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Top 11 Business Books Every Animator Should Read

ben marvazi 2020

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In the world today, animation is everywhere from films and television shows to advertisements, video games, and all over the internet.

Since animation is a thriving field, you as an animator should be thriving too! However, since there is more need than ever for animation, there are more up-and-coming animators than ever ready to step up and fill in the gaps.

In order to survive and gain success as an animator in this fast-paced industry, it is a must to use as many resources as you can to learn and stay up-to-date with the latest news, trends, tips, and tricks in the animation world. Including the business side of things.

To help you get ahead, we compiled a list of the top 11 business books that every animator should read. So curl up with a cup of coffee and a blanket; you’ve got some reading to do.

1) The Animation Business Handbook by Karen Raugust

The Animation Business Handbook

Image source: Amazon

The Animation Business Handbook is a reference for anyone in the animation industry. This book offers a thorough look at the business side of our beloved field..

Raugast explains how a successful animation studio or freelance animator operates. She describes the process of developing animation property from start to finish and outlines the different kinds of business methods you can utilize to create and sell animated media.

Karen Raugust is the founder and author of Raugust Communications. She writes RaugustReports, a blog about licensing, and has been a consultant covering the licensing business since 1990 when she joined The Licensing Letter.

Karen is the Licensing Correspondent and Contributing Director for Publishers Weekly where she writes a licensing column, news, features, and news about licensed publishing.

She also covered licensing for other animation publications like Animation Magazine and Animation World Network.

2) The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman

The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business

Image source: Goodreads

Reading The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business is like attending a crash-course in business.

Instead of spending tons of money and time on an expensive business degree, you can read this book that gives you all the concepts you need in order to succeed in business. You won’t get a fancy degree for your wall, but you will come out of the experience with lots of knowledge that you can put into practice!

This book teaches the core principles behind every successful business. It also explains  how to implement a work-life balance and still have some fun. It covers topics such as marketing, negotiation, and setting goals. 

Josh Kaufman writes books about entrepreneurship, business, psychology, and more.

Aside from writing “The Personal MBA”, he also wrote two other best selling books titled “The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast” and “How to Fight a Hydra: Face Your Fears, Pursue Your Ambitions, and Become the Hero You Are Destined to Be”.

3) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends & Influence People

Image source: Goodreads

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a timeless bestseller and has sold more than 15 million copies since it was published in October 1936.

The book explains six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people over to your way of thinking, and nine ways that you can change people without causing them to resent you, or vice versa.

It contains solid advice that has helped thousands of people gain success and reach their maximum potential in their personal lives and businesses. This classic is an absolute must-read!

Dale Carnegie was an American author, lecturer, and pioneer in public speaking and the psychology of a successful personality.

4) Think Rich and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich

Image source: Target

Think Rich and Grow Rich is one of the greatest motivational books of all time. Napoleon Hill’s 13-step program gives you every tool you need to gain wealth and success, in business and beyond.

It reveals the life-changing secrets of earning money that many successful people have applied. By thinking like those people, you can be like them too.

Napoleon Hill started writing for small-town newspapers as a reporter when he was 13 years old and became one of the best motivational authors in America. Hill’s work has greatly contributed to the successes and achievements of many who have read his book.

He established The Napoleon Hill Foundation as a nonprofit educational institution which helps make the world a better place to live by teaching people about his philosophy on leadership, self-motivation, and personal achievement.

5) Zero to One: Noted on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Image source: Amazon

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future is a thought-provoking book that inspires its readers to think outside of the box and create something new while working towards the future.

It gives readers a look into Peter Thiel’s philosophy and strategy and explains how you can create a successful startup.

This book includes the lessons Peter Thiel learned from founding and selling PayPal, investing in Facebook and LinkedIn, and becoming a billionaire.

Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal and Palantir and became the first big investor in Facebook.

He is a partner at Founders Fund, a venture capital firm at Silicon Valley which has funded companies such as Airbnb and Space X.

He founded the Thiel Foundation which gives young entrepreneurs $100,000 for more than two years in order for them to skip going to college and pursue their dreams of starting a business.

6) ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson


Image source: Penguin Random House

ReWork is a book written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson which delves into the principles he as his co-author used to run Basecamp.

The book will show you a better, easier, and faster way to gain success in business. It tells you that you need less than you think. That a lot of planning can be harmful, and that you don’t need to work long hours to be productive.

The authors will teach you how to gain exposure without spending too much money, how to be more productive, and other inspiring business ideas.

It’s a good read for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, artists, and anyone who feels stuck in their current job.

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hanson are the co-founders of Basecamp, the first Ruby on Rails programming language, a server-side web application framework.

They also named their project management and collaboration software Basecamp which includes to-do’s, chats, timelines, folders, and reminders.

7) Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis

Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business

Image source: Goodreads

Freelancers and business owners, this one’s for you. Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business brings a new and refreshing approach to the world of business that focuses on the benefits of staying small.

It emphasizes the importance of having the freedom to pursue more meaningful things in life and avoiding the headaches that come with dealing with employees and expanding a business. 

It also explains how you can set up your business, determine your ideal revenue, deal with unwanted crises, keep your clients satisfied, and manage it all on your own.

Paul Jarvis is a designer and writer who worked with professional athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, brands like Microsoft, and entrepreneurs like Danielle LaPorte.

He’s also a co-founder of Fathom Analytics, a website analytics tool. He currently teaches courses online, creates and sells software products, and writes books like this one

8) 10x Marketing Formula: Your Blueprint for Creating “Competition Free Content” That Stands Out and Gets Results by Garrett Moon

10x Marketing Formula

Image source: Amazon

In 10x Marketing Formula, Garrett Moon teaches his readers how to overcome a lack of time, the struggle to create great content,the difficulty of engaging your audience, and many more business struggles.

It contains an actionable and powerful formula to help you rethink your goals and gain marketing success.

The book is all about implementing effective marketing strategies that will help you easily get results in a short amount of time.

Garrett Moon is a columnist at and co-founder and CEO of CoSchedule which is the most popular marketing digital calendar. It’s also the fastest-growing startup business in North Dakota.

He also writes blogs and speaks about social media marketing, content marketing, and startup businesses. His work has been featured on famous websites like Entrepreneur, Forbes, and more.

9) The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win by Steve Blank

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

Image source: Amazon

The Four Steps to the Epiphany is one of the most influential business books in history. It shows the differences between how startups and large companies do their business in a fast-paced environment.

It also offers a practical customer development process and gives insight into why some startups succeed and others flop.

The Four Steps to the Epiphany outlines flaws in product and business planning and also provides examples you can apply when organizing your sales, marketing, and business.

Steve Blank is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and educator who developed the Customer Development methodology that changed the way startup businesses are built. He also launched the Lean Startup movement, which teaches entrepreneurs how to run a startup business with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Steve is one of the Thinkers50 top management thinkers and recognized by the Harvard Business Review as one of 12 Masters of Innovation. He also is a Senior Fellow for Entrepreneurship at Columbia University and teaches at Stanford and UC Berkeley.

10) Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth

Image source: Amazon

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth has a simple message: a lack of customers is the reason why most startups fail. While this may seem obvious, it’s a concept that is often overlooked by hopeful entrepreneurs as they set out to build their startups. 

The authors provide easy solutions and business hacks for both digital and traditional channels of your business.

Traction will show you several channels that you can use to build your own customer base and will help you decide which ones to use for your business.

The book will help you boost the effectiveness of your email campaigns, increase your search engine rankings and advertising, use channels that your competitors aren’t using,  and much more.

It also contains interviews with more than forty business founders such as Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) and Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot).

Justin Mares is the founder and CEO of Kettle & Fire, which is the fastest-growing bone broth brand in the United States. 

He co-founded Perfect Keto, which is a food and supplement brand for people who follow the keto diet. He also buys Saas business such as Fomo and Cross-Sell with his partner Ryan Kulp.

Gabriel Weinberg is the co-author of Super Thinking and the CEO and Founder of DuckDuckGo, a search engine base near Philadelphia.

11) Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s by Ray Kroc

Grinding It Out

Image source: Amazon

In Grinding It Out, Ray Kroc shared his own secrets in changing the world and how his life changed when he joined the food industry.

His innovation caused an explosive growth of the world’s more famous fast-food chain, McDonald’s. The book may be a business biography, but it also teaches its readers about persistence, resilience, and other values you should have in order to avoid personal and business mistakes.

Ray Kroc was an American businessman who was known for expanding McDonald’s from a local chain to the most famous and biggest fast-food chain all over the world.

Wrapping It Up

You may have learned all about animation in school and take online animation courses, but there will always be something new to learn, especially if you’re looking to expand your animation hobby into a full-on business.

And who better to learn business and marketing principles from than the top businessmen and entrepreneurs in the world, right? 

There is no one business book that will help you get you to your ideal future as an animator. Some books address specific areas of business while some give a bigger picture.

You have to keep reading, learning, and implementing different perspectives, ideas, and methods in order to gain success in your animation business.

If you’re eager to learn more about the business of animation, join our free masterclass and get your copy of our marketing handbook.

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