The Bank Holidays seem to have come thick and fast this year, which I am not complaining about. Given the run of fine weather here in the UK then I guess small businesses will split into at least two camps.
There will be those where this is going to be an incredibly busy day, making hay (and cash) while the sun shines. There will be those that are not weather dependent (people commission writing services in rain or sun) that will possibly get a moment or two to indulge in something else. So, forgive me, those in the first camp. Hopefully your time will come soon.
Because taking half an hour to read, even if it’s a book that’s about an aspect of business, feels like a treat. But to me it’s also key to keep learning and moving forward. None of us know all the answers (though we can all think of some high profile people who think otherwise) so learning from others is valuable no matter where you are on your business, or life, journey.
Here’s this Bank Holiday’s five from me, to keep you going until the end of August.
The most popular book in my last list was “Why Fonts Matter” by Sarah Hyndman. This book was her recommendation for small business owners, followed by Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, which I’ve featured before.
If you go to Amazon, there isn’t a whole load of detail on the book, but I liked this blog post that had Q&A with the author. I like his no jargon approach to branding, that it isn’t rocket science. I also like the equal value placed on strategy and design. This one will need you to either to go out to a real store, or wait for a delivery, as there is no ebook option. It’s not the cheapest book on branding, but then quality of any kind rarely is.
I’d picked this one out last week, then found it in the bookshop at Tate Modern. If I hadn’t been weighed down with asparagus and strawberries from Borough Market, then this would probably already be in the house here. Firstly, it’s beautiful to look at, so inspiring at that level. But it’s more than just pretty pictures. There’s thinking on productivity, on how to ask great questions, and even on how and why to take a break.
Again, I can’t see an ebook version, but this is the kind of book that needs to be a book. Call me old school, but this is worth the paper and the shelf space.
At last, one you can get hold of right now! This one definitely plays into my interests and beliefs. Its secondary title is “You don’t need to compete when you know who you are”. Now, that’s a pretty bold statement, no doubt intentionally provocative. But there is more than a kernel of truth to it, which is why I’m obsessesed with helping small businesses to tell their story effectively.
This is a thought provoking book about finding your identity, business or otherwise. It also talks about telling the real story not the right story. I wrote a piece about having your voice, not the perceived right voice, so I’m completely behind this thinking. This one is on my iPad now, just waiting for my 30 minutes to dive in. If you see me on Twitter, ask me how I’m getting on.
This is about the extraordinary, lasting, impact some moments can have on your life. I’m sure they’ve taken lessons from those moments that impact negatively, but the book is about creating positive momentum. From a business perspective, it focuses on the transformation that creating positive moments for your customers can have on performance.
Again, not a book about rocket science. We can all think of great experiences that have made us feel different, act differently. But just because it’s not rocket science doesn’t mean we all remember to do these things, or couldn’t do with a good nudge to do them. There are ebook and audiobook options for this one, as well as the real thing. Choose how best to make your reading moment.
This one fascinates and intrigues me, particularly as a one person business, where I am the business. Some of it makes me slightly cringe inside. The thought of my own elevator pitch. The thought of doing all of this to climb the greasy pole of corporate success. Well, at least the last part is not part of my life any more.
But when it’s about building your own business, then maybe it’s what you have to do. In fact the front cover tells us that today self-branding is not optional. And Tom Peters said that, and I guess he should have a fair idea about this. This is a second edition of this book, so there are new chapters covering social media and the online world. How things have changed since even just 2007.
If you’ve enjoyed these suggestions, then please share here or on Twitter what you would add to this list. What have you read that inspired you and how you approach your business, or life? What’s on your must read next list? Be great to get some more ideas for throughout the summer.
Happy reading and learning.