Back to school: best new business books for creative professionals in 2022

We bring you six of the best latest business books. Each covers a different topic, and they're all packed with inspiration and lessons for creative entrepreneurs.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

There's never been a better time to launch a business as a creative. That might seem like a crazy statement, given the economic headwinds we're currently facing. But at the same time, in an increasingly interconnected, post-pandemic world, creativity and design are coming front and centre. With the right idea and a lot of hard work, there's every reason you can benefit.

Plus, there's also another way of looking at it. If you work as a creative professional on a salary, or a fixed-term freelance contract, you won't have much leeway on how much you earn. And given that nobody knows where inflation will go over the next couple of years, your living standards could well drop significantly.

Launching your own business, though, puts you back in the driving seat. The more you succeed, the more revenue you can bring in; there's technically no upper limit on that.

It is, of course, a huge step and one you need a lot of guts and determination to follow through on. One thing that can help get you to the right place is a good book, especially one written by someone who's been there and can share all the hard lessons they've learned along the way.

With that in mind, here are our top picks from the latest crop of business books, each covering a different aspect of becoming a creative entrepreneur. We've also provided links to buy them via, which supports independent bookstores. Note that we don't make any money out of this ourselves; we just like the idea of supporting fellow creative businesses.

1. Alchemy: The Magic of Original Thinking in a World of Mind-Numbing Conformity by Rory Sutherland

Want to come up with great ideas? Then jettison logic and cast aside rationality, says Ogilvy advertising legend Rory Sutherland. That might sound counterintuitive, but in this, his first book, the author brings together his branding, the lessons of behavioural science, and a series of jaw-dropping anecdotes to put meat on those bones.

In doing so, he argues that economists, businesses and governments have got it all wrong: we are not rational creatures who make logical decisions based on evidence. Instead, the big daily problems we face could very well be solved by thinking less logically. It's all-powerful, thought-provoking stuff.

2. Copywriting Third Edition: Successful writing for design, advertising and marketing by Gyles Lingwood and Mark Shaw

No one is born a great writer: you can only become one with perseverance and practice. However, there are simple techniques you can employ to help you get there faster. This book shares the best of these and explains how you can use them to craft compelling copy for digital media, branding, advertising, direct marketing, retailing, catalogues, company magazines, internal communications, and some aspects of social media.

This fully updated third edition features new interviews, case studies and illustrated examples of award-winning campaigns and communication. And through a series of exercises, it takes you through step-by-step processes that can help you to write your own content quickly and effectively.

3. Confident and Killing It by Tiwalola Ogunlesi

How many talented creatives are held back by imposter syndrome? In our experience, it's quite a few. But this empowering, practical guide can help you overcome it, battle negative thoughts and succeed in achieving your goals.

A sought-after motivational speaker and confidence coach, Tiwalola Ogunlesi founded her company with the sole purpose of leading women to love themselves. Here, she guides readers in becoming the most unapologetic and unstoppable version of themselves. Unlike some similar books, it's not full of empty words and motivational waffle but packed with practical tips and real-life stories from everyday women. Of course, men will find a lot to learn here too.

4. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

We're all going to die, and we don't have much time left to achieve our goals. Hence the modern obsession with productivity and getting the maximum number of things done within a given time. That's a gospel Oliver Burkeman used to preach, but then he realised it was self-defeating. For example, tips and tricks to help you get to inbox zero more quickly mean you answer more emails – which means you get even more emails in response.

In Four Thousand Weeks, then, the author takes a different tack, arguing that actually, you can't have it all. Instead, he urges us to stop seeing time as a resource to be plundered and to take a different approach to life that's more about living in the moment and enjoying the little things. If you ever feel that you don't have enough time to do everything, and especially if that causes you to panic, reading this book will help you see your entire life in a different light.

5. Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell

It's great to have a mentor. But if you don't, then this book aims to act as the next best thing: a "mentor in a box". In it, tech guru Tony Fadell explains all these lessons he learned the hard way. He spent the first ten years of his career failing spectacularly and the next 20 building some of the most impactful devices in history: the iPod, iPhone, and Nest Learning Thermostat.

However, Tony doesn't follow the standard Silicon Valley credo that you have to radically reinvent everything. Instead, he keeps things simple. He just tells you what works and gives you exactly what you need to make things worth making. An unorthodox read indeed, but one that's much more practical and helpful than most 'how I did it' business books.

6. How to Be a Founder: How Entrepreneurs can Identify, Fund and Launch their Best Ideas by Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford

Founding your own company can be a scary business, so the more advice you can get from those who've done it themselves, the better. Written by the co-founders of Entrepreneur First (EF) and featuring a foreword by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, this handbook is full of essential guidance and advice for getting started.

The book takes you from making the initial decision through the process of choosing and developing an idea and team, all the way to raising capital and working with VCs and angel investors. You'll also hear advice from some of the world's best investors and entrepreneurs who have built some of the most iconic technology companies of our time.


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