now 100% on you to perform. BRAVO! That takes guts! And this book will help you take those guts and turn them into a solid foundation for building your business – and again, your life.

Who It’s For: All humans who walk this earth

I’d love to hear your feedback on these books. Keep the conversation going on the DCM Facebook page or reach out directly!

Channing Muller is an award winning marketing & public relations consultant and the principal of DCM Communications. She works with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses with refined marketing strategies developed through one-on-one and group consulting, customized marketing programs and public relations. She has been named a "25 Young Event Pro to Watch" by Special Events magazine and "40 Under 40" by Connect Meetings. Channing is an avid runner, lover of labrador retrievers, good food, delicious drinks, and an advocate for the American Heart Association. Follow her on Instagram @ChanningMuller.

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