Its been another great year on so many levels. Its been the year I picked up books again and started reading for pleasure after two years of never having the time or the mental space to sit down to read. I realised that reading was not only a habit I enjoyed, it also helped me unwind at the end of a long day and it also fed my creativity. So in 2017, I made it a point to read as many books wherever and whenever I could fit it in. As a working mum with a one-year-old and a seven-year-old, I had to dig deep to be able to read these many books in 2017. The school run turned out to be a great time to listen to audiobooks.
Here are a few recommendations for those looking for ideas to kick-start your plans for 2018! Twelve books for each month of the year. If you are looking for a mixed genre and lighter reads then you can check out my 2017 summer reading list here.
I hope these books will inspire you as much as they inspired me. I love a good autobiography especially the ones about entrepreneurial success (from male and female authors) so you'll find the list below heavily weighted towards that but there are invaluable tips and advice in there for everyone.
Enjoy and please share your book recommendations below. You can leave a comment or share you book recommendations on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter with #FLBOOKCLUB. I'd love to hear from you.
1. The Shoe Dog, A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight is an absolute favourite. The book is a long read but its so engaging and chronicles the lessons that Phil Knight went through as he pursued his dreams of selling running shoes from his car boot and then later on manufacturing these shoes. It's a real page-turner and goes in-depth into the highs and lows of the entrepreneur lifestyle. Its a must read for anyone looking to start a business or scale one up. It's my absolute favourite this year.
Feedback is something we all have to deal with every day. We are either receiving them or giving them out. The art of giving feedback is a skill that we can all get better at. What I love about this book is the focus on the gift that any feedback contains. It might not come wrapped as you want or the feedback may not be delivered by the right person but there is something positive that we can all take from any feedback. I loved reading this book and applying it to the hundreds if not thousands of feedback that I receive every year.
3. Martha Rules: 10 essentials for achieving success as you start, build or manage a business. This is the story of reinvention and resilience. Martha is an absolute master at this even after serving five months in federal prison for insider trading. She was one of the first self-made female billionaires who started off with a catering business. I enjoyed this book and learnt a lot from Martha's approach to building a business and a brand. We are all afraid of giving away our "trade secrets" but its this generosity of spirit in giving your best advice away that also helps our customers connect with us better and also buy more from us. This is a great book for anyone in the creative industry.
4. Rework from the founders of the trailblazing software company 37signals - This book will challenge you to question what success looks like for you? Is it running large operations and employing hundreds of people of it is running your business on your own terms? These lot went against the usual business advice but still succeeded beyond their wildest imagination. I love this book, it's a book I wish I had written as it talks about all the things I believe in. Each one of us needs to define what success looks like to us. It's not always what the world considers"success" that will make you happy.
5. The New One Minute Manager is small but packed with wisdom. It has transformed how I manage my team. It's a good one to read and re-read. Give people the guidance and support to find their own solutions to problems. Take the time to delegate and help them to see it to the end even if they come up with challenges. Coach them to identify problems to those problems and to take responsibility for solving it themselves. This book was a live saver because I spent a lot of my time micromanaging people and doing their jobs but now I don't. Worth checking out.
6. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance - There are few entrepreneurs that have achieved what Elon Musk has achieved. From his investment in PayPal to Tesla Electric Cars, Space X and Solar City. Its mind boggling how resilient this guy is. Worth checking out especially if you are into interested in the new technology and its impact on the future.
7. Steve Jobs (by Walter Isaacson) - I love Apple products. I was hooked when my friend at university convinced me to get my first laptop. She said you'll never use another computer once you've owned one - and she was right! My family are Apple mad and my husband encouraged me to read this book once he started reading it. Steve Jobs lived an extraordinary life filled with challenges that would have failed most people but he kept coming back and reinventing himself. There is so much to be learnt from this book for all leaders. Worth reading especially if you are an Apple nut like me.
8. What Got You Here Won't Get You There - The best way to describe this book is its a self-coaching manual. Marshall Goldsmith is an expert at coaching global leaders overcome their sometimes unconscious annoying habits and to achieve an even higher level of success. Everyone needs a bit of help in order to unlock their full potential. You can get Marshall's great advice without the hefty fee if you invest in a copy of this book! It's one I always recommend to leaders - new or experienced.
9. How To Talk To Anyone: 92 Little Tricks For Big Success In Relationships by Leil LowndesIf you dread networking or making small talk then this is a great book filled with 92 ideas on how to talk to anyone. Its got some contrarian ideas in there but it'll definitely give you a few laughs and a lot of ideas about how to make the most of your connections in 2018.
10. The Third Wave by Steven Case - We've all been impacted by the internet but only a few people had the opportunity to witness this revolution up close. In The Third Wave, Steve Case takes us behind the scenes to a time when AOL was starting out and some of the decisions that led to its success. He also predicts that we are at the dawn of the next technological revolution unlike anything we’ve seen before—the Third Wave of the internet— that will transform the economy and the way we live our lives. If you are interested in where the future is taking us and how to tap into this new technological revolution then this is a book that is worth reading. It also has that personal angle as Steve has woven in his personal story, family challenges and lessons learnt and there is so much we can all take from this book.
11. The Lean Startup for Eric Ries - Is another great book filled with advice. I have to be honest I did struggle to finish this one because it was a very heavy read but it's worth reading it to the end. It provokes your thinking about developing new ideas and product development. It might be more interesting to people interested in the technology industry.
12. Good to Great by Jim Collins - This is a best selling business book. A masterclass in business strategy. It is a book I've been reading for a long time but have always been distracted by other books I've listed above. Its been on my bedside for a while and I keep dipping in and out of it. The biggest take away is to focus on what you are great at. Be clear on what differentiates you and what you do better than anyone else and focus on that if you want to go from good to great. This is going to be my focus for 2018.
Have you already read any of these books?
What books transformed your year?
What books would you recommend I read in 2018?
How have you carved out time to fit in the things that matter to you in 2017?
Please leave a comment or share this article if any of the books resonated with you.
I'd love to hear from you.