Recommended Books List

I’m always keen to learn new things, or just to get a reminder of what I should already be doing for my business. For this reason, I like to read books that will help me to grow and develop myself and my business.

Here are some books I have enjoyed that you might want to read:

Productivity

How to Be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott

In the age of information overload, traditional time management techniques simply don’t cut it when it comes to overflowing inboxes, ever-expanding to-do lists and endless, pointless meetings. Thankfully there is a better way: The Way of the Productivity Ninja. Using techniques including Ruthlessness, Mindfulness, Zen-like Calm and Stealth & Camouflage you will get your inbox down to zero, make the most of your attention, beat procrastination and learn to work smarter, not harder. Written by one of the UK’s foremost productivity experts, How to be a Productivity Ninja is a fun, accessible and practical guide to staying cool, calm and collected, getting more done, and learning to love your work again.

How to Save An Hour Every Day by Michael Heppell

How to Save an Hour Every Day is the new book from Michael Heppell, author of the bestselling personal development hit of 2010 Flip It, described by DJ and TV presenter Chris Evans as “brilliant, simple, a joy to read!” and “the best personal development book I have ever read”.

Would you like an extra hour a day, every day of your life, to do whatever you want with?

If this sounds like an impossible dream, then here’s the good news: that extra hour really can be yours!

This easy-read book is high impact and full of brilliant ideas, tactics and suggestions that are all designed to save you valuable time. If you are willing to invest just an hour of your time to read it, pick out the ideas that leap out to you and put them into action, you’ll create extra time every single day in a way you wouldn’t believe could be possible.

Among other things you will: overcome procrastination and make better, faster decisions, unearth hidden time for you – time to do the important things, discover powerful new ways to organise your time and your life, find out how to deal with the deadly ‘time sappers’, streamline and simplify absolutely everything you do – both at work and in the home.

We’re sure you’ll find more time every day. What you do with it is up to you.

Eat That Frog!: Get More of the Important Things Done – Today! by Brian Tracy

There just isn’t enough time for everything on our ‘To Do’ list – and there never will be. Successful people don’t try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get done.

There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day. Using ‘eat that frog’ as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day – the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also probably the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life – Eat That Frog! shows you how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize your day. You’ll not only get more done faster, but get the right things done.

Bestselling author Brian Tracy cuts to the core of what is vital to effective time management: decision, discipline, and determination. In this fully revised and updated second edition, he provides brand new information on how to keep technology from dominating your time. He details twenty-one practical and doable steps that will help you stop procrastinating and get more of the important tasks done – today!

Self development

What color is your parachute 2015 by Richard N Bolles

The world’s most popular job-search book is updated for 2015 to tailor its long-trusted guidance with up-to-the-minute information and advice for today’s job-hunters and career-changers.

What Color Is Your Parachute? is the world’s most popular job-hunting guide with more than ten million copies sold. 

Now, no matter what your circumstances, every job-hunter can find help with up-to-the-minute information on what has changed about the job-market, plus strategies for finding jobs even when everyone tells you there are none. And if you are a returning vet, there is a new twenty-page appendix this year, specifically addressing your unique needs.

This 2015 edition includes up-to-date research and tips about writing impressive resumes and cover letters, doing effective networking and confident interviewing, and negotiating the best salary possible. 

But it goes beyond that, in helping you to better know who you are, with its classic self-inventory called The Flower Exercise because the best answer to What shall I do? flows from knowing Who you are.

Finding square holes by Anita Houghton

Finding Square Holes is unique in taking a predominantly self-reflective approach to career development, combining techniques from personal development theory, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and the Myers-Briggs model of personality. If you’re in a fix in your career, either trying to decide what to do or disgruntled with your current job, this is the book for you. Starting with the premise that you can’t achieve happiness in anything if you don’t know what you want in life, the book uses an engaging approach to take you on a journey of self-discovery. Filled with anecdotes, insights and exercises, you are shown how to lay the foundations needed for taking control of your career. This new self-knowledge is used to guide you in a highly practical and self-motivating process of research, networking and goal-setting. This book works on the premise that only you are the best judge of what is good for you. It is a real confidence booster and fear killer. Get it!

The Mind Manual by Andy Gibson

From the people who brought you the Mindapples “5-a-day for your mind” campaign, The Mind Manual is an accessible guide to what’s going on in your head. From understanding how your own mind works, to making sense of the behaviour of others, this is a practical guide to managing your mind and using it to get the life you want.

The book uses proven insights from neuroscience and psychology, filtered through the wisdom and experience of thousands of people in Mindapples’ global community, to give you a crash-course in understanding your own mind. It will improve your well-being, your ability to cope with stress, and your understanding of yourself and others, and give you the tools you need to be your best self.

Women & Power by Professor Mary Beard

Britain’s best-known classicist Mary Beard, is also a committed and vocal feminist. With wry wit, she revisits the gender agenda and shows how history has treated powerful women. Her examples range from the classical world to the modern day, from Medusa and Athena to Theresa May and Hillary Clinton. Beard explores the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, considering the public voice of women, our cultural assumptions about women’s relationship with power, and how powerful women resist being packaged into a male template.

With personal reflections on her own experiences of the sexism and gendered aggression she has endured online, Mary asks: if women aren’t perceived to be within the structures of power, isn’t it power that we need to redefine?

Women Who Think Too Much: How to break free of overthinking and reclaim your life by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema

It’s no surprise that our fast-paced, overly self-analytical culture is pushing many people – especially women – to spend countless hours thinking about negative ideas, feelings, and experiences. Renowned psychologist Dr Susan Nolen-Hoeksema calls this overthinking, and her groundbreaking research shows that an increasing number of women – more than half of those in her extensive study – are doing it too much and too often, leading to sadness, anxiety, and depression.

In Women Who Think Too Much, Nolen-Hoeksema shows us what causes so many women to be overthinkers and provides concrete strategies that can be used to escape these negative thoughts, move to higher ground, and live more productively. Women Who Think Too Much will change lives, and is destined to become a self-help classic.

Get Conscious by Ali Walker PhD

In ancient times, most people believed that if you travelled far enough to the horizon, you would reach the edge of the world and fall off. This was a mirage that limited their lives. Today, many of us live in the mirage that our happiness lies somewhere in the future. We believe ‘we will be happy when… ‘ we meet the perfect partner, we get a new job, we go on holiday or we buy our dream house. But what if this future happiness is like the horizon: an imaginary line that cannot be reached?

In Get Conscious, Ali Walker shows that instead of wasting time fantasizing about the future, we can take action to feel calm, positive and uplifted in the present. The key to this is self-awareness. Drawing on her research and her work with clients, Ali breaks down the four elements of self-awareness and provides strategies for mastering them.

Real Confidence by Psychologies Magazine

How confident are you? If you feel like your confidence could do with a bit of a boost to help make personal and professional situations easier Real Confidence will help you take on the confidence robbers, keep track of your confidence daily and incorporate confidence-building habits into your life on a regular basis.

Written in association with Psychologies Magazine, the leading magazine for intelligent people, covering work, personal development and lifestyle issues.

Quiet Power: Growing Up as an Introvert in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Susan Cain sparked a worldwide conversation with Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. She inspired millions of people, and permanently changed the way we see introverts – and the way introverts see themselves. Now she takes the Quiet Revolution to a younger audience.

Childhood, adolescence and your early twenties are times wrought with insecurity and self-doubt. Your search for your place in the world can seem daunting. Focusing on the strengths and challenges of being introverted, Quiet Power is full of examples from school, family life and friendship, applying the breakthrough discoveries of Quiet to readers that so badly need them.

This insightful, accessible and empowering book is eye-opening to extroverts and introverts alike. Unlock your hidden superpower and give yourself the tools to make a mark – in your own quiet way.

Do What You are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger

A classic in the genre, DO WHAT YOU ARE has helped hundreds of thousands of people find truly satisfying work. Since the last edition, much has changed in the world of work, including the great recession and the explosion of technology. What hasn’t changed is the power and usefulness of Personality Type to help people find greater career success. The fifth edition introduces updated sections and new insights on the modern workforce, technology, Baby Boomers seeking post-work fulfillment, online resources, job listings, and much more. Using workbook exercises and real-life examples to highlight the strengths and pitfalls of all 16 personality types, DO WHAT YOU ARE shows you step-by-step how to utilize your unique strengths to customise your job search, get the most out of your current career, obtain leadership positions, and achieve the best results in the shortest period of time.

Business development

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Have you ever found yourself struggling with information overload? Have you ever felt both overworked and underutilised? Do you ever feel busy but not productive? If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is to become an Essentialist. 

In Essentialism, Greg McKeown, CEO of a Leadership and Strategy agency in Silicon Valley who has run courses at Apple, Google and Facebook, shows you how to achieve what he calls the disciplined pursuit of less. Being an Essentialist is about a disciplined way of thinking. It means challenging the core assumption of ‘We can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replacing it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’.

By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter. 

Using the experience and insight of working with the leaders of the most innovative companies and organisations in the world, McKeown shows you how to put Essentialism into practice in your own life, so you too can achieve something great.

Brilliant career coach by Sophie Rowan

For anyone who wants to have a more fulfilling and successful work life, this coach-in-a-book will guide you step-by-step through the process of finding your ideal career.

Whether you are looking for your next opportunity, stuck in a rut, or even wanting a complete change of career, this book will help you have a happy, successful career. It is packed with smart advice; clever exercises; insights from world-class careers experts; and stories from people, like you, who’ve already taken the journey.

Find your dream job by Sarah Wade

If you are fed up hating what you do for a living and are looking for a more fulfilling experience, this book sets out to inspire you to make change and to show you how to find a job you’ll love. Can you imagine what it would be like to enjoy what you do for a living? Engaged, driven and so excited by the prospect of the coming week you can t sleep – from excitement rather than dread. In this book, you will find a variety of people who have made small changes, great changes or perhaps no change at all – they have simply remained resolute to fulfil their childhood ambition at any cost. They all share an approach to life and enthusiasm for what they do that is an irresistible inspiration for drawing passion into our own lives in whatever form. These are ordinary people who have found a job they love and we find out exactly how they went about it.

Authentic Business by Neil Crofts

Authentic Business shows that it is possible to start a successful business without selling out your values. It shows that business does not have to be exploitative, greedy and devoid of meaning. Takes you step by step, through the why?  and how?  of starting and running your own business. Neil Crofts uses inspiring examples of those who have achieved their dreams on authentic lines. Taps into a huge, hungry market for good quality business start-up books.

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

In his international bestseller The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Duhigg explained why we do what we do. Now he applies the same relentless curiosity and masterful analysis to the question: how can each of us achieve more?

Drawing on the very latest findings in neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics, he demonstrates the eight simple principles that govern productivity. He demonstrates how the most dynamic and effective people – from CEOs to film-makers to software entrepreneurs – deploy them. And he shows how you can, too.

‘Charles has some wonderful advice for increasing productivity . . . the tips he highlights have most definitely played a huge part in helping me to build the Virgin brand.’ Richard Branson

‘In Smarter Faster Better Duhigg finds provocative answers to a riddle of our age: how to become more productive (by two times, or even ten times) and less busy.’ Jim Collins

‘There are valuable lessons in Smarter Faster Better . . . I never felt like putting it down.’ Financial Times

The Seed Handbook: The Feminine Way to Create Business by Lynne Franks

Today more than ever women want to start their own businesses but many of them lack the confidence, knowledge and skills to do so. The SeedHandbook is a 10-step programme designed to help do just this. Practical, inspirational and motivational the book provides a complete blueprint of how to create a business – from concept to launch. It uses ‘feminine’ methods, meaning there is an emphasis on personal growth, ethics, sustainability and the work/life balance within the challenges of starting a new business.

She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur by Carrie Green

There has never been a better time to say yes! With a computer and an Internet connection you can get your ideas, messages and business out there like never before and create so much success. In this book, Carrie Green shows you how.

Carrie started her first online business at the age of 20 – she knows what it’s like to be an ambitious and creative woman with big dreams and huge determination…but she also knows the challenges of starting and running a business, including the fears, overwhelm, confusion and blocks that entrepreneurs face. Based on her personal, tried-and-tested experience, she offers valuable guidance and powerful exercises to help you: Get clear on your business vision, Move past the fears and doubts that can get in the way, Understand your audience, so you can truly connect with them, Create your brand and build a tribe of raving fans, subscribers and customers, Manage your time, maintain focus and keep going in the right direction, Condition yourself for success…and so much more!

If you’re a creative and ambitious female entrepreneur, or are contemplating the entrepreneurial path, this book will provide the honest, realistic and practical tools you need to follow your heart and bring your vision to life.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is a massive cultural phenomenon and its title has become an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of bestseller lists internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theatres, dominated opinion pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine, and sparked ferocious debate about women and leadership.

Ask most women whether they have the right to equality at work and the answer will be a resounding yes, but ask the same women whether they’d feel confident asking for a raise, a promotion, or equal pay, and some reticence creeps in.

The statistics, although an improvement on previous decades, are certainly not in women’s favour – of 197 heads of state, only twenty-two are women. Women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally, and in the world of big business, a meagre eighteen of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO and one of Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business – draws on her own experience of working in some of the world’s most successful businesses and looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale.

Watertight Marketing: Delivering Long-Term Sales Results by Bryony Thomas

Are you wasting your money on marketing? Most businesses are. They’ve got serious profit leaks. So when they run their marketing Taps, revenue simply pours out of a leaky Bucket. Watertight Marketing is no ordinary marketing book. There’s no jargon. And it’s not about the latest over-hyped tactic. This is a book that tackles business fundamentals. It’s the book on marketing that makes all the others make sense. Following the process laid out in this book puts you in control of your business growth. You’ll be able to step off the roller coaster of yo-yo sales results and get your business on a sustainable upward curve. Bryony Thomas has a refreshing style that means the ideas click and stick. She has distilled her wealth of experience into clear action points that you’ll want to tackle today.

Virtually Painless: The unedited reality of moving from Personal Assistant to Virtual Assistant, PA to VA, employee to business owner by Kathy Soulsby

Thinking of making the leap from Personal Assistant to Virtual Assistant? This book gives the warts and all version of what life is actually like as a freelancer, the good, the bad, and the ugly, described with anecdotes, colourful language(!) and humour. It covers everything from the challenges of going to networking meetings for the first time (and not having the right handbag or shoes for the job, never mind a 30 second pitch!), the types of clients you might come across (and when to avoid them like the plague!) and what it really feels like to bill for your time. It demystifies and explains many industry terms and quirks in a fun and down to earth way. Charlotte Wibberley, CEO of VIP VA says “ This book is EXACTLY what the VA industry needs. Kathy’s authenticity and humour give readers huge insight into what it is truly like to run your own VA business, focusing not only on the pitfalls but also on the incredible highs and experiences that you will no doubt encounter on your VA journey. Kathy gives real examples and thought provoking tips to ensure you feel prepared for what lies ahead. A must read for any existing or aspiring VA after an honest and informative peek inside our collaborative and growing industry.” Victoria Darragh, Chief Executive of the EPAA says: “Making the decision to switch from PA to VA is a very brave one and incredibly exciting. It’s one that I thought about myself often but then I became a CEO of another small business and now use the services of a VA. Kathy’s book made me chuckle on a number of occasions and frankly it was a refreshing read! Experienced VAs will absolutely relate to this and this is a MUST have book for budding VAs. “

Build a Business From Your Kitchen Table by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker

Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker are the founders of notonthehighstreet.com, an award-winning, multimillion-pound online marketplace selling 50,000 innovative, stylish products. But six short years ago they were maxing out their credit cards, trying to secure loans and crossing fingers that their big idea would take off. Now they’ve written down all the lessons they had to learn the hard way, drawing not just on their experience but also that of the 3,000 independent businesses they work with: from finance and marketing to PR and getting your workspace right. With startling honesty, they lay bare the truth about getting started while raising a young family at the same time. They believe that anyone should be able to achieve a great working life on their own terms. Here’s how.

Business skills

Brilliant Copywriting by Roger Horberry

If you’ve ever struggled to craft a persuasive message that really hits the spot you’ll know it’s harder than it looks. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have an expert on hand to give you tips and tricks? Someone who could pass on their knowledge and know-how? Someone who told you how the professionals really do it? Well, that’s exactly what this book does for aspiring copywriters. Think of it as a rocket-assisted launch for your writing career.

Brilliant Copywriting is packed with practical techniques to help anyone who works with words to improve their writing. It lifts the lid on the world of professional copywriting to reveal the trade secrets of top-notch practitioners. It’s the book every copywriter wants when they start out, full of facts, details and insights that normally take years to acquire. It will also be invaluable for anyone who works with words in pretty much any industry.

Making a Point by David Crystal

This ‘engaging history of punctuation’ (Wall Street Journal) is not only the first history of its kind, but a complete guide on how to use English punctuation.

Behind every punctuation mark lies a thousand stories. The punctuation of English, marked with occasional rationality, is founded on arbitrariness and littered with oddities. For a system of a few dozen marks it generates a disproportionate degree of uncertainty and passion, inspiring organisations like the Apostrophe Protection Society and sending enthusiasts, correction-pens in hand, in a crusade against error.

Professor Crystal leads us through this minefield with characteristic wit, clarity and common sense. He gives a fascinating account of the origin and progress of every kind of punctuation mark over one and a half millennia, and he offers sound advice on how punctuation may be used to meet the needs of every occasion and context. 

Facilitating groups by Jenny Rogers

Every manager, every coach, every HR professional, every trainer, every team leader – anyone who needs to get the best out of a group needs to know how to facilitate. So what is facilitation and why is it so important?

To facilitate means to make something easy, so the challenge of facilitation is to make it easier for a group to learn, to develop and succeed. Facilitation bypasses coercion, teaching or chairing. It’s about how to read a group, how to challenge group members appropriately and how to name the apparently unnameable. It’s about being able to design events which perfectly match what the group needs and then to run such events with aplomb.

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What books would you recommend?

Drop me an email at hello@3dva.co.uk to let me know your favourite books

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