best books for freelancers

10 Best Books For Freelancers To Level Up Your Career

Reading books is one of my favorite things to do every day.

This habit of reading is what contributed the most to help me become a freelance writer. I wouldn’t be here writing this article if it weren’t for books.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

Here in Sri Lanka, we speak the Sinhalese language, which is only used in our country. So we have some limitations when it comes to books written in our language.

As you can imagine, learning English changed my whole perspective on everything. It opened up so many doors and allowed me to learn from the greatest people around the world.

Today, I want to share with you some of the best books for freelancers that played a key role in my freelance career.

With the help of these books, I found ways to be a better writer, better at communicating with clients, be patient, and overall be a better person.

And I hope these books will do the same for you as well.

1. Linchpin by Seth Godin


If you can only read one book this year, read this one.

Seth Godin is one of the best freelancers out there and I idolized him for many years. This book is part of why I think of him as my greatest mentor.

In this book, Seth Godin explains the importance of building a unique identity around your work. And how to position yourself as someone who can’t be replaced.

After reading it, I made some big changes to my career and I improved my freelance services by delivering more value to clients.

As a freelancer, I’m not irreplaceable. But I’d like to believe that I’m hard to replace. All thanks to this book.

Every freelancer should read this book.

2. Mastery by Robert Greene


I only read this book recently and it immediately changed the way I think about my freelance career.

Robert Greene is a legendary writer who shared his immense knowledge through some incredible best-selling books. Mastery is one of them.

In Mastery, he lay out a complete plan for you to be a master in your field. He shares stories of some of the most brilliant minds ever existed and how they mastered their skills. And shows you how to follow their examples to find your own success.

This book made me think twice about my career and where it’s heading. I’m going to make some big changes and take big risks for the better, all because of this book.

3. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

steal like artist

I like to call this book the bible of the creatives.

If you’re a creative freelancer or artist, this book is a must-read.

Steal Like an Artist will show you that every piece of art out there that you call “original” or “masterpiece” is all inspired by something else. And the book will also explain how you can use the same strategy to create amazing things by taking inspiration from others.

This book helped me rid of the imposter syndrome and find creative ways to do better work for clients.

4. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

purple cow

Another brilliant book by Seth Godin and another must-read for freelancers.

Purple Cow is a book intended for businesses but I believe freelancers can learn a lot from it as well. After all, freelancing is a lot like running a business.

In this book, Seth Godin shows you how and why to create truly remarkable products and services to leave your mark.

Purple Cow is a great eye-opener for discovering ideas on how to create a brand around your freelance work. As well as to create a distinguishable identity for your work.

5. Atomic Habits by James Clear

atomic habit

Every morning, you wake up, brush your teeth, wash your face, drink tea or coffee, and go to work.

You do these tasks every day and some days you won’t even remember doing them because after so many times you do this stuff almost automatically.

That’s the power of habits. Now think about applying this same strategy to your work and achieving goals.

Atomic Habits is all about creating habits that you can actually stick with. Whether it’s to learn a new language, new skill, lose weight, or even quit a bad habit like smoking, this book gives you a solid strategy on how to create habits that eventually become part of your life.

After reading Atomic Habits, I managed to add some useful new habits to my life. Like reading more and writing more blog posts. And it really helped to grow my websites.

6. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

100 startup

Chris Guillebeau is a fellow freelancer who thinks that you don’t really need a special skill to earn a lot of money.

In this book, he explains how little you need to start a solid career or business. He does this by showing a lot of case studies of successful people. And Chris himself is a successful freelancer as well.

While I don’t agree with all of Chris’ ideas, this book is great for finding inspiration to start your own career. And if you think that you need a special college degree or experience to start freelancing, this book will change your mind.

7. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

richest man in babylon

This book has nothing to do with freelancing. But it taught me a valuable lesson in managing money.

The Richest Man in Babylon is a classic from 1926 and the story it tells is still relevant today.

In this book, the author gives financial advice through a series of fictional stories. The most important advice is how to manage your money.

After reading it, I made some important decisions, especially to invest money in my future.

Read this now so you can make better use of your money, no matter how big or small your income is.

8. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell


I’m sure you must have heard of the famous concept that explains how it takes around 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. That idea comes from this book.

Malcolm Gladwell is one of the brilliant minds of our time and in this book he shared the famous 10,000 hours of practice ideas and proves it with lots of examples.

After reading it, I actually did some calculations and realized that I’ve actually spent more than 10,000 hours over the years writing online. Yet I don’t consider myself a master of my skills.

So I’m not exactly sure if this concept works for everyone. But I do believe that it takes a lot of hours of intense practice to be better at your skills. Read this book if you want proof.

9. The Power of Broke by Daymond John

power of broke

This book is also not related to freelancing but it shared an inspiring story of a man overcoming poverty to be a great leader.

Daymond John is a successful entrepreneur. You must’ve seen him on Shark Tank. He’s also the founder of FUBU, a popular apparel company in the US. In the book, he shares how he used to be broke and how he used it as an advantage to find success.

If you’re going through a tough time, struggling financially, or think that you can’t afford to be successful because you’re poor, read this book. It will show you that you only need your willingness and determination to find success.

10. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

ego is enemy

Once you start earning a little bit of money as a freelancer and start getting recognized, you will start to develop a little bit of ego.

This ego can be damaging to you in many ways. For starters, you will start to talk back to clients thinking that you know better than the clients. You will think so highly of yourself that you will start to treat people around you in a terrible way too.

This book will make sure you don’t go down that road. And it will teach you to be humble by showing examples of great egotists that never lasted long.

I made a lot of money as a freelancer and I always consider myself lucky to be where I am today. Reading this book helped me to remember that keep my ego in check at all times.

Bonus: Freelance Like A Pro

freelance like a pro

Last, but not least, I want to shamelessly plug my own book.

My little book doesn’t deserve to be ranked among these amazing books but I wholeheartedly believe it will help you in some way to improve your freelance career.

I put everything I know about freelancing into this book and shared some of the secret methods I used to earn more money as a freelancer.

It’s perfect for complete beginners since it includes an easy-to-follow 21-step process. And there are advanced tips for experienced freelancers too.


Don’t stop with these 10 books. Keep looking for more and find other brilliant books to read and grow your knowledge.

Online courses are also great for learning. You can check out my handpicked collection of the best online courses for freelancers for recommendations.