Are entrepreneurs born or taught? There has been a lifelong argument on whether people are naturally born entrepreneurs or if entrepreneurs are made. Whatever stance you choose to agree with, you will never deny the need for constant learning. A good entrepreneur is a lifelong learner.
This is why I have compiled 10 books that are arguably indispensable on the journey of entrepreneurship because of the lessons they communicate. Here we go.
Must-read books for all entrepreneurs
Here are books every entrepreneur should read:
1. How to win Friends and influence people
This book has timeless wisdom. The book was written by Dale Carnegie and was first published in 1936. The book is full of practical ways to relate with people, win friends, influence, and lead people.
Entrepreneurs are meant to be leaders. But worthy of note is the fact that not all successful entrepreneurs were born leaders, most of them are self-taught leaders.
Leadership is an art and this book recognizes and teaches that. A leader must know how to treat people, influence people, and also how to maximize their potential.
This book would teach entrepreneurs how exactly to reach their business potential by empowering employees, closing business deals, dealing with small talks, and negotiations, and how exactly to get what they want.
Warren Buffett had this to say about this book,
“In my office, you will not see the degree I have from the University of Nebraska, or the master’s degree I have from Columbia University, but you’ll see the certificate I got from the Dale Carnegie course.”
2. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Entrepreneurs dream of the impossible. They have an eye for what others are not seeing. An Entrepreneur must be able to influence people, employees, leaders, and customers.
This is a book by Simon Sinek who started a movement over a decade ago that made people demand purpose in their work. It made Leaders and Organizations clear on their “WHY”.
This book teaches how great organizations influence, lead and acquire loyal customers. It is definitely a good read. Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.
3. Rich Dad Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki)
Arguably, this is the most popular book on entrepreneurship. It is a bestseller that keeps being a bestseller and its sales every year increase.
The main objective of the book is to make you find, develop, and take advantage of many skills that you have and provide a basis for a financial education that makes you know how to make money.
Kiyosaki teaches how to deal with people, how to criticize, and how to be liked, and emphasizes over and over again the importance of financial education. Topics discussed in the book include
- business creation and
- “putting money to work for you and not you for it”
These will help you know how to focus on investments and the perspective of your future business.
4. The Art of War (Sun Tzu)
A classic! Indeed, a book that’s written for over 2,500 years and is still indispensable till tomorrow. It’s a game changer for all who’ve read it.
In The book “Art of War” you will learn to face conflicts and act to maximize the chances of winning conflicts in business through military strategies. If you are going to be in business, you will have to face hundreds of conflicts. Better to know how to deal with them before starting, right?
Here’s an excerpt from the book that leaves an indelible imprint on my heart:
” If you know others and yourself, not even in a hundred battles will you be in danger; if you don’t know others, but you know yourself, you will lose one battle and win another; If you don’t know others and yourself, you will be in danger in every battle.”
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey)
If you want to be effective and productive in the business world, this is your book. With this bestseller by Stephen Covey, you will be able to discover 32 principles that, once you manage to make them habitual in your life, will help you to be a highly effective person (as the book says).
It is an all-round book, which adapts to any profession and place, and its principles are more ethical and mental than practical.
It’s a bit shocking to say that you will not find the formula to be effective in the book because there isn’t any that works for everyone. However, you will be able to come up with what is practical for yourself through the principles that you will find in the book.
It is said that “REWORK is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own”. The transformation from its beginning to what it is today is a lesson in knowing what to do and what not to do in a company.
The book is divided into different topics or one-page recipes that address all the topics you need to know when starting a business:
- experiment and test before planning,
- make quick decisions,
- don’t copy,
- create a culture, etc.
It’s a quick read that will challenge everything you’ve ever known about building a business and make you think hard.
7. The lean startup method – Eric Ries
This book is a gem for entrepreneurs who are in a very early stage of their business and are not afraid of change.
If you have thought about creating your own company, you will surely have heard of the Lean startup methodology. This methodology is based on the development and improvement of products and services through experimentation and iteration. It embraces in all modes, continuous innovation.
In this book, Eric Ries also demonstrates how to sell your product or service online profitably for all businesses starting from scratch.
8. The Entrepreneur Mind(Kevin D. Johnson)
Everything starts in the mind. Your mind can act like a chain and tie you to the ground, or it can act like wings and can take you far.
In his book, Kevin D. Johnson talks about the different ways to change your way of thinking to start a business, grow a business, and make it last. He makes sure you know when to keep going and when it’s time to let go and start again.
9. Blue Ocean Strategy
Avoid Competition! Strangely this is what this book teaches and it’s not saying chicken out of Business. Rather it opens the entrepreneur’s mind to the abundance that exists. Innovation beats Competition and is away from it.
This book is documented with an exhaustive analysis that includes 150 strategic movements carried out by some thirty industries during the last century.
Based on this study, they extract six basic principles that every company should abide by and the basic tools to successfully execute blue ocean strategies that will make the competition irrelevant.
10. Outliers: The story of success(Malcolm Gladwell)
Does Success come to only talented people? This book debunks this with evidence from different professional streams. Malcolm explained using concepts like the 10,000-hour rule and shows also how every skill is cultivable through persistence and the right attitude to work.
This book argues beyond doubt how Extraordinary Opportunities, not talent paves the way to excellence.
The wealthiest people in the world have one thing in common and that is, that they all have a habit of daily reading. Elon, Gates, Zuckerberg, and Buffet, are avid readers.
Books help us develop new ways of thinking. Our mind is our world, the way we impact it is to read. So, whether you’re a new entrepreneur or not, you should lay your hands on the must-read books listed above.
Also, feel free to share in the comment section any entrepreneurship book not listed here but you’ve got value from.