6 books that impacted my business in 2016

6 books that influenced my business in 2016

2016 has been one heck of a year. It seems like I barely blinked and Fall sped into Winter and all of a sudden, the holidays were right around the corner. This time of year always brings about a period of reflection and I thought I'd mix it up and get a little more personal in today's post.


I've always been a voracious reader and this year is no exception. This past year I've powered through more books than I can count, both for pleasure and as learning tools to help me grow my web design/development and consulting business.

One of my favourite things about reading business & personal/professional development books is that it allows you to peer directly into the minds of some of the most influential industry leaders around. It would be nearly impossible to get a multi-hour meeting with some of these people but when you read their book, it's basically a masterclass in their teachings.

As I think back to the books I've read this past year, there are a few that stand out and had a real, direct impact on my business. You'll notice that none of these books cover web design/development but rest assured that the lessons are applicable to nearly every industry. 

I've linked to the books on Amazon (no affiliate links here!) but I'm positive you could find almost all of them at your local library or bookstore as well.

If you're looking for books to read over the holidays season that will take your business to the next level, I hope these recommendations tickle your fancy!

6 Books that influenced by business in 2016

The Power of Habit | Charles Duhigg
Start Something that matters | Blake Mycoskie
The 4-hour workweek | Tim Ferriss

1. The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg 

This book explores how habits are formed and how they can be changed. I loved seeing the links between the habits we establish and how they affect our lives, relationships, businesses, etc. I am a huge believer in habits (if you're signed up for my weekly newsletter, you've heard me talk about how important my morning routing is) so I found this book extremely interesting and applicable to my own life. It helped reinforce the importance of starting and maintaining habits for the best possible outcome. Definitely recommend!

2. Start Something that Matters - Blake Mycoskie

I love the "One For One" model of Toms shoes and it was fascinating to read about Blake's story and how he started and grew the company. I've been thinking a lot more about how to incorporate charitable giving (or something similar) into my business model and this book was a very timely read. I used to think that web design/development wasn't a great fit for that type of business model but then I remembered anyone can have an impact (just look at my friend Kelsey at Paper + Oats who regularly gives back through her business!). Start Something that Matters is a really fun read and will make you think about running a business in a whole new light! Also, I'm totally down to take life and business advice from a guy who lives on a sailboat #livingthedream

3. The 4-hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Obviously this book was going to make it on this list - original, I know! I had read this book a few years ago (back when I was living in Toronto, working at a software company and feeling stuck in the rut in a major way) and it had a huge influence on me back then. When I re-read the book this past year, I gained a whole new appreciation for many of the sections that weren't relevant to me when I first read the book, specifically the sections on outsourcing and productivity. I love that this book offers something for anyone, no matter what stage of business you're in. It's a staple in most must-read book lists for a reason and I encourage you to give it a read if you haven't already.

It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be | Paul Arden
Millionaire Teacher | Andrew Hallam
The $100 startup | Chris Guillebeau

4. It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be - Paul Arden

In the interest of honestly, I came across this book when I was killing time at Urban Outfitters and picked up the book on impulse. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! In fact, it's the only book I've read this year that I finished and instantly flipped back to the beginning to re-read. Arden's book is easy and fun to read and is filled with insights, facts, pictures, etc. that will help you live a better life and excel at business. Even though the author's background is in advertising, I found this book really applicable to my work in web design/development. This book won't take you long to read but you'll get a lot out of it, I promise!

5. Millionaire Teacher - Andrew Hallam

Ever since venturing into freelance and self-employment, I've had to totally reframe how I think about money and personal finance. Hallam's book is hugely enjoyable and offers a really neat perspective on saving & investing money. I love how he lays everything out and draws on his own experiences and self-taught learning. As someone who has some pretty lofty money goals for the next year, this book has given me a better understanding of the financial services industry as well as more confidence in knowing how to make my money work for me. I also love that this book is about more than just "stop buying lattes!" haha.

Note: I just found out that the second edition of Millionaire Teacher is just about to come out with updated information! You can get it here on Amazon.

6. The $100 Startup - Chris Guillebeau

I love this book for many reasons but at it's core, it's an encouraging read that shows you how ANYONE can succeed doing work they love on their own terms. Guillebeau drives home the fact that many people stumble into self-employment or entrepreneurship and manage to make it work, and often thrive in the new setting. I loved reading about people's creativity and how a little bit of hustle can lead to impressive results. This book is actionable, easy to read and often entertaining. If you're thinking about starting a side-hustle or a micro-business, or are ready to grow your business to a new level, this book will definitely inspire you!


7. Show Your Work - Austin Kleon

If you're anything like me, you're probably happy to create and do work but are often slow to share it. Kleon's book gave me the push I needed to reach our more and connect with others, both online and off-line, in order to get my work out there. This quick read will encourage you to create, share and promote your work which is something we could all use a little bit more of!

Final Thoughts

There are almost endless amounts of wonderful books out there that it was pretty hard to narrow down this list to the highlights, but I have no doubt that these books will impact your business just like they did mine. Whether you're looking for books to influence your life or business, there's something out there for everyone! 

Now I'd love to hear what books you read in 2016 and which ones impacted your business? Are there any books you think I should read? Any I left off the list? I'd love to know so leave me a note in the comments with your recommendations!

PS: If you're interested in reading more personal content, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. This blog is primarily focused on web design/development topics but I open up a lot more about life & business in my weekly email newsletters. No spam, just the goods.

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