A true entrepreneur never stops learning. Whether it’s technical know-how, inspirational stories to replicate, or new ideas to absorb, you have to read, read, read (and then implement).
I remember the book that started me on this journey. It was a 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.
At that time, I was at a job I dreaded going into every day; on my lunch breaks I would sit under the tree, and read it, and dream about a day when I can do it all.
Before the book, I didn’t even think of becoming an entrepreneur.
Besides inspiring me to be a lifestyle entrepreneur and giving me the confidence that it is possible, it had lots of other ideas that shifted my mind.
For example, an idea that instead of spending the time on improving the skills you suck at, it’s much more effective to focus on the skills you’re already good at to perfect them until you become a master.
Because everything else can be delegated, you know.
I compiled the list of the best books on entrepreneurship, whether it’d be business entrepreneurship books, books on becoming an entrepreneur, or motivational books for entrepreneurs.
Never underestimate the power of a great book.
Read up, my friends!
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries
This is THE book if you’re running a business or just starting out. This New York Times best seller actually shifted the business world and shook it up quite a little. The book draws on a lot of relatively-new yet very powerful notions, such as lean manufacturing, agile development, and the disruption culture.
You’ll go through the whole process of creating and running a successful startup by validating ideas, developing a minimum viable product, organizational design, and accelerating growth. There are also tons of real-world examples and case studies you can learn from (and implement in your business).
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future – Chris Guillebeau
This is another modern classic of entrepreneurial world; and it builds on the notions of adventure, meaning and purpose. You might think “great, those buzzwords again.” Yet, Guillebeau outlines 50 amazing real-life case studies of people who have built businesses out of very little investment (often $100 or less) and that now earn $50,000+. Looking for inspirational books for entrepreneurs? Get this book and figure out how to make money doing the things you love.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance
He once admitted: “My proceeds from the PayPal acquisition were $180 million. I put $100 million in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla, and $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent.”
Elon Musk is one of the most famous, yet one of the most enigmatic entrepreneurs of our time. His ventures – PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity – have challenged societal norms and transformed business world. This book tells the story of his life of becoming an entrepreneur; from his childhood in South Africa to some of his biggest success in the modern business, the book takes into account stories of more than 300 people close to him. Vance also spent more than 30 hours interviewing the man himself, which makes it one of the most inspirational books for entrepreneurs of our time.
Plus, the book compares Musk to some of the brightest minds in history, such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs. After examining his life and dedication to improving the world, you will see it for yourself.
Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant – W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
This is one of the best books for aspiring entrepreneurs that tests and challenges your business knowledge and assumptions. W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne developed the Blue Ocean Strategy, the basic premise of which is that today’s markets are overcrowded (they’re red ocean markets). The authors suggest that a sustainable business growth lies in finding untapped markets, blue ocean markets. It follows that the blue ocean strategy consists of creating new market niches and/or new demand through differentiation and low cost strategy.
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose – Tony Hsieh
Have you heard of this company called Zappos? Yes, the one that has raving fans and is often cited as having one of the most impressive customer service in the world. Well, the CEO Tony Hsieh has written a book on becoming an entrepreneur, in which he shares lots of his personal stories and experiences of building the widely-admired company.
Why do you need to read this book? Not only it details how to build a successful company and solid organizational culture, it also vividly showcases that successful career and personal happiness are not mutually-exclusive, but actually require each other. This is one of the most motivational books for entrepreneurs (even in the making).
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sheryl Sandberg
You might have also heard of a Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg. One of the Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Sandberg spills out all of her advice to women entrepreneurs who are striving to succeed. Her 2010 TEDTalk is one of the most influential, powerful things any woman can listen to. Listen to it as a primer for the book.
In the book, she goes further into the topic with lots of data, as well as, personal experiences of a working woman. Besides, she shares her own mistakes she made on her way up the ladder and teaches female entrepreneurs some very powerful techniques. Besides, she makes a compelling point that women don’t have to choose between professional and personal fulfillment and that men might find it beneficial to support women in the working force.
Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising – Ryan Holiday
This book will truly make your creative juices flowing! A new generation of megabrands like Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, and Twitter haven’t spent a dime on traditional marketing. No press releases, no TV commercials, no billboards. Instead, they rely on a new strategy—growth hacking—to reach many more people despite modest marketing budgets. Growth hackers have thrown out the old playbook and replaced it with tools that are testable, trackable, and scalable. They believe that products and businesses should be modified repeatedly until they’re primed to generate explosive reactions.
The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) – Hal Elrod
Technically this book is less about business, but everything about mindset. And as we know, mindset is everything in achieving success. So, these ingenious advices make up one of best entrepreneur books out there. The information packed in this book is both amazing and, yet, so simple (the most potent kind of advice, eh?). Elrod helps you transform any and all aspects of your life by introducing simple morning rituals, like practicing meditation, gratitude and healthy habits.
Elrod doesn’t suggest that you have to spend 2 hours each morning doing that either. Even 10 minutes every morning are potent to make a huge difference in your energy, motivation, and focus, and hence, your life.
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users – Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki is the legendary former chief evangelist for Apple and one of the pioneers of business blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, Tumbling, and much, much more. Now Guy has teamed up with Peg Fitzpatrick, who he says is the best social-media person he’s ever met, to offer The Art of Social Media—the one essential guide you need to get the most bang for your time, effort, and money.
For beginners overwhelmed by too many choices as well as seasoned professionals eager to improve their game, The Art of Social Media is full of tactics that have been proven to work in the real world. Or as Guy puts it, “great stuff, no fluff.”
#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness – Gary Vaynerchuk
I’d go on an assumption here that 99% of you know who Gary Vee is, so I’ll skip the introductions. Vaynerchuk authored 3 New York Times bestsellers: The Thank You Economy, Crush It!, and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. All of them went on to thrive in their own right.
The latest book draws on the self-titled YouTube show, Ask Gary Vee. Known for his unapologetic and inspiring talks, Vaynerchuk distilled some of the most prevalent and hot topics in entrepreneurship. What I find the most interesting about the social media guru is that while he discusses specific networks, like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, his advices can really be applied to any social channel and entrepreneurship in general, making it a perpetual treasure trove of marketing gems for young entrepreneurs.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future – Peter Thiel, Blake Masters
The author of this book argues that our world experiences a technological stagnation. While information technology grows at astounding rates, other industries are slow to follow. According to this book, that same type of growth can be attained in any other industry. And you know what you need to make it happen? Learn to think for yourself. This is what Thiel, entrepreneur and investor, will teach you to do in this book.
This new skill will not only achieve innovation in the world, but will also enable the next big thinkers create something utterly different and break away from competition. If this is what you’re set out to achieve, read this book.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – Adam Grant
Including a foreword by Sheryl Sandberg, the book examines how people can generate powerful ideas and break away from conventional thinking. This book is included in the list because it’s full of interesting stories and surprising solutions, which will help you nurture your own creativity and originality, get the support you need from others, and act on your inventive concepts. Not only is this book highly entertaining, it will also help you shed away your fears and doubts, and uncover tendencies to conformity.
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder – Arianna Huffington
This book is so good! In fact, it’s so good, I took a whole course with Arianna on OWN. Arianna Huffington makes an impassioned and compelling case for the need to redefine what it means to be successful in today’s world.
In this deeply personal book, Arianna talks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritizing the demands of a career and raising two daughters–of juggling business deadlines and family crises, a harried dance that led to her collapse and to her “aha moment.” Drawing on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving, Arianna shows us the way to a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplace, and our lives.
Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype – Jay Baer
One of the thought leaders in the industry, Baer has been preaching for years what only now is becoming the new norm of marketing. Drawing from real examples of companies who are practicing Youtility as well as his experience helping more than seven hundred brands improve their marketing strategy, Baer provides a groundbreaking plan for using information and helpfulness to transform the relationship between companies and customers.
What business books for entrepreneurs have you read and loved? I’d like to get your suggestions in the comment section below.
I haven’t heard of most of these books, but I just added a bunch to my To Read list on Goodreads. Thanks for the great suggestions!
Hi Jessica, that was the whole point of this list! I am glad you found it useful!
Thank you so much, I am getting on reading soon.
Awesome! Let me know what you think!
My favourite books for Creative Businesses are: Creative Entrepreneur by Isa Maria Seminega, Build a Business from your Kitchen Table by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker and Craft Show and Sell by Torie Jayne. Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton has great tips for blogging for business too.
Thanks for this list, I’ve seen some of these books around and will give them a try!
Hi Lottie, Thank you for suggestions! I’ll check them out!
I pinned this, I’m constantly looking for ways to address entrepreneurship. I’d love to be completely independent and not need a 7-6.
Great and practical list for reading and learning. Thanks for sharing putting all these books in one place.
Oooh! This is awesome I need to read a bunch of these.
I love to read and am wanting to turn my blog into a business. I also want to read You are a Badass and The Year of Yes. I will be poring through this list, thanks for the recommendations! I hope you will stop by and add it to our Small Victories Sunday Linkup and Pintastic party linkup so we can help share your posts!
Oh my goodness, this list is great! I’ve had a couple of these on my to-read list for a while, but I haven’t heard of the others. Can’t wait to get to them all. I’m a business student always looking for some inspiration, so this really helps!
Happy to help! There are so many great books, I think I haven’t read even a small percentage of everything available out there.
Great books. Thanks for suggestions. I’m currently reading Lean In and enjoying it tremendously!! Will check out the other books you’ve suggested!!
Cool! Let me know what you think of the others!
Thanks for sharing this list! Great suggestions-adding them to my list!
Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey is another good one.