I heard a podcast guest say she doesn’t like to read business books for her job, because there’s so many new business books and so few new ideas.
So, when authors do come up with new ideas, we need to celebrate, clap and cheer.
These are break through books.
These are the books that are going to help today’s creative. Because we are more distracted than ever before. But, it’s easier than ever before to reach our audience and build our tribe and find our patrons and make a living.
Creatives face unique problems: creating a life where they can do their work well, finding the people that appreciate their work, making a living from what they create. It’s all a challenge, even today.
These are the pioneers who are showing the way.
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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Newport first builds the case for the importance of deep work, then he expounds on practical steps to accomplish it. Simply put, what is needed is focus and discipline.
I agree with Newport’s main premise: we are doing worse work because we’re distracted. I see it all the time in the low quality of books that are published and the huge vacuums that exist in many genres for high quality work.
Newport is a college professor. Publishing in scholarly journals is the deep work he needs to accomplish. I think the principles apply to all writers, and probably all knowledge workers in general.
I think the most profound books are ones that are simple common sense: ones that people agree with and see the wisdom of, but haven’t be able to articulate themselves. It seems so simple. So obvious. And, yet, it wasn’t done before. I would put The Purpose Driven Life in that category as well as Deep Work.
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
I’ve followed Michael Hyatt’s blog for a while and find his advice practical and succinct. I even self-hosted this blog on his recommendation and with his affiliate link. Even though the book was nothing more than a collection of blog posts, some of which I’d already read, I found the information helpful. Especially interesting to me were the collection of short chapters about using Twitter: a new world for me. All his writing rings true, down to the necessity of building a platform and the step by step on how to do it.
Building a platform online changes so fast, that some of the information in this book is dated, but the basic premise remains the same: you can build an audience or a tribe or a following by leveraging the incredible resources on the internet today.
The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
I’ve been wanting to read The One Thing FOREVER. I think I’ve been on my library’s waitlist for over a year.
Now I know what all the rave reviews are about. This is a GREAT book!
It addresses the problem of distracted focus and the importance of lasering in on your most important work in order to achieve excellence.
A huge light bulb moment for me reading The One Thing was the idea of chaos derailing you and distracting you from your one thing.
Chapter 17, The Four Thieves of Productivity hit me hard.
The Four Thieves are:
1. Inability to Say “No”
2. Fear of Chaos
3. Poor Health Habits
4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals.
Wow. These were so good and right on the money.
“The One Thing explains the success habit to overcome the six lies that block our success, beat the seven thieves that steal time, and leverage the laws of purpose, priority, and productivity.” –from Goodreads
Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins
This book is a game changer.
It challenges long held beliefs and deconstructs myths.
Real Artists Don’t Starve doesn’t just refer to painters and sculptors, but writers, poets, and creatives of all types.
The twelve principles that emerged from Jeff studying creatives are supported by success stories from today and throughout history.
I love lots of them, but my favorite is about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and the literary group they belonged to, the Inklings. They shaped each other’s art. It debunks the myth of the lone genius and highlights the need to work in collaboration.
This message is important for young people who have been told to put their dreams on hold in favor of a steady income.
It’s also important for older people who have not pursued their dreams believing in the inability of artists to make a living.
It’s time for a paradigm shift and Jeff Goins is leading the way
Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
If Jeff Goins makes the argument that creatives should be getting paid for their work, Mike Michalowicz teaches the best way to handle that business income.
What an incredible book.
It tackles the default method of operating a small business: pay all expenses first and take profit last.
Michalowicz argues that you when you operate that way, expenses will take all your income. If you plan to take profit first, and also make a plan to compensate the owners, set aside money for taxes and operate on what’s left, your business becomes much healthier.
Expansions are realistic. You don’t face cash flow problems.
I think it’s a great way to go.
And there you have it: five break through books for today’s creatives. How to do the work, how to get paid for it and how to manage the money once it starts flowing.
What books would you recommend for today’s creative?
P.S. Did you see these book lists?