I love love love reading about business and architecture/urban design, and really enjoy it when it combines my love for both. (Though if you know me personally you know I haven’t read a novel since high-school.)

Here’s a list of the top 7 books I read in 2020 and made an impact on the way we run our business.











1. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

We start the list with this book because it all starts here: in the inner forces that tell us to “go ahead and do it” and to pursue our life calling.

Why we like it: it’s about mindset and how the great passion we have in life should be the focus of what we do.

For creative people especially, there are tactics that will help you push lasting fears aside, but it’s much more than that, it is the understanding that the inner voice is there for a reason.

2. Thriving Solo – How to Grow a Succesful Business by Andrew Patricio

I read this book countless times since I co-founded the firm 3.5 years ago and I enjoy it and learn something new every time. I also refer to it when I need to get a refresher on a specific topic as the book covers the foundation of starting and running a business: market research, target market, marketing and sales, managing the business, financials and succession.

Why I like it: It tells you what you should do without filling pages with experiments and research. Just the bottom line, no fluff. If you like straight-up advice, get this book.

P.S. The author runs free webinars regularly and I can’t recommend them enough.

3. Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro

You are a design expert, your clients are not.

How do you talk about design? How do you present your design in a way that emphasizes the value your clients receive from it? How do we even talk about value? The book is an easy read, and if you are familiar with Mike’s content, the book is written in the exact same tone. It gives you a confidence boost when talking and presenting design to clients.

Why we like it:  This should be required reading for all designers.

4. Art’s Principles by Arthur Gensler

A book about leadership and talent acquisition, work/life balance and growing a successful business.

Why we like it: The book provides a glance into the mind and belief system of the founder of one of the world’s largest international architectural firms – and that’s a good enough reason for us to read it.

5. Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss

The book is written by a former FBI international hostage negotiator and teaches how to negotiate. As simple as that.

Why we like it: Mastering the art of listening, understanding the other side’s perspective and… getting what you want is a must when you run a business or if you are the person in charge of business development in the firm. We probably read 5 books this year alone about that topic. This book was the best one as it speaks about empathy and emotions and how to listen to what people really want, even if they say something else.

6. Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value

This book reveals the simple truth about cost and value and how to price service around the high value they provide to clients. It covers real-life examples, research and experiments done around the concepts of pricing and value and human perception of them both.

Why we like it: If you deal with pricing your goods or services, this book is a must.

7. E-Guides by Ian Motley and Alexandra Howieson

These E-Guides are not “books” but since we printed them and read them as if they were, technically, they belong to this list.

Why we like it: The E-Guides summarize Ian and Alexandra’s brilliant online Fee Proposal Workshop that covers everything from the fee proposal writing and presentation to negotiation and contracts. The written summaries are a great way to slowly digest everything Ian and Alexandra covered in the workshop and to refresh your memory. There are 5 E-guides from writing a fee proposal to negotiating to contracts.

Our fee proposals are now a state of the art, beautiful and sophisticated documents thanks to their workshop.


To be clear, this post is not a paid partnership with any of the writers who are mentioned in this post, and we don’t receive any commission from the above recommendations. Each of the books deserves these warm reviews and we are happy to give them the stage.