Good Books for Freelancers

Whenever time permits, usually when travelling, I like to read books.

As a developer, you’d think these books are focused on technical topics. But that’s not always the case. I’ve always found myself more drawn to books on business, self-help and life skills.

I’ve found that by reading books from a more varied range of genres, my freelance business has benefitted. More so than when I targetted only web development books specifically.

My aim for this page is to create a library of book recommendations that can help other remote freelancers and business owners. The same way they’ve helped me in my career and life in general.

Last updated: October 2018.

Who Should Read These?

  • Freelancers, consultants, contractors, business owners.
  • People that work remotely, from home or otherwise.
  • Individuals in the digital sector; graphic designers, web developers, SEOs, etc.
  • Anyone looking to improve their mindset and grow their business.

The Library

Hourly Billing Is Nuts

Hourly Billing is Nuts

Hourly Billing is Nuts by Jonathan Stark

This book was a real eye-opener for me. As freelancers, we’re always asked to provide an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly rate; Hourly Billing is Nuts challenges the stereotypes of how contractors bill their clients. Often highlighting, as per it’s title, just how nuts this is in a lot of instances.

My main takeaways from this book were:

  • You limit your earning potential when directly trading time for money as a freelancer
  • Providing value to your customers is what they really want, not a specific amount of time
  • Not everyone’s time (value) is worth the same amount of money

Buy Hourly Billing Is Nuts

Virtual Freedom


Virtual Freedom gives insight into how solopreneurs can “buy back” some of their time through remote staffing.

The book mainly focuses on the author’s experience of working with virtual assistants in the Philippines, but the concept can be expanded.

My main takeaways from this one were:

  • I have a tendency towards super-hero syndrome! (Trying to do everything myself)
  • There are definitely everyday tasks that I can outsource
  • Working with other freelancers to fulfil projects is a viable option

Buy Virtual Freedom



Leading by Alex Ferguson and Michael Moritz

Being English, I’m big on football. Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful British football manager of all time. While I might not have always liked the way he did things in the sport, I always had respect for what he achieved. So, when this book was released, I was instantly intrigued.

I found Sir Alex’s insights into leadership, management and the pursuit of success fascinating. What’s more, these lessons can be applied directly to business; with Sir Alex even teaching his style of management at Harvard Business School.

My main takeaways from Leading were:

  • How to get the most out of the people you work with
  • Lessons on putting together successful teams
  • Insights into management should I ever wish to go down this route

Buy Leading

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

I read this book recently in two sittings after a recommendation from a freelance friend of mine. This was perhaps the most personal development based text I’ve ever read, and, I loved it.

The Subtle Art is “a counterintuitive approach to living a good life”, which in nutshell, teaches you how to realign what you care about. What’s important to give a f*ck about, and what’s not. What you invest your emotional energy into. How you choose to tackle what life throws at you.

A lot of this book struck chords with me as I think it would anyone who has been self-employed for a long time.

My takeaways were:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff, there’s enough big stuff to sweat about
  • Choose the right people, projects and businesses to invest your time in
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin, focus on what is and who is important

Buy The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck