Gift Books for Entrepreneurs and Creatives

Gift Books for Entrepreneurs and Creatives

It’s that gift-giving time of year. Are you scratching your head as you stare at your list? Out of ideas? A great book is always a good option, whether for a coworker, friend or family member – and if you buy from a local bookseller, so much the better!

We’ve decided to help you out by interviewing some of the most avid readers in our ACE Coworking community. We asked for their recommendations for the best books for creatives and entrepreneurs. Here you go…

Essentialism, by Greg McKeown

“Do you have friends who always answer ‘super busy’ when you ask ‘how are you?’ This gift is for them. In this amazing book, McKeown explores the conflicts of identifying what is actually essential in a world full of things to-do. It provides effective solutions for anyone who feels that 24 hours are not enough!” 

– María Virginia Anzola: Co-founder, The FlipSide Plan

The Surrender Experiment, by Michael Singer 

“This is not your typical business/entrepreneurship book. Of course, there is the requisite story of how Singer built a billion-dollar public software company from scratch. But the real impact comes from the author’s spiritual awakening and willingness to let life’s flow help determine his business decision-making. Throughout, he demonstrates how a very successful external life is perfectly consistent with achieving profoundly deep states of inner peace and freedom.”

– Mark Fornasiero, Meditation & Business Coach 

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

“This is the book I read and re-read regularly, talk about too much, and think about often. It’s about creativity, but it’s also about a philosophy of living. It inspires me to move beyond fear and see my life as a creative adventure guided by my curiosity. Anyone I’ve ever gifted it to feels the same way.”

– Diliana Popova: Copywriter/Founder,  Spell Book 

The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle

“We are either living in the memories of the past, or worries of the future. In both cases we attract the emotions of these thoughts, which eventually affect the present moment. The Power of Now tackles the idea of how to live in the moment and stop worrying about the future or regretting the past. This transformative book has actionable strategies to start living in the present – everyone should read it!”

– Moatassem Moatez: CEO, MYCourier Inc.

Play Bigger, by Lockhard, Ramadan, Maney & Peterson

“If you have a true entrepreneur or innovator in your life, then I’d recommend Play Bigger. Written for those who want to build legendary and enduring companies. (Yes, we’re talking about companies like Apple, Salesforce, Blackberry…) The authors teach about the new discipline of “category design” for companies that are creating new market demand for products or services where none existed before, and show how to keep those customers wanting more. The Kindle version is great so you can easily highlight and download the numerous insights scattered throughout this book.”

– Rina Carlini: CEO, Optimal Innovation Group

Who Moved My Cheese?, by Spencer Johnson, M.D. 

“This book has been around forever, but is still a classic. I’ve given it many times, and there’s even a version called Who Moved My Cheese? for Teens, which I’ve gifted to my own kids. It applies not only to career situations, but also to the ups and downs of life itself. How will you react to the inevitable changes you’ll face on your journey? In this enlightening parable, Spencer describes 4 types of “mice” who are challenged in various ways – any reader is sure to identify with one (or more) of them. Bonus: it’s a quick read!” 

– Kevin Palmer: CFO, Greywolf Animal Health 

If you’d like to get more inspiration and education from the staff and partners of ACE Coworking, sign up for our monthly newsletter. You’ll also stay up to date on the events we run and the amazing promotions we often offer!

Tech Entrepreneurs Compete at Hi5

Tech Entrepreneurs Compete at Hi5

ACE Coworking is excited to partner with HALTECH to support local tech innovators through the 5th Annual Hi5 pitch competition. Learn more here… 


Halton’s Regional Innovation Centre, HALTECH, formed a close alliance with us at ACE Coworking ever since we first opened our doors in 2018. We’ve partnered with them to present several educational workshops and seminars at our own space. In addition, our members – especially those who work in tech – have benefitted from the many resources and events provided by Haltech at their Burlington-based HQ. It has been a great symbiotic friendship!

Never heard of HALTECH? If you live in Halton and work in technology, you must check them out!

Haltech’s staff and team of experienced advisors work hard to help advance local tech-based innovators in businesses of every size – from start-ups to global corporations. They offer free business advisory services, learning workshops on entrepreneurship and commercialization, assistance in forging strategic connections, and supports for corporate innovation programs.


For the past five years, Haltech has hosted the Hi5 Pitch Competition – this year ACE is proud to partner with them to bring this exciting event to life! Hi5 features five of Haltech’s most promising clients: each is given five minutes to pitch for a winning prize of $5,000. In addition the winner will receive $1200-worth of access to ACE Coworking’s meeting space.

The competition is a valuable opportunity for local tech start-ups to generate awareness about their projects, while building the vital skills needed to present in front of an audience and investors.


The pitch event takes place on Thursday, November 25 from 3–5pm, and will be held in a virtual format. More information and registration here. Plan to arrive early for open networking and a chance to meet the Hi5 contestants.


In July, Haltech celebrated their tenth anniversary! We were delighted to be part of the event which commemorated a decade of the organization’s commitment to local innovators. If you’d like to learn more about Haltech, this anniversary video gives an overview of how they’ve influenced and supported industry leaders across the local ecosystem. 



If you’d like to get more inspiration and education from the staff and partners of ACE Coworking, sign up for our monthly newsletter. You’ll also stay up to date on the events we run and the amazing promotions we often offer!

Oakville Small Business Owners: Best Resources

Oakville Small Business Owners: Best Resources

It’s Small Business Week: always a good time to reflect on how we operate as a local small biz in Oakville, how we can improve on delivering our service, and how we can help other companies deliver theirs…

Looking back to when we first opened our doors in January 2018, and reflecting on our journey since then, we feel incredibly fortunate to have had the support of many local organizations that have provided us with help, support, and encouragement. Really, we couldn’t have done it without drawing on the larger community of local entrepreneurs, and both the public and private organizations in Oakville whose aim it is to see small business succeed.

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely career path but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re running a small business, or thinking about jumping into the world of entrepreneurship, get to know these organizations and especially the committed people working in them. They are there to support the small business sector in our area and can be the difference between your business being a success or a failure.


If you’re lucky enough to be located in a “Business Improvement Area,” your BIA office is a must-get-to-know. BIAs work to collaborate, extend market reach, and connect their members to one another. There are three BIAs in Oakville – Downtown, Bronte and Kerr Village – and they’re all awesome.


The Halton SBC is a treasure trove of supports for entrepreneurs. They run many learning programs to increase your technical and strategic business skills. “You get what you pay for” is often true – but in this case it’s not. The programming at the Small Business Centre is both low-cost (or free) and excellent.


BDC offers various financing and funding options to small and medium-sized companies. They’re also a great source for strategic advice. We’ve had the chnace to partner with BDC to bring educational programs to our members, and they’ve always been a super informative resource.


Digital Main St. is a grant program offered by the province of Ontario to support small businesses to incorporate digital assets into their business operations. They also offer useful free webinars. This has been a fantastic resource for ACE as we have continued to digitize more and more of our operational and marketing functions, especially this past year.


Both MP Anita Anand, and MPP Stephen Crawford have been supportive of our efforts to start a new business here in Oakville (especially during the pandemic). We have found their offices to be very responsive to our requests. Your local members of parliament want to help you and see you succeed. Don’t avoid reaching out for help when you need it. And while you’re at it, get to know your local Municipal Councillors – ours have been amazing cheerleaders as well as go-to experts on many local issues that affect our business.


Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses is a membership-based organization that advocates for all independently-owned businesses in Canada. They are the voice of small business and work to influence government to understand our needs. They also have many resources you can tap to support your company.


Last but not least, this organization led by a superb team of dedicated professionals, helps hundreds of local small businesses owners connect, learn, grow, and succeed. There are membership fees to join, but with over 70 annual events to participate in, and an extraordinarily supportive culture, it’s well worth the investment. More about the Chamber here.

If you’d like to get more inspiration and education from the staff and partners of ACE Coworking, sign up for our monthly newsletter. You’ll also stay up to date on the events we run and the amazing promotions we often offer!

Expert Hiring Tips You Need to Know!

Expert Hiring Tips You Need to Know!

In this monthly series, “Ask an Acer,” we invite some of our talented members to share their expertise with you. February’s post comes to you from HR expert, Craig Bissett, a long-time ACE Coworking member and president of Hire Results Ltd. He’s also the creator of the Hiring Assessment Web Enabled Tool which allows organizations to test-drive candidates before hiring them.

Craig has just published a book called My Worst Hire & What I Learned From It, in which he interviews 50 business leaders who relate their stories of hiring mistakes and the lessons they learned along the way. Here Craig shares with us a few vital nuggets from the book – tips that are sure to help you in your next hiring moment!

Beware of Compromises

When hiring at the management level, never ever compromise. If your #1 candidate turns down your offer, resist the temptation to hire your #2 candidate. Instead, you should go back to square one and search for the next #1 candidate. The cost of hiring second-best, if that person is not the right fit, will be multiplied throughout the team.

Culture is Key

If you have a company mission and culture/value statement, don’t leave it hanging on the wall. Rather, take it into the interview process. Assess the candidate based on what your company believes in. Keep in mind what you want to promote in terms of culture at your company, and make sure you address these topics in the interview. A candidate may have all the required skills for the role, but if they don’t fit your company values, you will end up with a major mistake on your hands.

Size Matters

Be extremely careful when hiring someone who is from a different sized operation. For example, if you are a small company and the candidate is coming from a large, well-financed firm, make sure that person is ready to roll up their sleeves and do the grunt work required for your growth plans. Whether they are transitioning from a large operation to a smaller one, or vice versa, it’s your job to ensure new hires know what they are getting into. 

If these tips have left you wanting to learn more about making a great hire, you can get more info about Craig Bissett’s book here: or reach out to him directly on LinkedIn. He would love to hear from you! 

(Special launch pricing on the book lasts only until Feb 2, 2021)




5 Books for the Entrepreneur in Your Life

5 Books for the Entrepreneur in Your Life

by Mark Fornasiero

If you’re scrambling for a last-minute Christmas gift for a book-lover we have some great ideas for you! These five titles are not typical business books, nor are they from the expected self-improvement genre, but if you want to stretch yourself (or the gift-receiver in your life) a little, you can’t go wrong with any of these:

1. Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living a Better Life, by Patrick Ryan

There is so much more to Adam Smith than “the invisible hand” and the other economic theories we know him for. A succinct essay that highlights his first book, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, published in 1759, Our Great Purpose presents some timeless, powerful philosophies on how to live a good life. Moral philosophy never felt so easy to understand!

2. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli

This international bestseller takes the usually dense topic of physics and presents it in poetic and charming prose – only 80 pages in length! Even if you are not curious about physics, reality, and beginning of time, you will be captivated by Rovelli’s writing style. His love for the topic is obvious and comes through in every word and line.

3. Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up, by Jerry Colonna

This one is a business book – well, sort of. Jerry Colonna has founded, run, and sold several Silicon-Valley-type companies. But where he has really found his place is as a coach and mentor to many high-flying tech entrepreneurs and founders. This isn’t a “how-to” book but, rather, a “how to be” book. Leave your preconceptions at the door before you crack the spine on this one. 

4. Hungry: Eating, Road-tripping, and Risking it All with the Greatest Chef in the World, by Jeff Gordinier

You are guaranteed to love this book. (Maybe just gift it to yourself.) Gordinier follows Rene Redzepi, the founder of Noma, the top restaurant in the world, as he reimagines his flagship location and then launches pop-up eateries all over the world. This story is not only inspiring but shines a bright light on what it means to be creative, a risk-taker, and following the road less travelled. My #1 gifted book this year.

5. Shoe Dog: A Memoir from the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight

Okay, if you absolutely have to buy a business book, then you might as well buy the best one. The story of Nike – its founding, growth and how it totally redefined the business of sports – is one you won’t be able to put down. I put this book on my list last year, and I will probably put it on my list next year. The writing is superb and the story is almost unbelievable given all the twists, turns and near-death experiences the company faces. As a gift for any aspiring or active entrepreneur, you can’t go wrong with this choice.

Mark Fornasiero is the co-founder of ACE Coworking and an independent consultant specializing in growth-and-exit strategies for privately-held enterprises. Mark also provides professional consulting to entrepreneurs looking to launch and operate their own independent coworking spaces.