I’ve been hooked on inspiring books for a while but on a crowded bookstore shelf, which ones are actually worth buying? Of course, there are the big hitters: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie written in 1936 is still going strong and has sold more than 15 million copies.

But there are also many written as extended business cards and published privately. You could pick up one of those and get lucky or you might just waste £8.00 which could have been better spent on a bottle of wine and some home brainstorming.

However, if you ask around, there are books which might fly under the radar and yet have so much to give. Not all of them are obviously Business or Marketing books but can inspire in different ways.

Hot on my list is Watertight Marketing, recommended to me by Miss Dashwood’s Register member Hannah Martin of Talented Ladies Club. A smart, easy read on Marketing which is ideal for someone like me who came to small business in a totally organic way. It’s also part of a wider programme you can join so it *is* an extended business card but one that can be used independently.

Hannah’s tip made me wonder: what other books would Team Dashwood recommend? Here’s what I learnt (and do add your own ideas below).

The System – The Proven Formula for Growing Your Own Business by Jon Tompkins and Steve Hackney

Linda Duberley, RiverTribe Magazine

My new favourite book is The System – The Proven Formula for Growing Your Own Business by Jon Tompkins and Steve Hackney. Jon is a Richmond Rugby Business Club member and Olympic level rowing coach.

I love using the power of sports strategy in business. It is always imperative to have a clear matrix for growth. You can always sprinkle fairy dust on that but if you have no foundation you have no business.



Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Shaherazad Umbreen, 18 Hour Heels

Without a doubt it’s Anne of Green Gables.  Anne is such a strong, happy and single-minded person who wears her personality with pride.  Anne has been my favourite book for decades and provides inspiration to me in everyday life even now.  As a Shoe.E.O, I also love the quote from the book: “It is ever so much easier to be good when wearing fashionable clothes.” It’s fair to say that I am an Anne fan.



The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

Jos Drew, osteopath and mentor

The first which really changed my life (when I was a student) was Oliver Sacks’s book, The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. The message I took from this book is in health or life, everyone has their ‘on button’ you just have to find it.

The other book if I’m aloud I discovered more recently is the biography of AT Still: From The Dry Bone to the Living Man by John Lewis. It’s the story of his life as he discovered/worked out his view on health that became osteopathy. It reminded me to make sure you look at each patient as an individual and treat what you find. Not what you think you might find.


Oversubscribed by Daniel Priestley

Rachel Maunder, coach

One of the best books I’ve read recently has been Oversubscribed by Daniel Priestley. Daniel has a track record as a highly successful entrepreneur and also, rightly so, has the reputation of being someone with sound values, so I really respect his stuff.

In this book he shares a lot of practical and easy to implement ideas for getting more customers interested in your products and services, and more importantly, buying them. I used his ideas for getting more people onto my workshop – and they worked!