This post is constantly being updated with the newest and most awesome books available. Recently updated in October 2016.
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. TURN YOUR SIDE HUSTLE INTO A FULL-TIME BIZ by Alexis Grant
I love reading stories of how people quit their jobs and start their own successful freelancing businesses on the side. After all that’s what I’m striving to do one day!
Alexis shares very helpful advice for those of us looking to branch out in our careers. From everything to crushing your fear, creating a solid financial plan and leveraging the power of outsourcing, you’ll learn the tools and skills it takes to transition to freedom.
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 MINT MANUAL (2nd edition) by Larry Ludwig
Is there a single personal finance aficionado who hasn’t heard of Mint.com? I don’t think so! However, there may be a few who aren’t using it to its full potential.
The Mint Manual covers all versions of Mint.com, including tablet and phone apps, as well as the desktop version.
It’s a step-by-step guide of how exactly Mint works and has helpful tips and tricks to utilize all the features it has to offer. For more visual learners, there are screenshots of absolutely everything. Tim Murphy knows his stuff and this is a great book for lovers of personal finance apps!
9. ESCAPE FROM CUBICLE NATION by Pam Slim
One of the scariest moments an employee can face is when you realize you want to stop working for the man and start running your own show.
In this book, the author shares practical yet inspiring advice on overcoming your fears and making a successful leap into living your dream.
You don’t need to be an expert to excel in your career field or to start a freelance business of your own. I’ve learned a ton from reading this book and it’s something I’ll keep referring to, for inspiration, in the future.
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. BREAKING THE TIME BARRIER by Mike McDerment
I have a lot of love for Freshbooks and its invoicing system. So I was not surprised when I fell head over heels for the company’s ebook about unlocking your true earning potential.
Instead of charging by the hour, Breaking the Time Barrier suggests value-based pricing. And the author, Mike McDerment, knows what he’s talking about. One year, he worked exactly 19 days and made $200,000 in revenues!
By re-examining how we charge clients, we can give clients the highest possible value while getting the highest possible return.
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.