Are you looking for the best books for entrepreneurs?
As an entrepreneur myself and as a guy who has been working in the startup world for years, I have a few suggestions for you.
After having read hundreds of books on negotiation, persuasion, business, and entrepreneurship, here is my reading list of best entrepreneurship books to get you started:
10. Crossing the Chasm
Crossing the Chasm will teach you the intricacies and psychology of going from “cool product” to mass adoption.
That’s what differentiates small, “cult” and “cool” brands from unicorns. If you want your business to become a unicorn, this Crossing the Chasm must find its way into your bookshelf arsenal.
Quote: “The number-one objective is to secure a distribution channel into mainstream market with which the pragmatist customer will be comfortable.
It comes before revenues, profits, press, even before customer satisfaction. All these other factors can be fixed later – but only if the channel is established”
9. Delivering Happiness
by Tony Hsieh
Summary | Kindle | Print
Delivering Happiness stands unique among the best book for entrepreneurs.
Tony Hsieh doesn’t “just” share his touching, personal story of two successful startup exits.
But, much in line with the growing wave of positive psychology, it makes the case that success and happiness go hand in hand.
And making your employees and customers’ happiness a KPI might indeed increase your bottom line as well.
Quote: “Money alone isn’t enough to bring happiness . . . happiness is when you’re actually truly ok with losing everything you have”
8. Getting Past No
I chose “Getting Past No” though because it’s a good mix of negotiation skills, conversational best practices, influencing and, as well, a solid quick overview of negotiation power dynamics.
Quote: “Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way”
7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
How does a general self-help book make into the top10 list of best books for entrepreneurs?
Simple: what makes you successful in life is also most likely to make you successful at business and entrepreneurship.
The most important principle is to “think win-win” and to use collaborative frames in your dealings with others.
It’s not only the most principled approach to life, but it’s also the most effective (at least for long-term, repeated interactions).
Quote: “If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – myself”
6. Secrets of Power Negotiating
I made it a point to put “Power Negotiation” right after “the 7 Habits” and my spiel on “think win-win”.
The reason why I started this website in the first place indeed is that there are plenty of people in this world who think win-lose and will try to take advantage of you.
Power Negotiation will help you to spot people who try to play games with you.
Remember, to launch a solid business good for you and for the world, you need to learn how to deal with people who want the worst for you (and for the world).
Power Negotiation -and this website as well-, will help you deal with the business’ wolves.
Quote: “If we can do that for you, what can you do for us”
5. The E-Myth Revisited
Most people who make the jump from employees to entrepreneurs fail, says Michael Gerbner.
One of the main reasons is that they don’t think (yet) like an entrepreneur and they end up doing everything and making the business dependent on them.
The E-Myth teaches you how to change your thinking in a way that allows you to build a build that runs independently from you.
This is a must not just if you want to build to sell, but also if you want to built to live independently of work.
Quote: “If your business depends on you, you have a job. And it’s the worst in the world because you’re working for a lunatic”
4. The 4 Hour Workweek
Getting into the top 3 of our best entrepreneurship books list now :).
The 4 Hour Workweek is the book that more than anyone else epitomizes the digital revolution of independence.
And it’s possibly the most quoted
Albeit it’s mostly for solopreneurs and not for startup founders who want to build big businesses, I’d recommend anyone to read it.
Because it will make you think if what you want is a big business or simply the freedom and lifestyle that goes with it.
If the latter, it’s possible that you don’t need to build a big business (and wouldn’t be happy with it, either).
Quote: “They have riches, but the riches actually have them”
3. The Lean Startup
I remember my first job in a startup company.
The founder and CEO asked me if I had read “The Lean Startup” and he when I said no, he gushed “Oh my God, you haven’t read the startup Bible?”.
Well, I have now… Together with many more.
And, with much more startup and life experience, I can also see why he called it “the Bible” :).
By now the principles of Eric Ries are so well spread and entrenched in the culture that when you read it you might think “but what he says is all obvious”.
Sure, it’s obvious now…
But you still might want to read the full book and learn it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Quote: “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.”
2. Start With WHY
Why is “Start With WHY” the N.1 book in our “best books for entrepreneurs list”?
It’s not because “culture is everything”.
It’s because the reason why you do what you do is what attracts people to you, to your idea, to your project, and to your business.
And it’s also what makes the difference between inspiring and visionary companies and all the others.
And, incidentally, it’s what makes for a happy and fulfilling life as well.
Absolutely a must-read.
Quote1: “There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it”
Quote2: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”
“The Millionaire Fastlane” used to be here.
“Unscripted” is from the same author, and we find it even more complete and applicable.
It’s simply the best mix of mindsets, self-empowerment, mindsets, and strategies
It isn’t even “just” about entrepreneurship, but about self-empowerment through entrepreneurship.
Quote: “There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it”
Practical Entrepreneurship Courses
The above list of best books for entrepreneurs focuses mostly on theory and mindsets.
For more practical guides, which are especially useful if you are launching by yourself, I recommend the following texts:
- Launch: very good product to understand the dynamics and psychology of launching a product
- Web Copy That Sells: one of the best books I have read on copywriting
- Hooked: the habits loops applied to product design (ie.: how to make your product into an addictive habit)
- Made to Stick: how to make your message and ads go viral (or better: increase the likelihood it will go viral)
- Crush It / Crushing It / Jab Jab: and anything from Gary V or other influencers such as Tai Lopez, I only recommend it if you want to become an influencer and a personal brand yourself. Otherwise, don’t waste your time
- Go Pro: only for those interested in network marketing, but unless you start a network marketing company I actively discourage you from getting into it (and from starting one as well: it does nothing good for the world)
And of course:
1. Business University
If you launched already you don’t need mindsets.
You need to learn leadership, power dynamics, influence and persuasion to get the most out of people, games people play, how cultures grow toxic -and how to prevent it- and how to develop win-win and high-performing cultures.
This is one of the best courses for that.
Also great reads on entrepreneurship and/or solopreneurship include:
The $100 Startup
Before he even started the in earn, when Chris Guillebeau said in the intro that you could put the book down if you were expecting a guide on “manifesting” and “attracting” riches, I knew me and the author were kindred souls.
As a solopreneur myself and being on exactly the same path that Chris describes and recommends here, I couldn’t help but love The 100 Dollars Startup.
It’s somewhat similar to The 4 Hour Workweek and, in many ways, even better.
No just theory and mindsets, but also lots of practical examples and some powerful advice.
Quote: “Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life”