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8 Books for Your Best Work (+ Publishing Insights)

Image: openculture.com
Image: openculture.com


To be a business artist, you’re called to shape your hours and days in ways that support your taking regular action on the work that matters.  Whether you work from a corporate office, a living room table, a home studio, or a small business – your patch of the planet awaits. Stand up for them. That’s your quest in the coming year.

This coming year, thousands of us are taking a quest to do business as unusual.

I never venture on a quest without a book, and this coming year I am keeping several books in my questing back pack.  8 of them I share with you here in this first of a 2-part series.

More than book recs, I also give you perspective on the myriad publishing and marketing paths to help you foresee where publishing fits into your best year.  Disclosure on the choices: During December, 12 13 Visionaries have generously guided a growing pack of business artists – painters, executives, academics, freelancers, consultants, poets, musicians, teachers, curators, health care practitioners, shamanic healers, copy writers, marketing experts – through #Quest2015. Together.

This Visionary work far supersedes setting easy New Year’s Resolutions. It’s primed us for #Quest2015.  These books are from 8 of those Visionaries.

Live-the-Quest-SethGodin1. What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn)

(The Domino Project, 2014) by Seth Godin

Take this generous, genuine entrepreneurial ruckus-maker’s copy and shape a book that is like Marshall McLuhan’s The Message is the Medium and high-gloss magazine, and you get a manifesto book  that reminds you in 2015 it is 

Your Turngodin.image godin2 godin3

If you’re stuck in the Waiting Room – waiting for the economy to shift, for your kids to leave, for a publisher to accept your book, for someone to recognize you – buy this book. Stop waiting. We need your best work this year.

Publishing and Marketing Insight: Seth has published numerous books with Portfolio-Penguin, launched his own publishing experiment with Amazon, tested the crowd funding world, and now has released What to Do When It’s Your Turn with his own brilliant team and imprint The Domino Project. You can buy a book for $34 and get one free. The book also sells in bundles of 3, 5, and more. Why? So you will give away copies. So you will share. The best selling mechanism for your book? Genuine word-of-mouth and sharing. It’s your turn to be generous.

Go out on a limb with Seth, and buy Your Turn.

Live-the-Quest-ScottDinsmore2. Goal-Setting and Action Workbook 

(2014) by Scott Dinsmore

Once you know it’s your turn, you’re ready to engage Live Your Legend founder and all-around generous soul Scott Dinsmore’s Goal-Setting and Action Workbook. 

Scott’s 100% free workbook helps any present-minded business artist do: extend your presence into your future Horizon. A key element of optimal flow – according to Father of Flow Mihaly CZZ and mounds of corroborative research – is setting and taking meaningful action on goals.

Publishing and Marketing InsightScott’s generosity led to 250 Live Your Legend meet-ups happening in 70 countries during 2014. Scott’s team put these workbooks together. The pdf download makes it easy and also assures more people are part of Scott’s Live Your Legend patch of the planet. His marketing model: High value + wise design + high-engagement + generosity. It’s a model worth iterating in your own way.

Live-the-Quest-guest_ToddHenry3. Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day 

(Portfolio-Penguin, 2013) by Todd Henry

If this is the year you don’t hold back, you want creative arms dealer Todd Henry and his book Die Empty with you. The guiding principles: Define Your Battles. Be Fiercely Curious. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone.  It’s smart, substantial, and motivating.

Publishing and Marketing Insight: Todd has steadily built his name and reputation through delivering on consulting and speaking engagements as well as by testing out a variety of media engagement. In other words, he’s invested the sweat and smarts to build and build up his audience with a consistent message on full-throttled creativity. 

Buy it here.

Tara Mohr4. Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message 

(Penguin Gotham, 2014) by Tara Mohr

Tara Mohr champions women leaders in all fields and walks of life. In the book Playing Big, Tara Mohr adapts the principles tested by thousands of women in her Playing Big program to offer a thoughtful approach to being a smart, discerning business artist. Part coach’s book, part entrepreneur’s book, it will aid you on your quest to play big on your own terms this year.

Publishing and Marketing Insight: Tara went with the world’s biggest publisher, Random House Penguin and worked with the ideal imprint for this book, Penguin Gotham. Tara had tested her principles widely for a few years and built her national media base. Tara’s own way of playing big coupled with Penguin’s reach is leading her to Europe this coming year. 

Live-the-Quest-SallyHogshead5. How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination 

(Harper Business, 2014) by Sally Hogshead

CEO of How to Fascinate, Sally Hogshead is the leading expert in research on how leading personalities fascinate their audiences. Sally’s book How the World Sees You helps you identify your Fascinate Archetype and bring forward your best existing personality traits as a way to build your most distinct value. It’s a perfect addition to the business artist’s library for personal branding – with integrity.

Publishing and Marketing Insight: Sally earned her reputation as a creative force in ad agencies and then launched her own enterprise several years ago. In that time, she has tested her research on the science of fascination on several organizations and, now, individuals. This research has now been tested on hundreds of companies and on over 500,000 individuals. That’s solid data. Her reputation, research, and writing panache earned her first book deal with Harper Business for Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation (Harper Business), focused on large organization branding. With the wild success of the individual Fascinate Assessment (thanks, husband, for the idea!), this book rescales on the individual. With How the World Sees You, Sally continues her relationship with Harper Business. Before and during the book launch, Sally was available for interviews and reviews, and her team wisely offered custom links that allowed people to take the Fascinate Assessment for free. That’s wise generosity.

Charlie Gilkey

6. The Small Business Life Cycle

(Amazon Digital Services, 2013) by Charlie Gilkey

CEO of Productive Flourishing Charlie Gilkey hammers down on the four core life cycles of any small business. At 86 pages, this wise business treatise helps identify where you are at on the small business life cycle and what actions to take to get you to the next stage.

If you’re a business artist shy on the “business” side, buy this book, read it, and act accordingly this year. 

Publishing and Marketing Insight: The Small Business Life Cycle is a great example of what we call a prototype book – a shorter book that delivers much more substance than most give-away ebooks that allows the author (often a company or brand founder or thought leader) to test out the publishing cycle. Charlie tested the waters for working with editors, designers, and the easy-go digital channel of Amazon Kindle. It also allowed him to test out marketing strategies such as selling the book at a radical discount (about 66% off) when it first launched.

Live-the-Quest-MichaelBungayStanier7. Do More Great Work

(Workman Publishing Company, 2010) by Michael Bungay Stanier

In Do More Great Work, CEO of Box of Crayons, Michael Bungay Stanier brings wit, intelligence, and style to doing our great work – which supersedes doing our “good” work. Since 2010, this book has sold over 70,000 copies, a tribute to its inviting voice, clever design, and substantial advise.

Publishing and Marketing Insight: Michael forges genuine alliances. He’s worked with Seth Godin’s Domino Project when it partnered with Amazon. He rallied numerous top thinkers in his book End Malaria – with more than $20 of every $25 going to the organization Malaria No More. He also gathered top-notch leaders in his Great Work MBA. The variety of free, well-produced videos appeals not only to his target demographic – the time-crunched manager – but also to any business artist who wants to do more great work and have fun doing so. Because Michael works with numerous companies, he also wisely partners with Bookpal to sell copies in bulk.

Live-the-Quest-EricKlein8. You Are the Leader You’ve Been Waiting For: Enjoying High Performance and High Fulfillment at Work

(Wisdom Heart Press) by Eric Klein

It’s not necessary to jump the job place and venture on your own to do your great work. (That’s a myth of the past five years for another article.) Internationally renowned teacher, speaker, and advisor Eric Klein reminds us in the book You Are the Leader You’ve Been Waiting For that wherever we work and under whatever conditions, we can align with purpose, be creative, and lead. Any business artist who is not going to work in a silo this year and who aspires to lead a conversation must own her or his leadership potential. Add this book to your business artist library along with his free 7 Reasons Meditation Doesn’t Work, and you’ll lead from the inside-out.

Publishing and Marketing Insight: Eric earned his reputation as a pioneer in bringing inner wisdom to the corporate world in the ‘90s. He has continued to engage his base through online programs, world travels, live & local gatherings, and his free “What’s Calling You” podcast series. [LINK] With his base in place, Eric’s own imprint Wisdom Heart Press published this book.

Are you seeing the pattern to publishing? Be generous. Engage the audience you love with real value and in your style.

Build savvy. Be smart. Forge right alliances with integrity.

Go for it. 


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