20 Essential Books for Building Your Personal Brand
As business success increasingly relies upon a strong following, entrepreneurs are realizing the importance of building credibility and authority with their audiences. Personal branding is one of the best ways to do this, and we’ve rounded up the top 20 personal branding books to get you started.
What Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding refers to the process of curating and presenting a coherent professional identity to the world.
This is usually done through intentional tailoring of a person’s public presence to position them as an authority in their field. This can include social media presence, publications, speaking engagements, and personal appearance.
What Is a Personal Branding Business?
There are entire companies dedicated to helping people refine their personal brands. They help professionals through services like:
- Personal brand audits
- One-on-one consultations
- Niche-specific personal branding
- Digital presence management
While these consulting services are helpful, they are pricey. Reading a great personal branding book or two can be a great alternative if a personal branding agency simply isn’t in the budget.
Why Should You Read Personal Branding Books?
Many of us feel too busy to read, or don’t enjoy it as much as scrolling through social media. But high achievers like Bill Gates and Elon Musk prove that reading every day (especially nonfiction) can be worked into even the busiest schedule.
Frequent reading is linked to business success. Reading a branding yourself book is an investment in your business, as you can apply the techniques you learn to make yourself more successful.
Advantages of Reading Personal Branding Books
Of course, the top advantage of reading books about branding yourself is to create a winning personal brand. There are other advantages as well:
- Daily reading develops persistence and focus
- Books require more analytic thought than blogs or social media
- Learning from personal branding books saves money
- Reading books strengthens our logical thinking
Best Personal Branding Books to Read in 2021
We’ve rounded up the best books on branding yourself so you can take your leadership to the next level in 2021.
Introduction to Personal Branding - By Mel Carson
If you’re just getting started with your first personal branding book, Mel Carson’s is a great place to begin. At only 64 pages long, the book can be read or listened to in about an hour. Introduction to Personal Branding is essentially a 10-step checklist with examples and explanations that help you jump right into clarifying your personal brand.
Personal Branding for Dummies - By Susan Chritton
A perennial favorite, Personal Branding for Dummies brings the comprehensive explanations that fans of the Dummies series know and love. Because of the length, it’s better to use this personal branding book as a reference to help you workshop your specific personal branding goals, rather than as a textbook you read cover-to-cover.
Influence - By Dr. Robert Cialini
Though the scope of this personal brand book is broader, it has significant relevance to branding yourself. Drawing on his experience in psychology and research into what makes people change, Cialini offers seven “Principles of Persuasion” to help you influence others - including how to help them understand the value you and your brand bring.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World - By Gary Vaynerchuck
Drawing on his celebrity success as a social media guru, Vaynerchuck explains that social strategies need a combination of “jabs” - patient relationship-building, and “right-hooks,” or knock-out sales pitches, to be successful. This helps personal branding efforts strike the right balance between building credibility gradually and promoting their skills.
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World - By Michael Hyatt
Platform fills the need among books about branding yourself for a step-by-step process of actually building a high-authority presence online. Hyatt offers tips on how to run a successful blog, how to use Twitter effectively, and the importance of having a “home base” website online. Overall, this is a comprehensive look at aggressively building your online platform.
The Slight Edge - By Jeff Olson
Though The Slight Edge is not exclusively a personal brand book, it offers a simple technique for increasing your productivity and performance in every area - including how you approach your position as an industry authority and ultimately boost your personal brand. The “slight edge” is the discipline of consistently practicing small habits every day.
This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Unless You Learn to See - By Seth Godin
One of our personal favorite books on personal branding, Godin instructs readers about how to build trust with their audiences by using marketing to solve the customers’ problems - not just seeing customers as a means to a profit-driven end. Godin recommends emphasizing empathy when building a personal brand to connect more authentically with followers.
Rise of the Youpreneur - By Chris Ducker
While some books on our list are more generalized, Rise of the Youpreneur is laser-focused on how those with a strong personal brand can weather changing trends and build strong, dedicated followings. Ducker’s book outlines three steps - building, marketing, and monetizing - to build strong personal brand-based businesses.
Published: The Proven Path from Blank Page to Published Author - By Chandler Bolt
Frequent, authoritative publishing is an integral element of good personal branding. Bolt’s personal branding book offers a workshop-style book on writing your own book, starting from scratch. Bolt also covers the publishing process, promotion, and how to channel book sales into marketing for your business.
The Advertising Solution - By Craig Simpson and Brian Kurtz
The authors bring their experience in direct-response copywriting to the personal branding books world. With a focus on crafting quality, persuasive copy that will add value to your followers, The Advertising Solution is a good pick for anyone who wants to level up their content.
The Millionaire Messenger - By Brendan Burchard
This is essentially the brand yourself book answer to imposter syndrome. Burchard encourages readers to list their skills and experiences as a way to determine what value they can bring to their audiences. Once you’ve identified your areas of expertise, you can then determine how to market your knowledge and build your business through personal branding.
Reinventing You - By Dorie Clark
This is a must-read for anyone wanting to advance in their profession, not just entrepreneurs and influencers. Clark incorporates interviews with other famous marketing personalities to determine the secrets of their success. This branding yourself book emphasizes determining your own goals and dreams to gain a more accurate picture of how you want your career to develop.
Tools of Titans - By Tim Ferriss
Famous for promoting productivity techniques, Ferriss brings his expertise to this habits-focused book. Though not a specifically personal branding book, the everyday habits and practices that Ferriss learned from the many high-profile interviewees in his book will help professionals learn how to boost their productivity and build their personal brands.
A Winning Brand - By Kraig Kleeman
This personal branding book offers a good mix of branding principles and specific questionnaires to help you apply the information to your own life. As the popularity of personal branding grows, Kleeman’s book is useful in determining how to maintain your unique voice in the marketplace of ideas.
Digital You - William Arruda
If you’re concerned about maintaining authenticity as you build your personal brand, Arruda’s book is the one for you. One of the best personal branding books on mastering digital media, Digital You teaches readers to be “selectively famous” for what they love to do.
Branding Pays - By Karen Kang
A classic personal brand book, Branding Pays offers a great step-by-step guide for those who may not have much marketing background. Kang walks readers through case studies and examples of personal branding with plenty of exercises to help readers implement the material.
Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen - By Donald Miller
People are story-driven, and tend to make connections more quickly when we connect with a story. Miller harnesses this truth to teach readers how to build authenticity and personal connection with an audience by sharing seven “universal story points” and how to integrate them into branding.
Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media - By Brittany Hennessey
An industry insider, Hennessey provides expert tips on how the influencer economy has exploded over the past few years. Newcomers to personal branding books and influencer marketing will appreciate the in-depth, how-to tips on building a social platform.
One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days - By Brendan Kane
Building your personal brand can be quickly thwarted by ever-changing algorithms on social platforms. Kane is a self-professed “growth hacker” who helps readers understand how to navigate and integrate different social platforms to grow their audience.
Breakthrough Branding - By Catherine Kaputa
Kaputa presents a primer on foundational branding techniques to help entrepreneurs define their persona, audience, and distinctives. The real-world examples from both individuals and global brands make the content more accessible and show the success of the tips inside.
Ready to Build Your Personal Brand?
Personal branding is a mixture of self-discovery, marketing, and customer service. Choosing a few of the best personal branding books from the list above will help you find your unique skills and story and build a durable professional brand.