This post is constantly being updated with the newest and most awesome books available. Recently updated in April 2017.
If you ever listen to podcasts or read interviews from millionaires, the most common piece of advice you’ll hear them talk about is how many non-fiction books they read each year (and how little TV they watch).
For me, it’s a no brainer to start following their advice. Back in 2012 I made a New Year’s Resolution to read at least 12 books, and once I started it was hard to stop! Since then, I’ve read a ton of valuable and interesting books over the past few years.
Below are my top 14 must-read career books (and ebooks) for dreamers, freelancers and entrepreneurs. These are all books I’ve read or am currently reading plus a brief descriptions of how they’ve helped inspire me and my business ventures.
1. DREAM SAVE DO by Betsy & Warren Talbot
The reason this ebook is #1 on my list is because it contains practical advice for actually turning your dream into a reality.
This husband and wife team provide step-by-step instructions for not only defining your dream job or dream career, but creating a financial game plan to make it happen.
They cover everything from creating “Dream Porn” to calculating the cost of your dream, to revising personal spending habits. They share their journey and all their travel adventures on the blog, An Uncluttered Life.
2. MAKE MONEY YOUR HONEY by Amanda Abella
While personal finance involves a great deal of math, money is heavily emotional and psychological. Amanda Abella writes about having a healthy relationship with money and tearing down the walls keeping you from success.
Make Money Your Honey will teach you how to create a good work-life balance, build a profitable passion business, and gain confidence in your ability to make money and keep it. It doesn’t just ask you to read, it tells you to take action with exercises meant to break down the barriers of fear and self doubt.
After reading this book, I can honestly say I have a much better relationship with my finances. It has changed my life and business for the better!
3. THE $100 STARTUP by Chris Guillebeau
Among the amazing things Chris Guillebeau has done, his latest book is one of the most inspiring. And unlike most authors, he talks very little about himself and his accomplishments.
Instead, everything in the book is made up of other people’s startup stories and business experiences. From a bicycle mattress delivery service to an Evernote guide that sold over 12,000 copies, this book has tons of amazing stories straight from the lives of people living them.
If you’re thinking of starting your own small business or microbusiness, this book can show you how.
4. QUITTER by Jon Acuff
Quitter is actually the book that started it all for me at the beginning of my freelance/side career. And I even wrote up a full page review about what I learned.
I wasn’t quite ready to take the leap to full time self-employment (and I’m not sure if I will be now either) but that’s why this book was so inspiring.
It taught me some great tips on how to become better at both my full time job and freelance biz. Once the time is right, I can fully recover what I’m passionate about and follow my dreams.
5. YOU DESERVE TO LOVE YOUR JOB by Alexis Grant
This guide will challenge your mindset and the traditional career advice we’re taught growing up. Instead of focusing on the career you should have, you can create one you truly love.
This allows for all dreamers to become doers and leave the old rules behind. Through ideas like always learning, starting a side gig, experimenting, and surrounding yourself with go-getters, you’ll be well on your way to finding a career that makes you happy.
6. START A FREEDOM BUSINESS by Colin Wright
As the name implies, this book is about getting started as an entrepreneur and creating a Freedom Business. The concept is about building an asset or set of assets (your business, or other small ventures) that help you get closer to your ideal lifestyle.
I read this entire ebook in one sitting while on a 4 hour plane ride — yes it’s that good! Colin shares advice on finding money to fund your Freedom Business and how you can leverage your work to create the lifestyle you want.
Plus it’s only $0.99 on Amazon! Read more of Colin’s books and his adventures on his blog, Exile Lifestyle.
7. THE WORK REVOLUTION by Julie Clow
This is one of those books I’ve been obsessed with ever since it came out. When anyone asks me what’s one of the top career books I recommend, I say The Work Revolution.
Each chapter was full of many enlightening moments and I even experienced several epiphanies of my own. This book is just the beginning of a wonderful movement (if nothing else at least a mindset change) for young adults and aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere.
Whether you work for yourself or another boss, there’s a TON of advice on increasing productivity and focusing on the right/important things.
8. THE E-MYTH REVISITED by Michael E. Gerber
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mind with lots of curiosity about business, so this book was right up my alley. I learned the importance of setting up systems, even in my freelance business, because if I ever want to hire help or outsource my work, I’ll need a solid system in place to keep a high quality of work going.
Just like the big franchises, such as McDonald’s and FedEx do, if I want any business venture to succeed, I need to treat it like a successful business – with all the proper processes, techniques and mindsets.
I think my biggest takeaway from this book is that I need to separate my Technician, from my Manager from my Entrepreneurial spirit. Otherwise, they will all get jumbled up and then nothing gets done.
9. GIVE YOURSELF A RAISE by Gordon Bennett
Sometimes we make money much more complicated than it has to be. Thanks to Gordon’s simplified strategy, you can understand the basics of managing your money without losing your mind.
While the book only touched on the basics of everything from investing, to insurance, to emergency preparedness, it does offer some helpful budgeting forms, and tactics to get out of debt and save up for big purchases.
I wouldn’t classify this as much a book as I would a reference piece, that you can refer to over the months and years. Sometimes the basics are boring — yet necessary!
10. THE START-UP OF YOU by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
As entrepreneurs, it is important to stay adaptive and welcome change and growth. In The Start-Up of You, the author advises you to keep the start-up mentality throughout your career by staying in permanent beta — always starting, always being a work in progress.
So why be a start-up? Start-ups invest in themselves, build professional networks, and take intelligent risks. Instead of fearing uncertainty, a start-up uses it to its advantage. These are all traits a good business should have to avoid complacency.
This book is great for entrepreneurs and employees alike. It’s all about the importance of having a network outside of your job and creating an identity you won’t lose if your job is taken away tomorrow.
11. THE SUITCASE ENTREPRENEUR by Natalie Sisson
Have you ever wanted to just pack up your stuff and go? Well start packing, because you can build a successful online business from anywhere in the world! All you need is a laptop or smartphone, a decent internet connection, a sound business idea, and the right mindset.
In The Suitcase Entrepreneur, Natalie covers everything from where you should set up your business to which apps are most useful for travel and finances to using social media effectively. She shares real life stories of entrepreneurs who have hit the road (or air!) and created a business around their wanderlust.
It is not only possible to travel the world while making money, it’s easier than you think! Check out this book to make your long-term travel dreams a reality.
12. THE ECONOMY OF YOU by Kimberly Palmer
Working for someone else is often described as safer, but it is most certainly not recession-proof. Being an entrepreneur means you create not only your own business, but also your own opportunities.
The Economy of You gives readers ideas on keeping their start up costs low, explains the basics of marketing and branding that bring results, and provides insight on what they should offer for free and when. It tells countless stories of people who are liberating themselves from financial strain by making the leap from employee to entrepreneur.
If you are sick and tired of punching a time card and in constant fear of being laid off, take the first step towards entrepreneurship by reading this book. As a bonus, my quitting story is featured in the book!
13. THE BEHAVIOR GAP by Carl Richards
After reading The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money by Carl Richards, I was encouraged that I didn’t need to be a genius to understand how investing works.
Don’t worry this isn’t your regular “boring investment book”. It’s a simple and easy to understand book that gives advice about investing and finances in general, with a different spin.
The illustrations (aka sketches) are done with a sharpie and white napkin. It’s this simplistic approach that’s intriguing and not boring at all. It easily makes the list as one of my favorite books.
14. THE PUMPKIN PLAN by Mike Michalowicz
A million businesses are started each year, and 80% of these fail within the first five years. In an attempt to avoid being a statistic, entrepreneurs run themselves ragged and end up exhausted and unhappy.
In The Pumpkin Plan, Mike examines the work habits of a giant pumpkin farmer, which happen to be applicable for entrepreneurs trying to grow their businesses. He applied the lessons to his own business and turned it into a multi-million dollar industry leader!
By planting the seeds, weeding out the losers, and nurturing the winners, you can turn your business into a profitable and successful venture.
Got another book or recommendation to add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments.