3 business books that changed my life: Bernadette Jiwa, winner of the Business category in the Best Australian Blogs competition 2012

I understand how busy it gets running your own business. There are days when I barely have time to stop and eat, let alone read a business book. But it is worth taking some time out to read them because of all the great things you can learn from fellow entrepreneurs. So how do you work out which books are worth your time?

In this continuing series, “3 Business Books that Changed My Life”, my aim is to provide you with some guidance. I have asked some of Australia’s top business bloggers and business owners to nominate the books that have made an impact in their life.

In this post, I feature the choices of Bernadette Jiwa, whose blog, The Story of Telling, recently won the Business category of the Best Australian Blog’s competition 2012. She has been likened to a female Seth Godin (with whom she has collaborated), and her blog was praised by category judge, Robert Gerrish of Flying Solo as follows:

“Here’s a blog that succeeds brilliantly in balancing the expertise of the blogger with valuable, original, engaging 
content. Arresting headlines, considered imagery and a 
clearly nurtured and active readership make The Story of 
Telling a blog that’s easy to get into and hard to escape.”

She describes herself as a “writer, idea catalyst, brand strategist, brand naming consultant” and specialises in helping the entrepreneurs behind nascent brands get a clearer sense of their business’s identity and what they want to say to customers in today’s noisy, crowded marketplace.

Here are the three business books that changed her life:

Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Purple Cow was my introduction to Seth Godin back in 2005. Having read it I couldn’t help but be compelled to subscribe to his blog, which I’ve read every single day since.

The premise of Purple Cow is that you can transform your business by being remarkable. Seth forces us to rethink the old ways of marketing and encourages us to be brave, stop advertising and start innovating. There are lots of great examples in the book of businesses that are thriving by being different.

In Purple Cow Seth explodes traditional marketing theories and creates the roadmap for a new way of doing business. This easy to read volume weighs in at just 137 pages. It’s a book you can read in an afternoon, which will change the way you think about marketing forever.

Lovemarks by Kevin Roberts
Kevin Roberts CEO of worldwide advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi first described his Lovemarks theory in 2000. He boldly said that if they wanted to survive, great brands needed to create ‘loyalty beyond reason’ and that this was the only way to differentiate in the future.

Lovemarks: the future beyond brands, published in 2004 explores what the brands of today and tomorrow will look, sound and feel like and how they will differentiate in an increasingly noisy world. As Roberts explains, the secret to differentiation is a passionate commitment to three powerful concepts in everything the brand does and represents.

It turns out that we, the new consumers, are no longer willing to passively accept whatever comes our way. We have so many options that price, packaging and performance of products and services are pretty much guaranteed with any product on the shelves. Consumers are searching for something more. We are looking for ways to differentiate and connect. Enter the Lovemark, which inspires loyalty beyond reason using mystery, sensuality and intimacy.

Lovemarks is a visually stunning, sensual book and the design accentuates the book’s message. What hooked me was the way Kevin codified what defines the truly great brands we love, and how he inspired business to think about what the world needs now.

It’s Not How Good You Are It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden
The inspired cover design and text is enough to make this book worth the purchase price. The subtitle, ‘The world’s best-selling book by Paul Arden’, illustrates the genius of the author and leaves you in no doubt that you’re going to learn something in the pages that follow.

It’s the kind of book that you can open at any page and be inspired to be better tomorrow than you were today. The combination of beautiful typography, clever use of images and the genius of one of the world’s greatest ad men, is hugely inspirational. This is not just a business book; it’s a book of mantras and ideas that teaches something on every single page. If there is a book I wish I’d written, it’s this one.”

If you’d like to learn how to write your own business book, our course How To Write a Business Book is the perfect place to start.

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.