MKW Graphics
Helping small businesses turn brand vision into visuals
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Tips + Thoughts

To call myself a blogger feels all too millennial. Instead, I consider this portion of my website to be part knowledge library, part design magazine and part entreprenurial-digital-nomad travel journal. Hope you enjoy reading my musings!

- MKW

7 Books that Changed my Small Biz (for the better)

Being a small biz owner is no joke, and statistically, the majority of Small Businesses will fail within the first 5 years. As I approach my own five year mark (full of failures, lessons, big oopses, by the way) I wanted to take the time to share the business books I have read that really changed not only the way I thought about my small business, but changed the way I thought about myself as a business owner. Here’s a breakdown of my top faves!


  1. You are a Badass

  2. You are a Badass at Making Money

Might as well start off with what might be the obvious choice here. These two books by Jen Sincero are great because you can literally read them in an afternoon. Jen’s writing style is friendly, approachable, and sometimes a nice kick in the …ass regarding treating yourself and your money with the respect they deserve. I love that she encourages ‘abundance’ mindset over ‘depravity’ mindset in not just financial facets of our lives, but in happiness, too. I think that these books helped me to consider how what I tell myself paves the path for what materializes.


3. The Power of Habit: Why we do What we Do in Life and Business

I love this book by Charles Duhigg because it looks into the science of our habits and how habits become so ingrained that we forget that we are doing them. He breaks down in great detail about how our ‘keystone habits’ can trigger larger life changes so that we can change the habits that we feel stuck in.

The habits I am looking to break are my ‘unproductive’ habits… mindlessly scrolling instagram, falling into Pinterest rabbit holes, or spending too too long looking at a project without getting up, moving around, taking a break, and giving my brains and eyeballs a break. I like having this book on habits nearby to remind me that these ‘habits’ are all programmable in our own brains, and that we have the power to do something different about them.


4. Think and Grow Rich

This book is an absolute classic. I love the old-timey sounding punctuation that Napoleon Hill uses throughout that makes it feel like a very enthusiastic college lecture.

My biggest takeaway from this one is the anecdote he tells in the beginning about his son who was born without the ability to heal. Instead of taking pity on his son, or treating his affliction like he was less than everyone else, Hill instead raised his son with the idea that he was more special than everyone else. Hill says he '“wished his son to hear, so he did” which is part confidence, part manifestation, and part stopping at nothing to find solutions… All of which are super powerful lessons in mindset and business. I think this book is a great read for anyone who needs a little oomph in their goal setting, financially and otherwise.


5. Contagious: Why Things Catch On

The internet says there is no one else more well versed in why things go viral than Jonah Berger. When I read this book (back in 2015 by now, but literally picking it up again to re-read tonight) I remember enjoying how Berger explains exclusivity, social currency and social proof. For example, he talks about how airlines game-ified the points system, making their different membership levels into status symbols (I totally fall for bougie ‘insiders-only’ stuff like this and you probably do too).

Berger’s book made be think about how I can create these moments in the brands that I create for my clients. How can we add that extra level of detail, that extra hint or sprinkle that only the BEST of the BEST of that brand’s clients know about and appreciate? Like Disney’s hidden Mickey phenomenon… ideas that spread through word of mouth have much longer and stronger business legs in the long run.


6. Big Magic

Elizabeth Gilbert is a great read if you’re down for a little kooky woo-woo in your life. I for sure dabble in woo-woo-ness so this book was another quick and easy read for me.

Although a lot of her book felt a little predictable, the one that stuck with me is her explanation of how ideas exist in the universe in search of a host, and that it is possible to sit on an idea for too long, and that that idea might just move on to the next host (which explains the phenomenon of seeing the infomercial for the exact invention you wanted to create, but never did). I like this theory because it encourages us to act on our ideas as they come to us, to brainstorm on them, flesh them out, then decide if they are meant to be, or meant to move on. I have ideas like this anywhere between 5-20x a day. I get so many ideas that I will write them in the steam on the shower doors, only committing them to paper or laptop if I am still thinking about them by the time I get out of the shower. I love that Glibert brings the idea, of ideas, and illustrates them as being energetic bodies instead of random synapse firings.


7. The Art of Thinking Clearly

This last one came recommended by a good friend of mine who I think is particularly intelligent. :) The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli is not so much a business book as it is a life book. The best part about this one is that each little story is only a few pages, and leaves you with a good idea of why our brains work the way that they do, and what our inherent biases are towards others, towards our situation, towards ourselves, and towards the world as a whole.

The small anecdotes make this a great travel or beach read, because you can easily share the stories like “Why You Shouldn’t be Friends with Supermodels” and “Why you see Shapes in Clouds.” There are soooo many good nuggets in here that make you think “yeah, well duh” in a way that you wouldn’t have been able to put into words yourself, which I think is why I like it so much.


And that, my friends, rounds out my list! I absolutely want to be reading more in the new year… A few on my list are: Building a Story Brand, Girl Wash Your Face, Becoming and Next Level Basic because Stassi is goals.

Which ones am I missing? Let me know in the comments, shoot me a DM or send a carrier pigeon!