As a freelancer or entrepreneur growing your business the first thing you need to learn is all about business.

That means attending seminars, enrolling for courses, and reading.

Lots and lots of reading.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talked about 10,000 hours. That for anyone to gain true mastery in his or her field, you first need to clock 10,000 hours practicing and honing your craft.

And one of the fastest ways to reach there is by reading. Learning new and practical stuff to grow your business.

But how do you decide which book to read first from the thousands or millions of books out there?

I’ve created a simple book review process I use to help me decide how practical (notice the emphasis here) a book is. It consist of 5 key criteria which I assign a score from 1 to 5. With 5 being the highest.

Every 2-3 weeks, I’ll review a book I’ve read or will be reading and run them through this review process. So if you’re struggling to decide on which book to read first, this post will give you some clarifications.

Or if you have any recommendations, drop me a comment below and I’ll add it to my list of books. (Full review list added after the criteria process)

Criteria #1: Expertise

The first thing I’m looking out for in an author is the level of subject expertise displayed. Am I learning something new or does the author show a degree of knowledge in the topic.

After all, we’re not browsing through a book to get general ideas or inspirations (those are motivational books), we’re looking for an expert we can learn new things from. Especially new strategies or viewpoints we’ve never considered before.

So top of the list… level of expertise.

Criteria #2: Practicality

This is where it gets trickier as knowledge about a subject is only going to take us so far. What we’re looking for are the practical and actionable steps we can apply.

Remember our focus is to grow our freelancing business into a profitable solution. And to do that we need practical steps. Not just theories or possibilities.

Criteria #3: Demonstration

Again it is easy to create a list of things to do. Question is… does it work?

This is why I’ve added demonstration into the mix to see if there are any other positive case studies of the strategy and tactics being used previously. The last thing we want is to apply a strategy that just doesn’t work.

Criteria #4: Readibility

No one wants to read an encyclopedia even if it is very good.

It takes too long to decipher the materials and understand what the author is trying to say. As a freelance business, time is of the essence and reading lengthy (and boring) content isn’t going to do us much good.

This is why the books we want to read has to be simple and easy to understand.

Criteria #5: Uniqueness

Has the author introduced a unique methodology or findings?

This goes back down to the age-old marketing and sales question… why should I choose you?

Likewise with the books we want to read, the author should have a unique differentiation for us to consider. It could be twist to a common believe, it could be a combination of ideas, or it could even be a resource list for others. It doesn’t have to be fanciful but it has to be unique to the author. A trademark.

Here’s What We’re Not Looking At

Reputation of the Author

While a famous author makes the book more interesting, it is not one of the key considerations. Because while books are a powerful marketing tool to build up credibility and authority… we’re looking for books that will help elevate our freelancing and entrepreneurial business.

Cost of the Book

How much are you willing to pay for a powerful strategy or tactic?

At the end of the day, a book can be premium or economical. That’s not important. What’s important is the value of the content inside. If it happens to be cost-effective then let’s consider that a bonus point.

The Business Book Review List

And those are the criteria I’ll be considering and looking at with each book I review. I’m listing below the list of books I’ve reviewed and will be reviewing. If you’ve got recommendations, just add them in the comments below or drop me a message and I’ll add them to the list.

  1. Cashvertising – Eric Whitman
  2. Great Leads – Michael Masterson & John Forde
  3. Advertising Secrets of the Written Word – Joe Sugarman
  4. The Boron Letters – Gary Halbert
  5. Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive
  6. More Words that Sell – Richard Bayan
  7. Invisible Selling Machine – Ryan Deiss
  8. Mind Control Marketing – Mark Joyner
  9. Confessions of an Advertising Man – David Ogilvy
  10. The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Getting Your Shit Together – John Carlton