Here are the top entrepreneurship books I recommend.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THIS READING LIST?
To provide the skeleton. The backbone for your entrepreneurship reading. Where you can add the rest of your entrepreneurial muscle to “the skeleton.” Since books are no substitute for experience. What they will provide is a roadmap to building incredible things for the future.
SECTION: THE FUNDAMENTALS
The Personal MBA- Josh Kaufman Link Why? An outstanding book for beginners who need a solid business foundation on how to understand a business. All without getting an MBA.
The Visual MBA- Jason Barron Link Why? You get the major concepts of an MBA—rapidly.
Disciplined Entrepreneurship- Bill Aulet Link Why? This books gives you the strong fundamentals and foundational knowledge you need to build up.
Built to Sell- John Warrillow Link Why?An excellent narrative that walks through the journey of a business owner selling their company.
The Leverage Equation-Todd Tresidder Link Why? Thinking about your business as an asset is extremely important. The leverage equation helps you understand how to do that. Key Lessons: SOPs, Leverage, Building an Asset.
The Effective Executive- Peter Drucker Link Why? You need to know what you do when you become an executive. [Note: If you are interested in tracking time, just like Drucker says in his book, check out this article.]
Tiny Habits-BJ Fogg PhD Link (YouTube Video) Why? If you can’t change behavior in business, you can’t grow. is foundational book on behavior change and behavioral design. as you grow a company, your behavior will need to change, and you will need to architect the companies behavior.
Managing Oneself By Peter Drucker. Link Why? While you manage others, you must constantly improve yourself. In order to understand others, you must understand yourself.
Product Design and Development- Karl Ulrich Link Why? Every business develops a “product” (yes, even services businesses.) If you don’t understand the core concepts behind building a product, you’re screwed.
SECTION: DECISION MAKING
The 80/20 Principle- Richard Koch Link Why? 20% of the things you do lead to 80% of your results in business. 80% of the things you do take up 20% of the time. Keeping this top of mind when you are building is extremely important.
Principles- Ray Dalio. Link Why? Principles is wildly applicable, easily digestible and endlessly useful. Written by Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, Principles describes Ray’s algorithmic decision making process to a T. It’ll help any business operator become a better decision maker.
SECTION: BUSINESS ARCHITECTURE
Turning the flywheel- Jim Collins. Link Why? No flywheel; no lasting success. The flywheel component is the beating heart of your business. That’s why you read this book first as part of business architecture.
The 80/20 Individual- Richard Koch Link Why? Entrepreneurship rewards outliers! It’s important to understand what makes YOU an outlier and then build on that.
Good Strategy, Bad Strategy. Link Why? So you can understand understand your strengths and competitive advantages BEFORE you go into business. As you identify your strengths, you learn which opportunities to deploy them against.
Work the System. Link Why? “The nutshell premise? Your life is a collection of individual systems. Fix those systems, one at a time, and you will fix your life.” Same applies to your business. Need I say more?
Business Model Generation. Link Why? As you generate business ideas and think of constructing your business, you must be able to play with the different types of business models to potentially generate new things.
SECTION: BECOMING AN BETTER OPERATOR
The Great CEO Within- Matt Mochary Link Why? When you become the leader of an organization, you need to understand the practical day-to-day actions expected of you. This book helps you do that.
Success Principles- Jack Canfield. Link Why?Leadership is essential in entrepreneurship. In order to understand leadership and success, you must practice it.
Checklist Manifesto- Atul Gawande. Link Why? Checklists make you money. Checklists save you money. Checklists create smooth operations for you and I. (Checklists are SOPs.)
SECTION: ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET
How to be rich – J. Paul Getty Link Why? Advice straight from the mind of a billionaire! The 1966 Guiness Book of World Record’s wealthiest private citizen, Getty’s legacy as a billionaire is entrepreneurial lore. More importantly, his book is an autobiographical walkthrough of his business acumen decision making. Reading the book is as if you are sitting besides him in those decision-making moments.
4 Hour Work Week- Tim Ferriss. Link Why? You see how entrepreneurship can completely transform your life. Tim started a generational movement and a new paradigm in business. He codified how highly leveraged operate and how YOU can do the same. The title (4 Hours) is symbolic of this philosophy: “How can you get your life to the point where you don’t need to work for money?”
The Enchiridion- Epictetus Link Why? Stoicism is a powerful operating manual for dealing with the ups-and-downs of business.
Stronger – George Everly PhD Link Why? One of the things you can expect from entrepreneurship is failure. It’s inevitable. A project. A plan. Or potentially a company. The key is how you grow from it. Stronger walks through the psychology of how to do that.
SECTION: EMBRACING THE EXPERIMENTAL MINDSET
These books are hand sequenced. A graduated ladder from light read to the meatier process behind entrepreneurship.
Poke the Box- Seth Godin Link Why? When building systems, trying new sales funnels, and hiring new people, things are not going to work out as expected. It’s inevitable. How you deal with that inevitability is key! Poke the box helps you think through that.
Little Bets- Peter Sims. Link Why? Learning how to make little bets to test your ideas to get to innovative solutions is _EXTREMELY important. It’s a developed skill. By the end of this book, you’ll be leaving thinking, “Hmm. I’ll go test that.”
Testing Business Ideas- Alexander Osterwalder Link Why? Once you decide on the tests you want to do
Sometimes you win, Sometimes you learn- John C. Maxwell. Link Why? Some of the ideas you test aren’t going to work. It’s okay. Entrepreneurship talks a lot about failure. “Fail Fast, Fail Forward.” But its important on HOW you absorb and improve from the failure each time. Each Iteration. This book helps you ask, “Did I fail or did I just learn?”
Business Model Generation- Alexander Osterwalder Link Why? This is a fundamental must.
Consultative Selling. Link Why? Cashflow is the lifeblood of a company. Sales generates cash flow. Conducting a white-glove sophisticated sale is key to “making money rain” from the heavens.
Humble Inquiry- Edgar Schein Link Subtitled “The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling” this book truly breaks down the wonderful work of asking your way into a sale.
Humble Consulting-Edgar Schein Link Why? You need to know how to sell in business. The sophisticated sale is a consultive sale where you are providing value.
Influence- Robert Cialdini PhD Link Why? Persuasion is essential to business. It is a driving force in: a) Negotiating b) Leading c) Selling Not understanding how influence works is a liability. Concepts such as “anchoring” and “social proof” will open wallets.
Million Dollar Consulting- Alan Weiss PhD Link Why? The sample proposals, checklists, and practical exercise in this book is excellent to help you get off the ground and running.
Envision Information- Edward Tuft Link Why? Part of creating a business/startup demands fast and detailed communication at a high-level. Visualizations and infographics are an excellent way to do that. Edward is a true master.
Think Like A Writer- Stephen Armstrong Link Why? Writing & business go hand-in-hand. Business involves a lot of writing. Writing well is a business asset. You know who writes A LOT in business? Lawyers. Thus, it’s best from those who professionally write.
Adweek Copyrighting- Joseph Sugarmann Link. Why? Learning to sell with words is extremely important. It’s selling—AT SCALE! This book teaches you the page-turning moments.
Venture Deals- Brad Feld Link Why? If you are headed into venture-backed company running, you need to know about VENTURE capital. This book provides an excellent breakdown.
A section on legal has been left out. Regarding IP and other corporate law.
As I’m still searching for excellent books on the subject matter. If you have any recommendations, shoot me an email.