Books are great sources of inspiration on any freelancer’s journey. Every so often, I like to review some of my recent reads that I’ve found helpful to my own freelancing career. Here are four books for freelancers that I highly recommend to help you advance your life and career goals!
Author: Ayse Birsel
(Don’t confuse this one with another book with a similar title, Designing Your Work Life, which is also pretty good.)
When I took a weekend off to clear my head and dream up new ideas and possibilities for my business, I brought this book along with me.
The author is an industrial engineer. She recommends using design thinking to first deconstruct and then reconstruct all the aspects of your life.
Birsel provides a sequence of exercises to lead you through the process. You’ll learn to think about different perspectives as you consider the various parts of your life and values. The goal is to help you intentionally piece together a new life plan, and even a life philosophy.
I’ve read quite a few books like this, so it was nice to discover a variety of exercises I’d never encountered. For example, Birsel incorporates drawing into some of the exercises, which gave me a chance to flex a muscle I don’t often use.
Even if you usually get ebooks, I recommend splurging on this one in print. That way you can complete the exercises right in the book.
Author: Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss gained fame by writing one of the original “life design” books, “The Four-Hour Workweek.” He has also written and published some other books about crafting a more ideal life. Even though I’ll admit I’m a bit too lazy to follow all of his advice, I appreciate his insights. And this book delivered.
“Tribe of Mentors” consists of Q&As with over-achievers and experts in a wide variety of fields. Skateboarding, cooking, venture capital, and outdoor survival. Each conversation reveals things like the habits which have had the greatest impact on their life, or which books they recommend most often.
It’s quick and easy to pick up this book when you have a few spare minutes because each interviewee has just a short section. This feature makes it one of the most accessible books for freelancers on this list.
I bookmarked several pages because of the useful advice, insightful ideas, or book recommendations I want to follow up on.
Even if you prefer print books, I recommend this one as an ebook. The hardcover version is a whopping 624 pages!
Author: Shane Snow
I read an Amazon review of this one before I bought it. The reviewer objected to the fact that the author doesn’t hell you how to make “smartcuts,” but instead only gave examples.
After reading the book for myself, I assure you: that’s actually the point.
“Smartcuts”—which are juxtaposed against shortcuts—are unexpected career moves which can help someone get further, faster. The moves might be lateral, but they still help you get ahead more quickly than a more conventional pathway.
For example, instead of someone gradually (albeit steadily) climbing the corporate ladder, a smartcut might be for them to start their own business, sell it, and then take a position as a CEO at another company. (This example isn’t in the book, but it gives you a taste of what to expect from the book.)
Try this book out if you want to be inspired to make a smart cut of your own. You’ll learn from the career paths of people like Michelle Phan, or the growth of SpaceX. Snow even showcases the Cuban Revolution to illustrate a smartcut.
Author: Chris Bailey
I absolutely love productivity books. In fact I should probably spend more time implementing the ideas rather than reading yet another one! This book stands out as a great book for freelancers because the author actually tested a variety of productivity techniques. He took a year to try them out, and this book is a report on what worked—and what didn’t.
You’ve probably seen a few of these ideas before. But since Bailey presents them by sharing additional information about how he implemented each one, the result is a very interesting read. It’s well worth your time.
Your turn! Have you read any good books for freelancers you’d like to recommend to the Fired Up Freelance community? Let us know in the comments below!