Today we’re sharing 11 Must Read Books for Aspiring Digital Nomad Girls!
Everybody raise your hand if you’re a total book worm? 🙋♀
I love reading, always have and always will. So naturally, when I started getting interested in this whole digital nomad adventure, I turned to books. And Google. And podcasts. And blogs.
But always books.
Now, there are a bunch of ‘How to Become a Digital Nomad’ books out there, I’ve read a few but definitely not all. Some are really great, some not so much. In fact, I even started writing one myself about 2 years ago. I’ll let you know when it’s ready 😉
But what if you’ve already read those books? And what if you still have questions or if you just want to prepare even more?
That’s how I felt. I wanted to know more about the philosophy behind this lifestyle, about mindset, productivity, financial planning, and business.
So I put together a list of 11 books for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls, but honestly, most of these are still great books to read even if you’ve been working online and travelling a while. I broke them down into categories for you:
Mindset & Lifestyle
One of the first digital nomads I ever heard of was Natalie Sisson, for me she’s basically THE original DNG.
Natalie was being interviewed on a podcast I listened to and I still remember to this day that it totally blew my mind how she had broken away from a corporate career and started a business and life as a nomad. She was so cool.
I read her book ‘The Suitcase Entrepreneur’ years ago and I still think it’s one of the best entry-level books to this lifestyle.
Natalie’s second book, The Freedom Plan, is a great follow up as it goes into more detail of how you can design your whole life and business that really works for you, whether that means being fully location independent or running a coworking farm (for example). Whatever works best for you.
The Art of Non-Conformity is the first book by Chris Guillebeau, who is also known as ‘the Indiana Jones of career experts’.
Guillebeau is most famous for 2 things: visiting every country in the world and founding the World Domination Summit in Portland. This book is based on his famous online manifesto “A Brief Guide to World Domination” and is an inspiring read for all of those who think ‘there must be more to life’.
Unlike many inspirational books it’s not based on making as much money as possible and then retiring young, but instead on finding work that you love and that gives value to the world.
“You’ll discover how to live on your own terms by exploring creative self-employment, radical goal-setting, contrarian travel, and embracing life as a constant adventure.”
Playing Big is one of my favourite personal development books. Tara Mohr’s mission in life and her business is to help women stop playing small and to live up to their potential in life and their careers.
Whenever I’m asked what the biggest challenge has been for me on my nomad journey, I always say mindset.
Lack of confidence, comparing yourself, imposter syndrome – they’ve all held me back more than a lack of knowledge around sales funnels (although I’m still figuring them out). Playing Big is a book that addresses all of this and it’s specifically written for women. I love it and will be re-reading it regularly.
When you work for yourself, you’re totally in charge of your time, you decide when to work, where to work, what to work on. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. As nomads, we have to be equipped with the right tools and to understand exactly what works for us. The next three books do exactly that.
Have you ever wished that there were more hours in a day? Of course you have. We all have.
Laura Vanderkam interviewed dozens of successful and happy people, who seemed to have all the time in the world, and in the process she found that they allocate their time differently than us.
So if you ever wondered how it is that Beyonce also only has 24 hours in a day, then this book is for you.
5. The 4 Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
One of the most important things we need to learn (not only as nomads), is how we respond to expectations, both outer expectations (i.e. I have a client deadline) and inner expectations (i.e. I want to get up at 7 every morning to write my new ebook).
Gretchen Rubin created a simple framework, called the 4 Tendencies, to help you understand how you react to these expectations, and she gives us the tools to make better decisions, plan according to our strengths and set better goals.
It’s helped me immensely to know that I’m a Rebel Tendency and I recommend this book to everyone who will listen. You can take the free quiz here.
Total freedom and flexibility are high on the goals list of most digital nomads. But as I sadly had to learn the hard way, a complete lack of structure and routine can be more hindering than freeing. So we have to make sure we find schedules, routines and habits that work for us. And these will look different for each of us.
Thankfully, I learned that just because I’ve had trouble forming habits in the past, it doesn’t have to stay this way.
In Atomic Habits, James Clear “draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible.”
It’s a really interesting read with actionable advice that you can come back to again and again. It might even make habit building fun.
Managing your money can be a complex topic at the best of times, but when you’re self-employed AND travelling the world non-stop (i.e. your costs are not very predictable), you might need a little help.
In Profit First, Mike Michalowicz introduces a few very simple but powerful principles that you can follow in your business accounting from day 1. It takes into account human nature as well as traditional accounting, and will help entrepreneurs “transform their businesses from cash-eating monsters to profitable cash cows”.
You’ve probably already heard of Marie Kondo or maybe even watched her Netflix series, Tidying Up. And maybe you’re asking yourself why the heck this is featured in a list for digital nomads?
But here’s the thing: as digital nomads we have to be pretty minimalist. And if you want to give up your homebase (which btw you don’t have to at all), then downsizing will be on the cards.
Marie Kondo’s book has really helped me figure out which material things should be in my life and which ones shouldn’t. It can be super helpful to ‘KonMari’ your suitcase once a year or so too, to get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy.
Business & Remote Work
9. Work Together Anywhere: A Handbook on Working Remotely – Successfully – for Individuals, Teams, and Managers by Lisette Sutherland and Kirsten Janene-Nelson
If you’ve only ever worked in an IRL environment, the idea of working completely remotely can be daunting. What is it like not seeing your colleagues every day? How do you communicate effectively? How can you be productive? Or form meaningful relationships with coworkers?
Lisette Sutherland explores all of this and much more in Work Together Anywhere.
I’ve not read it yet (it’s on the list and Kindle), but I’ve (virtually) met Lisette and she’s truly a champion for, and expert on, remote work.
10. Panic Proof: How the Right Virtual Assistant Can Save Your Sanity and Grow Your Business by Jess Ostroff
I have to admit I haven’t read this book yet, BUT I heard Jess speak at a conference about this topic and she was incredible. Jess has since shared her knowledge on how to hire the right VA with us as an expert in the DNG Inner Circle and I have no doubt that her book is just as brilliant as her talk.
This book might not be relevant when you’re just starting out. But as soon as you’re ready to outsource it’ll be a lifesaver, as I can attest first hand how tricky it can be to find the right person to help you with your business.
Ok, I was debating whether to add this book or not, because it’s a bit controversial and in my eyes, ‘bromady’.
But many people would say that Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek is ‘the digital nomad bible’ and I did read it when I first started out. But the truth is, it’s also not exactly aligned with DNG’s mission of doing work you love and that adds value AND allows you to work online. Instead, the 4HWW focuses on creating passive income at all costs.
But if you’ve never read it before, then it might still have some interesting parts to it. And seriously, it’s kind of a rite of passage and you don’t want to miss any references or jokes with your future nomad friends 😉
2 Bonus Books for those of you who haven’t done much travelling (yet!)
When I was first planning my year-long around the world trip, I was obsessed with travel planning. I read dozens of travel blogs, had a metre-high stack of Lonely Planets next to my bed, and could be found in the travel section of book shops whenever I had an hour’s break.
Ok, this might have been a bit excessive, but I had never travelled long-term or backpacked before. Now, most digital nomads aren’t technically backpackers, but I do think that if you don’t have much travel experience yet, then these two books can be really helpful.
- The Rough Guide to First-Time Around The World
- And Nomadic Matt’s How to Travel the World on $50 a Day – Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter
I hope you enjoy a few or all of these books for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls and that they’ll help you prepare for your nomad life!
Let us know your favourite books for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls in the comments below!