Time to talk about two of my favorite things – planning and reading!
For me, prepping for the new year always means looking back and evaluating what I’ve done, looking forward toward what I want to accomplish, and picking up lots and lots of books to help me get inspired, motivated and working smarter AND harder. No matter where you are on your blogging or business journey there is a book on this list (probably more than one!) that will get you moving in the right direction, expand your view of what might be possible, and make you excited to put in some serious work next year.
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Full of research, Good to Great covers the basic principles all business must nail in order to have sustainable success. Comparing companies that made the leap with those that didn’t they uncover how great leaders lead and what types of missions inspire continuous growth. While the examples involve large companies I found I could still apply all of the principles to the work I’m doing now as a solo business owner.
Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great? Author Jim Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.
This one was a little different from I expected, focused more on how opportunity has helped people become successful than what they do once they’re in their chosen profession. Lots of stories packed into the little book to help inspire you and maybe even change or broaden your perspective on how one becomes a high-achiever.
Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.
File under: freaking gorgeous coffee table book. This one probably won’t give you loads of notes, but it will definitely leave you with a spark of inspiration and that feeling of solidarity and girl power. I would especially recommend this if you’re in a city or industry where you don’t know many other women kicking ass in their businesses. Grace Bonney rounded them up for you!
Across the globe, women are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and starting creative businesses. In the Company of Women profiles over 100 of these influential and creative women from all ages, races, backgrounds, and industries. Chock-full of practical, inspirational advice for those looking to forge their own paths, these interviews detail the keys to success, highlight the importance of everyday rituals, and dispense advice for the next generation of women entrepreneurs and makers.
This one is slightly on the cheesy motivational speaker side of things, but if you’re looking for a swift kick in the ass to help you grow next year The 10X Rule is for you. Perfect for those that probably know what they need to do but haven’t found the motivation it takes to put in the extra hours it takes to level up.
While most people operate with only three degrees of action-no action, retreat, or normal action-if you’re after big goals, you don’t want to settle for the ordinary. The 10 X Rule unveils the principle of “Massive Action,” allowing you to blast through business clichés and risk-aversion while taking concrete steps to reach your dreams. It also demonstrates why people get stuck in the first three actions and how to move into making the 10X Rule a discipline. Find out exactly where to start, what to do, and how to follow-up each action you take with more action to achieve Massive Action results.
If you’re at the start of your business and you like to do some hands-on planning I would grab The Conquer Kit. This workbook has tons of exercises (some that will force you to get off the couch to get your creative juices flowing), checklists, and fill-in-the-blank pages to help you figure out exactly what you want your business to be. It’s a little on the woo-woo side with meditations and inspiration boards, but also digs into the business backend and financial side of things as well.
Author and entrepreneur Natalie MacNeil guides you to tap into your creative genius, build a strong foundation with the four pillars that hold up every thriving business, create heart-centric product and marketing plans, put together your A-team, envision the bigger picture, map your next steps, and ultimately bring your dream business to life. You are invited to sketch, scribble, collage, and write all over these pages, all while developing an airtight business plan with proven strategies for success.
This one ends up on my reading list often and is the book I recommend any time someone is looking for a little motivation to boost their blog or business. Simon Sinek speaks and writes about leadership and planning and Start With Why will help you dig into the purpose of what you’re doing. Literally any time I’m wavering in my business I step back and take his advice again and again.
Start With Why shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
This book has been on my Amazon wish list for a while and I’m SO glad I finally picked it up. A powerful read for all women whether you’re working a 9 to 5 job, side hustling, or already self-employed. This lit a fire under my ass to not only put in the work, but also explore the possibility of how big my business could grow and my opportunities give other women a leg up along the way. Full of research and statistics, it’s a great introduction to why men end up in leadership positions far more often than women and what we can do to make those numbers obsolete.
In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.”