Ok. It’s 9AM on a Tuesday. I am staring at a blank computer screen. Wake Up! Says my brain. I need to “be productive” but instead I am stuck. It’s one of my rare work-from-home days and I should be making the most of it. I should be sending out emails and ordering supplies for our busy holiday season. I should be pitching corporate orders and setting meetings with my staff. I should be. But I’m not. I am sitting here. Staring. You’re failing already. You’ll never catch up, says the blank screen. I close my laptop and get up from my desk. I scan my bookshelf and grab the nearest book -- 30 minutes later I re-open my computer, refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
A while ago I wrote up some Top Self Care Tips for Small Business Owners and many of those tricks work to get me out of a funk. Sometimes a few minutes alone with a good business book is exactly what I need to get motivated. There are a few books I’ve recommended or gifted ovzer the years to folks who ask for advice when starting or growing their business. From managing teams, to outgrowing your home kitchen, below are some of my favorite go-to’s when I need a boost of inspiration.
1) Cooking Up a Business: Lessons from Food Lovers Who Turned Their Passion Into a Career -- and How You Can Too
Author: Rachel Hofstetter
What I Learned From it: I must have purchased 10 or 12 copies of this book by now -- I keep giving it away! This book has stories from food entrepreneurs who are now recognized national brands, but what you gain from their stories is the understanding of having a dream, or noticing a gap in the market, and working their asses off to get their products into stores. I re-read this book almost annually because each chapter resonates differently depending on where I am and what problems I am trying to solve.
Who Should Read it: Anyone who is interested in starting or running a food business should pick up this book. From conception to market, staffing to production to keeping up with demand, the themed chapters touch on every aspect of being a food business owner.
2) Book: The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It into a Global BrandAuthor: Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor with Booth Moore
What I Learned From it: Lindzi gave me a copy of The Glitter Plan when we first met -- as a way to show what friendship and a great business plan can do. It also didn’t hurt that I rocked a velour sweatsuit all through middle school, and my love for t-shirts and matching loungewear never really went away. Overall, my biggest takeaway from Pamela and Gela’s book is that tenacity paired with hardwork and an amazing accountability partner, will see you through the tough and crazy times.
Who Should Read it: If you’re a fan of “How I Built This” or “how did she get there” success stories, then this book is for you. The narrative is captivating and fun, and Pamela and Gela intersperse humor with heartbreak -- so you end up with a business memoir and a story on friendship in one book. And, Juicy Couture flashbacks for all.
What I Learned From it: It’s no secret that I am a Disney and Pixar nerd -- even my dogs are fans of our Disney+ account. So I jumped at the chance to read Ed Catmull’s book Creativity Inc. because who wouldn’t want to know more about the iconic animation studio? What I learned from this book is that people are at the core of your business, and understanding how these people think is essential to generating the outcomes you’re looking for. Through trial and error, and the possibility of failure, managing teams and creativity is possible and the reward can be great.
Who Should Read it: If you have a team you are working to build, or maybe are just seeking a fresh perspective on time management and staying creative, pick up a copy of Creativity, Inc. There are some genuine words of wisdom, interwoven with stories of technology, entertainment, and building something unique and long lasting. Also, Disney.
Author: Gillian Zoe Segal
What I Learned From it: Another one of my go-to’s when things are tough, Getting There is one of those books that you can pick up and deep dive into any chapter as needed. One of my biggest takeaways was from Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. Blakely faced heavy rejection of her idea for women’s shapewear, and shares her story of struggle and ultimate triumph in the industry with a touch of humor -- just as it should be.
Who Should Read it: Getting There makes a great gift for any entrepreneur because of the wide variety of perspectives. It’s a solid choice for people who like shorter bursts of information and only want about 100 words worth of reading at a time.
Author: Shonda Rhimes
What I Learned From it: As a notorious introvert, I really appreciated Shonda Rhimes’ understanding of social anxiety, and the various ways she was “hiding herself” from opportunities that would lead her to ultimate happiness. The chapter she focused on her physical health really opened my eyes to my own similar behavior -- allowing my weight and lack of energy to dictate my movement and confidence. Her actions of making appointments with her physician, of going on walks and doing things that brought her joy, inspired me to take a more active role in my own physical wellbeing. You could say I said yes to my own health too!
Who Should Read it: For any fan of Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, or Scandel, Shonda Rhimes’ writing style is that fast-pace dialouge found in her popular shows. Year of Yes is also a good book to read around New Years when you are prime setting intentions and are looking for inspiration that isn’t business-based, but rather focuses on positive behavior.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and I look forward to bringing you more reading recommendations. An XO Marshmallow Book Club has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?