Six Essential Books to Inspire your Contractor Career
American business tycoon Warren Buffett says that aspiring entrepreneurs should read 500 pages a day. And, while that might seem like a lofty goal, the knowledge and inspiration you’ll find in a good book is undoubtedly fuel for your business.
But, when you’re running your own contracting or freelancing business, just having the time to figure out which books to read can feel like something of a luxury.
To help, we’ve researched and read many of the top recommendations across the web and distilled them down to this list. The books range from biographies to business manuals, and each one is guaranteed to inspire, inform and entertain.
The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
As a co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman knows a thing or two about scaling a business in an ultra-competitive sector.
For The Start-up of You, Hoffman joined forces with author Ben Casnocha, creating a guide to using a start-up mindset in every aspect of your career.
Written in an approachable, anecdotal style, The Start-up of You is packed full of tips and entrepreneurial advice that you can implement into your work. A great read to kick-start a change in your career mindset.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
The modern world is full of distractions, and that makes getting things done harder. In Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport addresses this with a series of strategies that help you to concentrate on a task for longer.
All of Newport’s books are worth reading (as is his excellent blog), but Deep Work is revelatory. It can be read in a day, and it is packed full of strategies to help you focus on getting your best work done.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
The story of how Nike came to dominate the sports apparel world is an unusual and inspiring one. In Shoe Dog by Nike founder Phil Knight, the trials and tribulations of taking a one-person business to a global empire are uncovered, warts and all.
Not only does Shoe Dog provide a fascinating insight into the legendary tale of Nike, but it also offers sage advice on just how much dedication and sweat is required to achieve business success. You’ll feel exhausted and invigorated after reading it.
ReWork by Jason Fried & David Heinmeier Hansson
When you’re deep into the hard work of making a success of your contracting business, your reasons for following that path can become clouded. Luckily, ReWork by Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is here to bring those goals back into sharp focus.
ReWork highlights the tools and tactics anyone can use to get their project or company thriving quickly—all without needing to put in 80-hour weeks.
If you like your books digestible and instantly actionable, this is a must-read.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Few entrepreneurs are as lauded as the Apple founder Steve Jobs. His views on everything from design to spirituality have been written about for many years—nowhere with more authority than in Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
Riveting and obsessively researched, Steve Jobs uncovers the man behind the myth. The book is brutally honest, and lessons can be learnt on everything from the value of artistry to the price of obsession.
At almost 600 pages long, it takes investment from the reader, but the payoff is more than worth it.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
All too often, we see genius as something distant and mysterious—a level us mere mortals could never wish to attain. Outliers by New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell is the antidote to that thinking.
By exploring stories covering everyone from Bill Gates to The Beatles, Gladwell highlights the impact of practice, circumstance, and attitude on success. While the book offers some sobering advice—including the now-famous remark that ‘mastery requires 10,000 hours of practice—it is inspirational nonetheless.
It might feel counterproductive to block out time to read while you’re working on getting your contracting business established. But it’s an ideal way to focus your thoughts, provide inspiration, and reinvigorate your sense of ambition. Every page is a building block for your future.
If you’d like some more reading that’s directly related to contracting, sign up today to receive a free copy of our contractor’s guide.