The pursuit of personal growth and development sets you apart as a business owner. I look back on the past 22 years of owning my own business (it started with me as a Pilates instructor) and I realize that if I had incorporated reading books for business earlier on, I’d be further on. Thankfully, my Arbonne business has a culture of intentional personal and business development, including through monthly bookclubs. Now reading is a regular part of business life. I have been able to read some fantastic books through my bookclub, and others, to be honest, that I’ve ended up skimming or even returning. Not every book resonates with me, or has good advice. But I’ve also sought out additional books, and have found some gems there too. That said, the selected books below are not only limited to business topics, but also include personal growth. The truth is, as an entrepreneur and business owner, you will grow your business best as you also grow . And these books I’ve chosen are great guidance for that unending process.
Overall, I have chosen the books that a year or two or five years after reading that book, I still find that they are helping me today. Many of these books I could incorporate my faith with, which is important to me. The first two books I mention, are overtly Christian books. The others are not. The list is below, with Amazon affiliate links.
- She Works His Way — an all-encompassing book for Christian women in business that centers on the gospel and biblical teaching.
- Called to Create — an encouragement for any Christian creator and glorifying God with your work. Also, if you aren’t a creator but looking for how it works out that God calls Christians to be a light in the world, not just in the church, check out Jordan Raynor’s “Master of One” book.
- The Slight Edge — little changes make big differences. So helpful for creating disciplines that yield results.
- Deep Work — in an era where we are so distracted, this is a great book on what it takes for meaningful productivity.
- Building a StoryBrand — learning you don’t need to be the hero, but you do need to tell stories.
- Atomic Habits — making good habits and the systems you need for the goals you have, and breaking the habits that aren’t serving you or your business.
- Miracle Morning — even if you don’t adapt it all, this has some great ideas for becoming a morning person– which I am not by nature.
- Now Discover Your Strengths (Includes a code, if new, for the CliftonStrengths Assessment) We aren’t all created the same, and rather than improving on weaknesses all the time, this is about learning how to capitalize on you strengths, and the CliftonStrengths Assessment code means a lower price on the assessment and you get the book that dives in a little deeper.
- Grit — if you don’t have grit, you won’t have a business for long. Moves you beyond talent and passion into perseverance and not giving up, especially when things aren’t working out.
- The ONE Thing — finding success over time, building good habits and practices to get you there.
A few more thoughts as a Christian business owner…
As you can see a lot of these books are about discipline, habits, and mindset. I have returned books that the language was foul, I have argued in the margins where an author’s insight was so limited or misguided, and I have stopped reading a book halfway through it if I thought they were basically just full of narcissistic tendencies. I don’t think manifestations or me-focus serves us well. I don’t meditate to increase my self awareness, but my Bible study and quiet time and prayer is based on choosing less of me, emptying myself so that God and His Holy Spirit can fill me up. If you know me personally, you know how imperfect I am. That is also why the last thing I need is more focus on me. I am not claiming any perfection in doing those things, just walking it out day by day, seeking to continue to grow and do the unnatural thing of loving others more.
And while popular in our culture, we don’t really need more self care and self love (see this book and this book on that), but, especially as a business owner, we need more discipline and dying to self looking for the opportunity to serve others. Less of me, more of God. Yes, I need to take care of myself to take care of others, and I have habits I’ve formed and am forming, and even a business that does just that. If what I put in and on my body serves me well, then I can serve others well, or at the very least, serve them better.
Finally, while I absolutely value reading insights others have and learning from these authors, not all of whom follow Jesus, as a Christian I’m reading with discernment and the one I am seeking to wholeheartedly follow is Jesus Christ. Most books, I’m writing notes in the margins arguing or agreeing with their premise, which has helped form my convictions and seek Truth. We rise and stand before One. So at the end of the day I’m seeking to be a good steward of what I’ve been given (Luke 19:11-27), not perfect, but investing well means I’m also investing in continually learning and growing and developing.
Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite business book that I should add to my list!