I’m a great believer that in order to further develop one’s self, you need to first expand your knowledge base. This could be in many different ways, but reading (or listening to audiobooks) is the best way for me to learn new topics or further develop existing ones.

In order to be successful in life and in business, you need to gain a good understanding of what could go wrong and why, as well as understanding human behavior and so on. With this in mind, I’ve comprised my list of the top 15 books I feel every entrepreneur should read ahead of 2016.

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad, Poor Day is a key differentiation between gaining the right and wrong kinds of education that can turn you into a successful entrepreneur or just another pawn in the rat race. Understanding and building the right kind of skills can get you set on the right path on the journey of entrepreneurship. This book really helped me to understand the concept of money and how it should be spent. It also forced me to question my belief systems and start to build a richer mindset.

2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

For me, this book breaks down the walls and details how entrepreneurs of the 21st century are using constant improvements and innovation to build totally new successful business ideas. Following previous models is no longer viable, and this book is a great read for any entrepreneur wanting to form a new startup.

3. The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

This book really changed the game for me. Although it can be difficult to get into at times, the principles are vital for anybody wanting to spend more time living and less time in the office. One of my first business ventures was formed around a drop shipping business model, as detailed in sections of this book. Had I read this at the time then maybe I would have been a little bit more knowledgeable within this area. Overall, the topics covered in this book are key for every entrepreneur to understand and develop.

4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

This book really looks into the reasons why we do what we do and how we can change and form new habits. Through investigation of root causes, the author is able to break down the basics of human behaviour. This is vital for every entrepreneur to form new habits and ideas.

5. The $100 Start-Up by Chris Guillebeau

Do you really need a 9-5? This of one of the many questions this book makes you ask yourself. For me, this book really makes me reconsider why I want to build my own business and what it truly takes to be successful and happy. For every entrepreneur wanting to chase money, this is a great book to gain some grounding, get to know the fundamentals, and build a business.

6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Although this book was written in 1937, the values are still extremely powerful today. As far as self-help books go, this one really helps you to break away from the broke/poor mindset and start building a much richer mindset. The philosophy taught in this book can be applied in several different lines of work. It is a key read, in my eyes, for everyone — entrepreneur or not.

7. The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford

From basic economics to business fundamentals, this book takes you through it all. Through investigating the root causes of the relationship between prices and profits, the author is able to explain, in simple terms, the reasons behind high prices in certain areas of the world. Although there are several apposing books out there, I feel this is a great introduction to economics for any entrepreneur.

8. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

As stated on the book’s cover, this is the definition of why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it. By looking at assumptions, the author is able to explain why an individual who understands the technical work of a business is not necessarily going to be successful at running that business, and the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs.

9. Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

This book is a refreshing break from the typical business book as we dive into the tools required to start any business. Today, things are far simpler and far cheaper than in previous years, and this book really helps to break down the simplicity of building and running a business in today’s business environment. Described as “the average man’s playbook for business,” this book is great for any entrepreneur wanting to embark on an expedition into the world of business.

10. The Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. DeMarco

This book really set itself apart from other books of its genre. By focusing on the route causes of wealth, we are able to drill down into the right information and weed out the not-so-good stuff. The title gives this book no justice, but what’s included does. This is no happy-go-lucky book that focuses on your dreams and goals. Instead, this book focuses on action and the steps towards where you want to be. It encourages you to stop doing anything that isn’t a passion and to focus on the things you enjoy. It’s a great read for anyone wanting to ride the road towards prosperity.

11. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

This book is very motivational compared to other books of its kind and really helps you to understand the principles of improving your life. As far as self-help books go, this one is up there at the top of the must-reads. The author goes on to explain what the compound affect is and how simple and small decisions can have positive results if guided correctly, along with how minor issues can compound towards becoming something far more major. I feel this book is key for every entrepreneur to understand the causes and effects of every action.

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

From great ideas to even bigger failures, this book looks directly at the points that cause any new technology, and business, to fail. This book explains why looking for answers in the wrong areas can backfire on any business model. For me, the topics covered are key for every entrepreneur to learn and look out for.

13. The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

This book really dives into the concepts of more for less and how to best utilize the skills of time management. Based on the counter-intuitive fact that 80% of results flow from 20% of causes, it is the guiding principle of highly effective people and organizations.

14. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

From investigating what products people buy to what airlines they fly with, the author explains why people follow ideas and the psychology behind it. This book is a great benchmark for every entrepreneur as it constantly asks the question of “why?”.

15. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Although this book was first published in 1936, the merits that can be learnt still stand today. Much like the old saying “You catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar,” this book leans you towards changing your behaviour and radiating the right kind of positive energy to win others over to your way of thinking. This is key for every entrepreneur to learn and will eventually breathe success into your life.

If you have any other books you have read and feel would be of benefit to anyone reading this post, please comment below. Also, if you disagree, please feel free to express your thoughts below.

Find more like this at www.williamstokes.co.uk.

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