These are the Five Books that Changed My Life and showed me how to bring authentic creativity to my clients and myself!
(1) The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur: The Practical Path for Growing a Business that Fits Just Right by Molly Gordon
(2) The Art of War: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield reviewed on this blog
(3) Making a Living Without a Job: Winning Ways for Creating Work that You Love by Barbara Winter
(4) Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market, and Make Customers Seek You Out by Lynda Falkenstein
(5) The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander (I've actually used this very simple book when teaching "Intro to Logic" at the University level)
All of these books speak to people who want to bring who they are to what they do...my speciality. The deal is, when we know who we are we know what we have to offer. When we know what we have to offer, we don't have to be all things to all people. When we relax into who we are, our just right clients will come to us. When we create space for them to share what they need and who (and how) they want to be and when our talents match their needs, we can be of service in a natural way. This is what I have learned by reading these books.
I have also enjoyed all of the authors' pointed questions that force me to reframe my mission in a way that is practical as well as personally congruent. Each book invites the reader to take concrete action steps to build in accountability rituals or "partners-in-progress" to help you "go forward" not just in your new thinking but in your day-to-day life. All of these books instigate risk-taking in practice.
Gordon's advice offers a very practical framework, she sees your business like a garden and sees an entrepreneur as a gardener-one who "gets over her/himself" and gets to work attending to the garden of growing their business." Gordon appreciates some of the "law of attraction" bunch who keep sharing "the secret" to manifesting wealth but sees their limitations in terms of business practices. She writes,
"They're terrific for inspiration and encouragement, but while the ideas are good, the instruction manual is missing. When was the last time you heard a guru explain how to set prices or write a web page?"
Each author has had some form of personal transformation in their life (a loss of some kind, addiction, a hard road or rough turn, lots and lots of mistakes, etc). Each one came to the realization that they needed to face their fears of being a failure, to be bold in trying to share something that felt right to them, or to return to a life that is too small. Each one had an experience, (or more than one), that brought them back to the basics of their mission in life. Now that they are older and wiser, they want to help the "newcomer" to skillfully negotiate with integrity and joy in the business world of the 21st century.
Impressive educations certainly do not make the person, as a matter of fact both Pressfield and Gordon claim that most of their credentials have come from the "School of Hard Knocks." Still, many of these authors have been contributors to Harvard and/or Stanford University School of Business.
I can't wait to hear what other people like in terms of their favorite business book reading.
I think more of us could be writing up what we've learned and sharing that with other people. As Winter says, "Why not be a gatherer of all that's out there in your field of interest. You can self-publish all your tip sheets as The Best of What's Out There on X." And who better to call than your friendly self-publishing coach? See http://LDUpublishing.com
Because Molly Gordon and Barbara Winter both coach business women and men, you may want to reach them through their websites: Molly Gordon and Barbara Winter.
More from living