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20 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

20 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read
Solvita Kārkliņa

By Solvita Kārkliņa

10 min read

The most successful people get to where they are through constant learning. Your level of experience could be anywhere between not knowing anything about business, to being the CEO of your own company, and still, it’s important to keep educating yourself.

Reading about marketing, productivity, and entrepreneurship helps you plan for the future and make informed decisions. So take a look at this list of best business books handpicked by us! We promise you’ll learn something new.

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Best business books

To be successful in the business world, you need to master a lot of skills. These are our top entrepreneur books to expand your knowledge, learn new approaches, or simply refresh business ideas.

1. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Why are you doing what you do? Sinek has a theory called the Golden Circle. According to him, most successful companies talk about why they do something, not what they do or how they do it. Follow the guidelines of the Golden Circle to succeed in your own company and identify your why. This will make you reevaluate your goals and values, both for your business and personally.

Want to get a preview? Watch how Sinek explains the Golden Circle in the 3rd most popular TED talk of all time.

Published: 2009

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

There simply is no business without people. It’s what shapes the system. Building relationships in the business world is a must, but this is easier said than done. After all, people can be unpredictable and hard to understand. Carnegie teaches the psychology of understanding what people want from you (without them telling you) and how to build relationships. Use the tactics you learn, like being an active listener and remembering names, when talking to anyone in your life—customers, coworkers, bosses, partners, friends. This might be an old book, but Carnegie’s lessons are timeless.

Published: 1936

3. Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…about Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business by Patrick Lencioni

Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni

We’ve all been in meetings that are slow, meaningless and feel like an eternity. Lencioni digs into your everyday business meeting and offers insight and leadership advice on how to improve them.

Make your workday more effective by learning about useful strategies, like meeting in smaller groups that can go more in-depth about the topic at hand. This book is ideal for those who run meetings and those who attend them. Make sure everybody’s time is spent productively!

Published: 2004

4. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake MastersZero to One by Peter Thiel

The future of business is up in the air. It’s up to us to decide what the next big thing will be. Whether you’re launching a startup or implementing new ideas, make sure you stand out from the rest.

The author, Peter Thiel, is a well-known American entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He’s a co-founder of PayPal and one of the original investors of Facebook. Zero to One is inspiring and thought-provoking. Read it if you want to think of your next ground-breaking idea.

Published: 2014

5. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

According to Kahneman, there are two systems of thinking: System 1 and System 2. System 1 is fast, automatic, and it may feel like you’re thinking a hundred thoughts a minute. System 2 is slower, logical, and it can take a long time for you to mull things over. Each has its benefits and limitations.

In his book, Kahneman picks apart how we think, why we make wrong decisions, and what we can do to avoid them in the future. You’ll learn how to think outside of the box and approach problems in a new way.

Published: 2011

Best marketing books

Marketing is all about building relationships with your customers and being smart about how to sell your products. These factors are what drive sales and grow your brand. Learn from these masters of marketing on how to up your game!

1. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

Contagious by Jonah Berger

It isn’t an accident that some ideas stick and some fade away. You want your brand to stick, so it becomes memorable, popular, and recognizable. This book talks about how.

Marketing is about creating a story. Make sure that people connect with it and that your brand is easy to talk about.

Once you learn how, your marketing will improve and your brand will grow.

Published: 2013

2. Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi

Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi

This content marketing book is great for any business owner who wants to learn what their customers really want.

Pulizzi, a founder of Content Marketing Institute, believes that content creation is an important part of any business success. In his book, he gives advice on branding and finding your targeted niche. However, he suggests a fresh approach: build the audience first and then develop the products after.

Published: 2015

3. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See by Seth Godin

This is Marketing by Seth Godin

There are so many businesses today that it is difficult for customers to know which company to trust. Building trust with your targeted market is key to growing a loyal fan base.

This marketing book encourages business owners to be sincere and transparent because that’s what builds a real relationship with consumers. Not everybody is going to be your target audience but be sure to really sell to those who are. Don’t feel like reading? Watch Godin’s TED Talk where he shares his secrets.

Published: 2018

4. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

When picking between companies, consumers don’t always use logic. This is why pro/con spreadsheets don’t always work. In reality, consumers will go by feeling and which brand speaks to them. 

As an entrepreneur, you have to make your business stand out. Create a brand story that communicates what you offer and what problem your product is solving. Make your message memorable and effective. Building a StoryBrand is clear and gets right to the point: focus on the customers.

Published: 2017

5. Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

Hit Makers by Derek Thompson

Every successful company has a reason why they’re so well known. Thompson examines what they do and how you can learn from them. He also analyzes how apps, songs, or logos gain and lose popularity to give you a better grasp on how to promote your products.

Read the behind-the-scenes on why things go viral and how you can use these strategies.

Published: 2017

Best productivity books

Technology is growing and the tools meant to help us be more productive sometimes do the complete opposite. These best books on self-discipline give different advice on how to work efficiently. Use the tips given to improve your personal productivity and help you manage a productive business so you can grow and earn more profit.

1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Sometimes our brains are cluttered with information. Instead of trying to do everything at once, organize your tasks and the steps you need to do to get them done. Be disciplined and set timelines for yourself. Once you have a clear action plan, it’s easier to accomplish your goals.

Printful’s CEO, Davis Siksnans, approves and uses actionable tips from this book to implement a system at work!

Published: 2001

2. The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Work smarter, not harder. With this mindset, you’ll save both time and energy.

Ferriss stresses the idea of productive and disciplined work. He believes in grouping similar activities together, setting guidelines for yourself and others, and valuing your time. Instead of waiting until you’re retired to do everything on your list, every five years take a “mini-retirement” vacation. You’ll come back refreshed and more productive.

Published: 2007

3. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Modern technology has pros and cons. We have all of the information, connection, and help we need at the tip of our fingers. But having too much of it also distracts us. Being able to get into the zone and do meaningful work is becoming more difficult.

This book focuses on making schedules to avoid stress and work overload. Take a digital detox and get into the zone of full attention towards your task. It combines business and psychology to make a useful self-help book for both startup business and large companies.

Published: 2016

4. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan

The One Thing by Gary Keller

Sometimes we have to take a step back and restructure our habits to be more successful.

This book addresses the issue of multitasking, the importance of discipline, and the purposes of prioritizing. For example, Keller encourages people to say “no” more. It will let you take control of your tasks and your life. You’ll find yourself handling situations better and being overall more satisfied with your work progress. Happiness shouldn’t be the end goal, it should happen naturally on the way to fulfillment.

Published: 2013

5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

The word “habits” tends to have a negative connotation. Make your habits a good thing! Develop habits that will benefit both you and others. This sounds obvious, but it’s easier said than done. The first step of becoming more effective in the workplace and everywhere else is personal change.

Covey believes that human relationships are important to maintain and keep. A habit of listening to comprehend and not just waiting for your turn to speak is only one among many tips shared in this book.

Published: 1989

Best books on creativity

Creativity sparks new ideas and helps your business grow. It’s hard to be creative 24/7; chances are, you’ve been in a creative slump. Read these books about creativity to learn fresh ideas for promotions, marketing, products, and more.

1. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Push yourself out of your comfort zone to see things differently and creatively. No one is completely 100% original. Everyone has an inspiration that they learn, improve, and find their own true voice from. Just remember that there is a line between completely stealing and drawing inspiration. Find bits and pieces that you like from others to create what you really want. This is a short and easy to read book for anyone who needs the nudge for creativity.

Published: 2012

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

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert, author of the New York Times Best Seller Eat Pray Love, is devoted to the concept of creativity.

Everyone sometimes gets into a rut when dealing with creativity. Try switching your mindset to believing that we all need failure in order to succeed. Don’t get discouraged, but instead learn from the setback and move forward. Everyone has a different way of handling the creative process. Find what works for you when you are stuck or need inspiration.

Published: 2015

3. The War of Art: Break Through the Block and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Everybody is creative, whether you know it or not. This book gives advice on overcoming this resistance to creativity.

As people grow older, they become more critical about their work. Be sure to handle that correctly. It’s okay to take criticism and criticize yourself as well, it’s how we grow creatively. However, don’t limit yourself and block creativity. When you’re feeling unmotivated, learn how to break through the roadblock.

Published: 2002

4. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed CatmullCreativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, shares advice for how managers can learn to be better leaders and inspire creativity in the workplace. He believes that managers have plenty left to learn and they should acknowledge that with others. This keeps them humble and open to new opportunities. Creativity, Inc. challenges people to strive for new ideas and to take risks. Read this to improve your creative mindset in the business world.

Published: 2014

5. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott BelskyMaking Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky

Have you ever felt like you aren’t moving towards your goals fast enough? Project management and timelines can help push you in the right direction. Make that first step by using organization, leadership, and community to build momentum in creativity. A tip mentioned in the book is to start giving yourself self-derived rewards. This will motivate yourself and keep deadlines in check. Entrepreneurs can take these principles and apply them to their everyday actions. Your ideas don’t have to just be dreams, take action and start making them a reality!

Published: 2010

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Read away

Use this list of books about entrepreneurship, marketing, productivity, and creativity to your advantage. There are plenty of ways to improve yourself and your company with all of this advice and help.


By Solvita Kārkliņa on Jun 18, 2019

Solvita Kārkliņa