We have become a generation obsessed with self-improvement and self-help books. However, let’s get one thing straight. We’re not talking about the ‘How To Lose Thirty Pounds in Thirty Days!’ kind of self-improvement, or the books to help you find love after divorce (Sex and The City’s Charlotte York, we’re looking at you). We’re talking about the more ‘respectful’ kind of self-help books that promise to propel us to the top our fields – that teach us to truly go after what we deserve and that fuel those infamous articles making accusations of entitled behaviour from millennials.
The second our lives appear to veer off our meticulously planned career path, the panic levels rise and we find ourselves reaching for an inspirational book penned by one of the many business moguls we’ve grown to idolise. A few chapters in, and all’s right with the world again, things are looking up and off we go skipping down our entrepreneurial paths. We’re ready to take on that major meeting with head office, ask for what we want, dramatically storm out when we don’t get it (optional) and launch our own bigger and better businesses.
When they fill us with such determination and motivation to build the career of our dreams, why wouldn’t we turn to these business bibles during our time of need? There are a lot of powerful business men and women out there, and while not all of us are able to take a small loan from our parents and turn it into a thriving business empire, we can certainly learn a lot from these entrepreneurs who have accomplished incredible things within their respective industries.
Aliza Licht was the global fashion communications executive for DKNY and the voice behind the brand’s digital mascot, @DKNY PR GIRL. Up until 2015 when Licht left the company following the success of Leave Your Mark, she provided a behind the scenes look at the fashion industry. Producing content ranging from live coverage of fashion shows to live commentary of the latest Scandal episode, all under the DKNY PR GIRL name, Aliza made DKNY the first fashion brand to adopt a social strategy promoting engagement, rather than just a tool to pump out news and marketing messages.
In this book Licht talks readers through her decision to switch gears in college, ditch pre-med, and head down the fashion route instead. She’s refreshingly honest about all trials and tribulations faced along the way, from enduring long hours to toxic work environments and challenging bosses within the fashion industry. Licht doesn’t hold anything back in her writing, making her story all the more inspiring. She reveals the highs and lows of her career, while also providing all of the juicy information we need to navigate our own.
If you haven’t heard of Gary Vee by this stage, you may be hiding under a soundproof rock. Much like marmite, people either love him or loathe him. He’s loud, he’s brash, he’s very passionate, and he has no problem with self-promotion. In fact, he’s built his empire from it. Regardless of your opinion on Vaynerchuk, there’s no denying that not only is he a massive success, but a lot of the time, he’s right.
Vayerchuk’s fourth bestseller, #AskGaryVee takes his titled video series and unashamedly repackages the content into 22 chapters covering everything from parenting, family businesses, influencer marketing, investing and even sport. He takes all of the questions that people have ever asked him and provides straight-talking, honest answers to send them on their way to navigate the modern business world.
Split into carefully formulated chapters, the book’s structure makes it easy to flick through and pick up at anytime. If a question is irrelevant to your business goals, simply skip through to the next one and choose topics that interest you.
Otegha Uwagba previously worked in advertising at VICE and AMV BBDO. It was her experience in these roles that sparked the idea for her brand Women Who, the same brand that her originally self-published book, Little Black Book was born out of. The brand connects like-minded women who are ‘still figuring it out’ through a weekly newsletter, events, podcasts and the book.
The book takes a very practical approach to business tips and addresses issues such as maximising productivity, public speaking and sending the perfect email, while also breaking taboo by discussing money matters. Short enough to read enough in one sitting and small enough to carry around with you should you ever need to reference the book’s content, the Little Black Book takes us into the workplace classroom we’ve always dreamed of.
Saving the best for last, Otegha takes us through a Q&A with fellow inspirational women such as Pandora Sykes, Serena Guen (founder and CEO of SUITCASE magazine), Pend Marin (editor-in-chief of The Gentlewoman) and many more. Bringing their advice into our lives with the explanation that “‘you deserve more than Marilyn Monroe quotes”.
The closing pages cover an appendix filled with amazing resources including books to read, websites to browse, freelancer friendly places to work (both UK and worldwide) and useful everyday apps and tools for your working life. These 10 pages alone make the book more than worthy of a purchase.
Although less of a business book and more of a memoir, those interested in the world of fashion design and business may want to pay attention to this one, as the co-founder of Jimmy Choo takes us through what Glamour magazine previously described as “Part memoir, part MBA” in In My Shoes.
Mellon takes us through the story of the brand, from how she used the small fortune lent to her by her father to start a shoe company and turned it into a billion dollar brand. When asked by Vanity Fair why she had chosen to write the book, she claimed it was because she thought no-one would believe what was really going on behind the scenes while she was building the now globally renowned and coveted brand.
She covers the good, the bad and the ugly – discussing her wedding, her divorce, her alcoholic mother, her stint in rehab, her business reputation and being honoured with an OBE. It’s a tell-all tale with many valuable lessons in business – a must-read for all aspiring designers and entrepreneurs.
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Host of Werkin’ On It