The Beauty of Business Books

On a very wet and windy Wednesday this week I joined a colourful and chatty gathering of creative types to celebrate the launch of Elizabeth Cairns’ book The Empowered Entrepreneur in Ealing, West London.

After coffee and breakfast, we enjoyed an informal panel discussion where Anna Schmidt of ALSO Home, The Brand Stylist Fiona Humberstone, interior designer Sophie Robinson and artist and scientist Noel Ashton generously shared their wisdom.

I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth’s book – I dived into it in January this year and I’ve been riding the wave ever since – it’s full of uplifting yet accessible advice to help you play to your strengths and and focus on what matters.  If you feel stuck, demotivated, overwhelmed or exhausted, do yourself a favour and read the book.


“Change is coming and you are at the forefront of a tribe of trailblazers” Elizabeth Cairns, The Empowered Entrepreneur


Elizabeth talks about how the way we do business is changing, so as a reading-addict this got me thinking about how business books are keeping pace.  When I started my first business back in 2003, the business books I came across were most often paperbacks, penned by men, and were either dry manuals for navigating tax law or featured SHOUTY TITLES which promised to help you grow a pair and get rich quick.

In 2005 when I was running my jewellery business, I was approached by A&C Black (a division of Bloomsbury that specialises in books about the visual arts) to write a book about wedding jewellery.  A tutor from a course I had taken at Central St Martin’s had also written a book for them, and she recommended me.  (Just goes to show it’s not what you know…)


My book was named Bridal Jewellery, and the images were as imaginative as the title.


I was given a budget for photography of £1000.  Yikes.  As you can imagine, it wasn’t much of a looker.  If you are having a bad day and fancy some schadenfreude to cheer yourself up, pop over to Amazon and read some of my reviews.  Ouchy!

Ten years later and with a digital photo revolution under our belts, Fiona Humberstone’s How to Style Your Brand was the first business book I had ever seen that was both relevant to creative businesses and visually enchanting.  It has since inspired a new wave of must-own business books that speak to us in our own language.

Currently on my coffee table, alongside How to Style Your Brand are Fiona’s second book, Brand Brilliance; Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker (@meandorla); and of course The Empowered Entrepreneur.

All highly recommended for raising your enthusiasm and lowering your blood pressure.

Comments (2)

  1. elizabeth cairns 10th May 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Dear Clare

    What a lovely post, thank you so much and i’m delighted that you’ve found the book so helpful! You’re so right, publishing and business books have come a long way over the years.audiences are so much more discerning now too, books that stand the test of time will need to have not only substance but style too.
    Much love,

    • opalandco 13th May 2019 at 3:40 pm

      I really love it, and feel calmer just by looking at the beautiful pictures! 🙂

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