You might have realised that I have a bit of a thing for reading business books. Well, it’s more than reading, it’s learning in general. I really do believe that every day is a school day, and whether that’s the lessons you learn through reading or doing. In my role as an equestrian and country business coach, I am constantly learning and testing things for my clients. And in my role as a country and equestrian PR and marketing consultant, I am applying what I have learnt and putting my money where my mouth is. Because I believe than in order to teach, you need to do… but that’s a whole different blog.
How does reading help?
One way I continue to upskill is through reading. This might be blogs and articles online and in print, but it’s also books. I know that many people have Kindles and iBooks… and I do have both these apps, but I have to say a ‘proper’ book works best for me. I like turning the pages. I like putting the bookmark in or turning corners. I just like real books.
Now, not all business books are created equal, and as I write this I am deciding whether I have got all I need out of a book I am currently reading and whether it’s time to move on. I believe books should educate, of course, but I do also want to feel uplifted and inspired by a book. So, with this in mind here are my top 9 business books from 2017
Top 9 business books from 2017
- The Million Dollar Blog – Natasha Courtenay-Smith. I recommend this to anyone who asks me about blogging. Yes, some people have done incredibly well financially from blogging, and while this book definitely does cover this aspect, it’s inspirational and educational for anyone writing a blog. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger looking for a kick up the backside or you’re on the first step of your blogging journey GET THE BOOK. It’s a good one.
- She Means Business – Carrie Green. This is a very different animal to any other book on this list, but as I enjoyed it and a lot of people I work with love it, so it had to get a mention. Carrie Green is the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association and has managed to build a really decent empire and income from helping others via FEA. In this book, she talks about how she got there and build this empire. But it’s more than that. It’s hugely motivating and inspirational. Even if you don’t apply every single thing Carrie talks about in the book, I defy you not to feel like you can take on the world after you’ve read it.
- Brand Brilliance – Fiona Humberstone. I do love branding and the process. I blame the fact that when I was marketing manager at a big equestrian company, I worked very closely with the graphic design team and created branding for new collections, POS, packaging, ads, copy and more as part of my job. Making sure what was created was ‘on brand’ was essential and became something I valued in every decision I made. Because branding doesn’t stop at a logo. It’s in a brand’s every fibre. When I see a slightly wrong shade for a brand, it annoys me. When I see an image that is ‘off brand’, I wonder what the thought process was there. When I spot that an incorrect font has been used for something, it bothers me. I could go on, but we’ve all got lives to lead(!). Fiona Humberstone, aka The Brand Stylist, is incredible. She’s gets right under the skin of brands from the start, from the season your brand is through to the finer detail. And more than that, this book is a flipping work of art. It’s probably the most expensive on this list but it’s a thing of beauty.
- AskGaryVee – Gary Vaynerchuk. This, along with Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, The Thank You Economy and Crush It are an education in social media, marketing, PR and how the world can work for you. Gary is a slightly outspoke American entrepreneur who I have a bit of a thing for. His brain and the way he processes information is genuinely incredible, and the fact he can then communication this in a way that’s easy to understand is something else. Not only a brand in his own right, Gary’s also behind a range of companies including Vaynermedia, and started his assent to greatness on YouTube, talking about wine. And anyone who knows their drinks that well gets my vote. This book is based around the popular #AskGaryVee show, which you can watch for free, but it’s the filtered version. And I liked that.
- Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart – Janet Murray. Having been involved in country and equestrian PR and marketing for quite a while now, you might think a book about press releases breaking people’s hearts would not feature on my list. But you’d be wrong. I still wholeheartedly believe in the humble press release (when done correctly, for the right reasons and when you’ve put in a lot of leg work… there are many caveats!) but it breaks my heart too when I see them used incorrectly. Why? Because they will not yield results. Sending an editor you have never even exchanged an email with your life story is not going to win you any fans. And paying someone to bother that editor is a double kick in the face. PR and marketing is often thought of as a dark art and I couldn’t disagree more. It’s actually very, very straightforward. And this book helps promote this message.
- Lucky Bitch – Denise Duffield Thomas. I have read both of Denise’s books and found them both brilliant. They’re very mindset focused but also, again, very logical with very actionable ideas that you could apply to your life NOW that would make a difference to you and your business. It starts when Denise decided she was going to travel the world for six months and how she actually managed to do this, and be paid to do it, with her husband. It wasn’t luck, it was down to hard work, the most positive of positive mental attitudes and a lot of thought. It’s another one that’s easy (and nice) to read, so I would definitely recommend both of her books.
- Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy. If you’re a bit of a procrastinator, find your to do list leaves you unmotivated and you spend too little time on the things that make the biggest difference, I’m going to tell you to Eat That Frog. Well, I’m not actually. I’m going to tell you to buy the book. The advice given is, in many ways, stating the absolute obvious BUT it’s great to understand more about the process and why. And it works. The book cost me under £3 on Amazon (I did have to add P&P), so it was a complete bargain too.
- They Ask You Answer- Marcus Sheridan. An ode to the power of content marketing if ever there was one. Marcus managed to transform the fate of his company using the power of content marketing. And I have to say that I personally believe in the power of this more than most. Being able to speak freely, to put your story out there, to help you get on the elusive front page of Google, and answer the questions people are desperate to know the answers to for free is big deal. And the for free bit – yep – it does take time and energy but you can do it yourself and the cost to have a go is zero. And, what’s more, it’s not a one hit wonder, it’ll keep churning away for you in the background for as long as it’s there. As Marcus explains.
- Pig Wrestling – Pete Lindsay. This business book is genius… but read it twice. It explains how to deal with issues (your pig) in a very interesting and logical way, and it explains this through telling a story. Yep. About a pig in a pen. I’d actually forgotten how much I loved this book until I saw it on my Amazon history, and I will be digging it out for a re-read. Turn problem solving on its head with this one.
There are many good business books out there, and a number I have read and enjoyed that didn’t make this blog, but I would love to know which business books you think I’ve missed? What has been your best business book from 2017?