24 Books That Entrepreneurs Must Read

Here are 24 books that entrepreneurs must read

Whether you are a newbie or a well facet entrepreneur.

I believe that a great idea is a spark…

And that a spark can turn into a great fire that can change our lives, as long as we bring the resources and hustle necessary to make that happen.

How then do we expose ourselves to great ideas?

The short answer:


Books are the perfect harbinger for ideas:

Books give writers the space to explore and analyze an idea in depth (much more so then the modern mediums of blogging, podcasting, or youtube, for example)

Books are compact enough to hold, carry, and share easily with others (and this ease of sharing is increased exponentially through digital books and ereaders)

Books require focused attention from the reader, making the understanding of the idea being spread much more likely (no adds will popup in a book…and hopefully the author has the good taste to not add too many links in the text)

On that note, I want to share some books with you that have personally sparked positive change in my own life.

These books are specifically related to business, entrepreneurship, and / or startups in some way, shape, or form, but I think many of the lessons from these books extend far beyond that subject matter.

My hope is that if even one of these books creates a spark for you like they have for me, the world (or at least the people who matter) will be a lot better off.


1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This is the best self help book any entrepreneur could ever read. Perhaps the only one they need to.

Truly transformative.

I have it on audio too and listen to it at the often.

Napoleon Hill was tasked by Andrew Carnegie to write a book on what made a successful person succeed, and he spent 20 years researching and interviewing every great name of the day (Ford, Woolworth, Edison, etc), plus lots of people who failed (because you have to know what doesn’t work too). This book is the result.

It basically hammers home a single point, over and over again.

Success comes from knowing what you want to achieve and having a burning desire to achieve it.

“The starting point of all achievements is desire. Keep this constantly in mind.

Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book is guaranteed to change your life forever.

Not only will it teach you all the do’s and don’ts of the social life, but it will also teach you how to be a better entrepreneur.

We all know that the digital age has made it harder to be influential outside of the Internet, which is just as important as web influence, but Dale Carnegie breaks down all the steps you need to take in order to make friends with everyone you meet.

It teaches you the etiquette of how to overcome competition or how to win over people who are close-minded or simply not interested in your pitch.

Every young entrepreneur needs to read this book at least once a year, it’s a business classic!

3. The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

Every entrepreneur knows that the key to a good business is good sales technique.

Not only do you have to sell your product, but you also have to sell yourself and your idea.

Having a great product doesn’t do anything if you don’t know how to approach the person and make them fall in love with you and the product.

This book by Brian Tracy gives you valuable information and strategies about how to make more selling by focusing on one thing and that is the person.

Young entrepreneurs tend to forget the basics of selling and jump right over to getting results, but in order to get results, you need to know the basics.

Brian Tracy goes over those major points thoroughly.

4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter

Another great read for every young entrepreneur.

When you are younger in age, financial education might not be as high as the older competition, which puts you in a place of vulnerability.

Robert Kiyosaki’s book breaks down everything you need to know about financial education without giving you a headache.

The book will shine a light on the 9-5 job and the rat race that keeps you in that job you hate in order to pay the debts.

He teaches you how to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true by giving you the cold, hard truth about wealth – it’s not found by going to school, getting good grades, graduating with a diploma, and working for a secure company.

5. Rich Woman by Kim Kiyosaki

All women unite!

Again, young entrepreneurs don’t have the financial education that most older entrepreneurs tend to have, which is why reading books on financials education is key to succeeding!

Kim Kiyosaki takes on the challenge to inform women everywhere about the power of money and how they can get a piece of that too.

She empowers women to learn about their finances to make sure that they don’t depend on men for the rest of their lives.

She teaches women from all ages on how to create a budget, invest in real estate, stocks or businesses, and how to use the financial knowledge you have.

That they don’t teach you in school

That is to become wealthy and independent.

6. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Who hasn’t heard of Timothy Ferriss?

His name has been everywhere since he launched in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek. Nowadays, everyone is looking for that easy fix, and becoming an entrepreneur is all about enjoying the wonders of life without having to work 40 hours a week.

Timothy knows that and therefore puts you in the right mindset to start building a business that will allow you to work not 20, not 10, but 4 hours a week and still build a fortune.

7. The $100 Startup by Chris Gillebeau

This is a very interesting book for anyone who feels unmotivated because they lack funds. You might be just out of College, or still in school and feeling unmotivated because of your lack of funds, but Chris turns the tables around and gives you the upper hand.

In his book, he talks about 50 of the most amazing success stories of entrepreneurs who are making more than $50,000 and who started with only a few bucks in their bank accounts.

This is the perfect book to motivate you to move forward without focusing on the money or the HOW.

Get the idea, have the passion, and the rest will follow.

8. Click Millionaires by Scott Fox

The Internet is taking over the world with more e-commerce businesses opening than ever before.

Scott Fox focuses his words on how to combine outsourcing and automated online marketing to build monthly cash-flow online.

He thoroughly teaches you how to build an online business by going over all the tools that are available to you.

It’s the perfect book to learn more about online business and how to utilize the software that’s been available to you since you were a baby.

9. Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary takes a very motivating and persuasive voice in his book Crush It! by motivating you to move on your passions.

In his book, he goes other the many reasons why you should stop sitting on your couch dreaming about the day you will get paid to do what you love.

He wants you to get out of your comfort zone and create a happy and passionate life for yourself.

If you need that little extra nudge to move on your passion and create a business, this is your go-to book!

10. Poke the Box by Seth Godin

I read Poke the Box in 2011 when it was first released. It was figuratively the poke (or better yet: kick) I needed to stop talking about all the ideas I had and start bringing them to life.

You won’t find anything “how-to” in this book – instead you’ll find about 96 pages of cajoling, prodding, and poking with one call to action:

Start. Today, not tomorrow.

11. My Philosophy for Successful Living by Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn has inspired many with his words over the years, and his book My Philosophy for Successful Living, is no exception.

This book will teach you the principles and values behind being successful in life.

According to Jim Rohn, living a successful life isn’t about being selfish, it’s about bringing value to people.

It’s about being kind to others and letting the good karma come back to you.

Of course, he pushes you to work hard towards your goals as well, but he also goes over what a successful attitude should look like.

No one wants to associate with someone who brings them down.

With only 64 pages, it’s a great read to remind yourself to be good to the people around you and be thankful for everything in your life.

12. The 7 Day Startup by Dan Norris

This book cuts through a lot of the startup glamour and gets right in to what you really need to work on if you want to start something that makes money relatively quickly.

Fancy logos and expensive marketing software just isn’t needed in the beginning.

Seems obvious, but as they say, common sense ain’t that common.

It’s a quick read so do yourself a favor and pick it up.

13. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

If you’re looking for a nuts-and-bolts approach to business without losing site of the 10,000 foot, strategic vision of it all, check out The Innovator’s Dilemma.

This is the first book I read that hammered home the idea that every product or service is actually a “job to be done.”

In other words:

Why should someone hire your product or service?

What job does it do for them in their life that other products and services aren’t able to do?

As a potential customer, why shouldn’t I ignore you?

Answer these questions and you have your killer app.

Trust me when I say: these questions will change everything about how you approach, build, and sell your product or service.

14. Running Lean by Ash Maurya

This book taught me to how to turn a great idea into an actionable business model, one that reduces waste (of time and money), uncertainty (the framework will help you figure out what you don’t know), and fear (because your sole focus becomes validation).

I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that Running Lean has dramatically improved my understanding of the functions and processes behind a startup and has led directly to the success of the many projects I’ve launched in the past year (and helped avoid bigger failures of the ones that didn’t quite pan out).

This should be required reading for freshmen in high school, along with a corresponding four year track that teaches students how businesses operate, how startups work, and practical, hands-on experimentation to test out the theory in real life.

15. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Zero to One is one of the best books on startups I’ve ever read.

Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, takes on startups, innovation, and what it takes to create the future.

Unlike Running Lean, which provides a practical framework for creating a startup, Zero to One is more conceptual in nature, challenging preconceived notions of startups, or rather: what it takes to create a truly important startup.

Important startups are companies with products or services that move the needle from zero to one.

While The 7 Day Startup challenges us to take action today and launch something fast (which I love), Zero to One challenges us to think big and act even bigger – the perfect compliment to fast action, in my opinion.

16. Ask by Ryan Levesque

This book is simple in that it lays out exactly why consumer research groups don’t work, [as well as] the why and how to ask our clients what they want from us.

In section two, [Levesque] lays out the process in somewhat technical terms, but he is essentially giving us what is missing in so many books: actionable steps we can take to reproduce his success.

17. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic teaches that we’ve all got creativity inside of us, but you have to work at uncovering it.

And once you do…

And start expressing it…

That’s when you’re going to be the happiest in life.

In short, go do the things you enjoy, for no reason other than you enjoy doing them.

This book is valuable …

Because it helps to open your eyes on what really matters in life and how important it is to overcome your fears, as well as [demonstrate] new ways to release your own inner creativity and start getting things done.

18. The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups From Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David Kidder

The title says it all.

If you’re looking for a wide array of lessons learned and entrepreneurial experiences, this book is for you.

Sharing insights from 41 different founders.

The Startup Playbook covers everything from leadership lessons to finding one’s niche.

19. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

This book is a must read for any business leader, not just the entrepreneur.

It is filled with valuable insights about what creates, drives and sustains an innovative culture and compels a company to attempt what no other company has done.

Remarkable lessons that only a CEO would know.

20. True North by Bill George 

This is a great book to discover your personal leadership vision, values and motivations.

The authors surveyed 125 men and women on what they believe makes them authentic leaders, and the answers may surprise you.

Also of note is the personal leadership development portfolio handbook that accompanies the book, which is a personal guide to help you develop your authentic leadership.

21. ThinkerToys by Michael Michalko

The ability to create is just that…

A developable ability that can be learned and improved upon much like any other competency, and the author does just that in this creativity “bible.”

After all, creativity and opportunity are what emboldens wannabe startup founders to take the plunge into the world of debt known as entrepreneurship.

ThinkerToys, and its companion Thinkpad: A Brainstorming Card Deck, offers 33 different exercises and 56 cards that will spark your creativity and inspire the innovation monster within.

22. Bold by Peter Diamonds

If you want to start understanding some of the new emerging technology in today’s market, and most importantly how this emerging technology can benefit your business.

This book is written by established billionaire Peter Diamonds, who knows a thing or two about utilizing technology to advance your business.

Most importantly, this ultra-successful business owner takes this information and insight, breaks it down and explains it in an efficient manner that even the least tech-savvy people can understand.

If you want to start introducing new technology into your business in the new year, this is your key to getting started.

23. Makers by Chris Anderson

For many entrepreneurs, all they really need is that extra boost of inspiration in order to get things done.

This is where Makers come in.

This is single-handedly one of the best inspirational books out there and it is centered on self-made individuals who want to really inspire themselves to do something great.

This book is literally inspiration 101 and if it doesn’t get a fire going underneath you, then no other book will.

24. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

If there is one thing I will tell anyone who wants to make a lot of money, is that just focusing on the dollar amount will never get you to your goals.

You need to dream about being successful enough to make the type of money you want.

If it is all about the money and all about the dollars and cents, you aren’t being authentic in your pursuits.

This book is all about dreaming big and working to make the world better instead of just focusing on the money.

If you adopt an attitude like the one depicted in this book, the money will come, you just have to put yourself in the right mindset first.

Which are your favorite books and why?

The 7 books every entrepreneur MUST read!

Here is a great article to read on: 10 Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Be Using Right Now

Read my latest blog on: Quotes from Different Leadership Styles

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About Maria Barina

Maria Barina is a mother and grandmother who worked for the NYC Board of Education as Laboratory Specialist Bio/GS for 26yrs till the age of 56. Her husband, after 37 of marriage, passed away from Lung Cancer. She came to myEmpirePRO to seek guidance on how to get freedom that an online business can provide. Freedom to her is being able to do what she wants, when she wants to and to show others they can do the same to. Since she done that she is able to do this by working anywhere she goes and became a mobile-prenuer

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