Business books

Top business books to help you kickstart your business idea this summer

2020 may have been the year you were going to set up your business. Just because the world has been turned upside-down recently, doesn’t mean you should ditch your dreams. If anything, the recent coronavirus has shown us that when it comes to living lives with passion and truth, there’s really no time like the present.

And if you need some further words of encouragement to set you on your entrepreneurial path check out these top reads to help you kickstart that business idea that’s been percolating in your mind for a while.

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes

Though Year of Yes is written by the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal, and the highest-paid showrunner on modern television, this book isn’t a big high five to Shonda Rhimes incredible achievements. Rather it’s a lesson in how to shrug off everything that the world tells us we should want and aim for our own dreams, however uncomfortable that makes us feel.

Rhimes is a self-confessed introvert and expert avoider of anything that might land the spotlight on her anxiety-filled, sweat-spilling, terrified self. But by forcing herself to say yes to everything that scares her in the course of one year, she figures out that in embracing the scary stuff she’s finally able to take a leap towards living a fully fulfilling life.

By the end of this book – you’ll feel like that too!

Take the Leap: Change Your Career, Change Your Life, by Sara Bliss

Talking of leaps of faith, writer and journalist Sara Bliss has written a book that is centred solely on the stories of those who have done just that. In Take the Leap, Bliss interviews 65 professionals who decided to ‘pivot’, and by doing so transformed their careers completely. There’s the publicist turned tarot card reader, the firefighter who was once a hairdresser, and the surf instructor who traded the judicial courtroom for the wide-open sea.

Bliss’s book aims to help the reader take a step back and listen a little to that voice in their head that keeps whispering they should be doing another job or living another life.  

And it isn’t just heaving with career-change stories either. The book is also packed with advice from successful entrepreneurs such as make-up maven Bobbi Brown, and businesswoman Barbara Corcoran.

While no-one sugar-coats the challenges that many face when making a complete career transition, the final take-away does suggest that taking the leap is nearly always worth it.

Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work, by Liz Wiseman

Most people dipping their toe into the world of solopreneurship have one thing in common: they all secretly feel like an imposter (“Never mind my passion, abilities or qualifications – who am I to tell someone how to do X,Y, Z?!”)

Liz Wiseman’s brilliant book spins that idea on its head by suggesting that it’s possible to be at your best when you’re actually still learning. Her take is that in embracing your lack of knowledge or qualifications, you release your inner curiosity and courage to take new steps.

Wiseman argues that even after decades of experience, the most successful way to move forward is to believe you still have lots to learn. The world’s leading entrepreneurs do exactly that she writes, and so keep their minds open, their curiosity fresh, and their appetite for challenge primed.

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, by Gay Hendricks

If any of your colleagues have chatted about their “upper limit” then chances are they’ve read Gay Hendricks’ hugely motivating book, The Big Leap.

In this book, Hendricks, a best-selling author and former professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Colorado, makes the case that many people prevent themselves from reaching their true potential because they have an upper limit problem.

These are self-imposed limits, which knock us back from achieving happiness, wealth, love, creativity, and all the other individual markers of a successful life. They often originate from triggers we picked up in childhood, which makes them all the more difficult to shift.

Through a series of different exercises, the Big Leap helps the reader to see what’s holding them back from success and move beyond the subtle self-sabotaging.  

It’s a powerful read for anyone who has been having difficulty for a long time realising their dreams, but who’s now ready to jump forward into their future life.  

For suggestions of personal development books to read right now, check out this article here

Siobhan Colgan

Siobhan Colgan is a business owner and writer. As part of her work as a writer, she also helps other creatives and would-be writers find their voice. Email her at to find out more.

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