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Best books to read for business (not just voice over)

Updated: Jul 2

Here's a bunch of books for small businesses that I've read/listened to. They're not themed around voice over but all of them have helped my career in one way or another. If you do want to see some voiceover specific books, have a look at this post about things you can buy for me... I mean, your voiceover loved one.

There's something in the list below for everyone, I'm sure - focussing, prioritising, being nicer (come on, we can all use that!), adapting to change, giving and, well... just read the blog.

I've included a bunch of horrific selfies to prove that I've read these.

Jump to:

Best motivational books for business

1. The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod

Buy this book.

There's no other book that has improved me (and my life) more than this one. I really can't say enough about it. Just know that after reading this (the quickest I've ever read a book) and implementing the practices, I became happier, easier to be around, more successful and suffered less from stress/anxiety/depression.

In essence it's a motivational book that encourages you to transform your life by creating a morning routine. Simple. One that kick starts the day and leads to growth and success.

The Miracle Morning

Key Themes:

  • Personal Development: The book says that personal development is essential for success and that the morning is the best time for this. If you hate early starts, get over it!

  • Morning Routine: Hal shows you the Life S.A.V.E.R.S. routine, which stands for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (writing). These aren't new practices but putting them together and doing them one after the other is a punch in the face of getting out of bed the wrong side!

  • Overcoming Challenges: Hal's personal story of overcoming adversity, including a near-fatal car accident and financial crisis, emphasizes resilience.


  • The Miracle Morning Origin: Hal explains how hitting rock bottom led him to develop his morning routine out of desperation for change.

  • The Life S.A.V.E.R.S.: Each component of the routine is designed to help individuals start their day with purpose and intention, leading to greater success in all areas of life.

  • Overcoming Mediocrity: The book challenges readers to rise above mediocrity by not settling for less than they are capable of achieving.

This book came to me just at the right time. Struggling to get my business off the ground was becoming too much to cope with. The morning routine immediately gave me focus, cleared my mind of clutter and increased my productivity. My income doubled after reading it. Not a boast, but a fact to inspire you to change.

I was dubious too. I never believed in stuff like this. But it works.


Buy in paperback / hardback (extortionately priced at time of writing)/ audiobook

2. Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide - John Cleese

Everyone has a different way of getting in the creative zone. But sometimes, when it gets real foggy, you feel like you need a push. This lovely little book offers insights from a comedy legend into his process of creating.

Key Themes:

  • Creativity as a Skill: Basil challenges the idea that creativity is a rare gift. Instead, he asserts that it’s a skill that anyone can develop. Nice!

  • Understanding the Creative Process: Drawing from his vast experience as a writer, he shares insights into how our minds work during the search for inspiration.

  • Overcoming Creative Blocks: He offers guidance on overcoming obstacles and recognizing promising ideas. Stare at a blank page no longer!


  • Creativity: Is accessible to everyone.

  • Mindset/environment: Get this right and creativity will blossom.

  • Writers block: Recognize when you’ve hit a creative wall.

  • Method: Learn to refine and act on your ideas.


Best business books for startups

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

This is the first "business" book I ever bought after a recommendation from an extremely successful businessman I met on a networking event. It was written AGES ago - 1936. (Wow, I've just realised it's nearly a hundred years old!) However, it's still extremely relevant today because it's all about humans.

It's a timeless self-help book with advice on improving relationships and becoming an effective communicator.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Key Themes:

  • Interpersonal Skills: The book emphasizes the importance of building rapport, expressing genuine interest in others, and recognizing the value of appreciation rather than flattery.

  • Communication: It highlights active listening, empathy, and the significance of using a person’s name as key components of effective communication. (I still find it tricky to say someone's name to them! Work in progress.)

  • Influence: It provides strategies for persuading people and winning them over to your way of thinking without causing resentment. Tip: DON'T ARGUE!

  • Leadership: It also touches on leadership qualities, such as how to inspire and motivate others through understanding and respect.


  • Techniques in Handling People: Dale advises against criticism and encourages understanding the perspectives and desires of others instead.

  • Ways to Make People Like You: Simple actions like smiling (a really important technique in voiceover too!), remembering names, and encouraging others to talk about themselves (ask loads of questions) can build likability.

  • How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking: Avoiding arguments, showing respect for others’ opinions, and admitting if you're wrong (tricky for lots of us).

  • Be a Leader: How to change people without offending them, such as talking about your own mistakes before talking about the other person.

From my perspective as a voice over artist, the book helped me with networking, negotiating, and collaborating. It helps you come across as likeable, good humoured and happy.

The power of a positive personal brand cannot be underestimated.


2. Eat That Frog - Brian Tracy

You'd be forgiven for thinking all businessy type books say the same thing, just using different words. You'd be forgiven for thinking it's all really obvious stuff that you know already. But sometimes, it takes being told by someone else to actually do it.

Eat That Frog is exactly that - pretty simple, obvious stuff. But I wasn't doing any of the things it talks about. If you're a procrastinator, like I was, working on things that aren't driving your business forward, doing 100 tiny things a day instead of one big thing, read this now.

It focuses on productivity and time management by using a metaphor of eating a frog, which represents your most significant and daunting task of the day.

Eat That Frog

Key Themes:

  • Time Management: The book stresses the importance of prioritizing tasks and tackling the most challenging ones first (the frogs).

  • Procrastination: It gives strategies to overcome procrastination by sticking to the principle of doing the most important tasks first. (Always review this, it's very easy to let it slip!)

  • Goal Setting: Brian emphasizes the necessity of setting clear goals and targets and developing a plan to hit them.


  • Planning: The book advises starting with a plan and setting clear goals. Writing down goals is crucial as it increases the likelihood of achieving them.

  • Prioritizing: The ABCDE method is introduced for prioritizing tasks, with ‘A’ tasks being the most important.

  • Discipline: Maintaining a positive attitude and discipline is essential for productivity and accomplishing tasks.

Eat That Frog is incredibly useful for handling a busy schedule and making sure that important tasks get done and aren't put off and off and off and off... The advice here helps you focus on you're most impactful activities, leading to greater efficiency, better performances and a more successful career.

When partnered with The Miracle Morning, this is VERY effective.


Buy in paperback / audiobook  

3. The Go-Giver - Bob Burg and John David Mann 

Another easy read for me this one. The Go-Giver is a story with a message, rather than a "do this, don't do that" business book. It helps to shift the usual focus from getting success to giving value.

The Go Giver

Key Themes:

  • Value-Centric Success: The emphasis here is that true success comes from providing value to others rather than solely focusing on personal gain. Don't be so selfish!

  • Five Laws of Stratospheric Success: Joe is shown these principles to help him toward a more fulfilling and prosperous life.


  • The Law of Value

    • Bob and John show worth is determined by how much more value you give than what you receive in payment. So look for ways to GIVE GIVE GIVE! And then do it some more.

  • The Law of Compensation

    • Your income depends on how many people you serve and how well you serve them. Obv. So if you aren't making enough money, get more clients!

  • The Law of Influence

    • Your influence grows when you prioritize other people’s interests. Become a connector of people. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

  • The Law of Authenticity

    • Your most valuable gift is your (urgh, here comes that word) authentic (sorry) self.

  • The Law of Receptivity

    • Effective giving involves staying open to receiving. You know how when you buy a certain type of car, you see it loads and loads. Embrace that with your work.


Best business books for entrepreneurs

1. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - Seth Godin 

This has a lot of words for what can probably be summarised on a few pages, but I still found it useful for community building, both small and large. It also does well to challenge conventional views on leadership.


Key Themes:

  • Tribe Formation: Tribes are groups of people who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. They're everywhere, both inside and outside organizations, across cultures, and around the world. If you're not part of one, get stuck in. Or start your own. I did.

  • Leadership Responsibility: Anyone can become a leader!

  • The Power of Connection: Use tech/social media to facilitate tribe connections and amplify their impact.


  • Tribe: A community united by shared interests and values, eg. a voiceover accountability group.

  • Leadership: Connecting with a tribe and championing an idea. Someone has to start it and drive it forward.

  • Fear: Often holds us back from leading, but those who challenge the status quo can drive change. Be brave. What's the worst that can happen?

  • Authority: This isn’t necessary - skill, attitude, and initiative matter more.

There's some pretty obvious stuff in here but my main takeaway is this:

"Without leaders, there are no followers."

You'll find this handy if you want to run or already run a networking group. It will probably make you realise you're already doing good things. Worth looking at even for small communities like accountability groups.

2. Who Moved My Cheese? - Dr Spencer Johnson

This is an interesting one. It's VERY easy to read. Sometimes feels like a story for kids. And actually, saying that, it is for any age because of the lesson that it teaches - the importance of adapting to change and embracing it in order to grow and innovate. This is something that voice over artists should really think about at the moment with the juggernaut of AI voice technology.

This is one of the books I gave away because I'm nice. I learnt that from How to Win Friends and Influence People. So here's a picture of me moving cheese into my mouth. You can see from my cheeks there's already some in there, this was the second attempt.

An idiot eating cheese

Key Themes:

  • Adapting to Change: Spencer tells us to be adaptable when faced with change. The characters who quickly adjust to the disappearance of their cheese do much better.

  • Acceptance of Impermanence: Good things don't always last, and it’s essential to accept that resources, relationships, and situations change. That's life. Being prepared to find new ways is crucial.

  • Taking Action: Sniff and Scurry (the mice), immediately search for new cheese when their stash runs out. The Littlepeople, however, waste time refusing to change and blame others. I'm sure you know someone like this.

  • Overcoming Fear: Fear of change can be worse than the situation itself. Embracing change and letting go of old ways leads to growth and success. Stay positive in the face of adversity. JUST DO IT. Wait, I think someone used that catchphrase already.


  • Wants: The book is a parable set in a maze, featuring a search for cheese. Yes. Don't let our desires cloud our judgement. Plus cheese.

  • Human Nature: It's natural to become complacent, become settled in your ways when things are going well. But don't leave it too late to think about "what if?"

  • Adaptability: When the good times end, adapt quickly, don't resist change and don't waste time! Be proactive and overcome a fear of succeeding.

If you've always wanted to read a book that uses cheese as a metaphor for what we want in life, then this is the one for you. 

This helped me recently to move with AI, not against it.

Speaking of AI, if you're a creative, you need to get on board or you'll get left behind. (AI told me to say that).



There you have it. Some of the best books for small business. A nice collection to get you started. I'd love to hear what books you've found useful, so please drop me a line and I'll add them to my list! (My list is currently empty).


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Martin Whiskin voiceover artist talking into a Rode NT1-a microphone
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