Books: The Best Business Books.

Reading before bed



By now you probably know how much I love to read. (LOL) I’ve been a big reader for as long as I can remember. And as a small business owner and entrepreneur, one of the ways that I stay motivated is by reading my fair amount of business books. (I’m trying to read more, so please share your favorites in the comments!) Today I am sharing a list of nine books that I’ve found to be particularly inspiring, motivating, and educational. They’ve all in different ways helped me over the years… highly recommend each and every one!

I’ve said this before but I have always been a paper books kind of girl… E-readers just don’t do it for me. I know some people find them to be more convenient but I just love my paper books. I like to hold a book as I read. And in a way it’s a bit of a ritual and sensory experience. I really like the actual feeling of the paper between my fingers as I turn the pages. It’s cathartic and soothing… and the last thing I want to do to relax is look at another screen! You might remember from last year that I teamed up with The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign to talk about how I find the time to read… this year I’m excited to do it again with this list of the best business books!


Read more about the challenge here! As a part of that, they asked me to share my favorite business books which I was excited to do! I encourage you to take the 15 page challenge. I think the challenge is particularly relevant for business-y books as I can get overwhelmed by these books… they take me longer to read! To further incentivize you / encourage you to get those pages in, we are giving one lucky reader a $500 gift card to Amazon.

Scroll to the end of the post to enter via the widget, and comment below with your own favorite business books.

Check out these titles

I love the challenge of reading 15 pages a day (on paper) as it isn’t intimidating and it’s something anyone can do. No matter your age or literacy level, anyone can read 15 pages a day. This article has a lot of good information about the benefits of reading on paper. If you do take the challenge, share that you took the pledge on social media using #15Pages!

The Best Business Books


Contagious by Jonah Berger. This is a fascinating look at the how and why behind why things become popular and trends catch on. It talks about the power of word of mouth, social influence, and how things/ideas go viral… or become “contagious.”

You are a Badass Everyday

You are a Badass Everyday by Jen Sincero. I picked this one up because I like the tagline but this is one of the best books I’ve read for keeping me motivated and staying driven.

The War of Art

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I’m such a Steven Pressfield fan. Love him. His books are small but mighty – I take so much away from every single one! This business book is all about roadblocks, and how we actually prevent ourselves from being our most successful creative selves. I have read and re-read this one time and time again… it’s life changing.

Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t 

Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t by Steven Pressfield. Another Pressfield book and I LOVE the tough love title. This book is fantastic for any type of writer (whether you’re writing copy for brands or just writing creatively). It will teach you the power of story-telling and how to craft a compelling narrative.

The 9 books Grace loves for business advice

The Brand Gap

The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier. As a former brand manager I loved reading this book – it talks about how to produce a “charismatic brand,” which is something you can apply to both an actual brand or a person. It’s a pretty quick read but PACKED with knowledge.

How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age

How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age, by Dale Carnegie. This is an adaptation of the classic, reinterpreted for modern times and the Internet age. I have read and re-read this one again and again; it is a CLASSIC and an absolute must-read for anyone in a leadership role or a role where networking + relationships are important to your success (okay maybe that’s any job!?)

Talented is Overrated

Talented is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. Something that has always fascinated me is how some of the most talented people aren’t very successful – and vice versa. This book takes a scientific approach at looking at what factors make someone successful/high performing (the secret ingredient isn’t being naturally gifted or talented!!!).

Crush It! Why NOW

Crush It! Why NOW by Gary Vaynerchuck. I am admittedly a little bit fascinated by Gary Vee, seeing how he’s built his own businesses into something so successful. If you have a passion project or a hobby that you wish you could monetize, this is a great job to read.

Made to Stick

Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This book is fascinating, especially if you enjoyed Contagious. It’s all about the science behind ideas and why some ideas take off and others thrive (and how you can improve the odds of your ideas taking off).

The array of books Grace loves Grace is reading Contagious, a novel she recommends Grace holds her favorite books

Photos by Carter Fish // Created in partnership with The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign – thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog running!

Leave a Comment


  1. LizaH says 8.1.19

    Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Guide to Getting Out There (When You’d Rather Stay Home) by Moira Aarons-Mele

    • Shelby says 8.2.19

      I agree – I’ve listened to this book twice. It was so helpful for me at my toxic job (which I left with encouragement!)

  2. Wow, thank you so much for the giveaway! I really want to read “Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t”, haha! Sounds interesting!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  3. Ali says 8.1.19

    This is a smart partnership! Well done.

  4. Emily says 8.1.19

    I just got Leadership Without Easy Answers to think about how I can better lead teams.

  5. Julie Updike says 8.1.19

    One of my favorites is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey” – it’s a great book on principles and putting your focus on the best things for the best outcome. Love how you make reading a priority! so fun!

    • Katie says 8.1.19


  6. Angela says 8.1.19

    Feeling like “Nobody wants to read your shit” would be helpful for my legal briefs. Adding to my Amazon cart asap. #lawyerlife.

  7. alicia says 8.1.19

    Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso!

  8. Kristen Mount says 8.1.19

    I loved “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant. Highly recommended for anyone, but in particular self employed/ entrepreneurs!

  9. Kim S. says 8.1.19

    I read The One Page Marketing Plan as I’ve been getting my business off the ground and it is awesome. Short and sweet with really actionable advice that I find myself using every day! Definitely buying The War of Art next – The Skinny Confidential mentions that one too so it’s at the top of my list!

  10. Lindsay says 8.1.19

    For sure, You are a Badass is my favorite too!

  11. Angela says 8.1.19

    I loved 7 habits of highly effective people, old but good!

  12. Kellie says 8.1.19

    I read You are a Badass Everyday by Jen Sincero last year for the first time and could not love it more. I am about to reread it, it’s that good!

  13. Caroline Lopez says 8.1.19

    I love this challenge! That is actually how I started giving up excuses for reading more an so far I’ve read 8 this year. For business book, I actually just got “the white coat investor” to finally get on top on finance and star thinking about other ways I can actually earn money besides primary care. It is an eye opening experience. And I am looking forward to adding Jen sincero book to my stack soon as well as atomic habits.

  14. Emily says 8.1.19

    I also looooove You are a Bad Ass Everyday! Such a fun and inspiring read!

  15. Liz says 8.1.19

    Lean In is one of my favorite books (as a woman)!

  16. Nd says 8.1.19

    I really enjoyed You Are A Badass! Awesome giveaway!

  17. Abby M says 8.1.19

    Daring Greatly – not a typical “business book” but helps you better yourself in ALL aspects of your life.

  18. Angela says 8.1.19

    Buyology : The truth and lies about why we buy by Martin Lindstrom. A little more corporate/academic, one of my business professors recommended it. But it’s fascinating!!

  19. Abigail S says 8.1.19

    The War of Art as well- feeling like I need to pick it back up again too

  20. Danielle says 8.1.19

    I love the you are a badass book!

  21. Courtney says 8.1.19

    Love the idea of this giveaway! I’ve been waking up earlier in the mornings (30 mins – hour) specifically to read! I find it’s much easier to wake up earlier when a book and coffee is on the line rather than working out 😉

    My favorite business book is Lean In – it was one of the first that I read that I really loved and it really showed me the value of biz books. I also love Winning the Brain Game, which speaks more about the tricks your brain plays on you (especially relevant if you work in advertising/marketing).

  22. Tina says 8.1.19

    Lean In

  23. Lindsey G says 8.1.19

    I love Dare to Lead by Brene Brown!

  24. Liz O says 8.1.19

    Dare to lead by Beene Brown.l is excellent. Or actually anything by B. Brown!

  25. Mary Hunter says 8.1.19

    I loved “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. Not necessarily a business book, but it has definitely helped me relate better/be more inclusive of others in the workplace.

  26. Mary Tanner says 8.1.19

    Getting “Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t” immediately – my job involves tons of legal writing, which has its quirks, but I’m sure it will have lots of crossover with the book!

  27. Leigh Casler says 8.1.19

    I loved Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People “.

  28. Dana Mannarino says 8.1.19

    I just love how convenient bringing my iPad is rather than a book. BUT I do low key miss paperbacks! I need to get better at reading business/motivational books. Thanks for these recs!

    Dana | The Champagne Edit

  29. Emma Finlayson says 8.1.19

    Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

  30. Laura T says 8.1.19

    You Are a Mogul: How to Do the Impossible, Do It Yourself, and Do It Now by Tiffany Pham was excellent!

  31. Vanessa Wilkins says 8.1.19

    my favorite business book is the brand gap

  32. justine says 8.1.19

    How to Win Friends and Influence People! It was required reading for a class that I took back in college and cant believe how it still holds up. I want to read in the digital age as well! I had no idea there was one!

  33. CharleneD says 8.1.19

    How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age and
    Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

  34. Jenni says 8.1.19

    While some of the shine has fallen off in recent years, I still think Lean In was a great read that I read at just the right time (kicking off my law school career).

  35. Vanessa says 8.1.19

    I’d love to tell you what my favourite business book is, but the truth is, I’ve never read any business books before! I hope to change that soon, though, because I’m at an age now where I’m more concerned about my career and financial stability. I’m planning on checking out a few of the books you recommended in this post – particularly You Are A Badass Every Day and No One Wants To Read Your Shit (those titles are hilarious).

  36. Samantha says 8.1.19

    Despite shifting from the nonprofit/public sector the private sector a couple years ago, I haven’t done much business reading beyond “Lean In” and reading shorter pieces from Forbes and Harvard Business Review. Appreciate the chance to change that with this giveaway!

  37. Annie says 8.1.19

    “Presence” by Amy Cuddy is one of my favorites.

  38. Talia says 8.1.19

    In college I read Drive by Daniel Pink, and it really influenced the way I think about motivation. I definitely need to read more in this genre, though, as a 25 year old just 3 years into the workforce (I’m a fiction junkie).

  39. Nicole says 8.1.19

    This book has more general advice about life than about business specifically, but I loved The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I resisted for a while because I thought the title was really lame, but I’m glad I eventually purchased!

  40. Christina OHandley says 8.1.19

    Don’t know if it’s a business book, but I loved Grit by Angela Duckworth! I

  41. Kristin says 8.1.19

    The Tao of Leadership – more like little leadership proverbs but sooooo good for business and life!

    Who Thought This Was A Good Idea – I found this fascinating

  42. Cory says 8.1.19

    I’m a HUGE fan of Dare to Lead! Brene Brown all the way

  43. Lauren C says 8.1.19

    I loved “You are a Bad Ass” and also enjoyed her follow up book, “You are a Bad Ass at Making Money”!

  44. CD says 8.1.19

    I’m in the art and writing fields so I love Stephen King’s On Writing and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I also really like Bossypants by Tina Fey (does that count as a business book?).

  45. CD says 8.1.19

    Oh! I forgot – also all of Brene Brown’s books and Mindset by Carol Dweck!

  46. Lydia says 8.1.19

    Speak so your Audience will Listen. Interesting and practical for anyone who has to present to groups, large or small.

  47. Jill says 8.1.19

    Thanks for the great list! One of my favorites is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s awesome for those in the creative/art field but I think could be great inspiration for all!

  48. Carol Ann Clark says 8.1.19

    Just purchased and plan to read The Woman in the Window! Super late to this one but cannot wait as I love a good thriller and plan to see the film when it comes out this fall! Thanks so much for the giveaway 🙂

  49. Taylor Wymer says 8.1.19

    How to Win Friends and Influence People is the ULTIMATE business book, IMO. It applies to literally any job, and I’ve read it twice at totally different life/career stages and its felt relevant both times.

  50. Nicole Cannon says 8.1.19

    My favorite results that last

  51. Katrina Connor says 8.1.19

    I don’t read a lot of these books but I love the “By the book” podcast, in this podcast they live by a self help book for two full weeks and report about it on the show. Might be a good podcast crossover as these books have influenced you.

  52. Molly Broemmelsiek says 8.1.19

    I love The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate- so good!

  53. Elizabeth says 8.1.19

    I love The War of Art! So very insightful. I’m so glad you love it too.

  54. Jacqueline Collins says 8.1.19

    You are a Badass Everyday!

  55. Kate says 8.1.19

    You Are A Badass is one of my faves for sure@!

  56. kel says 8.1.19

    you are a badass is my fave!!!

  57. Catherine says 8.1.19

    Deep Work, by Cal Newport. Not a business book per se, but it’s all about how to create the practices and environment for focused, creative, brain-intensive work. Highly, highly recommend.

  58. Lauren says 8.1.19

    You are a badass every day, is one of my favorite books! I am so excited you included it on your list!

  59. Ciera says 8.1.19

    I love this giveaway! I really enjoyed The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. It’s a classic and should be on everyone’s shelves.

  60. Gwendolyn Jordan says 8.1.19

    Crush It

  61. Lauren says 8.1.19

    It’s not strictly a business book but Lisa Congdon’s book about becoming an artist as an adult is very inspiring!

  62. Bailey says 8.1.19

    “Humans Are Underrated” is the sequel to “Talent Is Overrated” (by Geoff Colvin) and it also a wonderful and refreshing read! I recommend it to every communication major I know when they get discouraged by people calling their major “useless.” Also a great read to ease your mind about technology and robots taking over the world.

  63. Jenna says 8.1.19

    My favorite is Nice Girls Don’t Get the corner office!

    • BSDH says 8.2.19


  64. Perri Schneider says 8.1.19

    So into Jen Sincero and her you are a badass book!! Inspirational without being cheesy! Must read.

  65. Noreen says 8.1.19

    One that holds up and still should be read today is How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

  66. jamie says 8.1.19

    Atomic habits isn’t a business book per se, but it is loaded with good ideas to be more productive in all areas of life.

  67. Diana l Schulz says 8.1.19


  68. Pamela says 8.1.19

    I’ve never read How To Win Friends and Influence People – I think it’s time I did!! Thanks

  69. Stephanie says 8.1.19

    This challenge is awesome! I think my recent faves are a tangent of creativity & business 🙂 – Jen Sincero’s ‘You Are a Badass at Making Money’ audiobook is seriously so great to just hit play in the mornings. Also loved Full Time You by Meg Lewis (self discovery / personal brand strategy.)

  70. Elizabeth says 8.1.19

    Always amazed at how fast you read …. great recommendations 🙂 Thanks!!

  71. Samantha Edelman says 8.1.19

    This might be a bit industry specific, but my vote is for Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein.

    It’s all about the science behind the benefits of being versatile and a jack of all trades. Fascinating stuff!

  72. Laurie says 8.1.19

    Thanks so much for the chance at the give away. I have found audiobooks to be a great way to get my reading in, when life gets too busy.

  73. Amanda says 8.1.19

    I love Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before for habit-building techniques.

  74. karen bellomy says 8.1.19

    Talented is overrated sounds like something for me! Talent is one’s own opinion and subject to interrupration

  75. Donna says 8.1.19

    Bargaining for Advantage by G. Richard Shell- helped me tremendously!

  76. ashley e says 8.1.19


  77. Kari says 8.1.19

    Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris! Love reading and learning from the routines and habits of successful people!

  78. kate howell says 8.1.19

    Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a good one!

  79. Brooke says 8.1.19

    I loved The War of Art! Read it in my masters program and it is so accurate! I also love The 4 Hour Workweek, Setting the Table and anything Stephen Covey books!

  80. Jenny says 8.1.19

    Hi Grace! A business book I recommend is “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity” by David Allen. I read it for a class I took and really liked it.

  81. Evangeline (lia) Jacobsen says 8.2.19

    I have to be honest, I am retired and business is the last thing on my mind! Been there done that! I am intrigued by the book You Are A Badass just by the title. lol Thanks for the chance to win! 🙂

  82. Lucia says 8.2.19

    I really love Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s book “Off the Sidelines.” It’s not technically a business book, but she was a very successful attorney prior to politics and this outlines her career in private practice and just generally has some great advice for women.

  83. Erin House says 8.2.19

    Hi Grace,

    Thanks for the recommendations – I’ve added some to my Goodreads TBR.

    I recommend “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. It might be a stretch to call it a business book, but it is certainly inspirational for anyone that produces creative work. It’s also the first time I heard about mediocre white man confidence (I don’t think she calls it that – but she speaks to the concept and it was like a lightbulb went on in my head about my own confidence).

    P.S. I am new to your blog + podcast. Heard you and Becca on Sarah’s Bookshelves Live and now all of your content is my new obsession.

  84. Natasha says 8.2.19

    I really don’t have a fave in the business area right now. Looking to check out a few though.

  85. Janice Stern says 8.2.19

    Anything by Jen Sincero!

  86. Megan Myers-Bell says 8.2.19

    I recently started a small business myself so this is the perfect partnership for me because I’m still in the completely overwhelmed with so much admin/aavounting phase that I have devoted an appropriate amount of time to reading/leaning/growing. But it’s so true…only takes 15 pages a day makes a huge difference. Challenge accepted and started TODAY!

  87. Emily says 8.2.19

    Recently read HBR’s 10 Reads On Managing Yourself and learned so many valuable tips to make me more effective at work and in life. Highly recommend.

  88. Emily Anderson says 8.2.19

    I haven’t read too many business books but I’m definitely going to give some of these a try!

  89. Sydney says 8.2.19

    One of my favorites is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking!

  90. Wendy Pierson says 8.2.19

    I’m interested in You are a Badass Everyday…..I’ve been an executive with the same company for 13 years and I always need motivation and new ways to look at my situation.

  91. Lisa Autumn says 8.2.19

    I just put all of them on my list! Thanks girl!

    x Lisa |

  92. Emma says 8.2.19

    I LOVE The Myth of the Nice Girl-it’s a must-read for women and anyone who has ever been told they’re not “mean” enough to be competitive.

  93. Sarah says 8.2.19

    I loved “You Are A Badass!” Jen Sincero is great!

  94. Kim Niland says 8.2.19

    I haven’t read it yet, but the book I’m most excited to read is HOW TO WIN FRIENDS & INFLUENCE PEOPLE IN THE DIGITAL AGE

  95. Lucy says 8.2.19

    Love a giveaway involving books! Reading is my absolute favorite!!

  96. Ellen says 8.2.19

    You are a badass!!!

  97. Ellie Sheely says 8.2.19

    the book “truth and lies why we buy” was an interesting read.

  98. Morgan Rose says 8.2.19

    My non-fiction is all teaching related but I just read “empower” by John Spencer and loved it!

  99. alyson seligman says 8.2.19

    love this post and insight; I really want to read that book nobody wants to read your shit! And I also loved Jen’s book, and in general, I’ve been reading How to Not Give a F*ck and it’s a great motivational read.


  100. Anne says 8.2.19

    Crush it. Why NOW seems like a book I’d love to read!

  101. Helen says 8.2.19

    I found Susie Moore’s What If It Does Work Out?: How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life to be a helpful and insightful read.

  102. Joan Nguyen says 8.2.19

    You are a badass!

  103. Deborah Susco says 8.2.19

    7 Habits is always solid.

  104. Donna James says 8.2.19

    I like “Talent is overrated”

  105. Natalia says 8.2.19

    You are a bad ass! Such a good message.

  106. Julie Anderson says 8.2.19

    I love The War of Art!

  107. Kimberley Williams says 8.3.19

    Having lost a job un-expectantly, I love ‘You are a Badass Everyday’! Helped me stand up and face it!

  108. Caitlin says 8.3.19

    Art and Fear by Bayles and Orland.

  109. Meghan Quinn says 8.3.19

    I’m gonna want to read how to win and influence friends in the digital age. I see the complications to that every day. It looks like an important read.

  110. Cheryl Larimer says 8.3.19

    I like the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. It gives good insight in and outside of work.

  111. Renee says 8.4.19

    I actually love the book Go Pro! Now I’m super interested in reading Contagious! It looks amazing!!!

  112. RICHARD SKUSE says 8.4.19

    i like CRUSH IT!

  113. Jane Pesznecker says 8.4.19

    Why Didn’t Anybody Tell Me This Sh*t Before? by Marcella Allison

  114. Kate Sparks says 8.5.19

    You Are A Badass Every Day…. motivation every day is hard.

  115. richard hawkins says 8.5.19

    buy low sell high

  116. Meryl R Dessen says 8.5.19

    The Big Life Ann Shoket

  117. Annette says 8.5.19

    I love everything by Zig Ziglar, especially, “Secrets of Closing the Sale.”

  118. Christina Moore says 8.5.19

    Thank you for the chance to win

  119. Dorothy Page says 8.5.19

    I AM a bad ass everyday !

  120. Sharon Bennett says 8.5.19

    The One Minute Manager

  121. Jillian says 8.5.19

    Radical Candor by Kim Scott! Great read for guidance on how to have candid conversations in the workplace! : )

  122. Katie says 8.6.19

    Secrets of the Art World by Litsa Spanos

    It offers great insight on making a living as an artist!

  123. Chris Rasmussen says 8.6.19

    I really enjoy reading your books!

  124. John Lewis says 8.6.19

    I like the Seven Sisters. A book about how the oil companies came int existence.

  125. Christina Moore says 8.6.19

    Thank you for the chance to win, this would be great for my daughter

  126. Joann Jillson says 8.6.19

    Good to great and the lean start up

  127. Linda Barket says 8.6.19

    I love to read!! Nothing new in my house, already read everything.

  128. Brandi Paschal says 8.6.19

    My favorite is YOU ARE A BADASS EVERYDAY.

  129. Amt says 8.7.19

    I LOVE reading!

  130. Lindsay says 8.7.19

    I am not sure if it could be considered a business book. My boss recomend I read Personality Plus, by Florence Littauer.
    I think it helps to he able to understand your personality, and that of those aroumd you, enabling you to work better with each other.

  131. Karla Keller says 8.7.19

    I remember reading a few good books trying to become a better manager. I liked this one the most. How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I was around 19 when I read it. I was the youngest service desk manager ever for my company. It helped me not ruffle too many feathers with my newly found power.

  132. Stephanie says 8.7.19

    I haven’t read too many business books yet but i plan to soon. At the moment I’m reading the immortal instruments series.

  133. Brenda W. Quinn says 8.7.19

    A good book in business–and life in general–is “How to Change Anybody” by David J. Lieberman, Ph.D.

  134. Tanya Kertsman says 8.7.19

    Confidence and Influence + Persuasion are two of my favorites!

  135. Betty Curran says 8.7.19

    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has always been a favorite of mine. I’m no longer an entrepreneur so most of my reading now is lighthearted fiction.

  136. Jeneen Bish says 8.21.19

    Best business book “The Lemonade Life”