Bookworm Boss: The Business Books That Have Influenced Me

Biz books for the win,

We all learn in different ways. (Can you tell both of my parents have worked in education?) Some people learn best from listening, some from observing, some from doing and some from the written word. While I think I’ve personally learned using all of those methods, I tend to absorb the most information from reading.

As a child and teen, I loved reading. I found that I much preferred it to Math (my nemesis), Chemistry (passed it with a D, which my teacher told me was a “gift” from him because I tried so hard but failed every test) or Gym (my eardrum ruptured once during 7th grade Gym class, and while I was in serious pain, I was mostly happy to get out of playing volleyball).

I especially loved historical fiction and Stephen King books, but I would read just about anything I could get my hands on. I didn’t read much for pleasure in college, as I was too busy drinking Bacardi and obsessing over crushes, but I read a lot for my courses. I’d be half asleep during some lectures but I’d read and highlight the hell out of my overpriced textbooks, which seemed to work out well. (I graduated magna cum laude, baby. And I am bragging.) Later in my 20s, I got interested in self help/intuition/soul type books as well as biographies of Old Hollywood actresses. Once I started my business, it seemed only right that I should read some business books, and so read them I did (and still do).

I’ve read countless business books, and I’ve used the knowledge I’ve gained to build a better business. Reading a good business book is like hiring a consultant for $14.95 (or $22.95 if you like hardcover consultants). To me, that’s worth it.

Let’s get to it then, boss.

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. This is probably my favorite business book. I’ve read it more times than any other biz book I have or have borrowed. It breaks down the difference between doing the technical part of the job (in my case, doing makeup), the managerial part and the true entrepreneur part. Gerber says that to reach your max level of success, you must be the entrepreneur and hire others to be the technician(s) and manager(s). Reading this book changed the way I run my business and my long-term strategy for it.

The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. At first glance, it seems like this book is only for product-based businesses owned by people who want to be digital nomads. But there are lots of great tips and resources given in this book, not only for entrepreneurs but for people who want to convince their bosses to let them work from home. Ferriss’s writing style is conversational and easy to read, which is rare in the world of often-dry business writing.

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Thing Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. It’s a simple concept, really–focus on one main thing with your business and everything else will fall in place. My one thing right now–and for the last few years–is growing my team, as that’s what a) Allows us to (eventually) stop turning down business due to lack of makeup artists and/or hair stylists and b) Frees up my time so I can work on location expansion and other projects. This book seems repetitive, but it really made me realize how important is to build everything around my one main thing.

Tools of Titans: The Tactic, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. While this is technically another Tim Ferriss book, it feels like it’s less by him and more by the people he interviewed for it. Ferriss compiled tips, stories and life advice from his interviews with 114 successful people. I was a little turned off that only 12 of those interviewees were women, but besides that, I found it interesting. I liked getting the perspectives from people in different industries (even if they were mostly male) and I’m always into a success story.

Lessons of a Lipstick Queen: Finding and Developing the Great Idea That Could Save Your Life by Poppy King. This was one of the first business books I ever read. It’s the story of Lipstick Queen (fantastic line, by the way) founder Poppy King and her rise to the top. I of course found it relatable due to the beauty industry connection, but it’s also inspirational and a good read for anyone who’s flirting with the idea of entrepreneurship.

How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If you asked 100 successful people which business books they recommend, I’d guess at least half would mention this one. It was written in 1936, but it’s timeless. Some of the advice in this classic has helped me with sales, networking and in-person communication with clients.

There’s no one set way to gain business knowledge. If you’re putting in any effort to improve your business and become a better entrepreneur by learning from others, you’re doing it right. But if reading is your thing, hopefully this list has been helpful.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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