As a kid, I spent a lot of time with my nose in a book, I studied English Literature at university and I worked in publishing in London for a number of years. Suffice to say, I’m a fervent reader and keep a never-ending books list. In recent years, I’ve take to reading non-fiction as opposed to fiction, and devour anything to do with business, entrepreneurial-ship or that’s vaguely self-help-y. I often get asked about my favourite books, or what’s on my reading list, so we’ve compiled a huge list of books to help motivate you, inspire you, enlighten you and get those cognitive juices flowing. Do you have any good ones to add?
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
Best-selling author, Brené Brown is back with her new book, which details how we can cultivate effective leadership. Brown states that there are 4 main skill sets to becoming a quality leader: being able to rumble with vulnerability (can you give and take feedback; she states to “stop avoiding the tough conversations”), living your values, learning how to rise (“being able to get back up”) and braving trust (“Can you be trustworthy?” asks Brown).
Atomic Habits by James Clear
“Small habits and little choices are transforming us everyday,” says author, entrepreneur and photographer James Clear. His new book on bettering the self, begins with the little things, as in getting 1% better everyday. How do we do this? Clear gives a very concrete and practical approach to help us improve our lives in a sustainable way such as making time for new habits, overcoming a lack of motivation, and designing your environment to make achieving your goals much more accessible.
Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k by Mark Manson
It’s true that the less you care about something, the less power it has to stress you out, make you feel sad or angry. If you’re ever having a rough time, are frustrated about work or going through a painful break-up, I urge you to read this book - better yet listen to it on audio. It’s nothing hugely new (more common sense) - besides some interesting anecdotes about people who didn’t give a fuck and succeeded precisely because they didn’t care too much about the outcome - but it does provide a lot of takeaways that will make you look at the world a little differently and a little more nonchalantly, which believe me is better for your mental health.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
From the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari explores the most important topics on what it means to be human today. In 21 short-form lessons, Harari poses questions from the abstract (“What can we say about the meaning of life to day”) to practical (“What should we teach our children”) and everywhere in between. He meditates on an overarching idea of how we can live in the technological world we have created.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
The former first-lady explains that to become something is very finite, when as humans, we are always evolving. In her memoir, a member of the acclaimed Oprah’s Book Club, Obama walks through her life of trials and triumphs with rectitude. Her inspiring journey follows her youth in an impoverished Chicago neighbourhood to finding her place in America’s most famous address. Obama’s intelligence and strength shine through with her candid stories and words.
You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero
Sincero’s first book, You are a Badass, was one of the best pick me ups I’ve ever read. Continuing in the vein of bad-assery, Sincero talks you through how to be better at making money, how to manifest it and how - most importantly, not to feel guilty about it. Particularly brilliant for any freelancers, entrepreneurs or business owners out there, who need a little more encouragement when trying to play big and expand their company.
Mind Your Business by Ilana Griffo
An extremely practical guide to building your side hustle into a full fledged business, Griffo walks you through advice from entrepreneurs, helpful anecdotes to running a business (hello legal jargon), and a workbook provided for brainstorming, vision boarding and more. It’s beautifully laid out and easy to follow. The hand-lettered (not-cheesy) motivational quotes don’t hurt either. Perfect for the aspiring entrepreneur!
Make it Scream, Make it Burn by Leslie Jamison
A collection of essays with an interesting exploration into the studies of human conditions. Broken up into 3 sections, “longing,” “looking,” and “dwelling,” Jamison dives deep into the real-life stories of seemingly banal things such as a whale (with it’s own Facebook page), a museum that collects the mementos of past relationships, and a family that believes their child is the reincarnation of a lost pilot. Her writing reveals a certain peek into understanding other people's lives while questioning our own truths.
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
Businessman and marketing guru, Seth Godin preaches how to make marketing more consequential. His approach to “new marketing” cultivates a methodology of meaning in a world of saturated media. Godin highlights the importance of treating consumers as humans rather than numbers on a data sheet, encouraging readers to reconsider how we buy, who we buy from and why, and companies to find power in the people who are purchasing.
The Most of Nora Ephron by Nora Ephron
Originally released in 2013 posthumously, the writings of Nora Ephron reached a resurgence from the recommendation of Lena Dunham who states “I am only one of the millions of women who will miss Nora’s voice.” In this collection of stories, personal essays and excerpts from her hit screenplays, Ephron writes about food, feminism, growing older, and so much more with her trademark wit.
Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill
In her book of poetry and prose, Nikita Gill, reimagines the myths and stories surrounding famous goddesses and monsters, lending these enigmatic creatures a voice. In the perspective of the mythological figures, she highlights the strength of the females of ancient Greece and encourages empathy and admiration for this formerly antiquated cast of characters. Gill states that these poems are about “finding the divine inside yourself and finding the hero in you.”
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
A hilarious and truthful tale, Alderton recounts the rocky tube-ride that was her twenties including (but certainly not limited to) parties, dating, work, the inescapable shitty apartment, and most of all female friendships. Her candor is at times heart-wrenching and her humor is outrageously relatable. It’s the kind of book you’ll force your friends to read (just so you can laugh about it).
Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino
In this collection of essays, New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino ruminates on all aspects of pop culture (including yoga, instagram, and the internet) in a wider culture that revolves around the self. Her vignettes muse over her short reality TV stint to drugs, feminism and modern life. Tolentino’s writing is not just a self-reflection but a unique view on overarching personal truths and the duality of how we see ourselves and our societal identities.
How to Fail by Elizabeth Day
Author and critically acclaimed podcast host of How to Fail, Elizabeth Day writes a part memoir, part manifesto under the same name. Both told in personal tales and through interviews with celebrities, authors, and entrepreneurs, Day trails through her history of defeats and missteps to teach that failure is a lesson which can propel you to achievement if you learn how to do so gracefully.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
Over the course of 8 years, journalist Lisa Taddeo traversed to each corner of America to document the real-life stories of women all over the country. This nonfiction book separated into the lives of three very different women, shows great emotional depth into the idea of female desire. Follow along with a suburban housewife whose marriage has lost passion, a high school student enraptured in a physical relationship with her English teacher whom she later takes to court, and a successful restaurant owner whose husband’s desire for welcoming others into sexual acts with them overshadow her own.
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
Caroline Criado Perez exposes a revelation into the actual numbers that show the disparity which often favors men. She explores specific case studies and research that illustrate exactly how women are disproportionately affected in so many aspects of our lives and how, in turn, it affects our health and well-being. In a world built for and by men, Perez calls out the shortcomings of their design.
After working in management at Google and Apple, Kim Scott delivers her practices for enabling bosses to fulfil their three core responsibilities, which she identifies as creating a culture of “Compassionate Candour,” building a cohesive team, and achieving results collaboratively. She hinders advice applicable to managing just one person or an entire team. Scott’s words will help you to lead and inspire others while also standing tall in your role.
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
Since watching Inside Bill’s Brain on Netflix, I become a little fanatical about the power couple that is Bill and Melinda Gates. And after listening to Melinda being interviewed on Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations about her new book, I knew I had to read it. Incredibly harrowing at times - you’ll need a strong stomach to read some of the stories she divulges, but it’s an incredibly important book highlighting female inequality and poverty in the areas of hygene and child birth, and what we can do to empower women in the developing world.
Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss
After it sitting on my bookshelf for the past few years, collecting dust, I finally read The 4 Hour Work Week over the summer. It’s a must-read for anyone who isn’t satisfied either in their current line of work, wants to work smarter, not longer hours, or who wants to turn their hobby into a booming business. In his most recent book Tribe of Mentors, Ferris shares interviews with some of the world’s most successful businessmen and women, power players, athletes and leaders, as well as their key habits for success, morning routines and tips and tricks, such as: How to meditate and be more mindful and How to truly achieve work-life balance.
Words by Marissa Cox & Savannah Rowe.