MSEL: My self-employed reading list

I’m a huge reader. I was the kid who read everything, including the boxes toothpaste came in and the newspaper’s TV guide. As an adult, I indulge in trashy detective novels, chick lit, “serious” literature… and personal development books. Quite a few personal development (which is really just a highbrow way of saying “self help”) books have helped me get to where I am today. I’ll probably reference them a lot, but you should definitely check them out. They are:

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez¬† The ultimate personal finance book. Really. It helped me define my values and align my spending (and saving) with these values. I credit this book with helping me get to the financial position I’m in now. If you want to figure out how to be able to fund your passions when those passions don’t pay the bills, read this book.

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. I love this book. It’s a bit touchy-feely (the author is a recovering alcoholic, and the book follows a twelve-step process) but the exercises and assignments throughout the book provide both tough love and gentle encouragement. If you’re feeling stuck or frazzled, or if you don’t know where to start, start with this book.

Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow, by Marsha Sinetar. The title of this book is a bit of a misnomer. The book, which reads like an engaging doctoral thesis, is about developing the resourcefulness and self-esteem to believe that you can make it, weather the tough times, and devote yourself to your craft. It doesn’t offer any “get rich quick” schemes, but rather shows how skill and resilience help us build the patience to keep working towards our dreams no matter the circumstances. It’s a fascinating book (and should be a handbook passed o out to all new parents).

The Complete Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyzyn. This book is just plain fun. It combines creativity with penny pinching, elevating frugality to an art. It’s a collection of the Tightwad Gazette newsletters, so information is in short, engaging chunks. I bought it from a thrift store for a dollar, which is totally in the spirit of this fantastic little book.

The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources, by Lynne Twist. I love this book. I gave it to my mom, and it completely changed her attitude toward philanthropy (which is no small deal for someone who grew up in a developing country). If you’ve ever thought that you don’t have enough, that you’re not enough, then this book will force you to change the way you think about money, about your talents, about your contributions to the world. This is not a light read, but it is life changing.

The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed, by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan. The biggest lesson from this book is that your money habits don’t have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to aim to save 20% of your income right away – you can start by saving 1% and work your way up. This book is a must-read for anyone whose income fluctuates month to month.

The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp. A fun read by dancer and choreographer Twyla Thwarp. It’s a bit intellectual (which is a good thing), peppered with quotes from Greek philosophers and German poets. The exercises will get you thinking in unexpected ways. Plus, the anecdotes from Ms. Thwarp’s own life are awfully fun.

Do you have any suggestions for other books I should check out? I’m always looking for new ideas, and am always looking to be challenged. Let me know what some of your favorites are!

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