I recently sent a newsletter to the subscribers who had downloaded my free How to Market Yourself Online ebook asking a simple question: “What would you like me to write about for you?”. The answers that came back were many and varied but one I address here.
We’re all hungry for knowledge and sometimes the best way to soak up information is to read a good book. One of my subscribers asked me to list a few books that I’d found helpful in running a graphic design business. Here they are.
Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu
I have read a bit about eastern religions and mysticism. I find that the general tone of many of these books helped me change my outlook on the world. But it is very difficult to pinpoint any one sacred text that’s helped in particular. However, I found many passages in this classic Chinese book written around the 6th century BC by the sage Lao Tzu to be deeply perceptive.
Always without desire we must be found,
If its deep mystery we would sound;
But if desire always within us be,
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.
(From J. Legge’s translation)
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason
This short book dispenses financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. In each story there is a simple lesson to apply in daily living. For example, save a tenth of what you’ve earned every year.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The title of this book intrigued me as I was interested in the possibility of changing habitual actions. Stephen Covey talks, amongst other things, of the necessity of being proactive – when something bad happens don’t cry over spilt milk, just clear it up, think of how you can stop it spilling again and move on.
The 4-hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
Don’t judge this book by its cover – don’t even judge it by its title. Timothy Ferriss only christened this book so after tests that showed it would sell the most copies so named. And testing is something we should all do more of, says Timothy. He also advocates the elimination of tasks – and even clients – that do not contribute a noticeable benefit and, most interestingly, the automation your business so it can run without you.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
This book was recommended by Timothy Ferriss above. Michael E- Gerber encourages you to work on your business rather than in your business, concentrating on your business model rather than the technicalities.
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The granddaddy of all people-skills books. I read this book recently and realized I’d already read a lot of books that had referenced it. It’s fantastic for reminding you of the basics of dealing with people – smile, remember names, become genuinely interested in other people.
Moving onto the world of web, 37signals advocate the stripping down of meetings, people and budgets to start work on projects early in order to scale later. This is not a technical book. Anyone working in the internet will find value here.
Here’s a technical book I found it incredibly useful when starting to build websites. It assumes hardly any previous knowledge of HTML or CSS.
So, quite a mixed bag. But these are the books that have helped and inspired me over the years.
So, what about you? Would anyone like to add to this list?