Favourite books for business and life

Favourite books for business and life

I wanted to do something a little different with this post. I wanted to share some of my favourite business or life books. These are books to help you live your life to the fullest, whether it be getting your finances sorted, balancing your business and life, or just finding the people who make you shine. I’ve got a few books from some of my favourite people to share with you.

So, let’s get into it! Also, there seems to be a huge lean towards finance or money books, but know that it’s simply because they help you manage different parts of your financial life. I should also note that I know all but one of these authors personally – so I’m also supporting some friends by sharing their books.

Unf*ck your finances by Mel Browne + the workbook

Unf*ck your finances by Mel Browne

I met Mel years ago whilst at the Business Chicks 9toThrive event, and thanks to my job at the time with Finder, I decided to chat with Mel about the RBA and interest rates. We’ve since run into each other at different events and chatted on socials. Through these interactions and her amazing advice, I decided Mel would be my personal money guru, whether she knew it or not. The thing I love most about Mel is her no-bullshit approach to finances; avid it’s partially due to her past life as a financial advisor, so she knows the line between financial advice and general advice well. But Mel doesn’t hold back in how she tells you to fix your finances; she’s also very much pro-treating yourself and not denying yourself things simply to get out of a financial black hole. She believes in balance. Now, she has a full range of books to help you get a handle on your finances, but I guess I love Unf#*k your finances the most because of the curse word use.

Summary of Unf*ck your finances + Workbook

Unf*ck Your Finances by Melissa Browne isn’t your dad’s financial guide. This refreshing and honest book tackles your finances with a clear, easy-to-follow approach and a healthy dose of humour. Whether you’re drowning in debt or simply want to get a handle on your money, Browne’s book (and accompanying workbook) can help you achieve financial freedom.

The Book: Your Essential Guide

  • Ditch the Budget Blues: Browne offers alternative strategies for financial planning that work for you, replacing the dreaded “budget” word.
  • Become Financially Savvy: Learn the secrets to setting up smart savings accounts, making informed investments, and navigating the stock market.
  • Actionable Steps: The book includes a roadmap to financial wellness, featuring a 30-day financial detox, money mindfulness exercises, and goal-setting activities.
  • Expert Guidance: Browne, a financial educator and accountant, tackles everything from managing debt to navigating money with partners.

The Workbook: Put Knowledge into Action

The companion workbook takes Browne’s book a step further, providing practical exercises and worksheets to help you:

  • Uncover Your Money Story: Identify your past experiences and beliefs surrounding money.
  • Craft a Financial Vision: Define your financial goals and dreams.
  • Develop Financial Habits: Build a solid foundation for long-term financial success.
  • Track Your Progress: Monitor your spending and measure your achievements.

Unf*ck Your Finances is more than just a book and workbook – it’s a financial transformation program.

Chill and Prosper – Denise Duffield-Thomas

Chill and Prosper by Denise Duffield-Thomas

Denise and I have often had great discussions about current events, especially calling out idiots online, which, despite having a huge platform, she does regularly. I’ve never met her in person, but I’ve been a fan for years. Beyond this online friendship, I consider Denise the person I want to be when I grow up and my money mindset guru helping me to break the mental barriers to financial freedom. I’ve got all of her books as audiobooks and love listening to her dulcet Aussie accent talk me through how to break through the money mindset shifts I need to and live a life of freedom. Chill and Prosper is her latest book and an update to her previous bestseller, Chillprenuer. I love this idea of being an entrepreneur who can also chill out. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live a quiet life doing what you want and only working when you truly need to because your business is built in a way that means it makes you money whilst you relax and actually enjoy life? Now, isn’t that the dream?

Summary of Chill and Prosper by Denise Duffield-Thomas

Feeling burnt out and stuck in a hustle culture trap? Denise Duffield-Thomas, the “lazy millionaire” and money mindset coach, offers a refreshing perspective in her book Chill and Prosper. This revised edition of Chillpreneur is your guide to building a successful business and life you love, all on your own terms.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Mindset Shift: Learn to overcome limiting beliefs and cultivate a millionaire mindset for abundance.
  • Actionable Strategies: Discover practical exercises and case studies to implement in your business.
  • Business Model Magic: Find a unique business model that aligns with your personality and lifestyle.
  • Financial Freedom: Gain the confidence to set premium prices and achieve financial independence.
  • Marketing Made Easy: Explore effective marketing strategies to reach your ideal clients.

Chill and Prosper is divided into four sections: Mindset, Business Models, Money, and Marketing. This comprehensive guide equips you with the tools and knowledge you need to succeed, whether you’re a business newbie or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to take things to the next level.

More than just business success, this book is about creating a life of fulfilment. Denise, a self-made millionaire and mom of three, shows you how to achieve financial freedom and a purposeful life without sacrificing everything you enjoy.

Become A Business Money Magnet by Justine McLean

Become a Business Money Magnet by Justine McLean

Justine is my business money guru. I’ve introduced you to my personal money guru, Mel, and my money mindset guru, Denise – Justine helps me keep my business financials sorted. Her book Become a Business Money Magnet is my go-to for helping keep my business finances sorted. I first met Justine when she was still working as a copywriter but also doing her thing with her bookkeeping business. We were both Northern Beaches members of Kate Toons Clever Copywriting Community. But our personal friendship isn’t why I trust Justine with helping me sort my business finances it’s her over 30 years of business experience across multiple businesses. I mean, if there’s something that’s happened in business, Justine has probably experienced it. I love how she brings all of her experience together, as well as her expertise from the training she did to become a qualified bookkeeper, to help you really understand the figures on those things called P&Ls (profit & loss statements).

I may leave all the actual organising of my business finances to my accountant who acts as a virtual CFO, but with Justine’s help in her Business Money Magnet Program, I have been able to also understand the numbers more. With the Become a Business Money Magnet book, Justine has taken the knowledge and advice she gives us in the program and put it all into a book for you to consume at your own pace. Even if you’re not handling the books, you still need to understand so you can tell when things are good or bad. I was able to get clear on the value I truly bring to my clients and feel more confident charging my worth, not just my worth but the prices I need to so that I cover my income, super and taxes – things I didn’t think about when I started freelancing. It’s been absolutely amazing for me, especially this past year, which has been a struggle, to say the least.

Summary of Become a Business Money Magnet by Justine McLean

Feeling lost in the world of business finance? Justine McLean, a financial guru with over 30 years of experience, offers a lifeline in her book Become a Business Money Magnet.

This book isn’t about complex financial theory – it’s about practical tools and strategies to take control of your business finances. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, McLean can help you:

  • Master pricing: Learn to set prices that reflect your value and ensure profitability.
  • Develop healthy money habits: Break free from limiting beliefs and build a solid financial foundation.
  • Improve financial literacy: Gain the confidence to understand and manage your business finances.

McLean’s approach is all about empowerment. With relatable case studies, actionable steps, and a friendly, approachable style, Become a Business Money Magnet promises to banish your financial confusion and propel your business towards success.

Six Figures While You Sleep – Kate Toon

Six Figures While you Sleep by Kate Toon

Rounding out the gurus I like to refer to for all the things I often need help with is Kate Toon – she’s my all-around business guru. From branding to building a business to marching to the beat of your own drum rather than following the crowd, Kate is the queen of it all. She’s also an awesome dancer and hoola-hoper. I first stumbled on Kate when she was promoting Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur, which I loved because, along with Denise’s idea of being a Chillprenuer, I also love the concept of being a misfit, one or one that pushes back against the norm. Now she wants to teach me how to make money while I sleep, YES!

Anyway, since that first time I found Kate, I’ve been in her Clever Copywriting Community, where I’ve found many a new friend – and guru like Justine – and now I’m part of her Digital Marketing Collective. One of my favourite things about Kate is how she cultivates these amazing communities full of amazing people always there to support other business owners. No competition, just support. Another thing Kate and I have in common (we actually have a lot, including both being Coasties; you should check out her bookshop in Umina) is our love for SEO (search engine optimisation). I learnt SEO in my time at Finder, and although it was a trial by fire and I learnt a great deal, I still took Kate’s Recipe for SEO Success course as a refresher of my knowledge but also because I knew I’d love how Kate taught the topic.

Although Six Figures While You Sleep is the second book in Kate’s series based on this concept, it’s the one I’m choosing to highlight because it resonates with me as a chronically ill entrepreneur who wants to find ways to make money while I do nothing. If you want to check out all of Kate’s books, you can, but I personally cannot wait to read this one and take it all on board as I build a business that works for me and my energy.

Summary of Six Figures While You Sleep by Kate Toon

Tired of trading your time for dollars? Author Kate Toon, a self-made millionaire, offers a path to financial freedom in her new book, Six Figures While You Sleep. This isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme but a practical guide to turning your existing skills into profitable digital products.

Here’s the gist:

  • Repurpose your expertise: Transform your service-based business (coaching, consulting) into online courses, ebooks, or memberships.
  • Focus on scalability: Digital products allow you to serve more people with less time investment.
  • Actionable insights: Learn about product positioning, pricing, marketing, and customer retention.

While the book promises high profits, it’s honest about the effort required. Building a successful online business takes work, but Toon provides a clear roadmap to get you there.

Intrigued? Six Figures While You Sleep is available for pre-order now! The release is July 2024.

Ikigai, Kaizen & Hansei – The Triad of Timeless Japanese Secrets by Makoto Saito

Ikigai, Kaizen and Hansen by Makoto Saito

Now, to be perfectly honest, I’ve not actually read this book; it’s on my to-be-read list. But in saying that, the core concepts discussed in the book. The three concepts of Ikigai, Kaizen and Hansei resonate with me and how I’d like to live my life in a more fulfilling way. From finding my purpose through Ikigai or starting small daily habits to help improve my life incrementally based on the principles of Kaizen or using daily reflection to analyse my progress, correct my mistakes and plan ahead based on Hansei. Finding a way to live my life more aligned with my core purpose and with goals of small incremental improvements is something I continually strive for.

Summary of Ikigai, Kaizen & Hansei – The Triad of Timeless Japanese Secrets by Makoto Saito

Feeling lost and unsure how to create lasting change? This book dives into three powerful Japanese secrets: Ikigai, Kaizen, and Hansei.

What are these secrets?

  • Ikigai: Discover your purpose and integrate it into your daily life. This section explores the four pillars of Ikigai, provides exercises, and offers career strategies.
  • Kaizen: Embrace continuous improvement through small, daily habits. Learn about the five elements of Kaizen, goal-setting techniques, and productivity tips.
  • Hansei: Utilize daily reflection to analyze progress, correct mistakes, and plan for success. Explore Hansei concepts to strengthen your career and relationships.

This book goes beyond theory, offering practical tools you can use:

  • Daily routines: Start your day with the “Ikigai Awakening” and end it with a restful “Hansei Hour” for reflection.
  • Actionable exercises: Put your learning into practice with goal-setting workshops and Hansei sessions.
  • Real-life inspiration: Find motivation from case studies and success stories of others who have transformed their lives.

This guide is for you if:

  • You’re tired of feeling unfulfilled and directionless.
  • You crave a life filled with purpose and meaning.
  • You’re ready to take action and create lasting change.

Finding Your People: The ultimate guide to friendship by Sally McMullen and Alex Hourigan (SAL & AL)

Finding your people by Sal and Al

These two crazy ladies are two amazing people I worked with in my former life at Finder. I was actually there for the formation of their amazing friendship, and I say it did not really blossom but blew up and exploded into the most amazing connection I’ve ever seen. Sally and I joined the company about the same time and instantly hit it off due to our shared eclectic music taste, ranging from pop bands to punk rock and just general vibes. When Al joined, those two were instantly inseparable; on the other hand, I was already mentally on my way out. I loved Al’s energy and loved working with her during my time as the social media manager and her the shopping and fashion writer.

Having seen this friendship begin in those early days, I can fully attest to the legitimacy of these lovely ladies writing this handbook to help you find your people. Watching them grow from writers at Finder and now running their own successful podcast, Two Broke Chicks, brand Rich in Life Co., and their Twin Flames jewellery collection with Bixby and Co. has been something else. I’m so proud that I know these beautiful women and that they’re having the amazing success they so richly deserve.

Summary of Finding Your People: The Ultimate Guide to Friendship by SAl and al

Feeling lost in the world of friendships? Our social media feeds might overflow with connections, but sometimes, finding those true, lasting friendships feels harder than ever.

Enter Sal and Al, the hosts of the hit podcast Two Broke Chicks. Their new book, Finding Your People, is your ultimate guide to navigating the complexities of platonic relationships. Whether you’re:

  • Struggling to balance friendships with other commitments
  • Facing challenges with a new partner or friend group
  • Unsure how to deal with toxic friendships
  • Feeling lost about making friends as an adult

This book is your BFF. Sal and Al, self-proclaimed “platonic soulmates,” share their hard-earned wisdom and practical advice to help you find, keep, and even gracefully let go of friendships.

Finding Your People tackles real-life situations with an honest and relatable approach. You’ll find:

  • Tools and strategies to cultivate meaningful connections.
  • Tips for navigating conflict and miscommunication.
  • Guidance on recognizing and dealing with toxic friends.
  • Stories and experiences that will make you feel like you’re chatting with your own best friend.

More than just a guide to finding friends, this book is a celebration of friendship. Sal and Al remind us that strong friendships are essential for a happy and fulfilling life.

Well, there you have it, a list of some amazing books to help you win at life, from finances to business to best friends. Let me know what you think of my picks and if you have any picks of your own.

A great exploration of teen girls’ friendships in the modern age

A great exploration of teen girls’ friendships in the modern age

Selfie by Allayne L. Webster

This is another book I picked up as a pseudo-research for Fandom. I wanted to understand how modern authors incorporate social media into their narratives and use them in their stories. After starting to read Selfie by Allanyne L. Webster, I was pleased to find out that the author is Australian because I love supporting Aussie authors. I’m unsure if that connection (being an Aussie reading an Aussie author) helped or hindered my ability to engage with the characters—I live in NSW, not SA, so that could be part of it. The back cover reads:

Dene Walker picked me to be her best friend. She had the whole Tonsley High’s year eight to choose from – and she chose me.
Me!
Tully can’t believe her luck. Dene is famous. Everyone loves her. She has thousands of followers online and hundreds of sponsorship deals. Being best friends with Dene Walker is a dream come true.
Tully is soon hardly aware that her long-time bestie, Kira, exists, as she shapes her own interests and cares to be worthy of Dene’s attention.
But she’s not prepared for the heartache and confusion when Dene’s friendship is not all she imagined it to be.

Allayne L. Webster

It took me a little while to get into the story for this book. It feels like it begins in the middle, in a way. It doesn’t because it starts at the beginning of Tully and Dene’s friendship, but I guess the lack of background about Dene is a bit jarring. We do get some great exposition of Tully’s history. That is handled well, with hints at different things throughout. But it’s not fully fleshed out until Tully has also worked through many of her emotions about these things. 

I love the exploration of female friendships in this book, especially teen girls. Obviously, Dene’s status as an Instagram influencer is very different from most teen girls. Still, there is always the most popular girl in school. Seeing the dynamics between Tully and Dene and how Tully reacts to Maddy entering the picture or how the dynamics between Tully and Kira change depending on what Dene is doing. All of the different dynamics reminded me very much of life as a teen girl navigating through changing friendships and the emotions that come with that. The way your world is lost if you’re fighting with your best friend or they’re not talking to you – such teen girl angst. 

It was interesting that you’re not always in Tully’s corner because of how she treats people around her. Even having that first-person perspective where you know her inner monologue doesn’t make you want to be on her side. But again, this is very apt for teen girl emotions, especially given Tully’s family situation. Eventually, we see Tully get redemption, but the bumps along the way are a bit of a roller coaster of liking and not really liking her. It’s interesting to have a main character not be 100% likable from the drop but also not completely unlikable – but it’s also very accurate with the real world. 

Selfie by Allayne L. Webster

I loved discovering the other members of Tully’s family and their dynamics dealing with multiple things that have caused them upheaval. Her dynamics with her brother reminds me of me and my brothers, from teasing to backing each other up when we need it. 

Now, I couldn’t quite tell the time period this was supposed to be set in. This could be purposefully obtuse, but it stood out a little to me because some of the language used didn’t seem to fit the modern teen voice. This is obviously my opinion and from my perspective, and there is also the regionality of it. I know Australian slang does differ depending on where you live, but I’ve never heard someone use the word “charcoal” to say “burnt” or “burn” in any slang sort of way. The voices of the teens seemed more like those of older people trying to sound like what they think a modern teen sounds like or like a teen from the 90s. But as I said, it could be a regional thing, and teens could use some of the language in this book. And I don’t claim to have this teen voice perfected – it can be challenging for adults to nail. 

I also would have liked to explore the parasocial relationship more before Tully and Dene met. Still, the parasocial relationship is done well. The way Tully felt she knew Dene and how hurt she was by her not posting about them because Dene saw posts as work but their friendship as something real. It was well represented, and the way Tully obsessed over Dene’s every interaction or action was also a very well-depicted factor for teens in the social media age. With update accounts online that share when people like posts, follow people and post, it’s easy to become so deeply obsessed with all these small interactions. 

Another section of the back cover blurb includes:

Selfie is an engaging exploration of social media and the trickiness of separating what’s real from the glossiness of the online world. It’s a tender story about friendship and staying true to yourself.

The other thing I would have liked to see was what exactly was said about Tully after the big fight? There are hints of rumours swirling around about Tully when she’s in the depth of her despair through comments from her brother and Kira, but we’re never explicitly told. Did Tully know what was said? From my experience, online people would have been sending her DMs and attacking her. Complete strangers would have attacked Tully, especially if the rumours were around Dene. This, again, is a representation of parasocial relationships. People feel they need to defend these online influencers or celebrities. I think it would have also added to the emotional turmoil Tully was going through at the time – but maybe it would have taken it to a too-dark place. 

I did enjoy the book. It was a good young adult novel dealing with some very important themes for all young adults, and that never really go away but just change in how they’re done. Teens always have their whole world revolve around such a small space that what could be seen as small things (as indicated by Tully’s dad’s reaction to the Dene fight) are massive to them. Allayne L. Webster handles the balance of online and offline life well and how parasocial relationships can lead to a level of obsession. It represented a lot of what teens have to deal with well, but there was room to explore some of the themes more. I also love how it ended with everyone happy and having a healthier relationship with social media. It’s worth the read and definitely worth teen girls to read and try and ward them off going down the parasocial obsessive rabbit hole.

A fantastic journey through a teenager’s darkest times, but it retains hope.

A fantastic journey through a teenager’s darkest times, but it retains hope.

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

I picked up Solitaire by Alice Oseman as research for writing my own YA novel, Fandom, which deals with the online world. The back cover reads:

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now. 
Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.
I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do. And I don’t care about Michael Holden. I really don’t.

Solitaire by Alice Oseman
Solitaire by Alice Oseman

The simple mention of blogging and a skim of the book’s contents were enough to encourage me to buy it to see how the modern world is narratively and stylistically incorporated into the book. I didn’t realise (despite the author’s name, the main character’s name and the feature of a book called Nick & Charlie on the back cover) that this book was in the Heartstopper world – I had watched the Netflix show and loved it. I also had purchased the first graphic novel to read but hadn’t gotten to it. It wasn’t until I began reading and recognised things like the school name Higgs that I started to twig the connection between Solitaire and Heartsopper. I looked it up and found out this book is set after Heartstopper Book 5 (which hadn’t been released yet but is out now). I didn’t mind the spoilers because I’d watched the show before reading any of the books anyway – but knowing this made me love this book more.

What I loved about Solitaire after discovering it’s about Charlie from Heartstopper’s sister Tori was that it gave us so much more character information and development for Tori. I loved Tori in the show and would’ve loved to see more of her. Still, I understand the focus is on Nick and Charlie’s story, so I really loved getting that extra dose of Tori in Solitaire. 

Solitaire’s central theme is Tori’s battle with teen angst that is compounded by a mental health breakdown of sorts and being sort of taunted by this elusive Solitaire figure. The novel builds her character as a very dark and gloomy character who looks at the world through a greyed lens. But she’s never unlikeable – or at least I never found her unlikeable – her darkness and gloominess aren’t ever to the point that you just want to slap her and tell her life is better. You empathise with her. You can also sense something else going on. We all know the feelings of otherness as a teen, which is the core of Tori’s darkness. She’s different, so she others herself so that she doesn’t have to pretend to be anyone else. 

The journey you go on with Tori has you, as the reader, always barracking for her. You don’t want her to change. You just want her to succeed in what she’s doing. Whether that’s discovering what or who Solitaire is or just getting through school.

You also get some extra insight into some of Heartstopper’s main characters, with Nick and Charlie popping up at different points…and another one I won’t spoil. I like the extra insight into the Spring family and its dynamics. Especially how they deal with the difficult things they’ve been through and are going through. 

I loved this book so much that I instantly jumped into reading all the Heartstopper books. I also bought the boxed set of Alice Oseman’s other books. So now I have Radio Silence, I Was Born For This, Loveless, Nick & Charlie and This Winter ready to read when I want.

Oseman nails the voice of her characters and engages the reader with well-thought-out character development and vivid descriptions of the setting. The stories she weaves are relatable to teens and those who have been teens. She weaved modern technology into the story of Solitaire well without doing it in a way that would age the book too much when technology moves on. Solitaire was, in fact, Alice’s first novel written when she was a teen herself, which explains why she can nail the teen voice and world so well. But it also doesn’t read like some youthful story only for those of that age group. The themes of friendship, finding yourself, and mental health are themes that many people can relate to, no matter their age. 

If you’re looking for an easy read that’s enjoyable and engaging but also deals with some very real topics, Solitaire is for you.