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30 Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Make an Impact

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30 Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Make an Impact

Entrepreneurship is a constant learning process that’s going to be full of both peaks and valleys. Gaining knowledge from the people who have come before you and learning from both their successes and failures is something that every entrepreneur should strive for.

One of the best ways to soak up all that knowledge is by reading, and there’s no shortage of fantastic books out there to learn from. If you’re looking for some fuel to feed your entrepreneurial spirit, here are 25 of the best business books you can pick up.

1. Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

    First off, the founder of TOMS shoes isn’t a guy named Tom, but Blake Mycoskie. In his book, Mycoskie details not just how he created a successful company, but one that made a real difference for millions of lives across the world. It’s an inspiring read that’s sure to push entrepreneurs to build something that matters.

    Get the book here! 

    2. Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn

      Taking a business idea and bringing it to market is a risky endeavor no matter what the business may be. Here, Flynn doesn’t merely caution readers against moving forward with half-baked ideas but shows them how to separate the good ideas from the bad and offers a roadmap for actually launching a business that has solid wings to fly with.

      Get the book here!

      3. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

        A true rags-to-riches story that embraces the hustle of the entrepreneurial spirit, Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso’s business memoir is guaranteed to inspire female entrepreneurs for years to come. Amoruso details how her small eBay business grew into a clothing retailer powerhouse that she never could have imagined. From trusting your instincts to knowing when to break the rules, Amoruso provides both witty and useful business insights.

        Get the book here!

        4. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

          A little motivation can go a long way in helping a business idea get off the ground — even if there’s not a lot of money in the bank. Author Chris Guillebeau lays out a convincing argument that it’s not money that determines a business’s chances of success, but something intangible. Guillebeau presents 50 success stories of entrepreneurs who made an impact, even without huge piles of cash.

          Get the book here! 

          5. Good to Great by Jim Collins

            Jim Collins takes a look at 28 companies over the last 20 years and what practices they’ve put into place that helped them rise to the top. The book sheds valuable light on management strategy and how to create a business culture that rises above mediocrity and, instead, yields the sort of results that other businesses want to mimic for themselves.

            In short, if you want your business to go from just being good to being something truly great, this read is a great tool to help.

            Get the book here! 

            6. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

              One of the most popular novels with business leaders and CEOs, this one is sure to add fuel to the fire for any entrepreneur. First published in 1943, it continues to inspire entrepreneurs who want to forge their own path. Self-made billionaire Mark Cuban said that it should be “required reading” for every entrepreneur.[1]

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              Get the book here! 

              7. Rhinoceros Success by Scott Alexander

                In order for entrepreneurs to find long-standing success, charging full speed ahead with the power of a rhinoceros is essential. Written in 1980, but still incredibly relevant and inspiring today, this book looks at how to go about throwing oneself completely into a goal and the reality of what it ultimately takes to build and create a successful business and career.

                Get the book here! 

                8. Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and

                Raj Sisodia

                  John Macky founded Whole Foods and helped redefine what a grocery store could be. Here, with co-author Raj Sisodia, Mackey looks at how to build a business that aims for a higher purpose than just making a profit. Creating a business where capitalism and values are on the same team isn’t always easy, but as Mackey and Sisodia show, it’s certainly a doable goal worth striving for.

                  Get the book here! 

                  9. The Glitter Plan by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor

                    Today, Juicy Couture is a million-dollar fashion brand, but it was all started with just $200. Part business memoir and part how-to guide, company founders Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor deliver a highly-entertaining and informative read that reveals the story behind their success and lessons learned along the way.

                    Get the book here! 

                    10. The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday

                      Nobody gets through life without running into obstacles and hardships. While some might falter, others persevere to even greater heights. So what separates these two groups of people? Author Ryan Holiday writes in great detail why the principals of a Roman emperor were so powerful when employed by everyone from John D. Rockefeller and Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant and Steve Jobs when they were faced with adversity.

                      Get the book here! 

                      11. That Will Never Work by Marc Randolph

                        The Wall Street Journal called this book, which details how the idea of Netflix came to change entertainment as we know it, “an engaging read that will engross any would-be entrepreneur.”[2]

                        The Netflix co-founder’s read functions as both a highly-entertaining history of Netflix’s creation and a source of advice on how to start what ultimately became a billion-dollar company. From how to move past disappointment to defining success, it’s one of the best business books of the last several years.

                        Get the book here! 

                        12. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

                          While there’s plenty of business knowledge to be pulled from Gladwell’s book, it’s by no means your standard business how-to book. Gladwell takes a highly fascinating look at everything from the rock stardom of The Beatles to tech giant Bill Gates and how not just the 10,000-hour rule plays a part in success, but how one makes the most of all those hours. No matter what your profession, there are nuggets of insight that all entrepreneurs will find useful within the book’s pages.

                          Get the book here! 

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                          13. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

                            You’d be hard-pressed not to find this book on a “best of” list for entrepreneurs. It’s a book that every entrepreneur should at least read, if not own. Author Stephen R. Covey lays out a clear pathway for developing the habits that lead to not just success in work, but in creating a life of integrity that makes a lasting impact.

                            Get the book here! 

                            14. Self Made by Nely Galán

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                              In regards to the entertainment industry, Nely Galán has certainly reached the top as the former president of Telemundo. In her memoir, Galán recounts the challenges she faced as a hispanic woman in the television business and how her pull-no-punches attitude helped her create and climb her own career ladder. Galán doesn’t just write about what she’s accomplished, but offers motivation and advice for every person who wants to create their own self-made path of success.

                              Get the book here! 

                              15. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey

                                Money guru Davey Rasey has built his radio show into a financial advice empire and has put the principles he’s used for doing so into this book. Ramsey lays out not just tips for finding and leading the right people, but how to turn obstacles into advantages as your business grows. In their review, The Simple Dollar called it the “best single book on entrepreneurship” yet.[3]

                                Get the book here! 

                                16. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

                                  With accolades from everyone from Bill Gates to Tony Robbins, Principles examines the code that guides Ray Dalio’s life and how he founded and grew the investment firm Bridgewater Associates. From goal setting to the importance of transparency and honesty, Dalio not only provides a blueprint for his success in business, but evidence of how it’s touched nearly every aspect of his life.

                                  Get the book here! 

                                  17. Rise and Grind by Daymond John

                                    Daymond John is, of course, no stranger to fans of the hit entrepreneur pitch TV show Shark Tank. Long before John was investing and mentoring young companies, he was carving out his own path with the clothing brand FUBU. The lessons and advice that John doles out are just as applicable to today’s entrepreneurs as they were in the 1990s when he launched his brand with a $40 budget.

                                    Get the book here! 

                                    18. To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

                                      Even if you’re not technically in sales, having sales skills will always add value to your profession. Author Daniel Pink delivers clear and easy-to-follow advice on how entrepreneurs can use proven sales techniques in both their businesses and lives. Knowing how to utilize the art of persuasion is an invaluable skill for motivation, and Pink’s book offers sound knowledge on the subject.

                                      Get the book here! 

                                      19. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

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                                        An inspiring read for anybody with an entrepreneurial spirit, this book makes Thiel’s case for why now is the best time to be an entrepreneur and how to think like an innovator. The book has been praised for offering both fresh and inspiring ideas by a who’s who of the tech world, including Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.

                                        Get the book here! 

                                        20. Atomic Habits by James Clear

                                          Good habits will help you in business and life, while bad habits can unravel everything you’ve worked for. Good habit formation isn’t easy, but author James Clear makes his case for why it’s so essential and provides a proven formula for putting good habits in place while identifying and dropping the bad ones.

                                          Get the book here! 

                                          21. The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett

                                            Creativity is key for entrepreneurs, but not everyone is creative, or more accurately, not everyone thinks they’re creative.

                                            Allen Gannett believes that everyone can learn to harness the creative spark inside them; it’s all about applying the laws of the creative curve. Gannett combines both real-life stories and how-to advice for entrepreneurs to harness their creative spirit.

                                            Get the book here! 

                                            22. Success Never Smelled So Sweet by Lisa Pierce and Hilary Beard

                                               

                                               

                                               

                                              Failure is something that every successful entrepreneur is familiar with, and it’s how they learn from it that ultimately leads to fruitful endeavors. Lisa Pierce and Hilary Beard lay out a personal story that details not just the setbacks and obstacles she once faced as a black woman who was saddled with debt, but how she learned to tackle each problem and build the L.E. Beauty company.

                                              For those who may be wondering if it’s possible to leave behind the 9-to-5 grind, Pierce and Beard proves that it’s doable and worthwhile.

                                              Get the book here! 

                                              23. Start by Jon Acuff

                                                According to author Jon Acuff, there are only two paths in life: average and awesome. The average path, of course, is the one of least resistance, but less rewarding. Staying on the awesome path is easier said than done, but Acuff provides a map for how to start down this path, push past the problems that arise, and ultimately create work that matters.

                                                Get the book here! 

                                                24. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

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                                                  Technology has provided a natural opportunity for legal industry entrepreneurs, and a huge part of that is recognizing how to build good products and services. The Lean Startup does just that, and author Eric Ries provides sound advice on vetting new ideas and products when starting a new company. Entrepreneurs will find Ries’s methods and examples both insightful and, most importantly, practical.

                                                  Get the book here! 

                                                  25. Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

                                                    Bringing about real change is a difficult thing to make happen, and according to the book’s authors, three things must occur: direction, motivation, and shape. Obviously, there’s more to it than that and the Heaths provide plenty of real examples from the business world such as the successful 1 percent milk campaign. There’s a certain psychology to creating change, and Switch helps uncover some of that mystery.

                                                    Get the book here! 

                                                    26. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

                                                      Generosity and business domination aren’t two things that often go hand-in-hand, but The Go-Giver highlights why the old proverb “give and you shall receive” is so meaningful for entrepreneurs. Written as a novel, the book functions as a blueprint for how to create a meaningful business that adds real value to all the lives it impacts.

                                                      Get the book here!

                                                      27. Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

                                                        It goes without saying that social media plays a huge role in the brand identity of today’s businesses. Gary Vaynerchuk offers entrepreneurs evidence-based examples of how-to and how-not-to use social media platforms to build a framework that creates industry influence. While the world of social media is constantly changing, Vaynerchuk manages to create an effective guide that applies to social media platforms both big and small.

                                                        Get the book here! 

                                                        28. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

                                                          With a four-star rating and over 48,000 reviews on Good Reads, a lot of people are finding real value in Ben Horowitz’s helpful, but brutally honest advice. A must-read for anyone who’s just earned their MBA, Horowitz offers no-nonsense advice for the challenges that you’ll face when starting a business and how to push past them.

                                                          Get the book here!

                                                          29. The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman

                                                            One of the best business books out there for new entrepreneurs, this one provides readers with a guide of mistakes that could threaten their business. The most impactful leaders learn to avoid mistakes by watching others, and this read aims to help readers see those hazards and pitfalls coming from a mile away and how to best avoid them.

                                                            Get the book here! 

                                                            30. Mistakes I Made at Work by Jessica Bacal

                                                              Occasionally screwing up on the job is a part of life, and nobody’s immune to it, whether they’re a CEO, professional athlete, or world-famous rock star. Mistakes I Made at Work isn’t an entrepreneur’s personal memoir, but a collection of the tough lessons learned from a variety of very successful women.

                                                              Spanning the tech sector to professional sports, author Jessica Bacal’s interviews provide real insight and valuable lessons that the next generation of successful women can surely find real value in.

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                                                              Get the book here! 

                                                              More Great Business Books

                                                              Featured photo credit: Sam Williams via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

                                                              [1] Business Insider: Mark Cuban Reveals The Best And Worst ‘Shark Tank’ Pitches And More
                                                              [2] The Wall Street Journal: ‘That Will Never Work’ Review: Streaming Ahead
                                                              [3] The Simple Dollar: Review: EntreLeadership

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                                                              Chris Porteous

                                                              The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

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                                                              Last Updated on August 25, 2021

                                                              Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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                                                              Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

                                                              As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

                                                              Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

                                                              According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

                                                              “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

                                                              A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

                                                              What Is Your Personal Brand?

                                                              “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

                                                              Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

                                                              Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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                                                              I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

                                                              A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

                                                              Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

                                                              Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

                                                              Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

                                                              In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

                                                              According to Castrillon,[2]

                                                              “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

                                                              The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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                                                              As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

                                                              In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

                                                              “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

                                                              When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

                                                              The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

                                                              Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

                                                              The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

                                                              5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

                                                              These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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                                                              1. Set Your Personal Goals

                                                              What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

                                                              2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

                                                              Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

                                                              1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
                                                              2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
                                                              3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
                                                              4. What makes you different from others like you?

                                                              The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

                                                              3. Write Your Professional Story

                                                              Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

                                                              4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

                                                              Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

                                                              5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

                                                              A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

                                                              The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

                                                              Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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                                                              As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

                                                              Other People’s Stories

                                                              Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

                                                              Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

                                                              Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

                                                              “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

                                                              So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

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