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Top 20 Books For Entrepreneurs & Why You Should Read Them

By:     Topics: Entrepreneurship     More posts about: ,

So many wannabe entrepreneurs today just want to jump straight into a new lifestyle full of exciting business adventures, and fresh new money, but it’s just not that simple. If you want to be the best, it pays to learn from the best, and that’s what these books are all about. These are our favourite, top 20 books for entrepreneurs, and they each bring a little something different to the table.

The 20 Best Business Books

1 – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

As you can see from the photo below, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey, has sold more than 15 million copies since it was first published in 2004. The book presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems, but my words, compared to Covey’s, just can’t do it justice. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity – principles that give us the security to adapt to change, and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates. It’s a book for life, and a book that everyone should read, not just own. For entrepreneurs, it’s important look on how to change the way we live, which will not only affect our personal life, but our businesses too. 

2 – Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

This book is all about taking a good company and turing it into a great company. You may wonder what the difference is, and why it’s so important, but all of that is listed inside this book. Jim Collins, the author, is an expert on how businesses grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies and has invested over a decade of research into the topic. For most entrepreneurs starting out, it’s almost impossible to think about how they could move their businesses into multi-million dollar organizations, or even what choices to make when they start to arrive, and this is where the book really comes into its own. It’s an in-depth look at how good companies have grown to become the great companies they are today. Well worth a read.

3 – Losing My Virginity

Richard Branson, in slightly more than twenty-five years, created many successful ventures, from the airline business (Virgin Atlantic Airways), to music (Virgin Records and V2), to cola (Virgin Cola), to retail (Virgin Megastores), and nearly a hundred others, ranging from financial services to bridal wear, Branson has a track record second to none. Richard Branson is personally the most inspirational entrepreneur that I can think of, mostly because he seems so laid back and happy. I guess owning a private island can help to alleviate stress, but there’s more to it than that, and that’s why I love his book. There’ nothing quite like learning how a person has become as successful as they are, from their own words.

Losing My Virginity is the unusual, frequently outrageous autobiography of one of the great business geniuses of our time. When Richard Branson started his first business, he and his friends decided that “since we’re complete virgins at business, let’s call it just that: Virgin.” Since then, Branson has written his own “rules” for success, creating a group of companies with a global presence, but no central headquarters, no management hierarchy, and minimal bureaucracy.

Many of Richard Branson’s companies–airlines, retailing, and cola are good examples–were started in the face of entrenched competition. The experts said, “Don’t do it.” But Branson found golden opportunities in markets in which customers have been ripped off or underserved, where confusion reigns, and the competition is complacent.

4 – Rich Dad Poor Dad

Personal finance author and lecturer Robert T. Kiyosaki developed his unique economic perspective from two very different influences – his two fathers. This text lays out Kiyosaki’s philosophy and his relationship with money. This book will explode the myth that you need to earn a high income to become rich, challenge the belief that your house is an asset, show parents why they can’t rely on the school system to teach their kids about money, define once and for all an asset and a liability, and teach you what to teach your kids about money for their future financial success.

5 – The 4-Hour Workweek

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint. You can pick and read different parts as you wish, so it’s a perfect book for some casual reading. He covers everything from how he went from 80 to 4 hours of work every week, without earning any less money, to how you can travel the world without losing your job and how you can get rid of 50% of your work altogether. When you’re done reading this, read the 4 hour body.

6 – How To Win Friends and Influence People

This is arguably one of the best known motivational books in history, and it’s actually a lot older than you may think, as it was released in 1936. How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies and it’s Carnegie’s first book. It’s timeless and appeals equally to business audiences, self-help audiences, and general readers alike. In the book you’ll learn proven advice for success in life: Carnegie believed that most successes come from an ability to communicate effectively rather than from brilliant insights. His book teaches these skills by showing readers how to value others and make them feel appreciated rather than manipulated. Don’t be put off by the date it was published, it’s still as relevant today as it ever was.

7 – The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

In this first new and totally revised edition of the 150,000-copy underground bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.

8 – Awaken the Giant Within

Some people may think that Anthony Robbins can be a little bit much, but speaking as someone who has been to one of his weekend seminars, I can vouch that he’s the real deal. He’s the nation’s leader in the science of peak performance, shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life. The acknowledged expert in the psychology of change, Anthony Robbins provides a step-by-step program teaching the fundamental lessons of self-mastery that will enable you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life and harness the forces that shape your destiny.

9 – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values. Steve Jobs is a 21st century inspiration to all of us.

10 – Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

“I wrote this book because I fell in love with a story. The story concerned a small group of undervalued professional baseball players and executives, many of whom had been rejected as unfit for the big leagues, who had turned themselves into one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. But the idea for the book came well before I had good reason to write it—before I had a story to fall in love with. It began, really, with an innocent question: how did one of the poorest teams in baseball, the Oakland Athletics, win so many games?” Tell me, is that a question that you could relate to your own business? If it is, then this book is for you, because sure it’s about baseball on the surface, but in reality, it’s about so much more than just baseball. Michael Lewis answers the questions that have been stumping him for years.

11 – No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs

Find out how to use it far more wisely by the man who successfully run multiple business ventures simultaneously. Dan Kennedy has been called the “Professor of Harsh Reality” because he doesn’t deal in glib, pabulum solutions and eye-rolling cliches you’ve heard incessantly on time management. He takes on the world of cell phones, PDAs, faxes, e-mails, and every other communication device that pervade our lives, suggesting when to tap it, and when to give it the heave-ho. This entrepreneur/consultant/author/speaker has a whirlwind business life, yet manages to fit everything in using a handful of home-brewed time management tools he swears by. He shows how to maximize your time with a fresh take on the mantra that “time is money.” It’s all about using disciplined productivity strategies Kennedy has devised over 30 years of managing highly-profitable businesses with only minimal help.

12 – The Magic of Thinking Big

I’m sure that most of you have heard of this book, or at least the term, but have you every wondered about the affects? Millions of people throughout the world have improved their lives using The Magic of Thinking Big. Dr. David J. Schwartz, long regarded as one of the foremost experts on motivation, will help you sell better, manage better, earn more money, and most important of all, find greater happiness and peace of mind.

The Magic of Thinking Big gives you useful methods, not empty promises. Dr. Schwartz presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community. He proves that you don’t need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction, but you do need to learn and understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there. This book gives you those secrets!

13 – Think and Grow Rich

The bestselling success book of all time is updated and revised with contemporary ideas and examples, and has sold over 70 million copies to date, making it one of the top 10 bestselling books of all time. Think and Grow Rich has been called the “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.” It was the first book to boldly ask, “What makes a winner?” The man who asked and listened for the answer, Napoleon Hill, is now counted in the top ranks of the world’s winners himself. The most famous of all teachers of success spent “a fortune and the better part of a lifetime of effort” to produce the “Law of Success” philosophy that forms the basis of his books and that is so powerfully summarized in this one.

In the original Think and Grow Rich, published in 1937, Hill draws on stories of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and other millionaires of his generation to illustrate his principles. In the updated version, Arthur R. Pell, Ph.D., a nationally known author, lecturer, and consultant in human resources management and an expert in applying Hill’s thought, deftly interweaves anecdotes of how contemporary millionaires and billionaires, such as Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, Dave Thomas, and Sir John Templeton, achieved their wealth. Outmoded or arcane terminology and examples are faithfully refreshed to preclude any stumbling blocks to a new generation of readers.

14 – Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words

Do you aspire to be something more than just average? An expert recognized for his uncovering the hidden, and often secret meaning of words, Kevin Hall now shares his wisdom with us all. In Aspire! he teaches readers to understand what words mean in their purest sense and unlock their importance as they develop a thoughtful new vocabulary. By focusing on eleven words-one per chapter–Aspire! shows how to use these words as building blocks for success and inner peace. The words, from the very familiar to the very unusual, will become touchstones in personal development and in business.

15 – The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

16 – Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

If you’re interested in Gary, then check out this interview we did with him.

Do you have a hobby you wish you could do all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take those passions and make a living doing what you love. In CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the secrets revealed in this book, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand. By the end of this book, any reader will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, CRUSH IT! is the ultimate driver?s manual for modern business.

17 – Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

In today’s world, yesterday’s methods just don’t work. In Getting Things Done, veteran coach and management consultant David Allen shares the breakthrough methods for stress-free performance that he has introduced to tens of thousands of people across the country. Allen’s premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve effective productivity and unleash our creative potential. In Getting Things Done Allen shows how to:

* Apply the “do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it” rule to get your in-box to empty
* Reassess goals and stay focused in changing situations
* Plan projects as well as get them unstuck
* Overcome feelings of confusion, anxiety, and being overwhelmed
* Feel fine about what you’re not doing

From core principles to proven tricks, Getting Things Done can transform the way you work, showing you how to pick up the pace without wearing yourself down.

18 – The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

“Never started a company before? Struggling with little or no cash? Have no experience, no baseline to judge your progress against? Thank God! You’ve got a shot at making this work.” So says Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, a business book that is so uniquely useful, so raw and entertaining, it reads like the brainchild of Steve Jobs and Chris Rock.

The founder of three multimillion-dollar companies, including Obsidian Launch, a company that partners with first-time entrepreneurs to grow their concepts into industry leaders, Mike Michalowicz knows what it really takes to spin your great idea into pure gold. Whether you’re just starting out or have been at this for years, Mike’s “get real” approach to business is a much-needed swift kick in the pants.

19 – Blue Ocean Strategy

Written by the business world’s new gurus, Blue Ocean Strategy continues to challenge everything you thought you knew about competing in today’s crowded market place. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a hundred years and thirty industries, authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne argue that lasting success comes from creating ‘blue oceans’: untapped new market spaces ripe from growth. And the business world has caught on – companies around the world are skipping the bloody red oceans of rivals and creating their very own blue oceans. With over one million copies sold world wide, Blue Ocean Strategy is quickly reaching “must read” status among smart business readers. Have you caught the wave?

20 – Rework

Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you’re looking for a book like that, then this isn’t the book for you.

Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses. What you really need to do is stop talking and start working. This book shows you the way. You’ll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.

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Comments

  1. Andrew Dymski says:

    Fantastic list! I would also recommend the Ant and the Elephant if you would like to learn how to harness the power of your subconscious mind to work toward your goals.

  2. David King says:

    Very cool that you are giving all these away!
    I’ve read most of these books and they are all great, I like the pics!
    Keep up the great work!

    David King

  3. Sheyi Shobayo says:

    Great list here again Josh. I specially like Richard Branson’s losing my virginity. I also love think and grow rich including rich dad poor dad. Nice list

    SHALOM

  4. paul wolfe says:

    Josh

    SOme interesting books in there….couple I’ve never heard of. Liked the Facebook Page, shared the image…entered the competition!

    Paul

  5. Brian Farello says:

    Those are all great choices! I have read most of the list but I would love to read the others. Thanks for this article! I will definitely be sharing it with my followers.

  6. Great books!

    Here are a few really good ones that should be on the list as well.

    I think the No BS Direct Marketing book is a great book to start with. It teaches about direct response marketing. Worth more than an MBA in my opinion.

    Perry Marhsall’s ultimate guide to google adwords is another awesome book as well. It teaches more than just PPC, it teaches you how to structure your business so that people “really want” to business with you.

    It got my start with corey rudls secrets to internet marketing book, that is the book that opened my eyes to our industry. The book is 10 years old and I still read through that one. I think it has an updated version at (NOT an affiliate link)

    I own most of the physical books on that top 20 list, but those 3 books are the ones that have helped me most.

    Enjoy!

    Jeremiah

  7. Robin Borsare says:

    Excited about your sucesses and eager to saturate your knowledge!

  8. Rachelle Strauss says:

    Fantastic competition; thanks so much for organising this. I’ve liked and shared 🙂

  9. I’m in! I need spend more time reading books like these. Thanks for the contest.

  10. Jamie Northrup says:

    Nice, I only have 2 of those right now, gonna enter the contest tonight, thanks!

  11. I did it!!!

  12. Justyna Bizdra says:

    Congratulations to the choice of books! I’ve read some of them and they greatly changed my approach to business, helping me succeed in what I wished for:)

    Stephen Covey book is for me absolutely one of the best ones! I will add your choice of books to my list of must haves.

    Facebook done! Thanks a lot:)

  13. Great selection of books. I have read 6 of them. Will have to start on the others. Losing my Virginity and Rich Dad, Poor Dad are my two favourites. Richard Branson inspires me. Good selection Josh

  14. AHHHHHHHH! I don’t have a facebook and my parents won’t let me have one, so is their any way I can still have a chance of winning one of those great books?

  15. Duncan Brodie says:

    Great list. I know I have read a fair number of these. Some of them several times.

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Desiree Beats says:

    Omg. Thank you for this opportunity! Even if I don’t win, im thankful to be able to atleast have a chance to participate!

  17. Wasim Ismail says:

    lol Reading is something i need to give more time too. I have read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and Richard Branson’s Loosing My Virginity – Excellent Read. Thanks for the rest of the list.

  18. Thanks for the great post, I have your site bookmarked on the front page of my apps on my IPad (which goes everywhere with me), your website is packed with great information !!!. I’m feeling rather proud that I own most of these books and have read most of them. nothing beats self education (and I should know because I feel like my extensive formal education is being wasted).

    Thanks again

  19. Thanks for such a great post. One more to add, ‘Goals’ by Brian Tracy.

  20. Awesome books give-aways! Liked, liked and shared! 🙂
    though I’m not from those countries (USA, UK, Deutschland, France or Canada), but I want my friends to know ’bout this contest… 😛

  21. Cheptiony Mutai says:

    Good books! Its sad that we are locked out of the competiton…..Am a Kenyan. Any way I have a book that never preaches but instructs called ‘Thought Force in business and everyday life’….Its my best read by William Walker Atkinson. I felt I got a degree after I read the book. Please don’t lock us out next time!

  22. I really like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, good book.

  23. Dan Sumner says:

    Awesome list Josh. I have read a few of these, now just going to order some more. Bookmarked!

    I would recommend the 4 hour work week to anyone. Beware though, it makes you quite your job!

    Cheers

    Dan Sumner

  24. great books josh

  25. Adam Komoroski says:

    Cool list! Gotta lover the entrepreneur books!

  26. Aj Martirano says:

    I own and love alot of these books but some of them I havent read the ong I see missing out of these is Andy Shaws Bug free Mind

  27. Hi Michael,
    Your Blog is read world wide.Why should you limit the competiting countries.

    O’wise this is a Nice one.Tells of the Excellent Entrepreneural books to read.

    Well done.

  28. This is a a great collection of books especially “Good to Great” it is a fantastic book. But I would add the following three books:
    1- Toward a psychology of being
    2- Maslow on Management
    3- Delivering Happiness.

    These books will make you think more about who you are and What to do and how to do it whiling being yourself.

  29. Please can some of you that have the soft copies of the books listed above share it with me?

  30. As a student who is trying to make change happen in his life, I can’t begin to thank-you enough for the opportunity to win these books.

    Shared and liked, good-luck everyone!

  31. David @ TradeForex4Freedom says:

    Hi,

    I am writing the same list post but into the trading arena and having the worst of my life trying to hack the words out of this brief introduction of the books. How long did you spend adjusting the images as well as intro?

    Regards
    David

    • Josh Dunlop says:

      Intro was pretty easy, I worked off the description of the book, and threw in my own opinions on the books. As for the images, I maybe spent an hour in total finding them, and photoshopping them, but I’m a photographer, so I know what I’m doing with that.
      Josh

  32. I like this list but I would add the Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner.

  33. great collection. but just as incomplete without any or all of seth Godin’s pieces. free or paid they all awesome and worth any online marketer’s time. A great read is “permission marketing”. linchpin.. you should check them out

  34. Stacey Hylen says:

    Great list. I would add The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, Getting Everything You Can Out of Everything You’ve Got by Jay Abraham and ALL Dan Kennedy books for Sales and Marketing.

    The power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz because managing your energy and being in Peak state is so important for business owners and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield for a kick in the butt to overcome resistance.

  35. Hey Josh, I was curious how I go about claiming my prize for the contest? I have contacted you through FB and you site but have not heard anything.

    Thank you

  36. Hi, Josh, thanks for you interest of increase knowledge for us..

    Please, can you send me any copies of the books listed above.,

    Personally, included to list Winning (Jack Welch).

    Thanks a lot.

  37. Zohaib Akhlaq says:

    Awesome list! I’m always looking for new books for entrepreneurs. I’ve read a few of these and really enjoyed them. I will have to put the others on my reading list as well. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!