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7 Must-Read Books for Work-At-Home Moms (or those who want to be!)

7 Must-Read Books for Work-At-Home Moms -- these are some of the best of the best! Highly recommended!

I’m speaking at the Midwest Homeschool Conference on Saturday about Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom Without Losing Your Sanity. In the handout, I made a list of seven of my favorite business books and I thought some of you who couldn’t make it to the conference might enjoy seeing this list, too.

Now, mind you, three of these don’t even have much to do with business. Instead, they are about time management. However, I’ve found that it’s near impossible to successfully work from home if you’re not a good manager of your time. So I think books on time management are vitally important to read if you work from home or are considering working from home.

Here’s my list of seven must-read books:

1.  Quitter by Jon Acuff In his witty style, Jon shares a wealth of advice for getting from where you are to where you want to go.
2.  The Other 8 Hours by Robert Paglierini This book has page after page of helpful advice and suggestions for how to earn income outside of your day job. If you feel like you don’t have time to start something on the side because your plate is already quite full, this book will especially be helpful.
3.  EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey This book is packed with tried-and-tried information, practical application, and fantastic inspiration. As a small business owner with a few employees and sub-contractors, I’ve gleaned so much from this book.
4.  Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating by Brian Tracy This book has many practical ideas for prioritizing your time and life so that you make the most of your days.
5.  How to Have a 48-Hour Day by Don Aslett This book is filled with lots of practical advice and inspiration for making the most of each day.
6.  168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam Laura helps you rethink your “I don’t have enough time” excuses and shows you how you just may have quite a bit more time than you realized!
7.  Tell Your Time (ebook) by Amy Lynn Andrews This ebook offers step-by-step help for setting up a time budget — a concept that has revolutionized my time management!

 If you are a work-at-home mom, I’d love to hear what books you’d add to my list!

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  • Amy says:

    Mary Byers also has a GREAT resource – Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family under One Roof.

  • sarah says:

    Do we get no cleaning post today because of the conference? I thought we did so I keep checking. Should I just give up?

    • lori says:

      I kept checking too. I think Crystal got busy, therefore we got the day off 🙂 Actually, I had a few tasks to make up so that’s what I did instead.

  • Davonne says:

    Great list!! I’ve read two, am currently reading two, have been wanting to read another, and now I want to look into the two that I haven’t heard of yet. Thanks for sharing! I hope the conference is going well!

  • Daily Citron says:

    I really like Find More Time by Laura Stack. The examples are pretty evenly split between at-home examples and corporate workplace examples, so the book is good for both work-at-home and work-outside-the-home mothers. A good calendar is also key to time management- I recently posted Find the Right Calendar about the different types of electronic and paper calendars available. And of course, there’s a good section on time management in your Money Saving Mom’s Budget book, too!
    -Viva, from The Daily Citron

    • Mary says:

      I am excited to check out your link on calendars. I have tried an iPhone system and done with it. Back to paper trying to figure out what would work best. Thanks for sharing

  • Anshu says:

    The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal
    I have just finished reading this book and I liked it very much. It is not specifically for Work At Home Moms but a really good book on how to live a balanced life. I would recommend it to all.

  • This is a great list of books. I struggle with time managment a lot. So many distractions when working at home. I think the first one I need to read is the other 8 Hours.

  • Jen says:

    Any suggestions for finding work at home opportunities? I’m a soon-to-be FTM and my husband and I want to avoid daycare. We’ve been attempting to explore avenues to not lose out on my income but keep me at home with Wyatt at the same time. I don’t think it is feasable for us financially to not have a second income, but I also don’t think childcare is feasable in out budget either (on top of the fact that we admiately do NOT want someone else raising our child). We’ve really felt stuck between a rock and a hard place in this and have not found anything that looks to be ligitmate work at home opportunities. Suggestions? Thanks!

    • Check out the book Retail Arbitrage by Chris Green, available on Amazon. It is all about selling retail products on Amazon for a living. It is what my husband does and he makes more than I do working full time outside the home!

      Good luck and congrats on little one 🙂

    • Jen,

      As some of the moms said below, working from home with kids is definitely a difficult task. It can be done, however. Just like it would be impossible for me to tell a high school graduate what jobs they would be suited for without getting to know them, however, it’s just as unlikely that a stay-at-home mom could get work recommendations without knowing their situation, either. My best advice is to do an assessment of your skills and talents, talk to women who have gone the road before, and be flexible with your time and expectations. It may take a long time to get established in whatever business you do. See if a part-time job is possible in the meantime — working with hubby’s schedule, of course.

      Good luck!

  • Sophia says:

    Excellent list! You hit all the ones I’d recommend, plus some. I’ll have to read the ones I haven’t gotten to yet! 🙂

  • Patricia Pacheco says:

    Thank you crystal for ALL you have done, My finace had lost his job and i worked for 5 years while he was a stay home Father, now we switched roles, where i lost mine, and he is working but you have inspired to keep my home tidy to be there for my kids and I just want to pull them out of school but i need knowlege on how to be a stay home mom first, thank you for all you do from the bottom of my heart , for 5 days i have been awaiting for your book, so we can set goals and live with one income even though we have been living in one income all along this time, i feel lost of control of money making, im happy though and accepting the new… cannot wait for book yippee i should of bought for the kindle , but i want to hold the book..

  • Susan says:

    Jen, I’d encourage you not to think of childcare as “someone else raising your child.” You and your husband WILL be the most important and influential people in your child’s life regardless, and your child WILL NOT get confused about who his parents are. High quality childcare providers do exist, and they’ll partner with you in raising your child with the values that you want. They’re worth their weight in gold.

    I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t stay home full time with your child if that’s what you want. Everyone needs to what’s best for their family given their individual circumstances, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. But providing for your family financially is an essential responsibility of parenthod.

    And working from home while taking care of a child at the same time is not easy. Believe me — it’s easier to dedicate a chunk of time to your work while someone else looks after your child than try to do it all.

    One option is for you and your husband to stagger your work schedules, if possible, to reduce (or eliminate) childcare. Or depending on your field, team up with someone who works a different shift and trade childcare. I have a good friend who does this — she’s a nurse, and she and a coworker work three 12-hours shifts per week, different days, and take care of each other’s child during their off days. It works great for them. They have no childcare expenses, and their kids (one each) have a wonderful relationship. Just an example.

    Also, becoming a mom for the first time is stressful. Not in a bad way of course, but entering parenthood AND starting a new work-at-home at the same time can be very overwhelming and isolating. Is it possible to reduce your work schedule or work from home (full or part time) in your current job? Depending on your field and job requirements of course, but sometimes, if you have a solid performance record in your current job, your best bet is to say with your company but look for some flexibility.

    Stay open to different alternatives. Good luck!

  • Karen says:

    I’m looking forward to meeting you tomorrow, Crystal! I plan to attend your last session. And, bonus: I’m getting in for free! I signed up for the emails about the convention just so I could check when you’d be speaking (I’m single and not a parent or homeschooler). They sent one out asking for volunteers. So…I get there at 7:30am tomorrow, work 4 hours, then get the rest of the day free! I thought it would be the height of craziness for me to pay $30+ to meet the MoneySAVINGMom, so I’m excited to be getting this “deal.”

  • Ashley - Embracing Beauty says:

    Great list! I own many of those books and the rest are on my to read list. Amy Andrews is amazing!

  • jay says:

    No Yelling, Walter Adamchik.

  • Have a 48 hour day sounds great. I’m going to check my library and see what they’ve got. Thanks for the list! I got my husband the Dave Ramsey one for Christmas, but I keep reading bits and pieces too! It’s great!

  • Carly Nalley says:

    As a Christian, one book I found to be very helpful in regards to time management is “Shopping For Time” by Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters. It is very inspirational on how to make time for things that REALLY matter, and the importance of being a good steward of every single day. I have not read these other books, but am excited to look into them!

  • Oh, I just realized you’ll be in Cincinnati! That just clicked. My publisher is going to be there–Familyman Ministries, Todd Wilson! If you get the chance, go to one of his talks. He is so funny and encouraging, and a great speaker. Wish I could be there!

  • I’m kinda disappointed that you are mentioning 168 Hours again- I bought it based on your first recommendation and didn’t finish it because of the author’s bias against traditional homemaking. She really. puts down all I believe in (and what I know you value from reading here)- to the point of reiterating that tired argument of quality time over quantity with our kids. This book should have a caution sign next to it.

    • Crystal says:

      It’s interesting how different people read things differently. I didn’t get that at all from the book — and it really helped me to rethink how I’m using my time and make sure that I’m focusing on my core competencies. And many other people I’ve talked to have also benefited from it in this way, as well. However, I know that not everything I read and appreciate is going to be something that others are going to find beneficial.

      I’m sorry that it wasn’t helpful to you, though, and I hope you were able to sell it back for what you paid for it so that it wasn’t a loss to you financially.

    • Emily says:

      I agree with Crystal on this one. I first heard about 168 hours here on Crystal’s blog (I think it was on one of her posts about what books she planned to read each month). I borrowed it from my library at first, but after reading it, I bought it. That book completely changed the way I think about how I spend my time. I recommend it to anyone I talk to who mentions not having enough time (which, after reading the book, is not something I’ll ever say again). I also did not get the impression from Laura through that book that she has a bias against anything or that she puts down anything. I think the book can be extremely helpful to anyone, whether they are a full-time working parent like me or a stay at home parent, who wants to get more out of their time and use their time more effectively.

  • This one is aimed at writers: but I LOVE Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.

    Main theme: don’t let stupid stuff distract you from doing your Work!

  • Lori says:

    I am not a fan of The Quitter. I didn’t think it was very well written or that it had any actionable advice. Just my opinion. The good news is that Amazon allows you to read the first several pages so you can get a feel for the content before you buy it. These first pages are very indicative of what you’ll find throughout the book, just FYI.

  • Lin says:

    Recommendation: ‘The Fire Starter Sessions’, by Danielle LaPorte. To quote the inside book jacket, “This is a training course for taking the leap of your life.”

  • I had no idea that Mr. Aslett had a time management book! Thans for the tip! I have all of his cleaning books (but you likely wouldn’t tell if you came to my house. LOL)


  • I’d also recommend Getting Things Done, by David Allen. I don’t follow his whole system to the letter, but I still gleaned a couple practices/thoughts that were extremely helpful. Another good one is Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern. I like that she doesn’t assume a one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Annette says:

    Can you download these books to your computer if you don’t have a Nook or Kindle?

    • Nurya says:

      Yes, there’s an app for turning your computer into a kindle. I don’t remember where I got it, but I know it is out there. Also, libraries are starting to e-loan electronic books also. Check if yours is one!

  • True says:

    In your list I’ve spotted a few books I didn’t know.
    It’s time to go shopping for me!
    I wonder why “The E-Myth Revisited” book was not mentioned yet in the comments. That’s the kind of book that saves time and effort to people.
    Thanks to that book I avoided a potentially big business mistake.
    Also “Getting Things Done”, by David Allen was a great one mentioned by Jana before me.

  • Sorilbran says:

    Ooo. Use What You’ve Got by Barbara Corcoran.
    I came across this book yearrrrrs ago at a Dollar Tree. This was before Shark Tank, so I had no idea who Barbara Corcoran even was. Truth be told, I only bought it because it was a hard-cover business book in a dollar store!! But it was packed with helpful messages and the narrative bounced back and forth between present day and growing up in Jersey. It was super helpful for me first starting out. Inspiring, too.

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