We thought that we'd throw together a quick list of the best reads and podcasts for anyone who has or is planning to start an e-commerce business. This list includes popular titles and our own recommendations.
Author Yvon Chouinard
Yvon Chouinard built clothing brand Patagonia with the mission to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Let My People Go Surfing delves into Yvon's early life and background and how the brand came into existence. It then progresses through to Chouinard's teachings on building a company that does right by it's staff, the environment and the overall philosophy (from distribution and marketing to product design and production) of one the most intriguing brands on the planet.
This is one of our favourite books and an essential read for anyone starting a business. Just a note – If you like this one, then you might also enjoy The Responsible Company: What We've Learned from Patagonia's First 40 Years.
Author Alex Daly
Crowdfunding has grown into a giant. In the past year alone, platforms such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have generated over $34 billion dollars in funding. Alex Daly has built a career by helping people and businesses to successfully fund their ideas, raising over $20 million dollars across 50 campaigns through her agency Vann Alexandra.
In her book, Alex discusses how to successfully prepare, promote and launch your crowdfunding campaign and how to avoid pitfalls along the way. A must-read for anyone looking to crowd-fund their next project.
Author Phil Knight
A memoir by the creator of Nike, Shoe Dog tells the story of how Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father in 1962 and built the most iconic brand in the world. Filled with insight and hard-won wisdom, Shoe Dog is littered with lessons that are relevant for any business owner.
Almost anything published by The Do Book Co.
Whatever the Do Book Company publish is gold in our opinion. A series of inspiration guidebooks on various topics regarding business and self-improvement (they even cover slow living, with books on bee-keeping and making preserves - but you're probably not looking for that here).
Choosing just one book from their catalogue to recommend is impossible, so here are a handful that are worth getting your hands on:
- Do/Design: Why Beauty is Key to Everything by Alan Moore
- Do/Purpose: Why Brands with a Purpose do Better and Matter More by David Hieatt
- Do/Story: How to Tell your Story so the World Listens by Bobette Buster
- Do/Open: How a Simple Email Newsletter can Transform your Business by David Hieatt
Money isn't everything:
If starting/running your own businesses is more to you than just earning a living, we'd recommend two books that focus on sustainability and putting people (your customers, staff or community) first. Both discuss the importance of your business giving back somehow and how putting people first ultimately breeds growth and success.
Author Dr. Robert B. Cialdini
Mind control. The majority of marketing techniques are based on psychology. Through learning about the human brain and understanding how it works, you'll be able to persuade and influence your customers more effectively.
Whilst Gary Vaynerchuk uses the word 'hustle' a great deal and seems to speak in riddles - he does know his shit. The investor, entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia is also a best-selling author that has written a number of titles on his thoughts on social media marketing and successfully running a business. Have a read of...
Author Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansen
Rework is an entirely different kind of business book, it cuts right to what is essential to starting and running a business in a straight-forward and matter of fact style. Although 300 pages, it is a quick read and certainly worth picking up a copy.
For those who want to cut right to the good stuff we'd recommend Blinkist. A genius idea, Blinkist has reviewed over 2200 bestselling non-fiction books on a variety of topics, from marketing to small business and condensed them down to just the key insights (or blinks as they refer to them), which you can read or listen to in just 15 minutes.
Here are some popular titles which you may want to blink through:
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
- Built to Last by Jim Collins
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel
- Trust Agents by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith
There is something about being able to listen to a podcast, learning something new and inspiring whilst simultaneously doing chores or your normal work day. If you're looking for a way to learn from e-commerce experts about how to launch and market your e-commerce business whilst cleaning the house then we've put together a list of our recommendations.
Maker Courier Magazine
Courier Magazine brings you the stories of three very different startups: Desmond & Dempsey - a luxury pyjama brand from the UK, Accept & Proceed - an award winning winning design agency based in London, and Kitchup - the UK's first online marketplace for kitchen space, as they share the successes, difficulty and secrets behind their growth.
NPR is far and away our favourite podcast. Hosted by Guy Raz, How I Built This is a podcast about innovators and entrepreneurs who have built some of the best known companies in the world. With interviews with the founders of Kickstarter, Buzzfeed, Patagonia, Warby Parker and many more this is a must-listen.
Maker Kurt Elster
Kurt Elster aims to answer the question, 'How is an entrepreneur like me supposed to scale my Shopify store?' and Kurt does a stand-up job through interviews with successful Shopify merchants and e-commerce specialists as well as offering his own expertise as an e-commerce consultant to help you discover new opportunities to grow your Shopify store.
Monocle have a pretty rich and varied list of podcast 'shows' but The Entrepreneurs is our favourite with a weekly tour of the most inspiring individuals, companies and ideas in the world of business. Be sure to check out episodes 300 - Do One Thing Well and 292 - Vitsoe, although frankly each episode is a worthy investment of your time.
Produced by the team at Shopify are two great sources of insight and inspiration. Hosted by Felix Thea, Shopify Masters delivers actionable strategies and e-commerce marketing advice through interviews with successful e-commerce entrepreneurs. Shopify's other podcast, TGIM is also worth checking out despite them seemingly discontinuing the podcast series.
The Rework Podcast is a podcast from 37Signals - the creators of Basecamp and authors of titles such as Remote and the previously mentioned Rework. A fresh new podcast discussing better ways to work and run your business and unconventional wisdom.
E-commerceFuel is an essential podcast for any e-commerce entrepreneur. They discuss a variety of in-depth topics, stories and strategies to help six and seven figure store owners to take their business up a level.
The Science of Social Media is a podcast from to inspire marketers everywhere, brought to you by social media and analytics tool, Buffer. Learn new and exciting methods to implement your social media marketing across a range of platforms and industries. Each week they interview marketers from brands that take the lead in social media innovation and experimentation.
The best of the rest:
- Rebelhead Entrepreneurs Podcast
- Noah Kagan Presents
- FT Start-Up Stories
- eCommerce Masterplan
- The Fizzle Show
- Build My Online Store
- The Growth Show