business book list

Despite the fact that most of us feel like we barely have time to breathe, let alone sit down and read a book, it seems like the most savvy entrepreneurs carve out enough minutes in the day to cozy up with the words of people who have pioneered the field and lived to tell the tale. But how do you know which books are worth your time, which pack the most inspiration and innovation into just a few hundred pages?

Easy: You take recommendations from people who are doing it right. In her class, How to Boost Your Brand in 20 Steps,  teacher and photographer Vanessa Joy shared her own must-read list.

For Vanessa, books are the key to keeping your business healthy and your marketing fresh.

“I am not a marketing genius by any means, I am just a marketing dork, I’m a business book nerd,” she explained.

She reads, experiments with new ideas, and then shares the results with you. And though marketing books are a lot more popular with the Silicon Valley set than the small photography business crowd, there’s still a ton to be gained by reading up on marketing, time-management, and prioritizing.  And don’t worry if you aren’t a reader because, Vanessa says, “audio books count!”

Here are Vanessa’s top books for bettering your business:

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen: Vanessa says she uses this time-management tome as a beacon of guidance for keeping her priorities in check.

EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey: “When it comes to running your business, you do want to think like a CEO,” says Vanessa.  This book will help you do that.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk: – Vanessa is an unabashed Vaynerchuk fan, and says that this recent title offers a wealth of information on structuring your social marketing to make the biggest possible impact.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – “If I were to summarize this book, I’d say stop talking and start listening,” says Vanessa of this ultimate classic.

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin: Another classic, this isn’t Godin’s best known work, but Vanessa recommends it for its insights on advertising.

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi with Tahl Raz: “To me, eating to me a social thing,” says Vanessa, which is why this guide to building your business through lunch and coffee dates makes Vanessa’s list.

Your Network is Your Net Worth by Porter Gale: Lots of people have said it, but former Virgin VP of Marketing and CreativeLive instructor Porter Gale wrote the book.

“Mediocre photographers can be more successful than remarkable photographers if their marketing is correct,” says Vanessa — and catching up with some smart, business-savvy authors is one great way to get it together.

Get more tips on tactics you can take to shore up your marketing in Vanessa’s, How to Boost Your Brand in 20 Steps.