Five best business books to give creative freelancers a boost this summer

Summer is finally here with lazy days, sunshine and fun. Despite work slowing down, it's the perfect time for us to enrich our minds with these recommended business books and prepare for a productive autumn.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Can you hear that glorious sound? Looming large on the horizon, it's the sound of silence. Yes, we're fast approaching that most magical time of year: the summer holidays. That sweet period filled to the brim with sunshine, golden sand, alfresco dining and evening walks experiencing nature at its most divine – when life's frantic pace calms for a bit.

No matter how old you are or what you do for a living, there's undoubtedly something very special about the summertime. Schools are closed, roads are quieter, cinemas are rammed, and the possibilities are endless.

As August approaches at a dizzying pace, creative professionals may find themselves at a loose end for a spell, faced with a flurry of 'out of office' auto-responses from clients, usually in a frantic rush to deliver the next urgent project.

While work might be quieter than usual, that's no reason not to put your mind to good use and get the creative juices flowing, ready to hit the ground running again come September. Business books are a great way to while away the summer season, and here are five of the best for 2023.

1. The Crazy Busy Cure: A Productivity Book For People With No Time For Productivity Books by Zena Everett

Always feeling overwhelmed? Find yourself swamped by a never-ending to-do list. Have a calendar over-run with Zoom meetings, phone calls and client reports?

If this sounds like your life, then The Crazy Busy Cure could have the answers you've been searching for. In a world where 'hustle culture' reigns supreme and LinkedIn thought leaders urge us to kickstart our days with 4am ice baths, there is an alternative: saying no and eliminating the wrong things from our over-crammed modern lives.

Drawing on an extensive background in organisational psychology, author Zena Everett offers a refreshing stance on productivity. The aim is clear: to encourage a shift away from 'crazy busyness' and reclaim control over our working and personal lives. Filled to bursting with practical tips and productivity hacks, this engaging read invites you to look past many distractions and regain your freedom.

2. Swipe Up For More: Inside The Unfiltered Lives of Influencers by Stephanie Mcneal

Is there a more divisive word in the modern lexicon than 'influencer'? Within just a handful of years, the media landscape as we know it has been flipped on its head by influencers of all shapes, sizes, persuasions and specialisms, with brands clamouring to be embraced by the next big social personality.

Whatever your views on influencers, there's simply no escaping the reality: they are influential in today's world. And when it comes to understanding this strange new cult of personality, Stephanie Mcneal is certainly well-placed as a senior editor for Glamour.

Swipe Up For More examines the multibillion-dollar influencer economy that exists today and lifts the lid on what lies behind those perfectly curated Instagram snaps. In the process, it asks what we all want answered: How much money do influencers make? What are the key ingredients to a successful collaboration? And how, exactly, does someone become 'influential' in the eyes of others? A fascinating exploration of a trend that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. For better and for worse.

3. How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors Behind Every Successful Project by Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. This oft-used Benjamin Franklin quote lies at the heart of How Big Things Get Done, a book that celebrates some of the biggest triumphs of business while taking a good, hard look at where things went wrong for others.

Grounded in research-based principles, Flyvbjerg and Gardner examine the key aspects that make a project either a success or a failure by looking at case studies from the worlds of business and entertainment, including Pixar Movies, Heathrow Terminal 5 and the Empire State Building.

Along the way, the pair share anecdotes, project management disasters and point towards valuable lessons learnt from some of the world's biggest endeavours.

4. How to Grow Your Business: a Six Step Plan to Help Your Business Take Off by Donald Miller

A step-by-step guide to growing a business; sounds too good to be true? In his latest book, a New York Times bestseller Donald Miller – author of the hugely popular 'Building a StoryBrand' – has done just that, with a highly accessible book that looks to make it easy to bring a new brand to market.

From setting your company vision to honing your marketing messaging to optimising your product offering, this serves as a strong introduction to the world of self-employment for anyone on the cusp of taking a risk on themselves and branching out solo.

5. Jump: Dare to Do What Scares You in Business and Life by Kim Perell

Taking a leap of faith in yourself is one of the scariest decisions you can make. Ask any business founder or creative freelancer, and you'll find that 99% will admit to experiencing huge imposter syndrome at the outset. The other 1% will be lying to you.

With the new book Jump, multi-millionaire and 'serial-entrepreneur' Kim Perell describes her journey to success in an honest, engaging read that champions the power of self-belief.

Not shy about sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of her life, Perell shares helpful and thought-provoking advice for taking that next career 'jump' while also exploring the journeys of some of the business world's most successful entrepreneurs from Netflix's Reed Hastings to the UK's own James Dyson. A strong thought starter for anyone who fancies shaking things up come autumn after a well-deserved summer break.


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