Wearing the hat of an entrepreneur requires a lot of moving parts. You need to know about business but you also have to learn organizational skills, communication, employee management, marketing and a positive attitude. Reading widely about business and other topics can help you develop the skills you need to succeed in business and life.
If you pull up any search for “books for entrepreneurs,” you’ll find hundreds of thousands of results. From college textbooks to how-to tomes to more niche topics, narrowing down the options isn’t easy.
What Is the Best Book for Becoming an Entrepreneur?
While we’d love to name a book you can read that will make you an overnight success, it’s impossible to narrow the list down to a single book. Even within the confines of this article, we’re going to hit only on the top books we feel every entrepreneur should read at some point in their careers.
However, there are thousands of other books that might add value to your life and the skills you need to run a successful business venture. What is the best book for becoming a successful entrepreneur also varies by industry and specialization.
What Criteria We Used to Choose the Best Books for Entrepreneurship
It would be easy to just throw out a few ideas based on our own preferences and experience. However, doing so might ignore some books you haven’t heard of. To choose a list of best books, we looked at a number of factors.
- Have we heard of the title or author? While there are many good newer titles by lesser known authors, we wanted to stick with ones easy to locate and with plenty of reviews. If you know of an excellent book that covers a specific topic, we’d love to hear about it in the comments as there is no way to cover all business books.
- How many reviews does the book have and are they good?
- Is the book affordable for a beginning business owner who might be tight on funds? While there are some excellent text books available, they also tend to be expensive, so we excluded any books over $50 from our list to ensure even someone on a shoestring budget could still grab a copy.
- Is the book long enough to cover the topic in-depth? We also ruled out any books under 100 pages.
The books on this list include many we’ve read, but a few we haven’t. Where we hadn’t read the title, we relied on sample pages, book blurbs and reviews to ensure the book met our standards. Reviews came from sites such as Amazon, BookBub and Goodreads as well as some individual review sites.
Here are our favorites. We hope they help you grow as an entrepreneur and you come to love them, too:
The first book on our list is an oldie but goodie. It is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. At the core of what most entrepreneurs do is relationships and communication. Carnegie’s book delves into how to talk to people and influence them in positive ways.
Just knowing how to ask an employee for help might spur them to be more creative. Getting to know your clients builds brand loyalty and helps with word-of-mouth marketing. The book is very affordable and there are plenty of used copies available and copies in libraries.
If you enjoy the book and love the concepts, you can also sign up for a course at various educational institutions around the country. You’ll learn communication skills to help you build your business. The book has over 3,000 reviews on Amazon alone with a 4.5 star out of 5 rating.
The concepts don’t grow old as human nature remains the same. You’ll find memory tips and techniques to help you with recalling client details and developing closer relationships with those around you.
Another famous book that many entrepreneurs have read. If part of the reason you’ve started a business is for a better work-life balance, Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek is a must read for you.
The book is a number one bestseller on Amazon in the Time Management category. It isn’t surprising that the New York Times bestselling author packs this 400 plus page book full of valuable advice for living your best life while finding success.
One of Ferriss’ top concepts is working smarter, not harder. He calls for people to find ways to automate and delegate tasks to reserve their energy for growing and more creative pursuits. Some of the things he suggests are quite simple, but you might not have thought of them. Other ideas are a little controversial. Take the ones that work for you and tweak them until your time management skills shine.
The book has 18,170 reviews and still holds 4.5 stars.
Part of being an entrepreneur is creating a brand. You’ll likely wear the hat of a marketer for at least part of the initial building of your company. Picking up skills in this area helps in the early stages but also gives you the knowledge to communicate smartly once you are able to hire a marketing professional to take over some of the tasks.
The book looks at the story behind your company and the image you present to the world. People want to know who you are and why you do what you do. But you have to do more than just share an About page to tell them. You have to create a company persona that shows off your personality.
The book teaches you how to dig deep and figure out what you stand for. Once you know who you are, you have to know how to communicate it to others. Building a Story Brand is one of the best books for marketers to learn initial concepts.
The book is a number one bestseller on Amazon. It has over 6,000 reviews and a 4.5 star rating.
The habits you develop early in your business can one day mean the difference between a thriving company and a struggling one. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell looks at the little things we do that add up to make a huge difference in a brand’s bottom line.
He looks at how things become viral and gives ideas for selling products so you stay ahead of the competition. The book is filled with examples and relevant action points for entrepreneurs. He also digs into how the people around us impact us and our behavior. Why do groups diffuse motivation sometimes? What can we do to ensure we keep pushing hard no matter what else is happening?
The book is a bestseller in the Market Research Business category. You’ll find 5,078 reviews to read with an average 4.5 stars.
Do you have a deep desire to start a business and build something? Maybe you have the drive but lack the funds to get going. Enter The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. The book offers ideas for getting your business started on a shoestring.
The book takes a journey with the author as he travels and talks to 1,500 different people with businesses making $50k or more. He spoke with those who started on a small budget, some for $100 or less. And he looks at how they were able to find the drive to build their businesses into something profitable.
Throughout the book, he breaks down the best tips from each entrepreneur. He uses hard numbers to show why the business worked. The book has 4,549 reviews and averages 4.5 stars.
How to Read the Best Books for Entrepreneurs
If you’re an avid reader, you might be tempted to skim over chapters and rush through these books to cram your head full of business knowledge. However, you’ll get a lot more information from them if you slow down and embrace each concept. Take notes as you read, think about how you might apply some of the concepts to your business model.
We had space for just a handful of books. As you can imagine, there are so many more wonderful concepts out there. Use these as a springboard into other recommendations. See what else each author wrote. Check out bestsellers in their categories. As an entrepreneur, you’ll never stop learning, growing and seeking. We hope these give you an excellent start.
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