Best Business Books Consultants Should Read in 2022

By MBO Partners | February 10, 2022

consultant reading

Key Points

Taking time to read business books allows you to re-evaluate your goals, develop more soft skills, and think strategically.

All of this is bound to give you an edge over competitors and help you expand your business.

Use these books to help you in building your own personal library of inspiring books that'll help you take your career to the next level.

One of the challenges of being an independent contractor is that you don’t have an employer offering regular professional development opportunities. But that’s okay because you can be proactive in building your own personal library of inspiring books that’ll help you take your career to the next level.

Taking time to read business books allows you to re-evaluate your goals, develop more soft skills, and think strategically. All of this is bound to give you an edge over competitors and help you expand your business. So put one of these seven books—some new and some classic—on your nightstand now (or order the audiobook so you can listen and learn while you drive, do housework, or exercise).


1. “Principles: Life and Work

By: Ray Dalio

When Bill Gates calls a business book “invaluable,” it’s worth a read. Principles is written by Ray Dalio, the founder and co-chairman of Bridgewater Associates, the best-performing hedge fund in the world. It’s partly advice-driven and partly a reflection on how he built his career and what he’s learned along the way. He doesn’t shy away from sharing problems that he faced early on after starting his company and explaining how he overcame them. Be sure to carve out a lot of time to dig into this one because it’s almost 600 pages.


2. “The Harvard Business Review Entrepreneur’s Handbook: Everything You Need to Launch and Grow Your New Business

By: Harvard Business Review

Any independent contractor knows that running your own business comes with both risks and rewards. Navigating the ups and downs and figuring out processes that work for you can be difficult. This step-by-step guide gives you a broad overview of what it takes to be an in-demand entrepreneur, covering subjects like the basics of business models and competitive strategy, how to test your assumptions before you build a whole business, how to develop sales and marketing programs, and more. If this book leaves you craving even more advice from Harvard Business Review, check out their helpful podcast, HBR IdeaCast, which features interviews with thought leaders in the business and management world.


3. “Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

By: 99U, Edited by Jocelyn K. Glei

Concentrating and getting things done efficiently can be tough. Just take a look at today’s to-do list. Did you finish it? If you didn’t, and you find yourself constantly feeling overwhelmed by a barrage of distractions—hello, emails, texts, Facebook messages, voicemails, and Twitter and Instagram notifications—then this book is for you. Manage Your Day-to-Day was put together by 99U, Adobe’s resource and event series that’s dedicated to helping creatives, and it includes nuggets of wisdom from 20 leading creative minds like Gretchen Rubin, Seth Godin, Dan Ariely, and others. It provides tips that’ll help you structure your day, prioritize what’s most important, and be productive, so that you’re controlling your time, rather than reacting to whatever gets thrown at you.


4. “How Successful People Think

By: John C. Maxwell

This book comes from the brain of John C. Maxwell, who has trained more than 5 million leaders worldwide. To give you a taste of what to expect, he stresses the importance of carving out time to think (for example, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy regularly schedules thinking time onto his calendar), exposing yourself to new people and ideas, and going into meetings/parties/coffee dates with an agenda that specifies what you’d like to learn from certain people. Read this one to improve your big-picture planning and create long-term goals.



5. “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

By: Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW

Have you already watched her popular Netflix special, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage? Then you’ll probably like this no-nonsense book of hers. Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work, is known for her work studying empathy, courage, and shame, as well as her speech “The Power of Vulnerability“—one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world with 35 million views. Dare to Lead explores what makes an effective leader, how to find potential in people and processes and develop them, how to listen without interrupting, and how to be brave and embrace difficult conversations. Even if you’re not managing others at work, you’ll learn how to connect more deeply with clients (not to mention your partner, friends, and family members).

6. “How to Win Friends and Influence People

By: Dale Carnegie

If you haven’t yet read this 1936 classic, well, guess what? Its timeless insights still apply in 2019. Being successful in business involves building relationships with a network of people; getting along well with others; making group decisions; persuading people to do things they may not want to do initially; and dealing with conflict, among other challenges. This book holds psychological keys like asking people questions about their interests, avoiding criticism, and giving lots of praise and encouragement—all of which may help your workday interactions go more smoothly.

how to win client business

7. “ How to Win Client Business

By: Doug Fletcher 

How to Win Client Business When You Don’t Know Where to Start provides a masterclass in teaching the practical techniques and concrete strategies that professional services providers were never taught in school or on the job. Pragmatic lessons take the place of the vaguely defined principles found in competing books to turn readers from sales novices into rainmakers. Written by the same celebrated author who brought readers the best-selling book How Clients Buy, How to Win Client Business When You Don’t Know Where to Start is perfect for any professional services provider or consultant who seeks to dramatically
increase their book of business.

Looking for work as an independent consultant? Join our marketplace to search for your next project

Related Posts


3 Benefits to Joining an Independent Talent Community

If you’ve ever applied to a job through a marketplace, you’re probably familiar with the process of creating a resume or profile detailing your experience, providing onboarding information, and getting to know a new manager and team. Many independent professionals will return to work with the same company for another contract if they’ve had a…


Top Open Innovation Solvers Offer Practical Advice

Stepping into the world of open innovation can be a novel experience, even for seasoned independent professionals. Success in this arena requires high levels of creativity, along with patience and the ability to roll with rejection. Top open innovation solvers have learned a lot on the way to success. Many have found that they need…


Harnessing the Power of TikTok for Your Small Business: A Beginner’s Guide

As a small business owner in a rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for businesses of all sizes. While TikTok might be synonymous with dance challenges and viral memes, it also offers a goldmine of opportunities for consultants to engage with their audience and showcase their expertise. Whether you’re a seasoned…




Learn more about the MBO Platform


Start, run, and grow

your independent business with MBO


Engage, scale, and optimize

your independent workforce