Probably you have heart that you are what you read who you are surrounded with. Books make you think differently, they open your mind, make an important switch, help you pivot and grow. If your goal is to build a successful company and enjoy your life, I recommend you to read these books, which were written by successful entrepreneurs, by people who have something to share. And don’t forget, that important thing the world’s wealthiest people have in common is – read entrepreneurship books.
This year I spoke with numerous entrepreneurs from all around the world, by attending events of EO organization, Barcelona tech city and Aijec. I spoke with our clients, with founders of consolidated startups and big international companies and came up with the list of top entrepreneurship books which were read and recommended by these leaders.
28 Entrepreneurship books to read
1. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker
The first one in the list of top entrepreneurship books is – the effective executive. Reading this book you will explore the time-management and decision-making habits of executives who are productive and valuable in an organization. You will learn how to “get the right things done.” What I mean by that is – doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. You will find out how to use your intelligence, imagination, and knowledge to mold them into notable and measurable results.
You will also look at five practices essential to business effectiveness: how to manage your time, choose what to contribute to the organization, know where and how to mobilize strength for best effect, set the right priorities, and link them all together with effective decision-making.
2. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen
This book provides an insightful analysis of changing technology and its importance to a company’s future success. I would say it is the revolutionary business book that has changed corporate environment in many industries. It may seem weird, but actually a lot of great companies fail because they do everything right. This book is one of the most provocative and important business books, which makes you rethink the way you work, the way you manage your company, the way you think.
3. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
This book is considered a classic self-help book. Reading this book will make you see how our thoughts determine reality. Whether or not we are conscious of it, our beliefs shape our character, our health and appearance, our circumstances, and our destinies. Many people are skeptical about this topic, but after reading this book, I promise you, you will start noticing that your thoughts influence the world around you. In this book Allen shows how we can master our thoughts to create the life we want.
4. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
In this book Malcolm Gladwell redefines how we understand the world around us. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made unconsciously, but in reality they are not and they are not as simple as we think. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are good in analysis. Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up failing. After reading this book you will see how our brains really work in the office, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, etc. And you will see why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others. In Blink you will see how the psychologist predicts whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple. Or how the tennis coach knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball.
What is so good about this book is that it reveals that great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time analyzing it, but those who have perfected the art of observing and filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.
5. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters
This book is about exploring opportunities and develop inventions to create. In this book you will see how we can find singular ways to create those new things. Yes, Information technology has evolved rapidly, but it doesn’t mean that the progress should be limited to mobile devices or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. There is always room for improvement, we always have problems and always need new solutions, ways to improve the processes. It is about an important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.
Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes is going from 1 to n. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. You will need to innovate, think out of the box, make a difference.
6. Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition by Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki is a very well known entrepreneur, evangelist, venture capitalist, and guru. Guy Kawasaki has his own opinion about trends, theories,etc. Reality Check is Kawasaki’s all-in-one guide for starting and operating great organizations. In this book This book is about smart thinking. A lot of people start doing something just because others do it, Guy says that many things are irrelevant and waste of time. In this book he shares his vision on how to work smart.
7. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
This book is about entrepreneurship, about working smart instead of working hard. The author insists in forgetting the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly six-figure income, the 4-hour workweek is the blueprint. Basically Timothy explains how to outsource your life to professionals, who earn less then you, but at the same time are better than you in specific fields.
8. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems – the rational mind and the emotional mind. For example the rational mind wants a have perfect body; the emotional mind wants a cheesecake. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. In this book you will see how different people, for example employees and managers have united both minds and achieved impressive results.
9. Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow by Chip Conley & Tony Hsieh
This book explores how Conley’s company “the second largest boutique hotelier in the world” solved the problem that hit the travel industry by applying Maslow’s theory to what the author identifies as the key Relationship Truths in business with Employees, Customers and Investors. This book will show you remarkable transformation, providing real world examples from other companies and showing how readers can start changing their life, as personal, as professional. This book will teach you on how to understand the motivations of employees, customers, bosses, and investors, and use that understanding to foster better relationships and build a strong and profitable corporate culture.
10. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
Classic book on persuasion, it explains the psychology of why people say “yes” and how to apply these understandings. The author is an expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion and here you will find the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader and how to defend yourself against them. This book is useful for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.
11. Lucky Or Smart?: Fifty Pages for the First-Time Entrepreneur by Bo Peabody
At 27, the author was an Internet multi-millionaire. He has co-founded five different companies, in different industries, and made them grow during the best and worst of economic times. The key question here is “how”. How he became so successful. The author says that the answer is simple – make sure your work is fundamentally innovative, morally compelling, and philosophically positive.
This book will teach you how to put yourself in a position to get lucky, create the right situations for success, and take advantage of every opportunity. It is a good introduction to entrepreneurial life, a must read for anyone looking for business tips and rules.
12. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This book guarantees to change your life forever. It not only teaches you all the do’s and don’ts of the social life, but it also teaches you how to be a better entrepreneur. Digital age has made it harder to be influential outside of the Internet, but here you will find useful tips and examples on how to be an influencer and leader. The author shares with you all the steps you need to take in order to make friends with everyone you meet. It teaches how to overcome competition or how to win over people who are close-minded or simply not interested in your pitch. You will learn how to handle people, how to make them like you, how to win people to your way of thinking, etc. Every young entrepreneur needs to read this book, it really changes the way you live and the way you do business.
13. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is another very good book. This book tells you the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. This story teaches us how to listen to our hearts, how to learn to find opportunities along life’s path and follow our dreams. There are no clear tips or guidelines, this book is special, it makes you see yourself in the shoes of the shepherd and analyze how would you handle certain situations, taking into account all the consequences.
14. The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson
This book is about way of thinking, about processing information that enables you to make the daily choices that will lead you to the success. In this week you will discover how and why some people make dream after dream come true, while others just continue dreaming and spend their lives building dreams for someone else. This book shows you how to create powerful results from the simple daily activities of your life, by using tools that are already within you.
15. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
This book is about Nike, about it’s founder and board chairman Phil Knight. He shares the inside story of the company’s early days as a start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands. From initial investment to mission of the company, values, culture and branding. This is an excellent opportunity to learn from the best one.
15. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss
In this book Tim Ferriss shares the productivity secrets of more than 200 “world-class performers” he has interviewed on his podcast. The performers range from super celebrities, like Arnold Schwarzenegger to athletes and black-market biochemists. This book contains tools, tactics, and inside strategies you won’t find anywhere else. You can also find here tips and life lessons from industries’ leaders. For example, you will find out what do these people do in the first sixty minutes of each morning, what do their workout routines look like, and why.
16. The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms by Vishen Lakhiani
What if everything you thought about love, work, and life is wrong. This book challenges your beliefs to help you redefine the meaning of personal success. Basically Vishen shows that generation to generation we pass rules that we don’t really understand or which are not actually useful in our lives.
Reading this book you will understand that everything we know about the world is shaped by conditioning and habit. And most people live their lives based on limiting rules and outdated beliefs about pretty much everything, they inherit them and pass on from generation to generation.
This book teaches you to think and question, challenge, create new rules for your life so you can define success on your own terms.
17. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
In this book renowned psychologist Daniel Kahneman does a deep dive analysis of the two cognitive systems that shape the judgments and decisions we make in our everyday lives. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional. System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, etc. – each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions. Kahneman offers practical insights and different techniques to take the right decisions taking into account these 2 systems.
18. Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston
We all hear the success stories after they happened, stories about how millionaires started their business with just several pounds, but how did they grow their business from that starting point? Normally this part is missed. This book answers questions like, how did these people become millionaires? What was their journey? Where did they get the ideas ? How did they convince investors to believe in them ? What went wrong and how did they recover, ttc. In this book you will find stories about founders like Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail). You will find their own words about their surprising and often very funny discoveries as they learned how to build a company.
19. The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneur by Kevin D. Johnson
This book is about beliefs and thoughts. Everything starts in our mind. If you have negative thoughts all day, very probably that your day will not end on a good note. The author tries to tells us that we need to change our mindset in order to be successful. In this book Johnson identifies one hundred key lessons that every entrepreneur must learn in seven areas: Strategy, Education, People, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Leadership, and Motivation. Lessons include how to think big, who makes the best business partners, what captivates investors, when to abandon a business idea, where to avoid opening a business bank account, and why too much formal education can slow down your entrepreneurial growth.
20. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder
This book will be especially interesting for visual entrepreneurs. We’re all used to looking at pictures more than we are reading books, that’s why Alexander decided to share his ideas in a visual way. With pictures, graphs and timelines, this book is a must-have for every visionary young entrepreneur. If you need calendars, post-its and picture reminders in order to do something, this is for you.
The author explains in the book that building a successful business plan, means building a successful business. And Business Model Generation is a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to improve business models and come up with something unique to fill in the demand and be the first one who offers that. Basically this book features a beautiful, highly visual, 4-color design that takes powerful strategic ideas and tools, and makes them easy to implement in your organization. It explains the most common Business Model patterns, based on concepts from leading business thinkers, and helps you reinterpret them for your own context. You will learn how to systematically understand, design, and implement a game-changing business model and how to analyze and renovate an old one. Also, you will understand at a much deeper level your customers, distribution channels, partners, revenue streams, costs, your core value proposition, etc. All this you will learn by taking a look at business models of the leasding brands like 3M, Ericsson, Capgemini, Deloitte, and many others.
21. Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant is a guide to financial freedom. It’s the second book in the Rich Dad Series and reveals how some people work less, earn more, pay less in taxes, and learn to become financially free. This book is for those who are ready to move beyond job security and enter the world of financial freedom. It’s for those who want to make significant changes in their lives and take control of their financial future. Robert believes that we lack money education, financial education and this book gives you a good understanding on how to manage your money in the most profitable way. This book will change the way you think about jobs, careers, and owning your own business. It will inspire you to learn the rules of money that the rich use to build and grow their wealth.
22. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
We all know the profit formula, right? Sales – Expenses = Profit. The problem is, businesses are run by humans, and humans aren’t always logical. Entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz has developed a behavioral approach to improve this formula to have better results: Sales – Profit = Expenses. Nothing has changed, right? In reality yes there is a difference. Just as the most effective weight loss strategy is to limit portions by using smaller plates, Michalowicz shows that by taking profit first and apportioning only what remains for expenses, entrepreneurs will transform their businesses from cash-eating monsters to profitable cash cows. In this book Michalowicz has the game-changing roadmap for entrepreneurs to make money they always dreamed of.
23. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations, for example personnel conflict, profit problems, unstable growth, etc. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple and powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment.
24. Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn
In this book, Jim show’s the parallels between life and the changing seasons. This nook is about how we can utilize each seasons to get the best of each one. What to do in one season, to ensure success in another season
25. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad, is the number 1 finance book of all times. This book is about Robert Kiyosaki and his two dads – his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad. Both dads shaped his thoughts about money and investing and this book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and making your money work for you.
26. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This book sets you upon the path of learning and self development. It conveys the experience of more than 500 men of great wealth, who began from scratch. Here you have the entire philosophy of moneymaking, just as it was organized from the actual achievements of the most successful men. This book tells you what to do, how to do it, how to sell your personal services. In this book you will find the thirteen principles of money-making essential to every person who accumulates sufficient money to guarantee financial independence.
27. How to Develop Self-Confidence And Influence People By Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie
This book shows you how to overcome the natural fear of public speaking, how to become a successful speaker and even learn to enjoy it. He gives several recommendations like how to gain self-confidence, how to improve your memory, how to make your meaning clear, how to begin and end a presentation effectively, how to Interest and charm your audience, how to improve your diction and one of the most important things – how to win an argument without making enemies.
28. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
And the last book on my list of top entrepreneurship books is how to stop worrying and start living. This book is about overcoming the worry habit. Dale offers a set of practical formulas you can put to work today. You will discover how to eliminate business worries, how to reduce financial worries, how to avoid fatigue, how to find yourself and be yourself, etc.
I really hope these entrepreneurship books will solve your problems and help you increase your productivity. They are all different, but each one makes you think and improve the way you manage your business, looking at things from different angles.
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