Self development books for career & business – what’s on my shelf?

Self development books for career & business - what's on my shelf?


Type ‘motivational books’ or ‘self help books’ into any search engine and you’ll be overwhelmed by the extensive choice out there. As a champion for self development, I’ve always loved reading this particular genre of books. I’ve compiled a list of the Top 15 books that have inspired and motivated me over the last 10 years I’ve spent in business. Some are pretty old now, but still occupy a prime position on my own beloved bookshelf.

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Written by Stephen R Covey (1999)

You knew it would be on the list (I’m sure it’s on everyone's list). Easy to read, focusing on the age old principles of fairness, integrity, honesty and human dignity. Simple and effective. This book continues to be a best seller for good reason!


2. The 4 hour working week. Written by Timothy Ferriss  (first published 2007)

Looking to escape the 9-5? Want to earn a living from anywhere in the world? Outsource your life and live as if in retirement - now? Sounds too good to be true, and I’ve still not cracked it (I’m not working from a beach in the Caribbean or the Italian Lakes - yet), but I found it inspirational nonetheless.


3. How I made it. Written by Rachel Bridge (first published 2005)

I read this years ago, and it still has a place on my ever expanding bookshelf. A collection of 40 entrepreneurs reveal how they navigated the rocky terrain on the way to business success, detailing the good, the bad and the plain ugly. Easy to read, totally inspiring, and definitely life affirming. If you’re looking to start out on your own, this will be sure to excite and inspire you.


4. A Woman’s guide to working for herself. Written by Sandra Hewett (2010)

If I remember rightly this was one of the first books I read before setting up my second recruitment company in 2012. The rise of the female entrepreneur is an ever growing cause for celebration, and if you’re one of the may women who are driven to starting up on their own, look no further for inspiration, advice, confidence and support.


5. Career Coach: How to plan your career and land your perfect job. Written by Corinne Mills (2017)

Stuck in a rut? Feeling left behind at work? Want a career change? Unhappy, yet unsure what your perfect jobs actually looks like? This book will help you pinpoint where you’re at, explore what excites you, and ultimately enable you to take control of your career! #GrabYourCareerByTheBalls


6. Gone for Lunch: 52 things to do in your lunch break. Written by Laura Archer (2017)

Absolutely love this - what a cracking idea! For anyone who’s working the 9-5 and has perhaps forgotten what a lunch break actually looks like, you need this in your life! This is a brilliantly written book that will help you to reclaim your lunch hour, ultimately improving your health, happiness, productivity and zest for life. Packed full of suggestions (52 surprisingly) of things to do - from yoga classes, writing letters, to indulging in long lost hobbies. What could you do if you fully utilised that extra 5 hours a week?! Awesome!


7. Lifestyle Business Blueprint: Top 5 Strategies For Making Money Doing What You Love From Anywhere In The World. Written by Tyler Basu (2015)

Do you want to own a business doing what you want, where you want?  Do you value lifestyle benefits over profits (I know I do!) Is freedom and fulfilment your ultimate goal? (It’s a yes from me!) This book helps you to discover how to do what you love, with nothing more than a laptop and wifi. Inspirational. Love it!


8. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Written by Jen Sincero (2013)

This gets the award for ‘most humourous’. Punchy, written in easy to read, bitesize chunks, and drops the occasional f-bomb. What’s not to love? Understand what makes you tick, why you exhibit certain behaviours, and ultimately learn how to stop self-sabotaging and become the bad-ass you know you are! #KickAss


9. Change your thinking change your life: How to unlock your full potential for Success and Achievement. Written by Brian Tracy (2005)

A golden oldie (the book, not Brian, although I guess he is too). Clear and concise, relevant for all walks of life and all situations (career, relationships). This books gently guides you to transform your thinking and unleash your ultimate potential. Extremely practical, and highly motivational!! #TeamBrian


10. Graduate Career Handbook: Life after graduation, maximise your employability, get a graduate job. Written by Tristram Hooley and Korin Grant (2017)

Clearly not for my own personal use as my Graduation was so long ago, and my how things have changed since then (from career advice to opportunities available, from starting salaries to employee rights). However, I spent many years in my previous business recruiting Graduates with Computer Science and IT related degrees, and found it useful to to gen up on what advice is being dished out these days, so although I’ve not felt the need to read it from cover to cover, I’ve had a good skeg. Clearly set out, easy to navigate - it’s a comprehensive guide that offers vital guidance on topics such as identifying the right career path, how to gain employability skills and relevant experience, where to start with your first job search, how to prepare for the world of work… in a nutshell, a handy reference book that can point you in the right direction! I would have found it valuable all those years ago...


11. The Secret. Written by Rhonda Byrne (2006)

You’re either into this kind of thing or you’re not - and as a bit of a lover of all things magical,  I most definitely am! There’s a reason this book is a best selling phenomenon. Based on the pseudo-scientific law of attraction, it explains how you can (and unconsciously do) manifest things into your life, simply by thinking of them or focusing your energy/attention on them, be it career, money, love. Thinking negatively about something will bring more of the same, and conversely, focusing positively on your desires will bring abundance! Love it, absolutely love it. I’ve read it twice and I’ll definitely read again!  Not exclusively on the ‘careers / business’ shelf, but the principles apply. #ThoughtsBecomeReality


12. Making it work at home: A Practical Guide to Working From Home. Written by Ann Wright (2008)

The year I started out in business! This was one of the first books on my ‘business/career’ shelf. This is not just for those who are setting up, or have already set up a business, but for employees who want to take control of their working days and grab more of a work/life balance. Contains useful guidance from how to persuade your employee to let you work from home, setting up a home office space, understanding the implications/regulations, and avoiding social isolation. Very practical.


13. Eat That Frog! Get more of the important things done - today! Written by Brian Tracy (2013)

Aw we love you Brian! Here you are again! I love the old adage that, if you eat a frog first thing in the morning, you’ve already done the worst thing you’ll have to do that day. This book focuses on tackling the most challenging tasks of the day first, resulting in a huge increase in productivity (and less procrastination).


14. The E-Myth Revisited: Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it. Written by Michael E. Gerber (2001)

‘The Entrepreneurial Myth’. Honestly, not the most exciting , but very useful in distinguishing the difference between working ON your business and working IN your business.


And finally... (drum roll please)


15. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k: The bestselling book everyone is talking about (A No F*cks Given Guide). Written by Sarah Knight (2015)

Hilarious. I nodded emphatically the whole way through! Helps you define what really matters in life, what to expend your energy on (your f*ck budget) and what to let go of. Get rid of unnecessary obligations. Heard of the phrases ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ or ‘Zero F*cks Given’? You’ll be using these in abundance and will no longer waste your precious time or energy on things that really don’t matter. Hurrah!


So there you have it, my Top 15!



Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence - and How You Can, Too. Written by Gary Vaynerchuk

Focusing on personal branding and social media - I literally cannot wait to get stuck into this!


Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life. Written by Susan David, PhD

Emotional agility is a science-based approach that assists in navigating life's ups and downs with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness, and an open mind. Relevant to careers as well as other aspects of your life. Looks good, and  it’s definitely on my list!


What's on your list?


Much love, Fran xxx


Wife to a very lucky husband. Mum to 3 beautiful little boys. Gym, yoga and self care enthusiast. Lover of food, coffee, wine and gin. Self confessed bookworm and book hoarder. Advocate for keeping the magic of reading alive for today’s children. And last but not least - Writer (currently trying my hand at kids fiction and rhyming stories). Thanks for visiting my site - expect to see posts mainly related to reading and writing, with occasional musings about family, parenting and life in general. Oh, and plenty of book reviews! Hope you enjoy! Much love, Fran x