The path to entrepreneurship is full of mistakes and learning opportunities. What matters is how you learn from your mistakes, and the measures you take to keep them from happening.
As such, the best thing to do is read as much as possible, absorb information, and apply what you learn from bestsellers.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best books entrepreneurs should read.
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
- The Art of the Start
- Scale or Fail
- The E-Myth Revisited
- The Tipping Point
- Think and Grow Rich
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- How to Build a Billion Dollar App
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
- The Millionaire Real Estate Investor
- The Lean Startup
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Profit First
- The Innovator’s Dilemma
- 100 Side Hustles
- Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
- Never Split the Difference
- Principles: Life and Work
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Crossing the Chasm
- Remote: Office Not Required
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things
- Good to Great
- What Would Steve Jobs Do?
- The $100 Startup
- Becoming Bulletproof
Best Books for Entrepreneurs
1. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
For: Reaching your goals
In order to make it in business, you need a lot more than knowledge, talent, and a great product.
In this book, professor Angela Duckworth explains why grit is necessary to accomplish your long-term goals. This is great for professionals in any field.
2. The Art of the Start: Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki
For: Starting a new project
Great ideas are often lost because they never make it into action.
Entrepreneurs should read Kawasaki’s book for tips on how to get projects off the ground. This can be useful regardless of what project you’re looking to move forward.
3. Scale or Fail: How to Build Your Dream Team, Explode Your Growth, and Let Your Business Soar by Allison Maslan
For: Business growth
Oftentimes, small business owners run from scaling because it means leaving the shallows and diving into the deep end. Suffice it to say, scaling can be risky and scary.
In this book, Allison Maslan explains why scaling is critical for success in business and why businesses that avoid the process are ultimately doomed to failure.
4. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
For: Small business owners
The sad truth is that most small businesses fail. The average entrepreneur has to launch many small businesses before one is successful.
Michael E. Gerber explains why small businesses fail and how to improve your odds of success. This is a must-read for small business owners.
5. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
For: Growing an idea
If you want to get noticed, then it helps to have a working knowledge of how ideas spread. In this book, award-winning author Malcolm Gladwell offers insights about the science behind this phenomenon.
The Tipping Point is a great book for any aspiring entrepreneur who wants to break free from the herd and make a difference.
6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
For: People who want to get rich
Napoleon Hill’s classic from 1937 is an oldie but a goodie. In this book, Hill offers timeless advice for the business owner, explaining how to achieve success and inspiration. If you’re looking to build a fortune and create a legacy, start with Napoleon Hill.
Amazon now offers an updated version, revised for the 21st century.
7. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
For: People who don’t want to work
Not everyone wants to work. And that’s okay!
If you can earn money without putting in a solid nine-to-five, more power to you — and this book can help get you there.
In it, author Tim Ferriss explains how to escape the rat race and start earning a decent income without doing much heavy lifting.
8. How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time by George Berkowski
For: People who want to build an app-based business
There’s a big difference between building an app and building a successful one. After all, plenty of great app-based businesses fail because they lack a solid business plan.
In this book, George Berkowski explains how to build a successful app-based business while offering some tips from some of the most successful entrepreneurs who have achieved financial success.
9. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
For: Product developers
Have you ever wondered why a particular product or service seems so addictive? Turns out there’s a science behind it, and you can learn the secret in this book by Nir Eyal.
The author explains why some products capture attention and become successful while others don’t. It offers a four-step process called the Hook Model that you can use to keep customers coming back again and again.
10. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller
For: Real estate investors
For an entrepreneur, nothing is more important than a steady cash flow. When the money is rolling in, everything is easier.
One of the best ways to make money as an entrepreneur is through real estate. In this book, Keller provides everything you need to know (and then some) about real estate investing. It’s one of the most comprehensive books on the topic.
11. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
For: Launching a startup
The key to launching a startup as an entrepreneur is to keep the business lean and efficient. But what’s the best way to make this happen?
In this book, Eric Ries offers a model that enables companies to be cost-efficient and built around human creativity. It’s a must-read for anyone who is thinking about creating a startup.
12. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
For: Personal development
Achieving success in business requires the right mindset and habits. And one of the best things an entrepreneur can do is to look at what others before them have done. As they say, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.
Author Stephen Covey examines the traits of the most successful individuals and shows how to mirror their habits to improve yourself in life and business.
13. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Michael Michalowicz
For: Improving business operations
Operating a business can be expensive. If left unchecked, spending can decimate a business and send the business owner spiraling into debt.
Fortunately, you can implement some strategies to reduce costs. Author Michael Michalowicz outlines some in this business book.
14. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen
For: Avoiding failure
Author Clayton M. Christensen drew widespread acclaim for this groundbreaking book, which argues that great companies do everything right and still fail by losing market share.
This book explains how to avoid this pitfall while providing a different approach for business leaders and entrepreneurs. This book is for people who want to think outside the box and need some guidance.
15. 100 Side Hustles: Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job by Chris Guillebeau
For: Increasing your cash flow
There’s no better way to start making money than by taking on a side hustle or two… or three, or four. But where should an aspiring entrepreneur start?
This book has you covered. Chris Guillebeau outlines 100 side hustles for entrepreneurs, which should be more than enough to get more money flowing into your checking account.
16. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
For: Pushing yourself further
Being an entrepreneur can take a lot of courage. Ultimately, it’s an adventure that will push you beyond your comfort zone in many ways.
For inspiration, check out the incredible true story of Ernest Shackleton, whose ship famously became locked in a sheet of ice while exploring Antarctica in the 1910s.
Learn all about their 850-mile trek back to civilization and how they pushed forward and overcame the odds. This book will leave you inspired ready for getting things done.
17. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
For: Improving influence
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in business. If you want to be successful, you need to learn the art of influence and persuasion.
There is perhaps no greater book on the topic than Robert Cialdini’s masterpiece, which explains the psychology of why people say “yes.” Cialdini explains how to use this to your advantage and get people to take action.
18. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss
For: Enhancing your negotiation tactics
Negotiation is another skill that every business owner should master. This isn’t typically taught in school, but it can make all the difference in business and life.
Now, you can learn directly from one of the most qualified and skilled negotiators in the world. Chris Voss was a top crisis and hostage negotiator for the FBI, where he faced a variety of challenging and high-pressure situations. Voss shares must-read lessons on negotiating, explaining how to win every time.
19. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
For: Achieving your goals
Ray Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, which is arguably the most successful hedge fund in American history.
In this book, Dalio offers tips on life and business. It’s full of practical advice for aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs.
20. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
For: Building relationships
This is another time-tested book, written by the legendary Dale Carnegie. This book offers key insights on how to make people like you and how to get them to buy into your way of thinking.
This book can provide sage advice, serving as a valuable resource in business. It can help push ideas further, improve teamwork, and improve relationship building.
21. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Consumers by Geoffrey A. Moore
For: Bringing disruptive products to market
Special consideration needs to be taken when bringing disruptive products to market. If you want to get people to take action, you need to understand the various types of end-users and how they behave.
In this book, Moore explains the five groups of customers, including innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards — and how they respond to products.
22. Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
For: Savvy entrepreneurs who want to embrace remote work
In this book, 37signals/Basecamp cofounders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson collaborate to explain the challenges and benefits of remote work — a timely read for today’s growing work-from-anywhere economy.
23. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
For: Business leaders that want to stand out
According to author Seth Godin, you’re either a purple cow or you’re part of the herd.
It’s the purple cows who stand out and achieve amazing growth while those that conform lag behind. This is an excellent read for business leaders who want to zero in on an x-factor or a differentiating and unique trait that sets them apart.
24. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
For: Launching a startup
Wondering about the things they don’t teach you in business school? This book has the answers you need.
Ben Horowitz provides a rundown of some of the hard parts about starting a business and the top challenges you can expect after the thrill of striking out on your own passes.
It’s an honest and impactful read guaranteed to help in your journey.
25. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
For: Taking a business to the next level
Not all great companies start out great. Many struggle at first and need to undergo a transformation. This book explains how to turn a good or mediocre company into a great one and what it takes to do so.
26. What Would Steve Jobs Do?: How the Steve Jobs Way Can Inspire Anyone to Think Differently and Win by Peter Sander
For: Entrepreneurs who want to achieve more
Steve Jobs famously thought differently and encouraged others to do the same.
In this book, Peter Sander explains how you can channel your inner Steve Jobs and apply his thought processes to your everyday life.
27. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
For: Entrepreneurs who want to launch a startup
If you want to change your life, the power is in your hands.
This classic of startup books can teach you how to launch a cheap startup and set you down the pathway to profits without breaking the bank.
28. Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, and Live Fearlessly by Evy Poumpouras
For: People who want to be more prepared
Join former Secret Service agent Evy Poumpouras as she explains some lessons that she learned on the job while protecting U.S. leaders.
This book can change the way you approach your everyday life, making you stronger and more confident because of it.
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Top podcasts for entrepreneurs
Not everyone has free time they can invest in reading books. Here are some great podcasts to check out while you’re driving or working out.
The Tim Ferriss Show
In addition to writing books, Tim also hosts a top-ranking business podcast for the successful entrepreneur on Apple. Check out Tim’s podcast for great interviews and expert advice.
How I Built This with Guy Raz
In this NPR program, Guy Raz offers the stories behind some of the world’s best-known companies and the people who built them.
StartUp is a documentary-style podcast that’s centered around entrepreneurial life. This offers a glimpse into what it’s like to start a company and what to expect along the way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is being a successful entrepreneur hard?
Being an entrepreneur is hard, this much is true. It takes vision, expert knowledge, a great product, and a solid team. Most of all, it takes determination.
Start by reading the above-mentioned books, and you’ll get a sense of what it takes to stand out as an entrepreneur.
Do I have to live in Silicon Valley to make it in tech?
You don’t have to live in Silicon Valley to make it in tech. If you have a great idea, you can make it work from just about anywhere. Location matters less today than ever before.
The Bottom Line
If you’re thinking of starting your own business, then you’re already on your journey toward entrepreneurship. Maybe you’ll become the next Bill Gates, launch the next PayPal, or start the next social media platform.
The future is bright, and you can become a great business mind by focusing on personal development. There’s an abundance of information available to help improve your decision-making and marketing skills: from New York Times bestsellers to podcasts and blogs.
Whatever you do, keep learning — whether it’s by reading books by successful people or reading case studies by successful brands. When it boils down to it, the more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Set your goals, keep your head down, and work to them diligently, and you’ll do just fine.