Freelancing can be a tough job. You are your own boss, which is great, but at the same time, you have to deal with all aspects of running a business. No matter what type of freelancer you are, you need to market your work, keep clients happy, network, do your administration, do your taxes and keep up with all the latest developments in your branch, and just is just a small selection of all the skills you need as a freelancer. But bottom line you just need to run a business, your own business, and that can be a hard job.

So how do you learn about or keep up with all those skills and developments? Books offer a great way of learning and at a much lower price than taking, for example, a specialist course. By reading a book, you consume a huge amount of research in a relatively short amount of time, and it is one of the best ways to improve your skills.

Now we know what we should be doing, right? Just start reading Freelancing Books! However, now there is another problem because there are a lot of books written about freelancing in the market, and there is much more to come. For instance, just doing a search for “Freelance” books in Amazon results in more than 3,928 books about Freelancing, so how do you make up your mind about what to read?

You can do a google search and search for the Best Books about Freelancing, but then you get hundreds of “Best of Lists” in front of you, so that doesn’t help a lot either unless you want to spend a full day going through all those lists. Well, that is exactly what we did! We searched for 50 “Best of Lists” highlighting the most recommendable books for freelancers, selected and combined the 20 most valuable “Best of Lists” and earmarked and ranked what books for freelancers keep up appearing on most of those recently published lists. From a total of 143 books compared, reviewed, and ranked, here are the Top 20 of Most Recommended Freelancing Books!

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The 20 Most Recommended
Freelancing Books

These books are not only about freelancing but also about how to run a business and what key aspects come into play, which in the end should help you with your freelancing business.

#1. The 4-Hour Work Week | by Tim Ferriss

Listed 10 out of 17 times. The book illustrates the benefits of working online and the advantages of outsourcing tasks at a little cost. The author explains how one can create a 4hour workweek to generate five-figure earnings through online jobs. This book also appears on many other favorites lists, like Best Business Books of All Times.

“The 4-Hour Workweek is a new way of solving a very old problem: just how can we work to live and prevent our lives from being all about work?  A world of infinite options awaits those who would read this book and be inspired by it!” (Michael E. Gerber, Founder & Chairman of E-Myth Worldwide and the World’s #1 Small Business Guru)

Recommended by:
– Professors at The Wharton School and Harvard Law School
– Tom Fremski, Journalist and Publisher of SilliconValleyWatcher.com
– Various #1 New York Times Best Selling Authors


#2. Rework: Change the Way You Work Forever | by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

Listed 7 out of 17 times, this is one of the best and most helpful books to anyone seeking success in the freelance business. It emphasizes that freelancers should focus on income-earning tasks and getting exposure to new and inspiring ideas.

ASAP is poison, underdo the competition, meetings are toxic, fire workaholics, pick a fight, planning is guessing and inspiration is perishable are just some of the key elements of this amazing book

Recommended by:
– Chris Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Long Tail
– Tom Peters, New York Times bestselling author of In Search of Excellence
– Various authoritative business leaders


#3. What to Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn) | by Seth Godin

Listed 3 out of 17 times. The book contains inspirational narrations, quotes, and photos of works that have already been done. It guides freelancers on paths to take in building their new career.

The book is urgent, personal, in-your-face and as honest as it can get

Recommended by:
– Kathryn Robinson, owner Lumen Strategies
– Jordan Ayan, co-founder of Take Two Partners
– Red Maxwell, president Onramp Branding


#4. Think and Grow Rich | by Napoleon Hill

Listed 3 out 17 times. First published in 1937, this is the end product of two decades of research conducted by Napoleon Hill. His research started when Andrew Carnegie (the steel tycoon who was then the richest man on earth) gave him the assignment of organizing a Philosophy of Personal Achievement. Hill, who was a poor journalist, armed with just an introductory letter from Carnegie, set out to interview over five hundred successful people including Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, John D. Rockefeller, George Eastman, William Wrigley Jr., and Charles M. Schwab.


#5. The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More | by Chris Guillebeau

Listed 3 out of 17 times. The author narrates stories of different people who have succeeded in business with a startup of 100 dollars. The book explains the reality of success from life situations making to inspire freelancers.

Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead a life of adventure, meaning, and purpose – and earn a good living


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#6. The E-Myth Revisited | by Michael Gerber

Listed 4 out of 17 times. This book reveals the myths that most entrepreneurs have when starting up a business and how assumptions and commonplace advice can lead to business failure.


#7. The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams– On Your Terms | by Sara Horowitz

Listed 4 out of 17 times. This is a true Freelancing Book and it’s a guide to new freelancers on the basics of starting a business as well as to existing ones on how to grow and expand. It is an all dimension guide on all details and challenges of a freelancer.


#8. Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur | by Derek Sivers

Listed 3 out of 17 times and this book guides entrepreneurs using past experiences of successful businessmen and acts as a manifesto with insightful prospective to entrepreneurs on how to thrive in business.


#9. Ego Is the Enemy | by Ryan Holiday

Listed 3 out of 17 times. This book contains interesting stories of business leaders who were wrecked by ego. The author emphasizes on having an honest approach to your business and be open-minded to prevent ego getting in the way of success.


#10. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity | by David Allen

Listed 3 out 17 times. The book provides coaching on management. The author explains that productivity is a result of being relaxed. He expounds on efficiency and emphasizes that we should work with clear minds to achieve success.


#11. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change | by Stephen R. Covey

Listed 4 out of 17 times and this book explains how success depends on our ability to ultimately change of how we think. Therefore, we should adopt habits that can deepen our understanding, develop a better relationship with others, and eventually become stronger and better leaders.


#12. Stop Thinking as a Freelancer | by Liam Veitch

Listed 3 out of 17 times. Another Freelancing Book and the author advises the freelancers to take their business just like any other business and get exposure to online works. He urges the freelancers to start having an entrepreneurial mind so as to grow the freelancing business.


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#13. How to Win Friends and Influence People | by Dale Carnegie

Listed 4 out of 17 times. The book’s key wisdom is derived from the lives of prominent people and explains how to apply contemporary psychology to associate with people without being so manipulative.


#14. Book Yourself Solid | by Michael Port

Listed 3 out of 17 times and this book gives information on how to create a better market for oneself in the online business. Using illustrations, it guides the readers step by step on ways to conduct self-promotion and use it as a success factor in the business.


#15. Creative Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Very Successful Freelance Business | by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Listed 4 out 17 times. This book provides insight on how to start and grow a business that you have a passion for and gives practical examples on how to get your brand known, how to earn, and strike a balance between work and personal life.


#16. Outliers: The Story of Success | by Malcolm Gladwell

Listed 3 out of 17 times and this book illustrates why some people succeed while others fail. Using relevant examples of successful businessmen the author explains the reasons for the failure of some people despite having the same ideologies.


#17. The Hard Thing about Hard Things | by Ben Horowitz

Listed 4 out of 17 times. This book discloses that most people are not honest about how to run a business and discuss challenges that a company comes across. The author elaborates on how to overcome them using his experience in the field.


#18. Non-Obvious: How To Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict The Future | by Rohit Bhargava

Listed 2 out of 17 times and this book explains how a freelancer can market their business to have a yearly workflow. The book will help predict trends of online jobs and create a market niche.


#19. The Zen of Social Media Marketing | by Chris Brogan

Listed 2 out of 17 times. This book elaborates on how to take advantage of social media in your business as a way of being competitive. The author encourages freelancers to take advantage of social media in order to save time which can be used for more valuable and profitable tasks.


#20. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation | by Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson

Listed 2 out of 17 times. This is our last book and it provides information on the sale process focusing on the challenges of clients. It provides insight on how to relate positively to the clients in order to gain loyalty.

The Ivy League
MBA Reading List

We did another research and these Business / Consulting Books might also interest you. We tried to find the MBA Reading Lists recommended by the Best Business Schools in the world and again earmarked what Business Books are recommended most times by Ivy League schools like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and MIT. These Top 20 of Best Business Books keep appearing on the MBA Reading Lists, and here are the top 5:

  1. The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
  2. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
  3. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
  4. Good to Great, by Jim Collins
  5. The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz
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Via our Community Forum, you can share knowledge by having Q&A conversations about typical business issues or best practices in relation to all sorts of topics, including sharing your favorite Freelancing Books. Here you can share your Freelancing Knowledge, rank answers by how valuable they are, or just read and follow any Freelancing topic you want, and get noticed when new contributions are made to discussions you follow.

Knowledge Resources: Best Freelancing Resources Shortlists
Via Knowledge Resources you can quickly find the best Freelancing Resources on the web as suggested by our users and visitors via comments made or via the above Q&A. Think of blogs, books, learning, online courses, cheat sheets, salary surveys, tools, industry reports, and much more, all related to Freelancing. We prepare a base list of Freelancing Resources and then this list is continuously updated basis tips received from our users and visitors.

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How we Established the
Final Top 20 Freelancing Books List

  • We made a list of 50 posts that we recently published about “Best Freelancing Books”  or “Best Books for Freelancers” to read.
  • From this list of 50 posts, we selected the top 17 that seem most valuable to our readers and users.
  • We combined the 17  lists of “Best Freelancing Books” and earmarked all individual books that were on those lists.
  • When a book was ranked as number 1, it got 1 point, and when it was ranked 2nd, it got 2 points, etc.
  • When no particular ranking was applied to a certain list, then each listed book got the same points.
  • To be included in the final list a book should be listed for a minimal number of times.
  • More weight was assigned to books that were explicitly listed more times than other books.
  • All lists were summed up, and the Freelancing Book with the lowest number was ranked 1, 2, 3, etc.
  • This resulted in the final “The 20 Most Recommended Freelancing Books” that have been read by many small business owners and/or freelancing experts. 

Sources Used

The below resources were used for establishing our list of Top 20 Most Recommended Freelancing Books:

  1. 15 Books Every Successful Freelancer Should Read
  2. 8 Great Freelance Books That Every Freelancer Should Read
  3. Best Business Books for People Who Work for Themselves
  4. 10 Business Books Every Freelancer Should Read In 2017
  5. 13 Books Every Freelancer Should Read In 2016
  6. The top 10 books for freelancers
  7. 8 Game Changing Books For Freelancers
  8. The Books You Need to Read to Understand the Freelance World
  9. 15 Inspiring Books Every Freelancer and Small Business Owner Should Read
  10. 9 Amazing Business Books for Freelancers
  11. Top 8 Must Read Life Changing Books for Freelancers
  12. 13 Must-Read Books for Female Entrepreneurs and Freelancers
  13. 14 Inspiring Books for Freelancers
  14. 73 Must-read books for freelancers from freelancers
  15. 8 Game Changing Books For Freelancers
  16. What are the best books on freelancing?
  17. 5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Freelance to Fund Your Travels

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