This post is part of the 12 Steps to Blogging Success Series for Step One.
One of the things I do to help develop and grow a business mindset is to invest in quality reading and educational material. Here’s a list of 12 must-read books for business and blogging that you should add to your bookshelf this year.
(Note – if one of your favorites didn’t make the list, let me know in the comments. And realize – some books will be reviewed and mentioned in the step where they are best suited. This list is specifically about business skills and general blogging information.)
1. The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success by Jeff Olson
This is one of the top books on my list for everyone – it’s such a simple concept but so profound when you begin to apply it to your life. And not just in business, but in every area. Jeff Olson just released a new edition of the book available in paperback or Kindle. This book is a true life-changer, no doubt about it.
I just picked up a signed copy of The New Relationship Marketing at BlogWorld Expo in November and love it. I think this book will benefit bloggers because we inherently are seeking to build up a network. Whether huge or small-but-passionate, Mari covers a lot of really useful information. She also provides tons of additional resources that will hep you prioritize your efforts and maximize your time. The book was almost worth the cost for the spreadsheets and worksheets alone. Priceless!
3. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Problogger
While this is an ebook, it is one that I consider a must for all bloggers. If you don’t have this book yet, you need to pick it up. Bottom line. I worked through this series on angengland.com and you can see the full 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series and work through that when you pick up a copy of the book or need a refresher course. This is a book I turn to when I’m feeling stuck or in need of motivation in my blogging.
4. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
This book is a good one for you to read, in my opinion, because bloggers really do build up an equity of trust with their readers, colleagues and clients. And it’s not just in terms of trying to sell them, but in all aspects of the relationship. My readers expect a high level of information, because I work hard to provide quality posts or a unique, personal perspective. That is a trust I take seriously – it makes me a Trust Agent. And you are too – or should be. Trust Agents explains what that entails and how to not screw it up.
5. The Flinch – By Julien Smith
A free download on Kindle it is everything you would expect from a book by Julien Smith – insightful and thought-provoking. When I asked a group of speakers from BlogWorld Expo about their goals in the coming year, one of them mentioned she wanted to reach out and explore more opportunities without letting fear hold her back. That’s precisely what The Flinch is about – embracing the flinch and moving beyond fear and self-doubt.
Mom Incorporated is spot-on in exploring the unique challenges of creating a new business, any business, as a mother. I think much of the advice and conversations in this book would be relevant to any parent pursuing a new business. Not just applicable to bloggers, the business advice in this book will help you understand the must-know basics of business that you should be addressing. Watch for an interview with Danielle and Aliza coming soon!
7. The Radical Leap Re-Energized: Doing What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do by Steve Farber
I had the privilege of hearing Steve speak at SOBCon Chicago 2011 and he was fabulous. We received a copy of his new book, The Radical Leap Re-Energized and it rocketed to my top must-read list. It’s not technical, and it doesn’t read like a typical “self-help” or leadership book. It’s intelligent and an easy read book that leads you through an entertaining novel-like story and teaches you something along the way. Learn how to leap into your OS!Ms and take your life in an exciting direction with confidence.
One of the areas in which all of the top bloggers really excel is in creating a feeling of community. Whether that is centered around their blog, a cause, a passion, or a journey, there is some sort of community being built around that. And that’s the case that Seth Godin makes in his book, Tribes. Don’t expect this to be a leadership “how-to” book, but rather to be a book that will motivate you to think about and consider what YOUR tribe might be and to remember why it’s important.
9. The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry
The Accidental Creative snags you right from the start and plants little splinters of interesting thoughts in your mind. Bloggers definitely fall into the category of “creatives” and learning how to do that on a consistent basis is one of the biggest roadblocks to long-term success. How often have you seen a new blogger quit after only a couple of months? Learn how to avoid “burnout” by combining three elements: Brilliant + Prolific + Healthy = “producing great work consistently and in a sustainable way.” After all, isn’t that what every blogger wants?
This isn’t specifically a business book or a blogging book, but like The Slight Edge, The Gifts of Imperfection is a life book. It’s a book that explores what it means to be wholehearted and the huge ramifications this type of wholeheartedness can have. This book explores the tools that vulnerability puts at our disposal and guideposts to help us remain wholehearted in life, love and work. The echoes of this type of courage are profound.
11. Beyond Basketball: Coach K’s Keywords for Success by Mike Krzyzewski and Jamie Spatola (Coach K’s daughter)
While “Coach K” as he’s called, is a basketball coach this is a book I would add to the top twelve must-reads in the coming year. Beyond Basketball is precisely that, a book that looks at principles of success reaching far beyond the court. My husband bought the audio version of this book because he loves basketball and I came into the book about halfway through. After we finished, I made him replay the audio book on our road trip so I could listen to rest. Coach K shares some action words and what they mean to him in a series of essays that are easy to read and process, but profound and inspirational to listen to.
I like that this book doesn’t sugar coat the reality of running a business. It’s. Not. Easy. There is a reason why most small business fail within the first few months – because they never should have been started in the first place. Melinda does a great job of starting this book with a look at evaluating and planning. I’m a huge fan of having a plan in place and Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months will help you do exactly that, while staying flexible enough to cope with the unexpected you’re sure to encounter. From the very first chapter you begin working through a series of questions that will be eye-opening about whether or not this is the right path for you. And if it is – you have a friendly guide to hold your hand along the way.
The links I used are affiliate links. Some of these books were given to me and some of these books I’ve purchased. They are all on my bookshelf or Kindle and are books I recommend!
I hope you will invest in a book or two each month this year – it’s one of my non-negotiable expenses. Feeding my mind with quality content is essential and I generally pick up one or two books like these each month. Do you have a favorite not on the list? Share it in the comments!
In future steps I’ll cover topic-specific books like Mom Blog SEO and List Building for Bloggers but I think it’s important for bloggers who want to develop a business to invest in BUSINESS and life-development books, not just technical tutorial books. A well-rounded blogger is a more successful blogger in life and work both!