When I was in high school, I spent hours every week in the library. Most of the year, I had swim practice after school, but there was about an hour between when school let out and when I had to get to the locker room. So everyday, I would grab my book bag, and walk down to the public library, and read by myself for an hour before I had to jump into the pool.
If you've spent any time with me, you probably now that I love to read. I carry a book (or now my Kindle) with me everywhere I go in case I can find a few minutes to read a few pages of a good book. My favorite part of my job as a lifeguard was that I was able to read on rainy or cold days. And the thing I miss most about having a regular 9-to-5 job is the time I had to read during lunch or at the end of every day.
Now that I'm running Lemon and the Sea, I have less time to read (I listen to a lot of podcasts while I work), but it's still one of my favorite activities. Books inspire and refresh me more than anything else because I can get lost in someone else's world and learn about my own.
Why I don't Love Business Books
When I first started Lemon and the Sea, I would read every business book that someone recommended. And they taught me a lot. But over time, I realized that I was consuming so much information and filling my entire day with business - I had no time to relax and step away from the hustle. So I decided to intentionally stop reading business books except on very rare occasions and then only a little at a time.
Because reading is so impactful for me, I'm better when I read for escape and pleasure instead of education. Sure, business books have there place, but when you're always thinking about your business the way I am, it's nice to get away from it every evening.
What I've learned from my intentional step away from business books is that my business is impacted just as much by non-business books - the stories, lessons, and characters all have something to teach me.
Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite non-business books that have impacted my life and business, as well as what I learned from each.
The Magnolia Story
by Chip and Joanna Gaines
If you haven't read this book yet and you're a fan of Fixer Upper, I highly recommend it. I love watching Chip and Joanna interact on their show because they're so real (plus I love the open floor plans and white kitchens), but it's easy to think that they have it all together all the time. This book gets into their story and how God has lead them to where they are now.
I was reminded of so many lessons I've learned in my own business and encouraged to know that I'm not alone in the sometimes messy, sometimes scary, always a blessing journey of being an entrepreneur.
Find it here.
by Mary Kay Andrews
This book is why I decided to pursue architecture and spend my time "abroad" in Charleston instead of traveling to Italy or Spain. It's also where my love of refinishing furniture and interior design was solidified. These are some of the lessons the book taught me:
- do something you love, even if it doesn't make sense
- find people you can depend on
- historical architecture and antiques are awesome!
Find it here.
by Sarah Dessen
This was one of my favorites in high school and I've shared it with my sister a few times as well. Sarah Dessen really knows who to write stories that relate to what every teenager is experiencing and capture some amazing life lessons.
This book didn't have as much of a direct impact on my business, but it did teach me the importance of getting to know someone's story before jumping to conclusions. As I work with clients in all different industries, I love hearing their stories and how they got to where they are now, because each is unique.
Find it here.
Gone with the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
Yes, I'm aware that this book is a little controversial now, but I still enjoy it. My mom gave me this book to read sometime in middle or high school and I've read it at least 5 times since (I had to buy her a new copy because I read the one she had so many times it fell apart).
What I love about Gone with the Wind isn't so much the circumstances as the characters. Scarlett's story has taught me a lot over time (and I've gone from really disliking her to admiring her and back a few times).
- You can do hard things when you have to care for the people around you
- There is value in the place and family you came from
- Taking care of yourself isn't always going to look the way people want it to, and that's okay
- Don't be afraid to pursue the things you're good at
Find it here.
by Catherine Marshall
I recently read this book again after years of seeing it sitting on the shelf and it spoke to me in so many ways. Christy's story isn't something I can directly relate to (I'm not teaching children in the food in the midst of illness and feuds), but it served to remind me that while God's plans don't always make sense, but they are worth following and that God will provide in amazing ways if we simply ask.
Find it here.
Of course, every book and every story has something to teach us, so this doesn't nearly cover all of my favorite books. These are a few others that I return to over and over:
- The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Books of Pellinor series by Alison Croggon
- Where the Heart is by Billie Letts
- Anything by Jodi Picoult, Sarah Dessen, Robin McKinley, or Mary Kay Andrews
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
- Certain Women by Madeline L'Engle
Tell me: what are your favorite books that have impacted your business?
Lemon and the Sea is a branding and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creatives who enjoy being involved in every step of the process to help them update their brand and website so that it better reflects who they are and what they do. From logo and collateral design to Squarespace websites, I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a brand that represents them.