Top 10 Christmas reads and podcasts for entrepreneurs

Do you find it difficult to switch off from business over Christmas? We asked our Small Business Network members to recommend the best podcasts or books for entrepreneurs. Take a look at our top 10 for something to dip into over the festive break:

1. The Bottom Line with Evan Davis, BBC Radio 4

The Dragons’ Den and Newsnight presenter chats to business leaders in a round-table-like scenario. This recommendation came from Nick Levine, the chief accountant at LimeGreen Accountancy. Levine said: “Business podcasts can act as a handy way to motivate yourself. I find out about business podcasts through recommendations on Twitter, searching the business section of the iTunes podcast directory and through recommendations from other business podcasts.”

2. The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries

Daisy Hatami, founder and director of Indiana, has this book ready for her holiday relaxation. She says: “I’ve heard many of my entrepreneurial friends talking about The Lean Startup. I’m interested in reading it because I’ve recently launched my latest business venture.” Read this if you’re looking for advice on ways of cutting the unnecessary from your business.

3. The Referral Engine, by John Jantsch

Lindsey Collumbell, director of Bojangle Communications, suggested this book in which marketing expert Jantsch explains how to create new customers from existing customers by the power of their positive referrals. “I regularly dip into it when I have a few spare minutes, such as on a train or waiting for a meeting to start. There’s always a snippet of something I can learn and apply to my business,” says Collumbell.

4. Making it:

Women Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Secrets of Success, by Lou Gimson and Allison Mitchell. Nicky Chisholm, the co-founder of the Mumpreneurs Networking Club, has high praise for this title. “I read this when I need a pick me up,” she says. “It’s an easy read and has lots of different examples of women-owned businesses – it lives on my bedside table.”


5. Shape up your Business, by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker

Written by the co-founders of, this title is a follow-up to their best-selling book, “Build a business from your kitchen table.” They offer wide-ranging advice on improving your small business and maintaining a work/life balance.

6. The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Marketing a Bestselling Book –

On a Shoestring Budget, by Dee Blick. This was recommended by both Sara Guiel (Chisholm’s business partner) and Paul Lancaster, content and social media specialist at Sage One. Guiel says Christmas is “an ideal time to read it and make new year plans to write a book for your business.” Lancaster (also a published business writer) says: “This book is full of great advice for a first-time author.”


7. Silicon Real

A weekly podcast showcasing London’s tech scene. You can explore an archive of more than 50 episodes, with host Brian Rose interviewing successful business leaders such as Tom Valentine, co-founder of Secret Escapes; Clare Sutcliffe, co-founder and CEO of Code Club; and Emily Brooke, CEO, and co-founder of Blaze.

8. StartUp

This US export is on-trend with the current popularity of storytelling podcasts. It follows Alex Blumberg, who has previously presented on This American Life, as he starts and grows a small business. Each episode comes in the form of a lesson learned, for example, “How to value your startup” and “How to name your company.”

9. Will it make the boat go faster?:

Olympic-winning strategies for everyday success by Ben Hunt-Davis MBE and Harriet Beveridge. Thom Gibbons, business development director at Callmaster Mobile, recommended this book by Olympic rower and gold medal winner Hunt-Davis MBE. Gibbons explains its premise: “When training for an Olympic race, the team involved have to be so focused on their task, they would ask about every single part of their life and training, ‘will it make the boat go faster’ if the answer was yes, even by a split second, they continued to do it, if the answer was no, they stopped it immediately.” Gibbons applies this idea to running his business.

10. Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy

James Morris, managing director of Trafalgar Marquees, says this business classic has been on his bookshelf for years. “I have read it in parts before. However, this is definitely on the hit list for reading thoroughly through the festive period,” he adds.


Writer. Pop culture buff. Certified alcohol trailblazer. Tv nerd. Music fanatic. Professional problem solver. Explorer. Uniquely-equipped for working on Easter candy in Las Vegas, NV. Uniquely-equipped for analyzing toy monkeys for the government. Spent a year testing the market for action figures in Minneapolis, MN. Spent high school summers donating walnuts in Phoenix, AZ. Earned praised for my work researching human brains in Orlando, FL. Spent college summers writing about pubic lice in Washington, DC.