Books can literally change your world by having the power to change your whole perspective on a given subject or just on your view of the world. They can take you to a world you never imagined, or inspire you to believe you can achieve anything. We LOVE books, so our second post in this monthly compilation series is all about books that have inspired, motivated or just downright moved business owners – just like you.

Take the list and savour the possibility of what each book can do for your business and your motivation. Move yourself out of your comfort zone, cheer yourself on to do something you never thought you could or maybe just be inspired by someone’s else’s determination – these books will show you it all.

This badass list of brilliant books is a mix of all time classics and innovative inspiration. Our 10 fearless business owners explain the book that has had the biggest impact on them and their business.

Barry MooreThe 7 Day Start Up

The 7 Day Start Up – Dan Norris

I have to go with “The 7 Day Startup” by Dan Norris. I have been following the online writing of Dan Norris for several years. Dan is a veteran entrepreneur and start-up junkie, who has been sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey to found and run a successful online business. He (like so many) had mixed success along the way and was just days away from running out of money when he launched WPCurve, a (finally) highly successful WordPress services business.

The book is quickly and easily consumed but is filled with an abundance of super practical gold nuggets for anyone running, or thinking about starting any kind of business, with none of the get rich quick bullshit. I suggest you read it, takes notes, and take stock of what you are currently doing in your business. Then read it again. It was invaluable in the planning and launch of my second online business.

Read this if: you have an idea and want to get started fast

Barry Moore is a sales and marketing automation specialist and the founder of

Hayley SouthwoodHow to style your brand

How to Style Your Brand – Fiona Humberstone

I only received this book last week but I am in love with it and already recommended it to one of my social media media clients! I am a real visual kind of girl and use social media as a HUGE part of my marketing. This book called ‘How to style your brand’ by Fiona Humberstone. Anyone who knows me will know how much I harp on about branding and brand identity, this book is a fantastic ‘How to’ and each area is broken down in such a clear and easy to understand manner.

The photography is stunning (obviously that bit appeals to me) I don’t think it matters if you are a start up business or well established it will make you think long and hard about what branding actually is and how to get your business noticed.

Read this if: you want to understand branding

Hayley Southwood owns Southwood Stores – Quirky, Scandinavian influenced gifts and homewares and blogs at Breathe Happiness


Lynne Geary Authentic

Authentic: How to make a living by being yourself – Neil Crofts

Last year a friend and fellow business mum recommended I read Authentic: How to make a living by being yourself, by Neil Croft, which describes his own personal journey to Authenticity. More importantly though it is full of tips and guidance on how to identify who you are, what you want from life and how to turn all that into a business idea that is Authentic to you.  A significant principle in the book is the importance of being completely honest with yourself and trusting your instincts. Only then can you build the confidence in your own values and business objectives to be truly authentic. Croft identifies “For Authenticity to work it has to work everywhere and at every level …. There is no point in making the change if it does not bring you greater happiness, satisfaction and success in every area of your life.” Therefore, within Crofts 4 stage preparation process and 8 stage plan of action to formulate your Authentic Business there are tips and advice on how to improve all areas of your life not just your business.

This book has given me the tools to identify exactly what I want from my business, but more importantly it’s helped me identify how the society we live in today can place incredible pressure to conform and that it’s okay to stand up and say “Actually I want something different, I want to do things differently.” So believe in yourself and the business you want to run and operate – you deserve to achieve your dreams.

Read this if: If you want to find out what you really want from running a business

Lynne Geary  is an artist, creative illustrator and owner of Monster Moo Studios.


Hayley WintermantleThe Desire Map

The Desire Map – Danielle Laporte

This book opened my eyes up to a whole new way of thinking, or should I say feeling, not only about my work but my life. In fact this book was the instigator for me to quit my corporate job, move countries and set up my own business! The Desire Map invites you to a refreshing look at what is it you want from your career, your relationship and your lifestyle by asking you to define your desires with one simple question “How do you want to feel?”.

The first half explores why many of us feel so much dissatisfaction in spite of our successes and achievements and looks at why often we can end up feeling unfulfilled on the inside, when from the outside we appear to have it all. The second half then guides you through a number of exercises in order to help you discover your own Core Desired Feelings which Laporte states should be at the foundation of all our “goals with soul”. She suggests that by approaching our lives with the intent to create these feelings on a daily basis then no matter which path we take or decisions we make, we will always feel aligned and fulfilled. Both inspirational and practical, I can’t recommend this book highly enough and have bought copies for so many friends struggling to work where they are heading.

Read this if: You are feeling unfulfilled

Hayley Wintermantle is a coach, facilitator and career catalyst who encourages women unfulfilled in their work to explore which direction they want to take in order to carve their own career path.


Nicola SempleQuiet Susan Cain

Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

I have known for quite some time that I am introvert.  While working in the corporate world I found the constant ‘noise’ from those around me exhausting and often frustrating.  So many times I would sit in meetings and want to shout ‘this is all nonsense – can we just get to the point please’.

I found the constant need for social interaction, open plan offices, lengthy meetings, morning chitchat, evening drinks etc utterly draining. Now running an online business I have found a great balance of solitary working combined with being part of hugely supportive, large online communities.  I get to pick and choose when I use my energy to interact with the outside world.

Reading Susan’s book was a gamechanger for me.  I always knew there was nothing ‘wrong’ with being an introvert, it’s just the way that I am. However, throughout the book she really celebrates the power of introverts and helps us to understand the value that we bring to businesses, our families and our society.

Read this if: You are or think you might be an introvert

Nicola Semple is a business mentor, trainer and author who helps women running a business from home to be more successful and more profitable on their own terms.


Ellen Waldren The Women's Room

The Women’s Room – Marilyn French

A seminal read for me, thrust into my grubby mitt by my fabulous English Literature lecturer. I devoured it, it was shocking for it’s time (1977) and became a huge bestseller with us budding feminists. The story is packed with events and all the female protagonists meet a grizzly end; dead, broken or in isolation. It seems rather dated now and of it’s day, but for me as a young woman (way before Germaine Greer got her skates on) it shaped, influenced and made me the person I am today. It was a beacon, a tattoo on my arm and a kick in the pants – I would never be like my mother – I had a brighter future.

My mother was an aspiring artist, but with 4 children she never realised her dream, but she gave me the solid foundation to follow my dreams and make them happen, and that’s just what I did with my artistic skill, I opened an online shop in 2013 and shared my passion. I have never gone back to re-read it, somehow I would be treading on my dreams.

Read this if: You want a boost of girl power

Ellen Waldren is a constant scribbler and Lettering Artist who applies art to English Bone China.


Michelle EmersonGet Rich

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch – Denise Duffield-Thomas

I stumbled across Denise Duffield-Thomas’ Facebook page and was hooked by her money message, her authenticity and her directness (the clue’s in the title – she doesn’t mince her words). Get Rich, Lucky Bitch is an inspirational book that delves into the murky darkness of your money thoughts – earning it, giving it away, blocks, dramas and sabotages. She encourages you to take control of your financial future, work through those money blocks that shackle us and practise the law of attraction (of which she is a shining example).

Having worked my way through the book once, I’m now on a second read and implementing her advice and suggestions of daily money tracking, gratitude and money manifestation.  Regardless of whether you attract the abundance Denise’s teachings purport to offer, this is a stimulating stand-alone read that’s funny, insightful and a must-have for any female entrepreneurs and lucky bitches everywhere.

Read this if: you want to change your view about money

Michelle Emerson is a content creator, editor, e-book publisher and book addict.  


Rebecca McFarland The 1000 most important questions

The 1000 Most Important Questions You will Ever Ask Yourself – Alyss Thomas

The 1000 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask Yourself by Alyss Thomas is a thought provoking book that lives up to its title. Covering topics including Happiness, Joy and Creativity, Relationships and Communication and Dealing with the Past, The 1000 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask Yourself guides you through a range of reflective exercises. It then helps you to develop an action plan based on your own introspection. There are no one-size fits all solutions or prescriptive strategies. You hold all of the answers and this book will help you realise them.

I bought this book about 8 years ago. I had recently left an abusive relationship and was suffering from severe anxiety. The 1000 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask Yourself helped me get back on track and since then, I have gone back to this book time and time again to work through various aspects of life. Most recently, it has been my partner in starting my own business. It has guided me through creating my business values, managing my time, building my confidence and keeping my stress levels in check. The 1000 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask Yourself is an amazing business and life resource that is worth every penny.

Read this if:  You aren’t afraid to dig deep and ask yourself difficult questions

Rebecca McFarland is a passionate coach, writer, facilitator and creator of Littleoven Loves 


Soozi Baggs Screw It Lets Do It

Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life – Richard Branson

This is a very short book in which Branson’s enthusiasm for life hits you from the first page. It’s full of sentences you’ll want to highlight and make into inspirational posters for your wall. It’s written as if he’s chatting to you in a pub over a beer, and it jumps from story to anecdote like a train of thought. But that doesn’t matter because it’s pacy, motivating, and I was flipping pages devouring the content. No words are wasted. Every anecdote has a point and he doesn’t waffle on to get to it. He’s candid and open about his failures, all of which he knows makes him a better person and businessman.

The thread that runs through this book is that life should be fun, family is important, and making money is not an aim in itself. Do something for the love of it, believe it can be done, believe in yourself, set goals, work hard, don’t give up, and the money will follow. And if it doesn’t, try something else. I first read it when I wanted to leave my job and start a business, and after reading it that’s exactly what I did. Inspiring stuff.

Read this if: You need a shot of inspiration  to start something new

Soozi Baggs has a copywriting business called Zing Word Studio where she turns dry or complicated information into engaging and easy to understand copy.


Brucey BonusBrucey Bonus

And number 10 is a Brucey Bonus ! Not only is it a fantastic and life changing perspective style book it is also FREE ! You can download it now for ZERO, NIX, NADA. Just click the link and get on it ! #You’re welcome


Rebecca Bradley Work the System

Work the System – Sam Carpenter

I came across this book from a business mastermind group I’m in and I am not exaggerating when I say it changed my life – I definitely wasn’t expecting that from a free book. I didn’t just have one light bulb moment I had what I now refer to as a chandelier moment which is a series of moments when momentous, awesome, information links up in your head all at once – and you suddenly ‘get it’.

Sam explains his own journey which you really buy into and he is so relatable that when he starts talking solutions you totally believe it’s doable. He explains how he was a slave to his business and barely broke even and that he worked IN his business as opposed to ON his business. He describes his rock bottom moment when he felt like he had an ‘out of body business experience’ and suddenly began to see it all so much more clearly. That rock bottom time in his life was the point he had to reach to decide that he wanted to own his business, not it own him. From there he crafted a series of processes and systematisation that means he now works on his business for less than half a day a week and enjoys the kind of life he actually wants to live. I read it and wanted some of that too! It completely revolutionised my conceptual thinking and how I go about tasks. Brilliant book – and it’s FREEEEEEE. What’s not to love!

Watch this if:  you want to work ON your business not IN it

Rebecca Bradley is co-founder of a brilliant blog dedicated to helping businesses get to grips with the power of Pinterest.

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