I have no doubt you are great at what you do, you have a voice and view of the world that only you can bring to your business, but you could be better. We can all be better. We can learn to work smarter, be happier and achieve our goals more successfully and the way to do this is to keep on improving ourselves. While there are endless courses, mentors and programmes we can follow an easy way to make a difference is reading. Can you fit in 15 minutes a day of reading something educational? It quickly adds up and over a month it's the equivalent to a whole working day, but what books should you read? These are some of the books I have read that have really made me think differently about my approach to work and my business.

A view of someone reading a book in bed
If you read for 15 minutes a day that adds up to a working days worth of learning a month

(Contains affiliate links)

What To Read To Help You Grow Your Business

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Recommended if you struggle to get creative and create content on social media.

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about being creative for the sake of being creative and not getting hung up on the success of the outcome. She says that the way that we get better and have successes is ultimately through committing and doing. Elizabeth had a huge best seller with Eat Pray Love, a success she hasn’t matched with previous or subsequent books. She shares how she could be intimidated by this, or by the success of other writers, but instead she focuses on enjoying the creative process. 

Some parts might be a little “woo woo” for those who prefer hard science, facts and logic, but if you have a creative side of you itching to get out I think you will really like the book and find it inspiring.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Recommended if you want to make changes to your life, but you struggle to stay motivated and form new habits

This book is based around James' idea that the way to make big changes in your life is to start small. Trying to change too much at once is often unsustainable, but if you make small changes they can be easier to stick to and then once they have become habits you can build on them, gradually building up to a big difference.

Whether you want to start or stop something Clear’s 4 laws (Make it obvious, Make it attractive, Make it easy, Make it satisfying) can help. Based on an   understanding of psychology and human behaviour the ideas are simple and easy to implement. He also has a free weekly newsletter you can sign up to which aim to keep you motivated and give you food for thought.

Mindset Dr Carol S Dweck

Recommended if you believe that there are things about you that you can't change or improve

Dr Dweck developed the ideas of growth and fixed mindsets which I'm sure you have heard of. I recommend the updated version of this book where she has made additions following various misinterpretations of the concept. 

The book explains that everyone has a growth or a fixed mindset, those with a fixed mindset believe that people have natural abilities eg some people are more athletic or have better memories. People with a growth mindset believe that we can improve our skills through effort. Studies show that this can have a huge impact on our success and happiness. Two key things to point out about this: firstly we often have a mixture of mindsets, for instance we might think that it's possible to improve our sporting ability through practice, but that we aren't good at art and could never be a good artist, secondly, we can change our mindset (and therefore are ability to learn new things). The book has lead me to look at my self beliefs and what facts I accept as true making me challenge myself about whether I have to stay that way.

Dr Dweck is first and foremost a scientist who was encouraged to write the book to help people based on her studies. This means the book isn't as smooth as some of the books written by journalists or writers, but it's easy enough to read. 

Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

Recommended if you want to find ways to work which allow you to focus for longer periods and be more productive

As someone who spends a huge amount of their time online for work I was apprehensive about reading this book. I thought it would say I need to spend less time on social media, and while it does suggest that, it is a really interesting and well researched book which explores why we are struggling to focus on things these days which goes well beyond the impact of social media. 

It challenged many of my beliefs and assumptions including the ability to multi-task (it's actually switching our attention really quickly between tasks), how big an impact lack of sleep has and how much time we lose from interruptions. As a parent I also found the section around children's development very influential.