Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 28, 2020

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

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]

              Advertising

              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! 

                          Advertising

                          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

                            See the source image

                               

                              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

                                      Advertising

                                        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

                                                Advertising

                                                  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.

                                                              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

                                                              More by this author

                                                              Chris Porteous

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

                                                              30 Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Make an Impact 10 Tools to Start an Online Business without Breaking the Bank 11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs How to Be a Good Manager and Effective Leader Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

                                                              Trending in Entrepreneur

                                                              1 How to Start a Startup Fast: 5 Essential Steps 2 10 Simple Yet Powerful Business Goals to Set This Year 3 How to Start an Online Business That Will Grow and Succeed 4 How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs 5 How to Become an Entrepreneur (Advice from a Serial Entrepreneur)

                                                              Read Next

                                                              Advertising
                                                              Advertising
                                                              Advertising

                                                              Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                                                              Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

                                                              Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

                                                              Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

                                                              Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

                                                              Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

                                                              Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

                                                              Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

                                                              1. Make Time for You

                                                              If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

                                                              Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

                                                              Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

                                                              Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

                                                              For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

                                                              By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

                                                              Advertising

                                                              2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

                                                              Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

                                                              Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

                                                              When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

                                                              It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

                                                              Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

                                                              3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

                                                              According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

                                                              For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

                                                              If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

                                                              4. Work on Your Personal Brand

                                                              Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

                                                              Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

                                                              What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

                                                              Advertising

                                                              Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

                                                              Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

                                                              5. Be Accountable

                                                              Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

                                                              For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

                                                              When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

                                                              6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

                                                              All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

                                                              Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

                                                              Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

                                                              It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

                                                              7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

                                                              Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

                                                              It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

                                                              Advertising

                                                              This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

                                                              If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

                                                              To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

                                                              For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

                                                              You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

                                                              8. Learn to Embrace Failure

                                                              Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

                                                              The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

                                                              In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

                                                              We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

                                                              However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

                                                              Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

                                                              Advertising

                                                              “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

                                                              9. Build Your Resilience

                                                              Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

                                                              Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

                                                              Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

                                                              In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

                                                              Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

                                                              10. Ask for Help

                                                              It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

                                                              No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

                                                              My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

                                                              1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
                                                              2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
                                                              3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                              You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

                                                              Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

                                                              More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

                                                              Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

                                                              Read Next