World Book Day: Inspiring books for creative businesses

7th March 2024

To celebrate World Book Day, we aked members of the Bristol Creative Industries LinkedIn group to share their favourite books for creative businesses and entrepreneurs.

We’ve included links for Amazon but why not support local shops and buy from a independent Bristol book store? Here’s a great thread of Bristol bookshops.


I highly recommend Time to Think by Nancy Kline. It taught me a lot about the value of listening and giving others positive space to develop their own thinking.

Heather Wright, Bristol Creative Industries co-chair and founder of Springboard Creative

Big Magic: How to Live a Creative Life, and Let Go of Your Fear: A reminder of the beauty and importance of any creative endeavour in life

How to be Everything. A useful insight into wearing many hats and making all the hats into a career which works for you.

Laura Gemmell, founder of Taught by Humans

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers is great for the procrastinators amongst us, and I quote The Secret by Rhonda Byrne pretty much on a daily basis! I’m a big believer in the power of a positive mental attitude.

Alli Nicholas, Bristol Creative Industries membership and operations manager

Thinking Fast and Slow by Danny Kahneman (or, if you’re short of time, either Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, or Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R Sunstein.

For me, effective creative work should be based on an understanding of how the audience thinks. Kahneman’s book really opened my eyes to a whole new way of understanding customer behaviour, i.e. the importance of psychology.

Tom Bowden-Green, Bristol Business School (see Tom’s BCI profile here)

7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a roadmap for life.

Andy Clarke, DT Consult

Survival Skills for Freelancers by Sarah Townsend. A great book covering every aspect of freelancing that you can think of and more! Love all the comments from real freelancers that are included too acknowledging that different freelancers have different experiences, likes and dislikes and that’s OK.

I also like The Freelance Introvert because it gives me hope when I have regular wobbles about whether I’m confident enough to make a freelance writing business work.

Helen Savage, Blog Write (see Helen’s BCI profile here)

I was recently at the Arnolfini and came across my current read in their bookshop. Creative Hustle is a real gem for those curious about blazing your own path whilst making work that matters. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Julian Davis, Curiosity UnLtd and Bristol Creative Industries board director

If you haven’t already, read Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It celebrates creativity with total honesty about how it “happens”. Short, punchy and simple. That’s always good in my book!

Christophe Stourton, Catalysm (see Christophe’s BCI profile here)

I always have a book on the go. In the last year, the best read was Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There.

Chris Voss’ book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, was probably the most useful.

Ben Lowndes, Distinctive Communications (see Ben’s BCI profile here)

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. A game changer for enlightening the creative flow, especially for people who are suffering any form of creative block.

Danie Stinchcombe, Gather Round (see Gather Round’s BCI profile here)

In my experience, we creatives are generally a quiet bunch. That can cause problems for freelancers in particular who generate most of our business from our connections. So many hate the idea of networking, but know it has to be done. It’s why I wrote Meet, Greet and Prosper, a short practical booklet about how to meet people at networking events.

When you analyse where most of your business comes from, it’s invariable by recommendation and introductions. Traditionally, new clients just seem to come from no where, but it can happen a lot more when you know how. That’s what my book, Rapid Result Referrals, focusses on. It explains in simple language how to discreetly let everyone in your network know you’re on the lookout for new clients.

Roy Sheppard, conference facilitator and founder of (see Roy’s BCI profile here)  


About Bristol Creative Industries

Bristol Creative Industries is the membership network that supports the region's creative sector to learn, grow and connect, driven by the common belief that we can achieve more collectively than alone. 

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