Five Inspirational Books To Help Build Your Personal Brand

Reading recommendations to build your own personal brand

In my experience, these five books were fundamental to build and consolidate my personal brand.

In this list, you’ll learn everything from how to define your objectives to how to tell stories with your brand.  Each book offers the tools and inspiration you need to take your project to the next level.  Are you ready to start building the personal brand of your dreams?  Let’s get to it!

Sant Jordi – Book day

Last weekend was Sant Jordi, Book Day here in Spain, and browsing the stands at the fair I found myself going back and forth between business and design books, novels, and fantasy.

I’m usually a bit stressed out by Sant Jordi.  I tend to prefer taking myself to quiet bookshops, with time to go around all the shelves.  For me, reading and calm go hand in hand, a connection that can get a little bit broken during Sant Jordi.

On the other hand, submerging myself in a sea of curious people poring over the books does restore a bit of my faith that we’re still interested in reading, and in feeding our minds with something other than what’s fired at us from screens.

Inspired by the pick-and-mix of interests that took me from one stand to another, I wanted to offer you these book recommendations (I’ve already talked about one of them here before) that have helped me out with my personal brand.

Here are the books that helped me build my Personal Brand and clarify a lot of ideas:

The essence of my brand and moodboarding

How to Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberston

I never get tired of recommending this book, which was one of my biggest inspirations in developing the Creative Consultancies: how can we fully explore our brand, and what are the pillars we have to build to make a solid, stable base to grow harmoniously.

This book is a complete guide to helping you build your personal brand and think about its mission, aims, and targets.  Reading it, I learned to systematise all the information I needed to create a personal brand linked to my values and to connect with my audience.  It’s also full of practical examples and useful tools to turn creating a brand into a simple, creative process.

Find Your Artistic Voice by Lisa Congdon

Another little gem, which has turned Lisa Congdon into one of my creative references (by the way – she has another great book about creative practices, Art Inc., which I’d also recommend!).

This book is ideal for anyone who’s trying to find their artistic style and learn how to position it.  It includes interviews with artists of different perspectives, and practical advice (in the form of exercises) encouraging you to stay consistent, as that’s the way to find those characteristic qualities that set us apart.  Reading it, I learned that consistency and practice are crucial to finding your artistic voice and making sure your ideas connect with your audience.

Tell stories with your personal brand

Design Is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton

This is a book exploring the idea of how design can tell stories.  Using examples and case studies, Lupton shows that design isn’t just about making pretty things, but about communicating effectively; in her view, we have to know our brands inside out.

In three stages, the author explains how we can tell stories through action, emotion, and feeling: How do you tell your story? What emotions do you communicate? How do you connect your audience to your brand?

It’s a kind of encyclopaedia of resources and strategies and how they can be applied to design to create exciting and captivating stories.

I really recommend this to designers that work with brands telling stories, and to brands that want to connect more deeply with their audience.

Daily life as a freelance entrepreneur

The Art of Leading a Creative Life by Frank Berzbach

Being a freelancer and an independent entrepreneur is a journey I’ve been on for more than eight years, and a rollercoaster I’d climb aboard again if I had to choose.  I read this book during lockdown, in a moment when I was looking for balance between creative moments (inspiration and creation), completing projects (which often takes less creativity and more technical ability), general management, and personal life.  When you spend the whole day stuck at home, everything becomes a bit of a blur and the boundaries between life and work start to fade.

I loved this book for the number of quotes that made me think, above all about how to find the moments of rest that are so indispensable for creativity.  Berzbach maintains that creativity is not only for artists and designers – we can all be creative in our daily lives.

He explains how creativity isn’t something that appears from nowhere; it requires practice, dedication, and effort.  He also shows how it can be affected by external factors, everything that surrounds us and that we see day to day: the book includes relevant exercises to help you reflect and practise self discipline.

In summary, The Art of Living a Creative Life is an inspirational book for anyone who wants to be more creative in their daily life.

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris

I was tempted to say this book came into my life too late, but on second thought, it arrived just in time.  There are many ways to be a workaholic, and, having lived through it, I’d say pushing yourself to the point of burn out and complete disconnection is one of the biggest dangers for those of us who work independently.  Because if you’re not functioning, the whole project is paralysed.

I have mixed feelings about this book and it contains a lot of questionable parts, but it does contain something I can’t deny: it makes you reflect on the lie that doing what you love means you don’t work a day in your life.

It explores how we can organise our work and life to be more productive and have more free time.  It talks about creating our own lifestyle, tailored to our needs and wants, without losing sight of our goals.  How can we automate or externalise tedious tasks and delegate responsibilities?  How can we establish achievable, realistic goals?

I got hold of this book just as ChatGPT went viral, and that’s why I’d say it arrived just in time: it’s really interesting to start thinking about how AI could work as a virtual personal assistant for your own personal brand.

I’d recommend this if you’re looking to automate areas of your projects to free up time to focus on the jobs that need your special attention, as well as just to have more free time in your day.

My present to myself for Sant Jordi: Marrón

Marrón by Rocío Quillahuaman

As her introduction says: racism, class warfare, laughter, teddy bears, love, libraries, persecution, Shakira, leaks, my mum, Pocahontas, home.

This book relates Rocío’s earliest memories with the important moments of her childhood and teenage years, her search for herself and a place (and people) she could finally call home in a journey that’s full of humour.

Reading about the things that make up our identity, where we can recognise ourselves as people and artists, and where we could find common ground that we share with other stories.  To me, that’s a fundamental part of the journey to finding ourselves and mapping out the route to where we’re going, who we are, and the values with which we want to be identified.

When I read for fun, for passion, or as a hobby or distraction, there has to be that element that lets me connect to other parts of myself, the parts that feed the fire and are part of the essence of my brand.

Once I’ve finished reading it, I’ll definitely give you my complete review here, but I’m really excited by it – I was at the launch and I loved it, as much as I loved the author and her energy for telling her story.

Get reading!

As I said at the outset, this is a bit of a pick-and-mix and in every section I’ve left links for you to get hold of the books if there’s one that especially interests you.

You might be able to find some of them in bookshops near you, others will only be available to order online (as you can only get them from abroad).

I hope you enjoyed reading this note as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I’d love to hear your opinions and recommendations on the books that keep you company and inspire you every day with your personal brands.

Until next time!

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