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Our list of top 30 best books for freelancers

If you have read our fantastic Freelance Business book, you may also be interested in other  business related books. We’ve updated our list of books which we think are awesome! Some of these suggestions come from the lovely freelancers in our Slack channel – join them for the chance to share your knowledge with other freelancers!

Disclaimer: unless provided by a speaker or an attendee of one of our events, we copied the description from the book itself. Some descriptions are written by our team.

Freelance Business Community
| May 17, 2022
Freelance Business Community
May 17, 2022

Growing a Business by Paul Hawken

Step back in time to 1987 with this classic. Before the time of social media, endless newsletters, and self-proclaimed experts selling you advice on anything under the sun, Growing a Business offered a clear outline of the process of starting and growing a business. From finding your big idea and seeking out the best partners, to managing your finances and expanding your market, Paul Hawken explains the processes in plain and simple language. Yes, some aspects of running a business are quite different today thanks to technology and the internet, but its honest, down-to-earth approach of Hawken’s has a timeless appeal that will help any entrepreneur thinking of running their own business.


Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

Do you feel like you’re too old to start a business or begin work in a new area? Epstein claims most fulfilled and successful experts did too! In fact, most of them sampled different roles and careers before settling on one path. It may seem messy, but this broad approach to work will teach you more nuanced skills, which you can apply to solve more problems. The range will prove that starting later in life is actually an advantage and will show you how to leverage your previous skills to new challenges. The fastest-growing tech companies were founded not by college-aged geniuses, but by people with an average age of 45!


The Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight to Impact + Wealth by David C. Baker

While Range encouraged you to sample lots of positions before settling, The Business of Expertise will teach you how to make the most out of the skill you choose to focus on. If you want to position yourself as an expert and thought-leader, few books will offer more concrete and actionable advice on the topic. The Business of Expertise offers plenty of tips and exercises that will force you to ask some uncomfortable questions and highlight areas for improvement. If you’re planning to leverage your expertise when selling yourself or your business, this is the guide for you!


Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Miller Donald

Do you feel like your brand lacks character? Do you want to make it resonate more with customers? Ex-screenwriter Donald Miller understands how stories work and how they can be applied to marketing. His practical guide will tell you all you need to know about using storytelling when describing yourself and your work, and hopefully connect better with customers and clients. Inside the book, you will find a seven-step plan to help you turn your brand into a story and simple exercises to simplify your message and write punchier copy. In our overcrowded world, storytelling is one of the best ways to stand out.


Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss

Many freelancers struggle with negotiating. Luckily, a former FBI hostage negotiator is here to help. Chris Voss’ Never Split the Difference is based on his many years of experience negotiating in hostage situations. It will reveal field-tested principles that can help both in saving people’s lives and discussing the terms of a freelance agreement. Voss will teach you to use tactical empathy to understand your client’s concerns and convince them you have the best solution to their problems. As agreeing on work terms in freelancing is often just as important as the work itself, this book will benefit all freelancers. If you need more help communicating with people from different cultures, you can also check The Culture Map by Erin Meyer.


Deep Focus: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

It’s a no-brainer why this book is on the list – as freelancers, it is up to us to switch into “work mode” and shut out distractions. For some, this can be a challenge. This is why Cal Newport’s book is so useful – it will help you make drastic changes in the way you work, which will lead to an increase in productivity. Mixing psychological insights and plain common sense, it will teach you how to use isolation productively, how to build a routine, how to use the pomodoro technique, and eliminate distractions.


The Freelance Bible: Everything You Need to Go Solo in Any Industry by Alison Grade

In The Freelance Bible, award-winning entrepreneur and freelancer, Alison Grade, guides you through absolutely everything that you need to know to start your successful self-employed life.


Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine

In his popular Stanford University lectures, Shirzad Chamine reveals how to achieve one’s true potential for both professional success and personal fulfillment.


The Freelance Way by Robert Vlach

The most comprehensive book for freelancers ever written. Packed with proven freelance know-how, including exclusive advice provided by world-class experts David Allen, Adam Grant, Austin Kleon, and David H. Hansson.


So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Mentioned too many times by too many people, so probably too good to ignore it.


The Brain by David Eagleman

Neuroscientist David Eagleman explores the interior of the brain to reveal why people feel and think the way they do.


How to be everything by Emilie Wapnick

Having a lot of different interests, projects and curiosities doesn’t make you a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none.” Your endless curiosity doesn’t mean you are broken or flaky. What you are is a multipotentialite.


The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

It explores the science behind habit creation and reformation.


Atomic Habits by James Clear

Transform your life with tiny changes in behavior – starting now.


Company of One — Paul Jarvis

Jarvis explains how you can find the right pathway to do the same, including planning how to set up your shop, determining your desired revenues, dealing with unexpected crises, keeping your key clients happy, and of course, doing all of this on your own.


Cash Money Freelancing — Tom Albrighton

76 bright ideas to make more money from your freelance business.


Content DNA: Using consistency and congruence to be the same shape everywhere — John Espirian

How can we compete in today’s fast-moving market? There are more platforms, more users, and more content than ever before. How do we stand out? What can we do to make ourselves noticed, remembered, and preferred? Content DNA provides the answers. By focusing on two key elements – consistency and congruence – you’ll learn how to define a recognizable “shape” for your business. You’ll discover the building blocks of your brand and get clarity on expressing your value through a short, memorable tagline.


Thinking, Fast and Slow — Daniel Kahneman (Nobel prize winner )

The phenomenal international bestseller – 2 million copies sold – will change the way you make decisions.


Alchemy — Rory Sutherland

”Great for both personal and professional development, really, and help understand how developing any business is about understanding how people think and why they behave the way they do.” Victoria Matey


Behavior Business’ — Richard Chataway

In the last 50 years, we have learned more about how we behave than over the previous 5,000. This book shows how behavioral science has revolutionized our understanding of how people really think (or don’t) – and how we can use those insights in our businesses to influence behavior and gain competitive advantage.


StandOut 2.0 — Marcus Buckingham

StandOut 2.0 is a revolutionary book and tool that enables you to identify your strengths, and those of your team, and act on them.


How To Fly A Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery — Kevin Ashton

‘Everyone should read this book and as young as possible – it busts the destructive myths around ‘genius’ and ‘cleverness’ and reveals our universal, down-to-earth ability to step, correct, and iterate, to cover ground until valuable results are reached — everyone can do great things, clever is not needed.‘ Torsten Louland


How to decide — Annie Duke

How to Decide is a delightful, practical guide to making better decisions in a complex world. Annie Duke explains exactly how to cut through the biases that prevent most of us from making wise choices and offers readers a toolkit for learning from the past and tackling the future in an uncertain world. Recommendation from the Magician Alex Si


You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake: How Biases Distort Decision-Making and What You Can Do to Fight Them — Olivier Sibony

Discover nine common business decision-making traps – and learn practical tools for avoiding them – in this “masterful,” research-based guide from a professor of strategic thinking. (Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow). Recommendation from the Magician Alex Si


Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today’s Rip-off Artists — Frank Abagnale

This book reveals the methods used by the world’s most skillful con artists to steal billions of dollars each year and teaches five simple rules that will help us protect our money. Recommended by Francis West, cyber security pro and IT thought leader.


Predictably Irrational — Dan Ariely

”A sometimes shocking but relevant eye-opener; busted a few assumptions for me about what would and would not work. Fascinating and useful, especially for B2C.” Torsten Louland


The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, Revised: Make Great Money. Work the Way You Like. Have the Life You Want — Elaine Pofeldt

The self-employment revolution is here. Learn the latest pioneering tactics from real people who are bringing in $1 million a year on their own terms.


The three secrets of resilient people — Lucy Hone

Dr. Lucy Hone has spent most of her life researching and speaking about resilience. Her knowledge would be put through its most stringent test when her 12-year-old daughter tragically died in a car crash.


Peak Performance – Brad Stulberg, Steve Magness

What does it take to go from good to great? Stullberg and Magness will tell you!


Pitch Anything — Oren Klaff

”Good stuff for when you need to be persuasive and to know how to hold people’s attention, e.g. dealing with crocodile brain; the author is a bit of an ego, but despite that, at the point when your business is depending on successful pitch, this has valuable things on offer, as well as insight’s into Joe Public’s astounding ability to ignore what you are offering, and how you can work around it.” Torsten Louland


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