The 8 Best Business Books for HR Consultants
As independent business consultants and solo-preneurs, we have to make personal development a priority. I’ve said it before: we need to make time for me. It’s easy to be excited about training when it means paid time away from the office. When the training and lunch budget both come out of the same pocket, it gets harder. Not to mention the belief the idea we have to focus primarily on billing hours to cover our basic business expenses and salary. So, here are some great reads you can fit in between client demands and developing new services to help grow your business and diversify your income.
As an entrepreneur with some miles, I’m past my 10th year as a free agent and business owner, I wanted to share some of my best books that have been key in my growth as a business owner working in human resources. I first published this list of books almost 10 years ago and as of July 2023, I’ve given it an upgrade with some new books and resources that go above and beyond. Your needs will evolve and grow as you grow as a person but also as a leader and entrepreneur. Stay curious and be open to new possibilities and people, but most importantly focus and prioritize you. This list does contain affiliate links as I am an Amazon Affiliate.
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
We’ve all seen cows. Here in Texas, you drive past herds of them between business parks on the highway. No one thinks much about them, but a purple cow? Now that would catch your attention. In possibly his best book, Godin shares a vision for creating unique products and services that are worth marketing, or as he calls them, purple cows. Everything I’ve done in my business is about developing purple cows – although I see us in HR as the differentiator being our personality, attention to detail, or niche versus a new product or service. Click here.
Work Without Walls by Maura Nevel Thomas
I’ve had Maura on my podcast a handful of years ago, and when I interviewed her I was overbooked, overworked, and driven by constant distraction. Reading this book was the start of creating a structure in my life and business so that I could prioritize what mattered and make time for the things that are important me, my family, and my friends. Sometimes we have truths in our life that serve us for a certain time, but as we evolve it’s time to release them. This book helped me do that with the an old truth where I told myself that creative people were supposed to be unstructured and disorganized to do their best creative work. I know my team is happy that I’ve put that truth to rest too. Click here.
Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson
Russell has a trio of books that I would recommend if you are selling, engaging, or creating resources online. There are not many books I have read both in audio and physical book form and I have done so with all three of his books. Audio is great because I can be inspired by Russell and the books allow me to take note, and use his talking points as inspiration for my online marketing and sales efforts. This book is great for positioning yourself as an expert online, this is an important part of business not only with social media but also video sites like YouTube and TikTok growing in importance. As an online coach and course creator, his books have been instrumental in giving me good resources and a starting point. Click here.
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The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
I read this book when I first left corporate in 2010 and I got angry reading it. I felt like Tim was cheating. I thought only working four hours a week meant that he wasn’t doing it right, and I was wrong. Years later as I was slogging through my business still holding onto the rules of corporate America, I returned back to his book and realized that I was angry because he was right. This book is a must read for anyone who is leaving corporate and entering into the world of entrepreneurship, and years later my goal is to generate revenue streams to move to a beach as soon as my daughter graduates high school. Click here.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
During the pandemic I joined a two year program to become a NLP Master Coach and my mentor recommended this book. It has been incredibly powerful in helping me understand how to influence and change habits personally and professionally. I’ve used it for myself to transform my body, losing nearly 70 lbs. in two years and also in my HR certification prep program, Ace the HR Exam. I credit it as one of the reasons we have a 95% pass rate for our students in that program. Click here.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
In this powerful book about self-limiting beliefs, former surgeon Don Miguel Ruiz shares ancient Toltec wisdom for a modern audience. Following a near death experience, Ruiz realized he had been allowing the world around him to dictate many of his personal beliefs and standards and that this was limiting his ability to reach his full potential. By making and following some simple agreements with yourself, Ruiz found grace, peace and unconditional love. Click here. I love this book and there is a fifth agreement that’s worth reading too.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
This is a book I use every single day in my personal life and in my work life. I have copies on stand by to send to friends and work colleagues. We live in a world of negotiation whether it is as a leader of a team, a consultant, as a business owner, or as a partner or a parent. This book is is the one book I keep coming back to. Click here.
Digitizing Talent: Creative Strategies for the Digital Recruiting Age by Jessica Miller-Merrell
Of course I’m including my own book here. I wrote it with HR pros in mind and I’ve gotten a lot of really positive feedback about how my book breaks down things that are really important to us right now, like recruiting online, generative AI, accessibility in the digital age…you get the picture. SHRM published it in January of 2023 and I love talking about it. Get your copy here.
Join me in starting a reading list for 2023 and beyond. I challenge you to start with a few of these if you don’t have one already.
It’s important to constantly explore new ideas, especially as a consultant. Every new perspective you explore can help you understand your clients and provide service on a deeper level. As an independent consultant working in HR, always remember, making time for your own development is not only not selfish, it is essential. You are the only that will make you the priority and you have to do it, not just for yourself , but in order to be the best you can be for your clients.