Do you ever struggle to figure out what you should read next?
If you’re anything like me, you don’t have unlimited time to spend on books that aren’t really worth your time and energy. That’s why it can be best to follow recommendations from other readers who enjoyed the book already.
Unsurprisingly, I always have an overflowing TBR (to be read) list, but it never hurts to add more books since they’ve already been vetted by my community.
If you want to add a few more to your own list, I’m here to help.
Today, I’m sharing my favorite non-fiction books which range from inspiring how-to business guides to wonderfully written memoirs. Something tells me you’re going to really love these!
9 recommended books to add to your shelf
All nine of these books have completely changed the way I run my website design business.
From shifting my mindset to teaching me new skills, the long-term value of what I’ve learned in these books goes way beyond their cost. I’m proud to have them on my bookshelf.
No matter where you’re at in your business-building journey, I highly recommend digging into these books whenever you have some margin in your calendar.
Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
If you’ve been a follower of my blog for a while, you already know how much I love the StoryBrand Framework. I use the framework to write website copy on behalf of clients who select this additional service.
Donald Miller wrote Building a StoryBrand to help other business owners clarify their business owners. His advice is as relevant for small businesses as it is for large enterprises.
If you struggle with talking about your company or communicating the value of your services, this book could be a great fit for you.
Quote from Building a StoryBrand:
“Create reciprocity. I’ve never worried about giving away too much free information. In fact, the more generous a brand is, the more reciprocity they create. All relationships are give-and-take, and the more you give to your customers, the more likely they will be to give something back in the future. Give freely.”
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Do you ever feel distracted as you try to figure out how to take your next step in business? Simon Sinek argues that it’s better to start with why.
After watching his TED Talk on the same subject (which currently has 57M views), I knew I had to pick up this book. Start With Why features many stories and examples that highlight the need for inspirational leadership and unpacks the reason why some organizations are more influential than others.
If you are interested in learning more about impactful leadership and what it takes to inspire someone to take action, this could be the perfect book to try.
Quote from Start With Why:
“Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.”
The Power of Moments by Chip Heath
Powerful brand storytelling is crucial when it comes to marketing your online business. Without a clear story, you may struggle to develop a noteworthy and trustworthy brand that’s culturally relevant.
To create more marketing moments that matter, add The Power of Moments to your reading list. Inside this book, you’ll learn about these four elements of creating positive, brand-defining moments: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. Every section is more fascinating than the next!
If you’ve been searching for a way to stand out in your industry and make more of an impact with your digital marketing efforts, this book could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Quote from The Power of Moments:
“But for an individual human being, moments are the thing. Moments are what we remember and what we cherish. Certainly we might celebrate achieving a goal, such as completing a marathon or landing a significant client—but the achievement is embedded in a moment. Every culture has its prescribed set of big moments: birthdays and weddings and graduations, of course, but also holiday celebrations and funeral rites and political traditions. They seem natural to us. But notice that every last one of them was invented, dreamed up by anonymous authors who wanted to give shape to time. This is what we mean by thinking in moments: to recognize where the prose of life needs punctuation.”
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This book isn’t as business-focused as the others on this list, but it doesn’t make it any less impactful. Untamed is written as an unapologetic anthem for women who have been told to act, look, dream a certain way.
Through Glennon Doyle’s vulnerable words, you’ll be able to face your inner critic, gain more confidence, and redefine what “self-care” (or, rather, caring for yourself) really looks like. This memoir packs a punch and is hard to put down, so I recommend reading it when you have an open afternoon.
If you love books with absolutely gorgeous covers that are written from a first-person perspective, this book could be a great fit for you.
Quote from Untamed:
“You are here to decide if your life, relationships and world are true and beautiful enough for you. And if they are not and you dare to admit they are not, you must decide if you have the guts, the right—perhaps even the duty—to burn to the ground that which is not true and beautiful enough and get started building what is.”
Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone
When I connect with someone who is new to branding, I immediately recommend Fiona Humberstone’s books and blog. Since she is a designer, you may assume her books are full of beautiful imagery and stunning layouts—and you’d be right.
While some like to feature her books on their coffee table, it serves a greater purpose than “looking pretty.” In Brand Brilliance, Fiona writes about the core branding, design, and marketing principles you need to know in order to create a statement-making brand.
If you want to elevate your visual branding and enchant your audience with a refreshed brand identity, try this book.
Quote from Brand Brilliance:
“Marketing isn’t about forcing people to buy things they don’t want or need. It’s about identifying what makes your business overwhelmingly, wonderfully special and then showing that to your clients in the most simple and compelling way possible.”
How to Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards
Once you’ve read Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand book, you’ll have a good idea of what it takes to tell a compelling brand story. Your next step is to turn that story into copywriting that sells your offers for you.
Copywriting is one of the most important yet underutilized skills in the business world. While design catches your audience’s attention, you’ll need clear and concise sales copy to inspire your audience to take action. That’s where Ray Edward’s How to Write Copy That Sells book comes in.
If you want to learn the basics behind writing sales copy and optimizing your copywriting with simple but powerful techniques, this book might be a good fit for you.
Quote from How to Write Copy That Sells:
“Ask yourself this question. If your product were a movie, what movie would it be? And then see if you can ‘theme’ your product around that idea.”
Linchpin by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is one of the greatest marketing minds. From writing daily blog posts to creating his altMBA program, he covers a myriad of marketing topics in his numerous books. Basically, when he speaks, we all listen.
I’ve read a few of Seth Godin’s books but my favorite is Linchpin. This book will help you understand if you’re positioning yourself (and your brand) as indispensable, no matter if you’re working within an organization or leading one. This is a classic business book for a reason!
If you want to make a long-lasting impression in your organization and advance your career, this book might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Quote from Linchpin:
“Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone. When your uncomfortable actions lead to success, the organization rewards you and brings you back for more.”
Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
Very few business owners would say financial management is their favorite part of running their business. No matter if you outsource all of your finances or DIY your efforts, you have something to gain from reading Smart Women Finish Rich.
Written over two decades ago, this book has helped millions of women create a better financial future for themselves through investments, savings, and intentional spending plans. It also features insightful statistics, like how working women currently earn more than $1 trillion a year and account for upwards of 52 percent of all earned household income in the U.S.
If you want to build better financial habits and create a roadmap for your personal finances, this book could be a great fit for you.
Quote from Smart Women Finish Rich:
“Money is not an end in itself. It is merely a tool to help us achieve some particular goal. If the way we handle our money conflicts with our personal values, we are not going to wind up living happy and fulfilled lives.”
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
If you have less than an hour and want to unleash your creativity in new ways, you’ll love Steal Like an Artist. This book isn’t encouraging you to literally steal ideas, designs, and creations from other artists. Rather, it teaches you how to look for what inspires you and turn it into something unique and beautiful.
This book features many illustrations, meaning it isn’t as content-heavy as the other books on this recommendations list. At just 160 pages, you’ll fly through this easy-to-read book.
If you’re not sure where to start with your next creative project and need some extra motivation, this book might be your next read.
Quote from Steal Like an Artist:
“Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.”
What books are on your to-read list?
I love following along with what you’re reading. I try to read dozens of books every year, so I’m always looking for new ones to add to my list.
If you happen to read any of these books, feel free to tag me (@digitalgracedesign) in your Instagram post or story. That way, I can see it and respond.
To view more of my recommended books and tools, check out my Resources guide!