From the Founder: The books every business owner should read

I read once that the most successful CEOs and Founders spend time reading non-fiction every day. In fact, they apparently spend between 30 minutes and an hour each day, and that surprised me.

As a busy Founder, I didn’t think that I could squeeze another hour out of my day into something that felt, well, like a waste of time. After all, I could be attracting clients or writing during that precious hour.

But I’m always game to try the next productivity hack, so I began to work for a half hour each day reading about business.

At first, it was hard to do, but now I look forward to learning something new and applying it to my work.

The habit led to a love of behavioral psychology and now I seek out books that have the theme of the science of influence. It’s how I have learned to create content that not only is good for SEO (which you know I think is essential to growing your business) but also helps with branding and creating content that attracts my ideal customer.
Here are the top 10 books I think every woman business owner should read to build her brand and grow

Read 30 minutes per day and you will change the success outcome of your business.

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD
This is one of the most powerful books I have read for my business. It details the seven basic tenets of the science of influence and shares how to use them to attract new customers to your business. I keep Dr. Cialdini’s descriptions of ways to influence an individual in mind every time I write or speak to someone in business and life. You might even notice that a few of the influence tools you already employ, I discovered that I was already mirroring people before I learned that it was a thing.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Have you ever considered what influences every action that you take each day? If you took a moment to consider it, would you notice that you repeat the same actions each day almost without thought? Like brushing your teeth or making coffee in the morning, we all have habits that rule our lives. In this book, you’ll discover not only what habits you currently have, but how to create a habit in others and how to break the cycle to alter “bad” habits.

This is Marketing by Seth Godin
If you are running a business but weren’t a marketing major in college (and maybe even if you were) this is the essential bible of marketing you need from a marketing Guru. Seth Godin took Yahoo and other tech companies to the top of their industries with innovative marketing tools, and by simply applying some of the “old” rules to new industries. In this book, he details nearly everything you need to market your business now.

Never Split the Difference by Charles Voss et al
Women in business are notorious for discounting themselves and their services. It’s an epidemic. This book will change that problem for you. In it you’ll learn why giving a discount is really giving away your power. I found it enlightening to consider that if you offer a discount, you may very well be telling the buyer that you are worth less. Not a goal for any business owner and is worth learning to avoid.

Presuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD
The really interesting concept here was that you can – nay, must – influence a person’s behavior before an event happens. It was a whole new way to look at what influences our actions and how we choose what we choose. I think it can make a business owner a better or at least more effective communicator when they use these simple tools. You might even practice on your teenagers (not that I did that).

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
There isn’t really a business skill that I consider more important than the ability to communicate. It definitely mattered when I practiced law and of course, it is what I do now. In this book, Malcolm Gladwell uses the same storytelling style that we have become used to sharing how to take the fear out of striking up a conversation with anyone. It made me think about getting out of my box – in person and in writing.

Tribes by Seth Godin
In case you can’t tell, I am a fan of Seth Godin. His marketing work is well known and there is much to learn from him. Tribes is one of the first Godin books I read, and it is a great one if you need to think about a niche or are afraid to commit to one. I even turned back to it as I moved to a focus on women-owned businesses. It helps.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek
At this point, I imagine that everyone has listened to or watched the Ted talk that came from this book. It is the 3rd most-watched Ted talk ever. It is a good one to read because it will introduce you to what Sinek calls the “Golden circle” and will help you think about your brand in a new way.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
Just the title of this book made me stop (which was the point, I am sure). The concept that you should spend far less time thinking about what others think about what you do and more time thinking about what you want to do is a game-changer. Especially for women in business who find it hard to get over what others think.

When Women Lead by Julia Boorston
It is simply different to lead a business or a movement as a leader. Outcomes are different and so are the challenges we face. It isn’t a slap to men or even a competition, it’s just the simple truth.

Of course, there are many, many other books out there that would be good for you to read to build your business. I try to read for at least 30 minutes per day to continue my education about all things marketing, branding, and behavioral psychology.

Want to learn more about how using the tools in these books can help you build visibility that changes the success of your business? Reach out for a free SEO audit where we will chat about your content and find out if it is doing the work you need it to do. Schedule the chat here.

Pam Parker Foley

Pam Parker Foley

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