Six Inspiring & Motivational Books To Help Kick-Start Your Career Or Business Venture

You just can’t beat curling up with a cup of tea and a great book. There’s something about those moments of calm, disconnected from the digital world, that help to re-set the mind and leave you feeling inspired. I’m a big reader and always have been, but over the last year I’ve stopped reading so many murder mysteries and historical fiction (still love them though!) in favour of books that motivate and re-energize. Being self-employed I’m particularly prone to just getting on with it and powering through my to-do list, rather than taking a moment to reflect or attempt a new way of thinking in order to be more efficient; it’s easy to just keep going, even when you’ve lost your mojo, but taking some advice from others can often be just what the brain needs to refocus. From my huge pile of books bought during a lost moment, these are the six I’d recommend giving a read as we step into a new year and could collectively do with a bit of inspo. Enjoy!

Strong Woman: The Truth About Getting To The Top – Karren Brady 
As an avid viewer of The Apprentice, I instantly fell in love with Karren when she took over from Margaret in 2010. I adore her no-nonsense approach and how she’s made such an impact in traditionally male dominated environments, so this was a no-brainer for me to pick up and devour. Her story is an incredible one, starting as a graduate at my previous home of Saatchi & Saatchi and moving on to being the youngest ever Vice Chairman of Birmingham FC, before making it in television and politics simultaneously. If you need some serious motivation and proof that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to, then this is a great new year’s read. Her simple pieces of advice and logical reasoning are a refreshing change from a lot of the fluffy ‘inspo’ books that are traditionally recommended; I loved every page. 

Girlboss – Sophia Amoruso
If you haven’t read the book that caused a whole movement, then where have you been? If you have, then here’s an excuse to read it again! Sophia’s story is hugely inspirational and provides small tidbits of practical advice to help you achieve whatever career or business dreams you have; she started selling charity finds on eBay and later sold her multi-million pound fashion brand Nasty Gal so she could focus on other projects. She holds no prisoners and doesn’t sugar coat the difficulties she faced, making this a bible for young women needing a kick up the butt in 2018.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight  
Another firm favourite of mine that I read every time I feel like my purpose or focus is waning, this will leave you wondering why you’ve spent so much time making everyone else’s lives easier at the expense of your own. Her simple and practical advice feels like a mate giving you a talking to over a glass of wine, and by the end you’ll be confident in saying no and will stop worrying about stuff that really doesn’t matter. I got her latest book ‘You Do You’ for Christmas and I can’t wait to get stuck in. 

Pause: How To Press Pause Before Life Does It For You – Danielle Marchant  
I’m really not great at slowing down or stopping to relfect, instead focused on doing as many things at once as possible and feeling productive pretty much every moment of the day. However, this often leaves my brain buzzing and unable to switch off – which impacts my sleeping habits and my stress levels. ‘Pause’ is a guide on simply how to do just that, helping you to take a moment out of your day and focus on keeping your mind as healthy as possible. It discusses the importance of taking time out to celebrate successes and look after yourself, as well as daily tasks to keep your productivity high and your relationships blooming. I love the practical exercises (such as writing a letter to yourself or getting crafty with glue and scissors) and the questions it poses to really make you think; nobody can be productive in business without looking after themselves, and this provides a handy support system to do just that.

How to Be an Overnight Success – Maria Hatzistefanis
Written by the founder of beauty brand Rodial, Maria’s story is by no means a unique one but it does help to inspire and motivate if you’ve always dreamed of launching your own business. She shares how she took risks and believed in her own vision, as well as how she utilised social media and clever tactics to get her brand name out there without much money. As one of the original ‘blogger brands’ it was fascinating to see what went on behind the scenes, especially as I’ve been there with them since pretty much the beginning. There was a chapter which ironically slagged off the bloggers that have helped her so much *eye roll* but apart from that a quick, easy and inspirational read to whizz through on your commute.

Little Black Book – Otegha Uwagba
One you can pop in your bag and refer back to constantly, this handy guide gives you small pieces of advice and guidance that you can easily implement. Topics include knowing your worth, overcoming creative block , public speaking, building your brand and how to up your productivity, so it’s a great little gift for any freelancers in your life. I really loved the fact she even includes great places to work in major UK cities and even her own suggestions of books to read and sites to visit. Although none of the info included is groundbreaking, sometimes all you need to kick-start your focus is some straight-talking common sense. 

Do you love to read motivational books to keep you on track or help focus your mind for the year ahead? Got any other great reads you think I’ll love? Let me know below!


Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  



  1. Lucy Cole
    January 10, 2018 / 10:49 am

    This is just the post I've been looking for! I read Girlboss in the summer and really loved it, and Sarah Knight's is on my list for next to read!xxLucy |

    • Hayley Hall
      January 10, 2018 / 4:41 pm

      I'm so glad! Hope you enjoy the books as much as me.

  2. Ally Dowsing-Reynolds
    January 10, 2018 / 3:10 pm

    Great post Hayley!! I'm ordering pretty much all of these! (I do hope they were affiliate links)Thanks lovely xx

    • Hayley Hall
      January 10, 2018 / 4:40 pm

      I hope you enjoy them!

  3. Ellie Patterson
    January 10, 2018 / 4:35 pm

    I'm saving this post for when I get paid and do a splurge Amazon order. I've just started started my study plan to (eventually) become a financial planner after not studying for 4 years and I'm finding it difficult to stay motivated and focused. I could do with a kick up the backside to get me into gear and both Karren Brady's book and Girlboss sound perfect for doing just that.Thank you for the inspo!Ellie at Little Thrift

    • Hayley Hall
      January 11, 2018 / 9:54 am

      Hope they help give you the kick you need!

  4. Danielle Alexa
    January 10, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    I am going to have to invest in some of these!Danielle xx

  5. Whitney
    January 12, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    Definitly adding these to my reading list for 2018! Could always use a motivation and inspiration on the girl boss front! Xx

  6. Under The Scottish Rain
    January 20, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    Such a great read, i now want to read all of these book! hopefully this list will help me get motivated! Emily xx

Leave a Reply


Looking for Something?