My Favorite Business Books

By VICKY BROWN

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Being an entrepreneur can be heady and exciting.  After all, you get to see your dream vision actually come into existence.  But the reality takes hard work, and it can also be frightening, confusing and lonely.

Well, it helps to read about how other successful entrepreneurs accomplished their dreams – and to get tips, tricks and shortcuts to help you get to where you are going.

Here are 5 of my favorite books on the subject.

The first book I ever read on entrepreneurship and how to run a business was the E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.  It completely changed my thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in my business.  Michael introduced me to the concept of working on your business instead of in your business.  Until I read E-myth it never occurred to me that there was a difference, and I just couldn’t figure out why I was so burned out, exhausted and dispirited all the time.  It was because I was trying to do everything myself, and as a result doing nothing that furthered my vision for the business.  E-myth gave me a roadmap to begin to understand the various parts of my business, what they required, and how I could eventually both grow the business, do what I loved, and just be happier and more satisfied.

“… that exercise allowed me to realize that I was thinking too small.  There is no limit to what you can accomplish – and that one exercise brought it home to me in a way I’ll never forget.”

The next book that gave me a huge ‘ah-ha’ moment was Scale or Fail by Allison Maslan.  Allison takes her readers through an exercise that just blew my mind.  She asks you to think about your biggest dream.  Actually, not just think about it but put yourself in it.  What does it feel like, taste like, smell like.  Are you in a huge corner office with hundreds of employees, or lounging on the beach with passive income. Whatever that dream is, she asks you to get inside it.  And then, once you have a firm lock on how it feels, once you have reached the pinnacle, then she tells you to triple it.  What?  I was absolutely floored.  But I’ll tell you – that exercise allowed me to realize that I was thinking too small.  There is no limit to what you can accomplish – and that one exercise brought it home to me in a way I’ll never forget.

And that takes me to the Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.  In the Big Leap, Gay talks about how we erect barriers to our success using false fears and beliefs.  He takes you on a journey through breaking down those barriers, and lays out a path to stepping through to the other side.

And of course there is Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forelo.  Marie is a master of helping entrepreneurs (particularly creative entrepreneurs), get out of their own way – and Everything is Figureoutable is no exception.  Marie focuses on training your brain to open up and think more widely and creatively when you are faced with a setback.  It’s in the title – everything can be figured out, if you just alter your way of thinking about it, and consider solutions you didn’t consider before.

Cameron Herold’s Free PR was a real game changer for me.  His step by step guide to how you can get PR coverage that will help you grow your business – and for free, that’s right – free, is better than anything I have seen on the subject.  Yes, it will take time and effort, but the payoff is huge.  Just look at Cameron’s history – he was the driving force behind putting Got Junk on the map.

And because I love a good entrepreneur story…

Nothing beats the title of Barbara Corcoran’s book – If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons On Your Pigtails, And Other Lessons I learned from My Mom.  Love it!  No doubt about it, it’s a great title.  But it’s also the story of Barbara’s rise to corporate bad-assendom, and how she overcame every obstacle put in her path.  It’s a great read.

In My Shoes is a  memoir by Tamara Mellon, the driving force behind Jimmy Choo shoes.  It’s an amazing account of how that brand was built, and the challenges Tamara faced in doing it.

Boss Life, Surviving my Own Small Business.  New York Times columnist Paul Downs takes you on his journey of running his small custom furniture business.  Although my business is an HR service business, I saw tons of similarities in the struggles, frustrations and wins that Paul faced.  It’s an amazing look at the day to day process of running and growing a business.

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own book (because I kind of really do like it!), Sing with Your Opera Voice, My Journey from Solopreneur to Entrepreneur.  I wrote this business memoir as a guide to service business entrepreneurs, and to give you an easy to follow path to getting your business up and running.  As I said, I kind of like it – hope you will to.

Of course there are loads of other titles that I love, and I am discovering new ones all the time. Tell me if you have one you would like to add to the list.

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