I have been making an extra effort to read more in recent years and I’ve enjoyed some fantastic books. Many people are interested in what I’ve been consuming so here are the books I enjoyed in 2016:

Business Books

Made To Stick – Chip Heath

Great book! One of my top recommended reads if you’re in business and want ideas and tips for how you can market your business effectively. Too many good things to list here, so I’m going to keep this super simple – just buy it and read it!

Scrum – Jeff Sutherland

This is actually one of my favourite books of the year. I loved learning about the Scrum principles, something new to me. It really hit home and totally changed the way I look at Trello as an app; I’ve always used Basecamp and similar to do list style apps but I can see how Trello based theirs on Scrum and how good it could be if used well. It inspired me hugely and I’ve got a hankering to go on a Scrum course to immerse myself in the whole method and learn how to use it. Highly recommend this book if you’re looking for ways to become more productive and profitable in your business.

Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink

Actually the surprise book of the year. It’s pretty far off the beaten path of my usual reads and I admit I was unsure when I downloaded it but thought I’d give it a go. I really enjoyed it. It’s very manly stuff but also very interesting. It’s largely based on stories of Jocko and his team’s war time exercises and then he breaks down how the technique they use can be translated into the workplace. On Audible it’s read by Jocko himself. I really enjoyed this book and there were some useful takeaways for business and life too.

Tribes – Seth Godin

This is a fast read. It’s one of Seth’s smaller books so on Audible it’s complete in an hour or so (especially if you listen at x2 speed as I do!). To the point and some useful nuggets in there. If you’re working to build your own ‘tribe’ for your business, as so many of us are, then I would suggest this is on your reading list.

Hooked – Nir Eyal

Loved this book. Not necessarily the best written or the most amazing but jam packed with interesting information about just how much of what is produced today is designed to be addictive. Lots of fascinating examples of platforms that use ‘hook’ strategy (if you are interested in NLP you’ll love this!) and also some great ideas for how you can create products and services that are more likely to be used by your clients. Nicely he also touches on the ethics behind this sort of business. I recommended it to a friend so LOVED it. I’m pretty sure anyone would find this book an interesting read.

Lean Start-up – Eric Ries

I am pretty sure this is on every business person’s recommended read list. A great book to help you get into the mindset of starting lean. No matter how much money you have to invest in your business at its conception, you’ve got to keep your eye on the important things to create a sustainable and sucessful business. Well worth a read.

Oversubscribed – Daniel Priestley

I really enjoyed this book. I attended one of the Key Person Of Influence ‘Brand Accelerator’ days in London with a friend a year or two ago and really enjoyed it. Then it came up again in 2016 so I thought I’d go again and Daniel Priestley had recently published his new book. I’d seen it on my email for weeks and thought it a good idea to buy it and listen before the event, so that’s just what I did. It’s an easy to digest book with a few really good takeaways. The structure of a successful team and steps to create a business that is ‘oversubscribed’ were memorable ones for me. It’s a different approach to what many people have for business but also one that can work incredibly well, so well worth considering. Another one for your reading list.

The 10 X Rule – Grant Cardone

This guy is like Tony Robbins on steroids. I’m not quite sure where he gets his energy from but I actually had to listen to his audio book on normal speed. In a nutshell he’s encouraging you to go all out – to create a 10X life, which essentially is one where you are in hyperdrive at all times. Yes, planning in time for your family and the other important things but 100% filling your life to the max. Honestly, I felt tired just listening to him, equally he has some very good points. I think he is a bit of a Marmite kinda guy – you either love his go live to the max method or it’s not your cup of tea. I enjoyed the read, I admit to feeling inspired to cram more in, but ultimately I enjoy a slightly more leisurely approach to life.

Meaningful – Bernadette Jiwa

This was recommended by one of the speakers at the Key Person Of Influence event I attended in London so I thought i’d give it a whirl. I did enjoy it. It has a completely different energy to a lot of business books out there. The essence of the book is about creating a business that means something. She says “We don’t change the world by starting with our brilliant ides, our dreams; we change the world by helping others live their dreams.” It’s a nice read, but I would actually recommend the next book over this one as they cover much of the same ground but I enjoyed the Fortune Cookie Principle more.

The Fortune Cookie Principle – Bernadette Jiwa

I downloaded this book after I read Meaningful. I really enjoyed the above book so I wanted more. I realised quickly that both books cover quite a lot of the same content and actually this one was written 3 years before Meaningful. It just shows that creating a business that has meaning, that creates an emotional connection with its clients, that is doing work for the right reasons, has always been important and if anything gets more important as we go forward into such a busy busy world. I would recommend this book. A nice look at how you can create a brand that is ready to stand and be counted.

Black Box Thinking – Matthew Syed

Fascinating book. It comes with a warning too that it hits hard with the first chapter. In fact the whole book is full of amazing and some tragic events BUT in that lies the power and the whole thread of the book: We must learn from our mistakes. It’s so very interesting looking inside the examples he uses to demonstrate how some industries use failure to make huge improvements and some do not, which can have ctastrophic consequences. Some very simple ideas yet so much of the world does not do it. Black boxes from planes are of course a constant through the book. I know what it’s like – you get the negative feedback and it feels bad so you try to fix it and move on, yet if you examine it you can actually use that information to make your processes and your business better. When I look back over my 14 years in business some of my best learning opportunities have come about due to something going wrong. It’s a very interesting read.

12 Week Year – Michael Lennington

I enjoyed this book. It is pretty much what it says on the tin: if you structure your working week around a 12 week plan rather than a 52 week plan you can actually achieve some incredible results and productivity. I really enjoyed the ideas in this book and have definitely implemented some of it too. Actually this book and Scrum are a fantastic pairing of books if you want to add some rocket fuel to your productivity!

Built To Sell – John Warrillow

Great book. Recommended to me by a friend and I really enjoyed it. I know some people who have struggled with it because it’s a story but I found it very engaging and easy to listen to. It follows a graphic designer who is trying to create a business where he is able to change his role from staff to owner and then ultimately to be able to sell it as a profitable business and retire comfortably. It explores the processes that you can put in place to extracate yourself from your business and also the mindset shifts you have to make when transitioning. If you’re a graphic designer then this should be a must read for you. If you’re a small business owner and you have dreams that you might one day be able to stop grinding away at your business then you definitely want to read this book.

Other Books

  • Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg (An eye-opening read about feminism and women’s place in the workplace. I have to say that I was not aware of a lot of the problems that women still face in the corporate workplace. An interesting read for sure)
  • The Cake Shop In The Garden – Carole Matthews 
  • The Magic Art Of Tidying – Marie Kondo (From my Christmas wish list and the first book I read in 2016. I LOVED this book and I totally ‘Kondoed’ my clothes after reading. I’m pretty messy and this has helped me get more organised with my stuff. I recommend this one!)
  • The Game – Neil Strauss (Incredible read. Fantastical even. If you’re interested in human behaviour and NLP techniques you’ll love this. Some interesting take aways but also a bonkers read)
  • The Path – Christine Gross-Loh (Love love love this book. Really recommend it. They take ancient philosophy and make it relevant to our lives today in the most easy to understand way. One of my favourite books of the year)
  • The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman (Tim Ferris recommended it so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I did enjoy it even though I had no clue what it was about when I downloaded it. A fun story and I love these sorts of books so an enjoyable read for me. So much so it prompted me to order more!)
  • Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman (Another fantastical read from Mr G)
  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman (See above!)

You might be wondering what I have planned for 2017, well here is my current ‘to read’ list (some of which I’ve already started):

  • Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek
  • The Spirit of Kaizen – Bob Maurer
  • Pitch Anything – Olan Klaff
  • The Code of the Extraordinary Mind – Vishen Lakhiri
  • Grit – Angela Duckworth
  • How the Marquis Got His Coat Back – Neil Gaiman
  • The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
  • Algorithms To Live By – Brian Christian
  • Master Your Time – Brian Tracy
  • Essentialism – Greg McKeown
  • Tools Of Titans – Tim Ferris