Brandi’s Top Business Book Recommendations

If you ever jump on a Zoom call with me, you’ll notice the shelves of books behind me. Two in particular are devoted to business books, with books organized into sub-categories as if you were in a library. That’s how much I read.

And let me tell you, trying to narrow down my list of Best Business Books is NOT an easy task. There are some essentials though I feel every business owner should read.

1. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

If you’re not familiar with Simon’s TedX talk, go watch it now — it’s a fantastic teaser for this book. About a year into my business, I considered quitting, not because I wasn’t making money (I was) but because all I could see was my What. I developed websites. That was what I did. And it wasn’t enough for me. I thought I wouldn’t be happy until I changed what I did, but I just needed to go deeper. Beneath the Whats of our businesses lie the Hows and, most importantly, the Whys. When we can identify our Why statement and lead with it, the situations we’re in transform. Alchemy + Aim exists to amplify the good in this world. That’s our Why. We just happen to do that by developing website and giving our clients the tools they need to do their genius work.

BUY BOOK

2. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

I scoffed the first time this book was recommended to me buy a business friend. Self-compassion? What business owner needs self-compassion? No, we need strategy and know-how. But let me tell you, you will not survive your business without self-compassion. Why? Because you will inevitably make a mistake or mess up in some way. That’s part of the reality of life and being in the world. We make mistakes, we learn. And through that process, we have to forgive ourselves and take care of ourselves, so we can grow and thrive. Self-compassion is essential to that, and Kristin Neff’s book is one of the best ones out there (BrenĂ© Brown agrees).

BUY BOOK

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

This is one of my favorite mindset books. We all have invisible self-imposed barriers that hold us back, ideas and beliefs that we take to be true, even if they truly are not. As a business owner, you’ll come up against these over and over again; that’s just part of our growth. This book helps you break those glass ceilings so you can truly have the life you want.

BUY BOOK

4. The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Klemp

Whether you have a team or not, you are a leader in your business and in your life. My business coach originally send me this book, and I still review the key commitments on a regular basis. They have really helped me shift away from fear into a leadership style built with a foundation of trust.

BUY BOOK

5. The Referral of a Lifetime: The Networking System that Produces Bottom-Line Results by Tim Templeton

This is one of my go-to books to recommend to clients who are just starting their business. I know how overwhelming (and scary) putting your business out there can be, and I always suggest to people that before they dive into social media, Facebook ads, and online marketing, they start by working their network. You know more people than you think you do, and this book is a great guide for figuring out how to leverage the relationships you already have to grow your business.

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6. Legendary Service: The Key is to Care by Ken Blanchard, Victoria Halsey, and Kathy Cuff

I always say that what I do is service, not sales. If I tried to sell stuff, I would fail. So instead, I just focus on serving people — clients, team members, other people I know. When I first read Legendary Service, it resonated so clearly with me that I bought copies of the book for all of my team members. If you work directly with customers or clients, this is a must-read.

BUY BOOK

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Michelle Viljoen

(website design) is a graphic designer and brand consultant who specializes in creating and developing brands. Her core focuses are logo development, website design and brand direction.

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.