Top 20 Entrepreneurship Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read
Entrepreneurship is all about learning and one of the most important aspects of this journey is reading. Reading helps you become an efficient person overall. Reading books gives you the knowledge, skills, improves your brain and creativity while saving you lots of money. Reading books is the best investment of your time. Here are 20 must-read Entrepreneurship Books for every aspiring entrepreneur:
Entrepreneurship Books #1 -The Startup of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman
This has to be the first book on our list. LinkedIn’s co-founder and chairman, Reid Hoffman, teaches you to have an entrepreneurial mindset and manage your career as if you were already an entrepreneur even if you are still working for someone else. This book teaches you to apply entrepreneurship principles to grow your career. In times of uncertainty, it is imperative to develop a proactive mindset and keep evolving.
- Traditional career paths are no longer certain because of the volatility of the current market due to globalization and digitalization. Develop a personal brand independent of your employers.
- Develop a competitive advantage by continuously pursuing soft assets (skills, reputation, personal brand, connections) to stay relevant and accumulate hard assets (capital: cash, stocks, material possessions) to survive during difficult times.
- Minimize failure by taking small reversible steps. Learn by experimenting, make disciplined choices but be flexible and think ahead.
- Humans are social beings. Create a professional network and connect with others by giving without expectations and reconnecting even when you don’t need something. Be genuine and empathetic.
- Be observant and curious to identify opportunities. Remember it is always people who hold opportunities.
- Not fearing and taking intelligent calculated risks makes us more resilient for difficult times.
- Learn to leverage your network intelligence by asking good questions and opening up conversations. Share your findings and engage your network.
Entrepreneurship Books #2- Rework by Jason Fried & David Hansson
Rework is ideal for solo entrepreneurs, small business owners, and anyone who wants to be self-employed. The book is minimalist and profoundly practical. It is filled with real-life business advice, a simpler and faster approach to starting your own company. The book teaches you to do less and create more and is a perfect book for go-getters who prefers to learn by doing.
- Ideas are worthless without execution. Create something that improves someone else’s life with what you already have or know.
- Hire self-managed self-driven people who just need direction. Hire great writers who can explain your why in an easy way to understand. Writing is today’s currency for good ideas.
- Fixed business plans are harmful. No one can predict the future because of external factors. Plan little and improvise as you go.
- Sourcing outside investors should be your plan Z. Raising money is giving up control and focus. Learn to stay lean and frugal.
- Do one thing at a time and do it amazingly well. Keep things simple and decrease complexity.
- Don’t wait to perfect your product. Launch and get real market feedback. Keep your solution simple and iterate later.
- Find your voice and ignore the competition. Be unique. Do less but do better and different so no one can copy you.
- Success takes a very long time. Building an audience requires patience and consistency over the years. Focus on niche media over mass media. Forget big corporate marketing, stay honest, personal, and nimble.
- Avoid meetings, or keep them short and solution-driven. Long hours of meetings hurt productivity. Focus on deep work, always: no distraction.
Entrepreneurship Books #3 – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Seven Habits is a classic book on leadership and success. This book teaches techniques on self-mastery, character development, personal and interpersonal growth. Applying these can increase your capacity to achieve personal and professional goals, develop better working relationships, and become truly more effective in life.
- Be Proactive and spend time reacting to external events and circumstances. Take charge and assume responsibility for your life.
- Begin with the End in Mind. Don’t live your life aimlessly. Have a vision and clear personal, professional, and social goals. Start living by these priorities and align your actions accordingly to make them a reality.
- Put First Things First. Be disciplined to prioritize day-to-day actions that bring you closer to your vision of the future. Don’t get distracted by urgent but unimportant tasks.
- Think Win-Win. Be fair when negotiating. Commit to creating situations that are mutually beneficial and satisfying to each party. Have consideration, courage, and an abundance mentality.
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Take time to listen to the other person before you make suggestions.
- The contribution of many will far exceed those of any individual. Value the differences in other people – the mental, emotional, and psychological differences – as a way to expand your perspective.
- Sharpen the Saw. Develop a sustainable lifestyle and devote time to renewing physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially to live an effective fulfilling life.
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Entrepreneurship Books #4- Tribes by Seth Godin
We as human beings need to belong. “Tribes” is mainly focused on building a community and how imperative it is for a brand’s success. The book explains how the internet has made it possible development and grow a tribe anywhere in the world. This book explains how to find opportunities to cultivate a sense of community around your business.
- Believe in what you do and stick with the dream for a long time until critics realize that you are going to get there one way or another.
- Create a movement, be clear about what future you are trying to build, and don’t wait longer to launch an innovation.
- Don’t aim to achieve perfection. The secret to success is being ok to fail on the way to reaching a bigger goal.
- When your efforts are met with resistance, persist.
- Life is too short to be both unhappy and mediocre. Create and work towards a life you don’t need to escape from.
- Listen and value what you hear, and then make a decision even if it contradicts the very people you are listening to. People just want to be heard not you do what they said.
- Leaders don’t care about receiving credit as long as they see their mission fulfilled.
Entrepreneurship Books #5- The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
This one has been a mega-popular book on the New York Times Best Sellers list for more than four years. The book is filled with many practical suggestions to design a lifestyle following which you can be more productive and richer along with being free and more content in life. These hacks help you eliminate 50 per cent of your work and live the life you want. Essentially, it’s a book on time management, getting to know yourself, questioning the cultural status quo, and making life better and easier.
- Understand DEAL:
D: Define what exactly you want from life, when you want to work and why.
E: Eliminate whatever isn’t helping you grow and focus on productivity.
A: Automate your business/money so that it grows without you needing to do anything.
L: Liberate and create a flexible life. Become location independent, even if you’re still working for a traditional company.
- Live life by 80 / 20 rule. Tim explains that about 20% of your tasks will yield 80% of your results. Remove unnecessary distractions and focus on one task at a time to get maximum output. Eliminate your inefficiencies and multiply your strengths. Being effective vs. being efficient.
- The Low-Information Diet. The things we PUT in our minds and spend our time on the matter and have a direct impact on what we’re able to accomplish. Limit what you consume so that you’re able to focus on the things that matter.
- Fear and uncertainty in life are huge for a lot of us. Don’t let fear run your life without realizing it. Understand where the fear is coming from and push through it. In most cases, the worst-case often is not as bad or life-changing.
Entrepreneurship Books #6- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This quintessential self-development book is listed as one of the Top 25 most influential books of all time by Time Magazine. To succeed in life and business, you must know how to deal with people. The book boils down to two main concepts: How to Win Friends; Make people feel important and How to Influence People; Make them want to do what you want them to do out of their own volition. Be diplomatic with people and always take the high road. Dale Carnegie breaks down all the steps you need to take to build friendships, overcome competition, encourage people to agree with your way of thinking, and win over close-minded people.
- Be diplomatic and don’t directly criticize. Win people gently and tactfully to your way of thinking and don’t shove them over with your correctness. It takes strong character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
- Make the other person feel important. Encourage people to talk about themselves. Nourish others’ self-esteem. Be genuinely nice to them and show an interest in their lives.
- Influence by making people want to act of their own will. Use suggestions instead of direct orders. Put your request in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he will benefit from.
Entrepreneurship Books #7 – Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk
Four-time New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk Crushing It is a must-read social media business book.
The book is filled with lessons, strategies, tactics, advice, and inspiration from Gary’s amplified business experience and dozens of other influencers and entrepreneurs from around the world. The book offers strategic advice on how to become a known brand on social media channels. If you want to build a brand that can grow your business, this is a must-read business book. All though it is a guide to building your path to professional and financial success, remember that it’s not about getting rich. It’s about living life on your terms.
- Technology always wins. Don’t underestimate the power of the internet. Understand the power of the internet. You don’t need a product to monetize a personal brand. As long as your content is high quality, the money will inevitably follow.
- Build a solid social media presence centred around your values and principles in life and let it be the virtue of who you are as a person.
- The best way to start creating a personal brand is by just living your life and documenting your journey. Don’t overthink creating content, just document what you do.
- Look for the platform that gets attention. Choose a delivery method for your content, pair it up with something you love and feel passionate about.
- Be self-aware, figure out what you are good at, and share that. Don’t create based on the opinion or expectations of others.
Entrepreneurship Books #8 – The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
This has to be the most cunning, ruthless, and immoral book on our list of recommendations but it has been profoundly admired by Political leaders, actors, business-people, entertainers, sports personalities, warriors, seducers, and con men throughout the ages. This book is a collection of guidelines that show you how to gain power and influence in any situation or environment. Use this book to learn about power and reflect deeply upon the ideas to truly understand people and the world you live in.
- Don’t spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others. Most people envy and manifest their insecurity when you show yourself to the world and display your talents.
- Impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say; the less you are in control.
- Work with the skilled and competent and keep your friends for friendship.
- Envy creates silent enemies. Don’t always appear perfect. It is smart to occasionally display defects to deflect envy and appear more approachable.
- Do not accept the roles that society imposes on you. Be the master of your image. Re-create yourself a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience.
- Never assume that the person you are dealing with is weaker or less important than you are. If you want to turn people down do it politely and respectfully.
- Be cautious of friends — they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy.
- Become bold. Cultivate and practise boldness in every part of your life as it has tremendous power and could enlarge your personality.
Entrepreneurship Books #9- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
In this business book, author and entrepreneur Eric Ries teach various techniques through the lean startup approach largely based around the principle of rapid idea validation before investing heavily into an idea. The book offers entrepreneurs a way to validate business ideas, test their visions continuously, to adapt and modify before any real damage is done. It provides some of the innovative online business tools that can help accelerate and successfully manage a startup.
- We all can be entrepreneurs. A startup is an institution designed to create a new product or service that needs to be managed.
- The Lean Startup integrates ideas from lean manufacturing to the specific challenges of entrepreneurship and startups.
- Build, Measure, and Learn. Measure real customer behaviour. Test your products or services frequently in the market and learn to pivot or preserve quickly.
- Validate learning by measuring the results of each applied insight, so you can measure real progress from learning and eliminate the wasteful ones.
- Embrace new accounting methods. Innovation accounting quantifies the market value and your efforts generating results.
Entrepreneurship Books #10 – Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
This book is not only for those who want to be an entrepreneur but for everyone. It talks about the power of innovation and PayPal founder and first Facebook investor; Peter Thiel shows how we can still go about creating new things. He lays out how to train yourself to be an innovator and mentions strategies for making your startup go from nothing to something.
- Focus on vertical progress, not horizontal. Create new technology or product if you drastically want to change the world. You can only do that by critically questioning a lot of the assumptions you hold about the present.
- Monopoly is a way to the future and good for innovation. Create and do something so great that there is no other viable substitute. Own the market.
- Venture capitalists try to find, fund, and profit from promising early-stage innovative companies. Likewise, entrepreneurs should invest time and money in their startups, and employees invest time in their careers.
- A vision for the future and a little delusion is exactly what companies need to go from zero to one.
- Sometimes it is better to be the last mover; study the end-game, dominate a small niche and scale up to eventually and enjoy years of monopoly profits.
Entrepreneurship Books #11 – Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
One of the first “self-help” books Think and Grow Rich was published during the Great Depression and is still relevant. Napoleon Hill interviewed more than five hundred of America’s most affluent people and revealed their money-making secrets. He has laid out a 13-step program that will set you on the path to wealth and success. The book examines the psychological power of thought and explores the influence that personal beliefs have on us and our success.
- Use the power of thought to manifest strong desires and a definite purpose into reality.
- Use autosuggestion to build an unshakable belief in yourself and your goals. Tell yourself over and over and over again, that it is possible for you to achieve your goals, that you can make your dreams a reality, you form these beliefs in your subconscious. Once your goals seep into the unconscious part of your brain, you automatically align all of your actions in a way that leads you towards your goals.
- Lack of persistence is one of the most common causes of failure. Be stubborn and always stick to your decisions. Successful people reach decisions promptly and definitely and stick to them.
- Create or have access to a mastermind group to accelerate your learning. Masterminds are so powerful because there is a surplus from sharing experiences, ideas, and skills that could never be achieved if each person worked on their stuff alone.
- Fear is just a state of mind and is subject to control and direction.
- The sexual drive can be transmuted into highly creative and productive outlets, used as a powerful force for success, or, of course, the accumulation of riches.
Entrepreneurship Books #12- Impact, What Every Woman Needs to Know to go from Invisible to Invincible by Nancy D. Solomon
This is not your average business self-help book, Impact! is a development guide that says ‘who you are impact everything you do’. The secret to success and fulfilment, both professionally and personally is that you should stop trying to ‘fit in’ and become what others want you to be. Instead become more productive, powerful, and passionate by becoming more of who you were meant to be because no longer is there any separation between who you are and what you do!
- Sharpening your strengths, rather than focusing on your weaknesses.
- To live a passionate and fulfilling life live powerfully by being authentic, making a personally meaningful difference in the world, and having an impact.
- Learn step-by-step strategies and invaluable insight to have the greatest positive impact on every aspect of your life.
- Living your life purpose is vital to being invincible. Figure out what you want and why you want it, and take charge of your career and life.
- Choose to be powerful and permit yourself to be outstanding. Leverage your unintended outcomes.
Entrepreneurship Books #13- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg, who currently serves as the COO at Facebook, has had decades of experience navigating the corporate leadership ladder all while balancing family life. This book touches on everything from how to find a mentor in the workplace, to negotiating for what you want, voicing your opinion, becoming a leader in your organization, forging an equal partnership in your home life, and what true equality should look like in the workplace.
- The Leadership and Ambition Gap and its impacts on women’s life. Gender stereotypes ingrained in childhood are reinforced throughout the lives where professional ambition is expected of men – but it is optional for a woman.
- Success and likeability. Researches and studies show that success and likeability are positively correlated for men, and negatively correlated for a woman.
- Don’t leave before you leave. It is most common for an ambitious young successful woman to head down a challenging career path, with the thought of having children back in her mind. The time leading up to having kids is not the time to lean back, but the critical time to lean in.
- The birth of a child shifts priorities in fundamental ways. Parenting may be the most rewarding experience, but it is also the hardest and most humbling. Managing a career after having kids requires a lot of adjustments and external support.
- Make Your Partner a real partner in sharing responsibilities. Expecting women to be nurturing and not having the same expectations from men is common.
Entrepreneurship Books #14- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
The book talks about the way human beings are influenced in non-logical or non-rational ways. It teaches us to figure out how to harness social and human psychology, to allow people to do more stuff, have more fun, and go to more events. Each of these principles offers shortcuts to decision-making, but can also be used against us if we’re not mindful. Use the insights from this book to positively influence others while protecting yourself from deception.
- The Reciprocity Principle is a vital part of human society but learns to identify the true intention of the requester. Free yourself from the sense of obligation if the person starts to make demands/requests after giving you a gift or favour.
- Commitment & Consistency. Understand the factors influencing commitment, how this principle is applied around us to nudge us toward unfavourable decisions or larger-than-desired commitments, and how to avoid being manipulated.
- Need for social proof when we’re uncertain of ourselves. Don’t look for others’ approval to learn to guard against herd instinct and deceitful social evidence.
- We are all conditioned to varying degrees to obey figures of authority. Look at how this principle is commonly used and how to protect ourselves against unnecessary influence.
- Personal relationships can have a strong influence on our choices. We tend to like physically attractive people, are similar or familiar to us, are associated with success/good news, praise, and cooperate with us. Understand each of the factors that affect likability, and how you can minimize undesired influences.
- We perceive something to be more valuable when it’s limited in availability. Learn what are the common scarcity tactics used to rouse us into buying now, and how to guard yourself against them.
Entrepreneurship Books #15 – Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Purple Cow is one of the great marketing books. Godin, one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds in the world, advocates building something so amazing that people can’t ignore you. There are a lot of great simple lessons in this book. Be remarkable. Be unique. Godin points out that 80% of the 30 newest entrants owe their success to word of mouth around what they sell rather than advertising. Innovation brains are what is needed to succeed in marketing today, not advertising or distributional muscle.
- Create remarkable products that seek the right people out. Focus on the small niche and make them fall in love with what you have to offer. Once they embrace what you are selling, they will sell it to the majority for you.
- Ideas that spread, win. A brand or product offering is nothing more than an idea. A talked about an idea is more likely to succeed than those that don’t.
- Don’t be afraid of criticism when you are trying to do something different and remarkable. You can’t possibly please everyone.
- The opposite of remarkable is ‘very good. But ‘very good things happen every day and they aren’t worth telling your friends about.
- It’s safer to be risky when it becomes imperative to create things worth talking about to fortify your desire to do truly amazing things.
Entrepreneurship Books #16-The $100 Startup by Chris Gillebeau
This is a very interesting book for anyone who feels unmotivated to start a business because they lack funds to support it. Chris, in this book, talks about 50 of the most amazing success stories of entrepreneurs who are making more than $50,000 and started with only a few bucks. The book has plenty of tips and advice with a focus on small micro-businesses. It is the perfect book to motivate you to move forward without worrying about money or how. If you have the passion, get started and the rest will follow.
- Develop a passion or skill and perfect it to the point where you can be resourceful to others.
- Find the overlap between your skills, your passion, and something that other people are willing to pay for.
- Learn how to add value. Look for gaps in the market. Keep an eye on new technologies.
- Getting started is the key. Here’s how: Commit to a product or service, build a simple website, come up with an offer, establish a payment method, let the world know what you offering and repeat over and over until you find success.
- Don’t make assumptions. Understand your customers and test your markets.
- Consider how you will self-promote and launch your product.
- Break the mindset that you need lots of money to get started. Be creative and get started with what you have.
Entrepreneurship Books #17- Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and Your Life by Spencer Johnson
The world is constantly changing and it is important to learn to deal with change and adapt to new circumstances. This is exactly what this book talks about. It will teach you how to become a flexible life to move forward confidently towards your dreams and goals. The books talk about four personalities and how resistant or flexible they are to change. At the end of the book, it’s recommended to draw a map and position yourself between the four-personality type that best fits your own.
- Change happens and is inevitable. Constantly updating yourself and your business systems to meet the demands of changing customers’ behaviours.
- Anticipate and prepare to change are you are not in for a surprise. Don’t be complacent.
- Monitor the change by being observant and keeping up with the market trends.
- Adapt to Change Quickly. Complaining wouldn’t help.
- Keep re-evaluating and reinventing to adapt to the change easily.
- Change is not always welcomed but it brings opportunities to see things differently and is most rewarding in the end.
Entrepreneurship Books #18- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
This is a great read for every entrepreneur and breaks down everything you need to know about financial education. The book will teach you to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true and talk about key lessons that can help you achieve a life where you are no longer dependent on your paycheck and social security. This book will transform your vision of money and the perception of wealth.
- Don’t earn your income from your profession, earn it from your assets. Generate enough cash flow from your assets to reinvest into other assets. Do not just aim for more income, aim for more assets.
- There is a legal loophole in the tax system which the rich use by creating a corporation to protect their assets and reduce tax expenses.
- Investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Learning a little about accounting, investing, markets, the law, sales, marketing, leadership, writing, speaking, and negotiating helps with your business decisions. Work to learn, don’t work to earn.
- Before buying investments, first, invest in learning about them. Find people who are the best in their field, study, and outdo them.
- Learn and move on and try a different approach when something does not work out the way you planned.
- Have a clear purpose in mind why you want to earn more passive income. Write it down because it will keep you motivated.
Entrepreneurship Books #19- Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
This one is a must-have for every visionary entrepreneur. It is a fact that we all like looking at pictures more than reading, Alexander Osterwalder wants to teach the right way, according to him, to create a business plan and act on it with pictures, graphs, and timelines. Successful companies build business models that take about everything into consideration, from customers to pricing to communication and resources. The book helps in making a business model design using a visual approach that is as simple as it is effective.
- Learn powerful and practical innovation techniques used today by leading companies worldwide. Systematically understanding, designing, and implementing a new business model or analyzing and renovating an old one.
- Access and learn to design a tightly-integrated, visual, lie-flat design that enables immediate hands-on use.
- Business Model Generation is for those who are open to embracing new, innovative models of value creation.
Entrepreneurship Books #20- Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs by Karen Berman & Joe Knight
According to the coauthors, everyone in business should acquire a set of skills and understanding about finance. This book provides the financial knowledge necessary to become financially intelligent in a very accessible style. This is a great book if you don’t have a background in economics/accounting or if you want to refresh your knowledge.
- What do income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements reveal?
- Learn to use ratios to assess your businesses’ financial health.
- Calculate the return on your investments.
- Learn ways to use financial information to do a better job.
- Instil better financial intelligence.
I love reading books. You have come up with a great list. I will try to read all of them. Thanks for sharing.