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8 must-read books for creatives from our top 2022 reads

Creative Business
min read
In this article

Trying to read more non-fiction this year? Want to learn things to move your creative business forward? Or maybe you’re on a mission to hit your yearly Goodreads book goal! Either way, I’ve got you covered with some amazing recommendations for books that the Studio Book Club and I read in 2022. We loved them, learnt from them, and reckon you’ll get loads from them too.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

What we read in The Studio Book Club

In case you missed it, I started a free community in 2022 called The Studio. The Studio is a virtual shared space for creators to connect, work, and grow together and since it opened, its been amazing to see connections made, resources shared, feedback given, opportunities offered, and so much more!

To make The Studio even better, in September I added a book club designed to motivate creatives to read books that would help them in their business. Everyone can suggest books, and each month we vote on what we want to read next. There is a weekly chapter goal to help you stay on track and in the last week of the month, we answer a daily question and talk about what we learnt!

In 2022, we read & recommend:

(Dis)Connected by Emma Gannon

Disconnected by Emma Gannon is a small but mighty book that questions how we can stay kind, connected, and compassionate in an often overwhelming, overstimulating, and inauthentic online world.

The official blurb reads...

"Millennials might have grown up online but now they want to log off. And it's not just millennials. A year of lockdowns, Zoom meetings and reduced physical contact has made us more dependent on the internet than ever before - but has it lost its humanity?

Our focus on community and real connection has been sent off-course and we're becoming more aware of how the algorithm manipulates us and how our data has made us a product to be sold. So, where do we go from here and how can we get back on track? (Dis)connected examines these topics and offers tangible tips and advice for those of us who might feel a little lost right now and want to find themselves again."

Read the full review here

Company of One by Paul Jarvis

Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis is a hope-filled read that explores a different way to do business and a gentle reminder about the things that really matter.

The official blurb reads...

"What if the real key to a richer and more fulfilling career was not to create and scale a new start-up, but rather, to be able to work for yourself, determine your own hours, and become a (highly profitable) and sustainable company of one? Suppose the better—and smarter—solution is simply to remain small? This book explains how to do just that.

*Company of One is a refreshingly new approach centered on staying small and avoiding growth, for any size business. Not as a freelancer who only gets paid on a per piece basis, and not as an entrepreneurial start-up that wants to scale as soon as possible, but as a small business that is deliberately committed to staying that way. By staying small, one can have freedom to pursue more meaningful pleasures in life, and avoid the headaches that result from dealing with employees, long meetings, or worrying about expansion. Company of One introduces this unique business strategy and explains how to make it work for you, including how to generate cash flow on an ongoing basis.*

Paul Jarvis left the corporate world when he realized that working in a high-pressure, high profile world was not his idea of success. Instead, he now works for himself out of his home on a small, lush island off of Vancouver, and lives a much more rewarding and productive life. He no longer has to contend with an environment that constantly demands more productivity, more output, and more growth.

In Company of One, Jarvis explains how you can find the right pathway to do the same, including planning how to set up your shop, determining your desired revenues, dealing with unexpected crises, keeping your key clients happy, and of course, doing all of this on your own."

If you’ve been thinking about keeping your business small but aren’t sure, or have been growing because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do but you’re questioning that strategy, this one’s for you. One book club member loved this one so much they bought the digital, audio and physical versions so they could have it in every format! High praise!

Read the full review here

The Comparison Cure by Lucy Sheridan

The Comparison Cure: How to be less ‘them’ and more you is like that loving best friend who can see what’s really going on even if you can’t, and will tell you gently, so that you can open your eyes and understand how to move forward. It’ll help you uncover the kind truths that you need to stop comparing yourself to others.

The official blurb reads…

“Lucy Sheridan, the world's first and only comparison coach, has helped thousands of people go from compare and despair to #comparisonfree, and now she has condensed all of that liberating knowledge into The Comparison Cure.

With a three-step tried and tested methodology to help you improve your self-worth and self-confidence (#1 recognise the symptoms; #2 start practising the remedies; and #3 keep your good new habits going), you will soon be able to let go of procrastination and start living a comparison-free life.

Packed full of tips, examples and exercises to help you take back control of who you are and what you want, this positive and empowering book is the timely and necessary antidote we all need to the toxic comparison culture we're living in.”

You’re gonna wanna set a good chunk of time aside to read this one, since it’s more like a workbook or journal and each prompt will get you thinking deeply! But it’s worth it, I promise. I uncovered a lot of underlying issues, changed a lot of things, and set a lot of boundaries thanks to this amazing read!

Make Time for Creativity by Brandon Stosuy

Make Time for Creativity: Finding Space for Your Most Meaningful Work is the perfect companion for the creatives who want to put their passion first.

The official blurb reads…

“Part artistic retreat, part guide to living a creative life.

Venture into a space that intimately discusses how to find time to express yourself and develop your talents. Author Brandon Stosuy (co-founder of The Creative Independent) taps into a diverse network of working artists to provide perspective on how creativity can be prioritized among the other demands on your time. Posing a series of questions on the themes of defining work-life balance, forming daily rituals, setting intentions, meeting goals, and taking time off from creativity, this book provides an inspiring framework for building your own creative process and using your time meaningfully.”

If you’re currently struggling to prioritise your creative passions, or want to make them a bigger part of your life, then Make Time for Creativity is just what you need. It’ll help you refocus on the things you love, make a plan to prioritise them, and give them the love and attention you know you want to give them.

4 Books I read in 2022 & recommend:

I actually read a whopping 68 books in 2022, including the ones above. But 4 non-fiction reads really stood out to me as books I think every creative should read! They are:

I Didn’t Do the Thing Today by Madeleine Dore

I Didn’t Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt to Embrace the Hidden Value in Daily Life is the reassuring permission slip we all need to finally say goodbye to #Hustle culture.

The official blurb reads…

“Madeleine Dore has long felt a pressure to be productive. In the pursuit of getting things done, she tried every way to optimize her day, only to keep falling short and feeling behind. She turned to interviewing hundreds of creative thinkers and experts to find the secret to productivity. What she discovered instead was far more enriching: There is more to value in each day than what we did or didn't do.

I Didn't Do the Thing Today is a reprieve from our doing obsession. Designed as a companion for the days that go off track, the book's chapters explore the various ways we encounter productivity guilt--including comparison to others, striving for perfection, and our great expectations--to point to how a day doesn't have to be optimized, but simply occupied. When we take away judgment from how moments unfold, we can find our way out of the productivity spiral and step fully into our lives.

For anyone who has struggled with worrying about wasted time or felt caught in the busyness trap or stifled by indecision, I Didn't Do the Thing Today shares how to take productivity off its pedestal and find more connection, creativity, and curiosity in its place.”

I’d recommend this book if you’re working on slowing down and need that final nudge to push you (gently) into a less stressful life. As creatives who often compare ourselves to the million and one things that everyone else seems to be achieving online, this read is the antidote you need to realise that all that rushing and doing isn’t the be all and end all. Maybe instead, it’s all about relaxing, and being.

Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte

Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential is the system you never knew you needed to take your creative ideas to the next level.

The official blurb reads…

“For the first time in history, we have instantaneous access to the world’s knowledge. There has never been a better time to learn, to contribute, and to improve ourselves. Yet, rather than feeling empowered, we are often left feeling overwhelmed by this constant influx of information. The very knowledge that was supposed to set us free has instead led to the paralyzing stress of believing we’ll never know or remember enough.

Now, this eye-opening and accessible guide shows how you can easily create your own personal system for knowledge management, otherwise known as a Second Brain. As a trusted and organized digital repository of your most valued ideas, notes, and creative work synced across all your devices and platforms, a Second Brain gives you the confidence to tackle your most important projects and ambitious goals.

Discover the full potential of your ideas and translate what you know into more powerful, more meaningful improvements in your work and life by Building a Second Brain.”

I read this book when I got concussed because I was struggling to remember things and needed something to help me process my thoughts outside of my brain. I built my second brain and I’ve never looked back. So even if you’re not concussed, I know that as a creative you’ll love the way this system brings structure to your creative chaos!

Burnout by Amelia & Emily Nagoski

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle is a book I think every creative needs to read to get you out of burnout and/or help you avoid hitting it again.

The official blurb reads…

“This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.

Burnout. Many women in America have experienced it. What’s expected of women and what it’s really like to be a woman in today’s world are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap between them. How can you “love your body” when every magazine cover has ten diet tips for becoming “your best self”? How do you “lean in” at work when you’re already operating at 110 percent and aren’t recognized for it? How can you live happily and healthily in a sexist world that is constantly telling you you’re too fat, too needy, too noisy, and too selfish?

Sisters Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, are here to help end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between women and well-being, they explain with compassion and optimism what we’re up against—and show us how to fight back. In these pages you’ll learn

  • what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle—and return your body to a state of relaxation
  • how to manage the “monitor” in your brain that regulates the emotion of frustration
  • how the Bikini Industrial Complex makes it difficult for women to love their bodies—and how to defend yourself against it
  • why rest, human connection, and befriending your inner critic are keys to recovering and preventing burnout

With the help of eye-opening science, prescriptive advice, and helpful worksheets and exercises, all women will find something transformative in these pages—and will be empowered to create positive change. Emily and Amelia aren’t here to preach the broad platitudes of expensive self-care or insist that we strive for the impossible goal of “having it all.” Instead, they tell us that we are enough, just as we are—and that wellness, true wellness, is within our reach.”

Whether you’ve been burnt out, are currently experiencing burnout, or are just trying not to get there, this book is a must-read. Not only do Amelia & Emily explain what burnout is and what’s happening in your body when you experience it, they also give you actionable, practical things to do to stop burnout in its tracks. So it’s the perfect guide for getting you out of burnout and preventing it from happening again.

How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price

How to Break Up With Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life is the motivational month full of tough love that you’re gonna need if you want to finally detach from your digital sidekick.

The official blurb reads…

“Packed with tested strategies and practical tips, this book is the essential, life-changing guide for everyone who owns a smartphone.

Is your phone the first thing you reach for in the morning and the last thing you touch before bed? Do you frequently pick it up "just to check," only to look up forty-five minutes later wondering where the time has gone? Do you say you want to spend less time on your phone--but have no idea how to do so without giving it up completely? If so, this book is your solution.

Award-winning journalist Catherine Price presents a practical, hands-on plan to break up--and then make up--with your phone. The goal? A long-term relationship that actually feels good.

You'll discover how phones and apps are designed to be addictive, and learn how the time we spend on them damages our abilities to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. You'll then make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset that will ultimately enable you to take back control of your life.”

Like most people who live and work on the internet, my screen time was through the ROOF. I knew something needed to change and I needed to shift the habits that had let me get to this point. How to Break Up With Your Phone was just what I needed to make that happen. It’s full of super practical things you can do on your phone, around you, and in your life to adjust how you engage with your phone and social media, and guides you through a 30-day challenge to really make those new habits stick. So if you’re ready to finally break up with your phone, you’re gonna wanna read this one!

Which of these are you adding to your TBR list for 2023?

And if you want to read some amazing books like these along with some incredible creatives this year, join The Studio for free here!

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January 24, 2023



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