18 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read
In these 18 books every entrepreneur should read, you’ll hear from a diverse set of voices who all have something they can teach you about envisioning, starting, growing, and maintaining a business.
With authors ranging from Ph.Ds, to successful entrepreneurs, to famous business owners and executives, you’re sure to find a book (or ten!) on this list that will help you in growing your own business.
No collection of the best books on entrepreneurship could avoid including a Timothy Ferris book, and The 4-Hour Workweek is a classic that has inspired many entrepreneurs. Using Ferriss’s own success as a business owner as an example, he’ll show you how to increase your earnings, outsource mundane tasks to get back your life and travel the world without quitting your job.
Carol Dweck, Ph.D. performed groundbreaking research that revealed that an arbiter of a person’s success has to do with their mindset. If you have a fixed mindset, the belief that your abilities can’t be changed, you’re much less likely to succeed than if you have a growth mindset. In this book, Dweck shows you how to cultivate a growth mindset culture at work for your employees and yourself.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Business
Eric Ries believes that the failures of most startups are avoidable. In The Lean Startup, he shows you how to create and manage a startup that is open to innovation, where success is measured by actual data, and that is able to leverage creativity for sustained success.
There are no shortcuts. Daymond John, of Shark Tank and FUBU fame, shows in Rise and Grind that the only way to the top is through hard work and shares the secrets of all kinds of people who have risen to the tops of their fields.
Another classic, Outliers is a look at what makes successful people successful. Instead of looking at their habits and what they are like, Gladwell examines where successful people come from and how that impacts their success later in life.
For entrepreneurs, success can seem out of our control. Jeff Haden doesn’t think it is and in The Motivation Myth, he’ll give you actionable steps and processes you can take to succeed.
In this helpful book, Brown tackles how we can eliminate shame and embrace vulnerability to become better leaders. Importantly, Brown highlights this paradox of courage: that to be truly brave, we have to allow ourselves to acknowledge our fears.
Allen’s productivity and time management strategies have helped scores of readers get their busy to-do lists and schedules under control. This is a must-read for the chronically over-scheduled entrepreneur.
Originally published in 1937, this is a how-to book with staying power as one of the bestselling books of all time. Warren Buffet famously took the “How to Win Friends and Influence People” course as a young man. No list of the best books for entrepreneurs of all time would be complete without a mention of this critical and influential text.
If you are an introvert or if you plan on hiring introverts, you need to read Quiet by Susan Cain. This book will explain how to play to your strengths as an introvert, how to best manage your introverted employees, and work with coworkers who might be introverts. There are plenty of misconceptions about what it means to be introverted and Cain dismantles all of them.
Business reporter Charles Duhigg explains what habits are, why they exist, and how to stop bad habits and commit to good habits. Based on science, this is a book that can help entrepreneurs take their young businesses to the next level.
New York Times bestselling author and doctor Atul Gawande shows in The Checklist Manifesto how important a simple checklist can be for anyone managing a complex job. Checklists are used by pilots, elite surgeons, and hospitals with impressive outcomes. This is an important book for entrepreneurs to read no matter what industry you’re in, even if it’s just for the simple reminder that sometimes the answer to a complex problem is as simple as a checklist.
What if competition isn’t a good thing? That’s the revolutionary idea behind Blue Ocean Strategy. Over-saturated markets mean that you’re just fighting other companies for a smaller piece of the same pie. This book will help you and your business make competition irrelevant.
Our success in business often hinges on our relationships with colleagues, coworkers, clients, and employees. Grant’s book classifies people as givers, takers, and matchers and, through his research, he finds that givers are often the most successful. In Give and Take, he’ll explain what that means for you and your business.
Just because you have been a successful entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean you necessarily know what to do when you have to start managing employees. That growth in your company is a great thing, but it can also be a complex change in your responsibilities. Zhao’s book The Making of a Manager is a great resource to have for yourself or the managers you hire to lead your teams.
Stay small. Avoid growth. Those ideas seem anathema to startup culture, but what if you could be a successful, happy entrepreneur without constantly chasing growth? Continue generating cash flow and lead the life you want by keeping your business a company of one.
100 women with 100 unique, creative business endeavors. Unlike most of the books on this list, this book is as beautiful as it is inspiring and will be at home on your coffee table, desk, or bookshelf.
What does an entrepreneur need to succeed? In Rework, Fried and Hansson make the argument that you don’t need much. You just need to do the work. This short book will give you plenty of ideas to help get your business off the ground.
You don’t have to read every book on this list to be a successful entrepreneur, but an important part of success is learning from those who came before you. Don’t neglect the wisdom of other business and thought leaders! Be sure to subscribe to the Inflection newsletter for more insights into entrepreneurship.