Growing up I always had a book on my nightstand. On summer vacations when the only distraction was a meal or two, I'd read about five books a week. Books were a huge part of my life until I was forced to read so much in school that it left little time for reading on my own terms.
Recently, my passion for reading was reignited. I was determined to “unlearn” some of the things I learned. I wanted to, in a sense, find evidence of a truth that was just a mere glimmer of a spark inside my soul. I wanted to believe that I'd be able to turn a blind eye to 60-hour work weeks, mere minutes each day with my kids and the incessant, nagging, haunting repeat of negative voices in my brain.
For anyone who has worked a large percentage of their life at a job that was unrewarding, unfulfilling and seemingly a means to a weekend of menial tasks required before the workweek starts again, you know what I mean.
Okay let's shake off that negativity. Cause I've got some truly awesome business and life books for photographers that rocked my world. They'll rock yours, too.
I'm putting these in the order that I actually read them. I don't have favorites or a list of top fives. These are all equally fab in my, ha, book.
Book 1: Different
If you've listened to any of my webinars or followed me for any length of time, you know that I scream about this book from the hilltops. Different by Youngme Moon is the quintessential marketing book that is critical for anyone who has an interest in marketing or who markets their own business. This video she made gives you a great quick peek at what her book is about.
I also had the chance to see her speak about a year ago. I loved her so much, it was all I could do to keep myself from plowing onto the stage like it was a hardcore rock show and stage dive into a sea of business peeps.
That would've been weird. Glad I didn't.
My big takeaway from Different: I should have saved that $50,000 I spent on grad school and spent the couple of bucks to read this instead. Seriously. It talks about the critically important parts of marketing and leaves all the, shall we say, BS behind.
Book 2: The Art Of Earning
The Art of Earning by Tara Gentile was the therapy I needed at just the right time (for like ridiculously cheaper than I ever thought I'd buy therapy for). In this e-book, she attacks the often lame perception that people have about their worth, the value of their services and how they should price themselves. Truthfully, I still struggle with little conversations in my head about pricing and worth. Reflecting on what I learned in this book helps me get over those thoughts every single time.
That's what I mean about this book offering a bit of therapy.
I had the chance to see Tara speak in Philly about 7 months ago, as well. It was great to get to chat with her one-on-one afterward about why she wrote The Art of Earning. In her words, she was finding herself hearing “valuation” dilemmas and head trash from so many of her clients, that she figured she should write about it and help people get over it already!
My big takeaway from The Art Of Earning: we are all the biggest offenders of limiting our own abilities to earn more money. We need to get over it and get ready to take on the world, instead.
Book 3: Crush It!
Albeit a bit dated (meaning one small part in this book speaks about Twitter as a “new social platform”), this book had some awesome content about hustle and being true to your own self. I tend to read a lot of female authors, but found Gary to have a tender side and a true willingness to want to teach from the heart through stories about his own experiences.
In Crush It! he talks about working in his family's wine store in New York and using video and YouTube to do something completely different than anyone else in their industry had done up until that time.
Now an author of multiple books, he travels the country speaking about it. What I really liked about Gary is how unapologetic he is about himself. He talked about how others thought his video set should be more polished and professional, and how he refused to censor his profanity-laden mouth as his audience grew by the thousands.
My big takeaway from Crush It!: don't underestimate the power of hustling and being true to yourself (and no one else). With elbow grease and creativity, everyone is capable of achieving anything.
Book 4: The Fire Starter Sessions
This is a deep kick-in-the-guts-and-pants-at-the-same-time read. In The Fire Starter Sessions, Danielle LaPorte describes how she used to work one-on-one with people “stuck” in their professional lives. What she noticed is that everyone had a small fire burning inside of them that, at one point or another, was suppressed and repressed. No matter how small the fire was, it never went away. When life created a series of events, people started noticing that fire again and wanted to inflame it, but didn't quite feel like they had permission to.
In this book, Danielle gives us all permission (even though we don't need it from anybody, truthfully).
What she does so beautifully, however, is step-by-step she goes through the same program she used to work her clients through. It offers a lot of introspection, guidance and makes the thoughts that once seemed real and absolute, disappear into the vast fog of sillyness.
My big takeaway from The Fire Starter Sessions: all of us let other people's opinions mess us up at one point or another. This book helped make that inner voice louder and stronger than any other voice out there.
Book 5: May Cause Miracles
I'm still in the middle of this book. It's the most “woo woo” of the entire bunch. What I mean by that is it's very deep, very spiritual and might be a bit too much so for some (even me).
If you tend to look at meditative thinking as something that will make no difference, you might not make it far enough in this book to see a difference. However, I'm personally looking past that myself, because I see the value in the state that the author is trying to get the reader to by the end.
In May Cause Miracles, Gabrielle Bernstein takes us on a journey that most people otherwise wouldn't take. It's a journey familiar to extreme yogis and meditative gurus… but for you and I? Not so much.
It is proven that within 40 days of repeating an activity or way of thinking, it creates a shift inside of us that has greater chance of permanency. So in her book, Gabrielle sets up 40 days of very short morning, mid-day and evening exercises that briefly change your thinking. One day at a time.
My big takeaway (so far) from May Cause Miracles: I do see some perspectives shifting already, and I'm only into the 20th day of the 40 days. As I mentioned, it's a bit “woo woo” and sometimes, truthfully, I feel silly. But, I'm trusting in this book to shift my outlook on some views, because, honestly, without these 40 days of exercises and meditations, I'm not sure how else they'd shift.
If you're like me, you've got too many books you'd like to read and not enough time. If you love Amazon, then I highly recommend you do what I do. Create an Amazon Wish List and pick away at them one at a time.
What I Did With Everything I Learned
I took a lot of the learnings from the books above and got inspired to write a brief book for photographers, too. It isn't a how-to book, but rather an inspirational slant on what you need in order to be a successful photographer today.
I recently launched it, and it's called: The Art Of A Photo Business: What Every Photographer Wished They Learned Before Starting Their Photography Business.
What books have you read that inspired you to think differently? I'm always looking for new ones to add to my Wish List, so submit your favs below!