Favorite Books for Design & Business

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"I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book"
- JK Rowling

Most of us grew up with an emphasis put on reading in school. I remember in elementary school, we had a designated reading corner that we could go to for certain amounts of time during the day and sit with our favorite book and read without interruption. I've actually been thinking about creating a designated reading corner in our home, because constant screens can get exhausting every once in awhile. 

While we don't have to be the Rory Gilmore of readers, I found that continued learning has really supercharged my business. As a small business owner, we are constantly giving, serving and filling up our client's cups, sometimes to the point that our own cups have been left completely dry. I have found that reading fills my cup and allows me to serve my clients better with the lessons I learn, knowledge I gain and ideas that come when I read. 

I love a good fiction book. I don't think I could count how many times throughout the years that I've reread the Harry Potter series because I needed a break from business and design books and just needed a great story to jump into. But there are amazing books on business and design that can truly help with stirring up new ideas, stepping out of your business with fresh eyes, and changing your perspective. So here is my current list of my favorite books for business and design. 

I have quite a long list of books for 2018, so I plan to treat this post as a living document that will change as I find more and more amazing books! 

Business

  1. Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller - This is an amazing book that basically takes you through all the steps of communicating in the best way to your dream customers. 
  2. Purple Cow by Seth Godin - This book stirred up so many ideas for me. Seth Godin is truly brilliant and his writing is so clear and easy to understand, and also very motivating. It's all about being remarkable and standing out from the crowd. It's about the shock and surprise of seeing a purple cow amongst a sea of brown and black cows. 
  3. The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss - This book was the driving force of taking the necessary steps to starting my business. His exercise on fear is powerful and helped me really put reality into perspective. 
  4. #Girlboss by Sophia Moruso - great story about using your unique qualities and being true to yourself in business. This book is all about staying in your lane, and it's a hilarious and quick read. 
  5. Essentialism by Greg McKeown - I had the honor of meeting Greg in person and sitting through a keynote speech and a breakout session on his book a few years ago and he is such a genuine person and has a true passion about pursuing what is best and cutting out the clutter in our lives. 
  6. Platform by Michael Hyatt - This is a great book for anyone who has something valuable and wants to find the most powerful way to get that message to others who will benefit from it. He takes you step by step through the process. I had a book of notes by the end. 

Design

  1. A Designer's Art by Paul Rand - This book is full of essays and work by the famous designer Paul Rand. It's just amazing to see the clarity and simplicity of his work and how it evolved throughout his life. It's amazing to get a peak into the mind of such a legend.  
  2. Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design by Michael Bierut - This book is exactly what the title says. It's a compilation of essays written by artists, designers and writers all about different topics on design. This is a great coffee table book and I continually pick it up and read just one essay out of the book to start my day. 
  3. Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone - Fiona is absolutely amazing! If you are a designer and haven't checked out her website and multiple courses, do it! This book is truly made for a designer. The cover, the paper, the overall layout is just gorgeous. It takes you through every piece of creating your brand, from the foundation to the aesthetics. It's not only full of inspiration, but it's a great resource to go back to. 
  4. How to Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone - This is a how to book on styling your brand. It goes into seasonal personalities, to working with a designer, to DIYing your own logo and would be a great tool for any small business or designer. It's also chock-full of brand inspiration. 
  5. Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton - This book is all about typography and how to use it. It is an amazing guide for designers and talks all about formats, alignment, lettering, sizing, etc. 

 

Books I'm Reading in 2018

  1. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller (Finished)
  2. Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried (Finished)
  3. Creative Confidence by David Kelley and Tom Kelley
  4. Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa
  5. How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman
  6. The Dip by Seth Godin
  7. The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner 
  8. Art Inc by Lisa Congdon
  9. Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden
  10. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

 

I would love to hear what your favorite books for business and design are in the comments? Are there any overlaps? Are there books that I absolutely need to add to my 2018 list?