Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read
Reading is something that too few people really spend any time doing. According to The Washington Post, leisure reading in the US is at an all-time low. In 2004, 28% of Americans 15 years old and older read for pleasure each day. In 2017, that figure dropped to just 19%. That’s a sad and disappointing state, particularly when it comes to entrepreneurs and their reading habits.
Why does reading matter so much? Don’t you have better things to do with your time? Actually, you don’t. Reading is one of the single most critical things you can do to improve yourself. As I wrote about in my post on investing in yourself, it is essential that you take steps to up your knowledge, skills, and abilities. As I explained in my post on what separates successful people from unsuccessful people, reading is something that every successful person does on a regular basis across the board, no matter their industry, their background, their age, or any other factor.
Why, though? Reading allows you to grow your knowledge and skills. It introduces you to new concepts, thoughts, and ideas. It challenges you and pushes you to evolve to keep up with the modern world. It also reminds you of other lessons you have learned over the years, whether from books or directly from people in your life.
Science has also found that those who read (at least fiction readers) are more open minded, more flexible mentally. Readers also live longer, and are more likely to find success as business people than those who don’t read, according to Inc.
What should you be reading, though? The world is chock-full of books today, ranging from fiction to essays to scientific studies published in medical journals. Should you focus just on books written by business moguls? Do you need to be following self-help gurus? Should you be reading philosophy books or self-help books? It’s a big question with no real right or wrong answers. Each type of reading brings different benefits to the table. However, there are some “must-read” books out there for entrepreneurs, and I’ll run through them below.
The Must-Read Books for Entrepreneurs
The list below is made up of books that offer powerful benefits, whether in the form of new ways of looking at problems or how to build the right company culture to help ensure success. Some of them are more financial focused, while others are more about finding the best fit for your product within the market. No matter what your industry or niche might be, you’ll find the following list full of compelling options that should be read.
This short book offers a powerful look at how loving yourself, accepting yourself just as you are, and holding firm to that love in the face of diversity, can affect your personal and professional life.
Highlighting 10 rules established in ancient wisdom, this book delivers the knowledge necessary to established positive habits, cut out time-wasters, and how to feel gratitude toward what you already have. It is about cultivating a sense of abundance, rather than a mindset of scarcity.
One of the most often recommended books by and for entrepreneurs, Think and Grow Rich is the original volume dealing with topics like the Law of Attraction, and how focusing on what you want will bring it to you in abundance. It’s more about goal-setting and envisioning than it is about mystical universal gift-giving.
This book takes a unique look at what it takes to make a true leader. Greene delves into the characters of established, successful leaders and highlights the fact that it is not education or training that really allowed them to reach those pinnacles of success, but character traits. The book also focuses on how readers can then create those traits within themselves to grow their own success.
Whether you’re designing furniture or software, this book has something of value for you. It covers object design from unique perspectives, showing the importance of things like utility, and how vital it is that any product, whether digital or physical, must address customer pain points.
An incredibly popular book with Silicon Valley types, this book is all about finding the right product/market fit. It goes beyond the concepts established in The Design of Everyday Things, and focuses on finding the right niche for products. It also includes actual exercises entrepreneurs can follow to ensure that they are creating products with the right fit and the right market appeal, rather than following faulty logic.
The author’s name alone should be enough to get you to read this book, but in case you’re not a follower of Mr. Godin, this book is foundational to your marketing success. It’s all about determining who your tribe is in the wide world, and then how to connect with them, while building strong relationships and establishing ongoing communication. It’s about more than defining your ideal customer for use in creating marketing personas. It’s about finding real people who will become your tribe and push you toward success.
The Carnegie name still carries an immense amount of weight in the business world. It is synonymous with success, wealth, and prestige. This book takes a deeper look at how you deal with people, and how each of those interactions helps you establish relationships that go deeper than a mere handshake or product purchase. It is a business classic, and a timeless volume that will help you build a more successful business.
This book takes an interesting look at how we feel about and interact with money. It also delves into our relationship with work, and what it means to have a work ethic in the modern world.
Called a must-read for every entrepreneur, this book offers a lot of information about market dynamics, but also digs into the notion of disruption, and even the failure of large companies.
Every entrepreneur struggles with time management. This book promises to help you stop spinning your wheels and start focusing on what really matters to your business success. Whether you struggle to establish a daily routine, or you have a poor schedule, this book will help set you on the straight and narrow.
This book is all about finding that one thing that separates you from other people, and then allowing you to explore and build on that quality. It might be your sense of innovation, or your ability to identify the value of features to your target audience. It could be empathy, or anything else. This book will teach you to analyze yourself and turn that into a source of success and profitability.
Distraction seems to be the rule of the day. From smartphones to email to phone calls, we deal with an incredible number of distractions on a regular basis. This book homes in on focus and helps you establish routines and schedules that prevent you from being distracted so that you can work better and deeper.
Have you ever wondered why one company succeeds, while another falls by the wayside? Some are obvious, but other instances can be confusing. Perhaps you’re more concerned with building the right company culture or in upholding your corporate responsibility. This book lays it all out for you in clear, easily understood terms in a study of over 28 different companies.
No list of must-read books for entrepreneurs would be complete without this entry. The seminal book on how to work smart, not hard, The 4-Hour Workweek helps you find the balance that you are missing in your life, so you no longer feel overworked or overwhelmed. Using Ferris’ tips, you can cut down on time-wasters and needless tasks that do nothing to propel you toward success.
There you have them – a list of powerful books that should inspire you to action and improvement. From hacking your daily tasks to gaining a deeper understanding of how humans view work and money, product/market fit and even eliminating distractions, these books will help you become a more successful entrepreneur while avoiding the pitfalls that can derail your progress.
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