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The Top 22 Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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books every entrepreneur should read

These 22 Amazing books have been compiled by various reviews and have come out on top as the 22 Best Books that every Entrepreneur Must Read.

Have you read any of these books yourself? If not, get your hands on a few of these and increase your skills for success in the world of Entrepreneurship.

 

The Top Entrepreneur Books

 

“The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand

Charlie O’Donnell: “I don’t know any book that sums up the entrepreneurial passion and spirit better than The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: ‘The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.'”

 

“Out of the Crisis” by W. Edwards Deming

Roger Ehrenberg: “Big or small, this book focuses the entrepreneur/manager on respecting employees, focusing on process, and insisting on the collection and analysis of data. The development of metrics to manage the business is critical for the start-up founder.”

 

“Extreme Programming Explained” by Kent Beck

Babak Nivi: “Revelatory. Develop your product like this book tells you to, unless you know better (e.g. you have experience building operating systems, space shuttles, Googles.) Buy the first edition.”

 

“The Four Steps to the Epiphany” by Steven Gary Blank

Babak Nivi: “The closest thing to a manual for building a startup. Marc Andreessen calls it ‘a roadmap for how to get to Product/Market Fit.'”

 

“Reality Check” by Guy Kawasaki

Penelope Trunk: “I love flipping through the chapters. Each one is like a blog post, so you learn something on every page. And each chapter reminds me to be a little bit better at something I’m doing already.”

 

“Peak” by Chip Conley

Fred Destin: “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs adapted to the business world.  Not that well written (sorry Chip) but sound advice on achieving ‘sustainable outperformance’ and leveraging crises for the better.”

 

“The Happiness Hypothesis” by Jonathan Haidt

Fred Destin:  “Not a business book, but if you assume self-awareness and knowing what you are really good at are key to success in business (and life in general), this is the best attempt I have read at deriving ‘meaning’ from the joyous mess of life.”

 

“Against The Odds” by James Dyson

Jason Fried: “One of the best books about design, business, invention, and entrepreneurship I’ve ever read. Highly recommended. It’s really inspirational. His persistence is otherworldly. You won’t believe what he went through to get this product to market.”

 

“How To Get Rich” by Felix Dennis

Greg Galant: “The self-made billionaire founder of Maxim Magazine and The Week titles this book as though it’s a snake oil self-help book. It’s really a great entrepreneurial memoir with British wit at its finest.”

 

“Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor” by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, and James O’Toole

Nilofer Merchant: “The future is invented not in the easy conversations but in the hard ones. We’ve got to know how to have and manage those conversations that lend light and transparency to WHY we are doing what we are doing. This book emphasizes how leaders create a culture of candor that can allow them to grow beyond the first idea.”

 

“The Future Arrived Yesterday” by Michael S. Malone

Nilofer Merchant: “The next type of company is going to have to grow in a very different way than companies even in the last 10 years. Mike Malone who wrote about virtual corporations 25 years ago has now written about “the protean corporation” which is a way to say organizations will organize to be more fluid, nimble, and shape shifters. He’s onto the new model and entrepreneurs should know about it so they are not surprised by the growth stages needed. ”

 

“Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Sean Ellis: “[The book’s] key message is to double down on things that are working.”

 

“The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Law” by Constance Bagley and Craig Dauchy

Chris Dixon: “[This one might be a] bit painful if you aren’t into legal details (I’m not), but perhaps the most useful business book you can ever read.”

 

“Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore

Chris Dixon: “Although a bit too enterprise- (vs. consumer-) focused for my taste, this is an extremely intelligent and useful book.You’ve probably heard about the central thesis (lots of startups get stuck in the “chasm”, in between early adopter and mainstream customers) but there are tons of other interesting anecdotes and ideas in the book. I’ve reread this one a couple of times.”

 

“Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War” by Robert Coram

Steve Blank: “Observe, Orient, Decide and Act – The cornerstone of Customer Development and the Lean Startup was first invented by a fighter pilot.  Read his story.”

Steve is a former serial entrepreneur who now teaches at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University and the Columbia University/Berkeley Joint Executive MBA program. He is the author of Four Steps to the Epiphany.

 

“The Innovator’s Dilemma” and “The Innovator’s Solution” by Clayton Christensen

Steve Blank: “Why do large companies seem and act like dinosaurs? Christensen finally was able to diagnose why and propose solutions. Entrepreneurs should read these books as ‘how to books’ to beat large companies in their own markets.”

Also recommended by Chris Dixon: “The Innovator’s Dilemma popularized the (often misused) phrase ‘disruptive technology’; But there’s a lot more than that one big idea. Great insights into the ‘dynamics’ (changes over time) of markets.”

 

“Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini

David Heinemeier Hansson: “Influence teaches you how to sell and deal with customers by treating them as humans. Great stuff.”

David is a partner in 37signals.

 

“Maverick!: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace” by Ricardo Semler

David Heinemeier Hansson: “Maverick tells the story about how you can make radical change [even at] a very old-world company of 8,000 people producing industrial pumps.”

 

“Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Paul Jozefak: “Some great advice on how decisions are made.”

Paul is a Managing Partner at Neuhaus Partners.

 

“Lucky or Smart? Secrets to an Entrepreneurial Life”, by Bo Peabody

Mark Peter Davis: “Insight into some of the unique trials entrepreneurs face.”

Mark is a co-founder are CEO of Kohort, who previously worked as a VC at DFJ Gotham Ventures.

 

“The Zen & Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance”, by Robert M Persig

Brad Feld: “Anyone who is creating anything should read this book, slowly, and savor it.”

Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over 20 years and is the co-founder of Foundry Group.

Also recommended by Fred Wilson: “There is way more insight to be gained from stories than from business books. And these are some amazing stories.”

 

“The Thank You Economy”, by Gary Vaynerchuk

The Thank You Economy is much more than saying “thank you.” The Thank You Economy represents a much bigger movement. This book could easily have been called The Humanization of Business or Manners Marketing.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. johnlee

    Dec 12, 2018 at 5:18 am

    Here are 3 books I read in the past few months have covered different topics which have helped me grow personally and professionally.

    1. The Personal MBA – Josh Kaufman

    2. Money – Master the Game – Anthony Robbins

    3. Man’s Search For Meaning – Viktor Frankl

  2. Manuel Bendana

    Jun 17, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Surprised by the absence of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Mr. Robert Kiyosaki

    I must consider it the ABC for entrepreneurs !

  3. Olesya

    Mar 12, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Love Ayn Rand!

  4. Jo-Anne Rockwood

    Aug 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Also loved The E Myth by Michael Gerber. Read it decades ago, and the lessons still resonate with me today.

  5. Heidi

    Apr 14, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Have not heard of all of them, read quite a few. There are some great books left out. Don’t think Blink needs to be there.

  6. Olivia Gray

    Dec 17, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Hi, thanks for the tips. Another great one that has only been published this year is “Welcome to Entrepreneur Country” by Julie Meyer – check it out!

  7. David Mariano

    Sep 13, 2012 at 2:28 am

    What, no REWORK? I think it would be a great addition along with Linchpin. Just my thoughts.

  8. Malcolm Donaldson

    Jun 30, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Another great book and easy reading. Go-Givers Sell More.

  9. Tony Staunton

    Jun 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    All great choices but I would have liked to have seen more bio’s in the list as I think they make business and entrepreneurship more accessible to the every day reader. Titles like ‘Andrew Carnegie’ by David Nasaw (it was Carnegie who commissioned Napoleon Hill to conduct research into what would become ‘Think and grow rich’. Also ‘Team of Rivals’ by Doris Kearns Goodwin is an excellent study on how to bring opposing sides together.

  10. Phil Wall

    May 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Influence a great book as is Blink by Gladwell. I think adding some leadership books would be more than appropriate. Start with “launching a leadership revolution” by Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward and another great one “Resolved, 13 resolutions for life” by Orrin Woodward.

  11. Modernartdistrict

    May 4, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Hi, I like your list plenty of great books. I would add Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

    Modern Art District

  12. Martin

    Feb 29, 2012 at 7:25 am

    You should add rework from 37signals to this list. It’s great book for enterpreneurs.

  13. Bill Trasolini

    Jan 17, 2012 at 1:24 am

    My fav book is Small Business Big Vision which is not on your list.

    • Joel

      Joel

      Jan 17, 2012 at 1:42 am

      Yes, I will add it and make this post 23. Thanks Bill.

  14. Olawale

    Jul 20, 2011 at 8:55 am

    All the books recomended worth it. Very good & inspiring.

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