My Top 5
Business Books

As an avid reader, especially of business books, I always get asked to make recommendations on what to read if you’re running a business.

I’ve read a huge range – right from the absolute business classics, to the ones who are trying to be a bit disruptive and bring a new way of thinking or “manifesting” business success.

Picking just 5 business books to recommend wasn’t easy, as there are so many great ones, so I’ve picked a selection that have really impacted my life in different areas.

I will explain the premise of each book, along with why I have found it to be so influential.

These are in no particular order, as that would be even more of a challenge for me!

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

This book completely transformed my business. Even though it should be obvious that you need your business to be profitable, as a small business owner who wants to do right by her employees and help the business succeed, you put everything back into the business each year.

However, by focusing on the profit first, you ensure that your company is making money, change your mindset and still be able to make the most of your business.

I won’t spoil anything because you absolutely NEED to read this book, but the simple methods explained here helped me run a profitable business and personally give me the lifestyle I desired.

Never Split the Difference by Chriss Voss

One of my biggest weaknesses when running by business was that I was terrible at discussing money. It’s a well-known topic that women are terrible at talking about money, and I was no different.

When it came to that time in the sales process where a potential client asked me how much our services would cost, I would get really nervous and spout out some numbers that I thought they wanted to hear. I didn’t stay true to myself, didn’t respect my own brand and I’d end up looking really cheap and therefore an unattractive option.

This book changed that for me. I learned how to never split the difference. I also learned how to frame our costs so it was easier for potential clients to see where our value lies.

The reason I really enjoyed this book though, was not just because of the money tips, but the thrilling stories about what life was like as a hostage negotiator. He gave some very intriguing advice about negotiating too, but I can’t say that any of these techniques were something that worked for me.

Still, it was an entertaining and useful read!

What You Do Is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz

I read this book as part of my business book club and so I went in not really knowing what to think. I guess those are the times where you’re often pleasantly surprised.

I knew that this book was about how to achieve great culture in your business, which is something that is right on the top of my priority list. When you run a small business, your team is everything. We ensure that we’re selective of who we invite on our team, to ensure that they’re the right cultural fit. Bad eggs can cause so many problems and can tear a company apart.

Instead of the usual business books that preach about how amazing their own company is and how they have all the answers, Ben Horowitz used an eclectic mix of examples from history of how leaders created incredible cultures.

These included the likes of Genghis Khan, Toussaint Louverture and Shaka Senghor, who was the leader of a prison gang.

Not only did I think this was a thrilling read, but I have takeaways from this book and things to back up the fact that we have a great company culture at Complex Creative.

The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Many people compare this book to Deep Work by Cal Newport, (which was another great book btw) because it’s all about learning how to focus and “work smarter, not harder”.

The One Thing basically gets you to reframe how you approach tasks. You need to set out goals that you want to achieve and ask yourself what is the one thing that will help you get closer to your goal every day.

Just like with Profit First, I felt that the concept was so simple, but yet it had a profound effect when I applied this to my business.

By doing this, I’ve seen my productivity increase massively and I feel much clearer about what I need to achieve as I’m completely focused on my goals.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

I come back to this book every couple of years, as I believe it’s a classic, especially for someone in the branding/marketing space. This is because you should be talking about this concept to your clients every time.

The reason why I revisit this book so often is because my “why” changes and I think it’s good to keep reflecting on that.

But Simon Sinek has written multiple books that are aimed at business leaders and this book was created off the back of his successful TED Talk back in 2009, which is now the 3rd most watched TED Talk of all time.