Reading is extremely important for entrepreneurs -- as it allows them to continually learn. Many books allow entrepreneurs to learn from other’s failures and successes, so they don’t have to spend their entire life learning these all-important lessons. The hard part is: there are a lot of books that relate to entrepreneurial growth. So, where do you begin.
We put together a list of our favorite books here at Outspoke. These books have allowed us to strengthen our business over time, improved relations with clients, and much more. If you have any recommendations for books that should be added to this list, let us know in the comment section below.
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This is where every entrepreneur should start. Carve out a weekend and read this book. Already read it? Scan through it again. It is hard to overstate just how valuable the lessons taught in this book are. They won’t just help you be a better entrepreneur, they will help you be a better person.
As an entrepreneur we are constantly meeting new people and being likable is half the battle when it comes to forming relationships, landing funding and leading a team effectively. Dale Carnegie created at the time, the first ever book discussing how to be well-liked. At Outspoke we encourage all client-facing employees to read this book. Applying the lessons has helped us greatly improve our client relations.
Good to Great by Jim Collins
How do some companies maintain success for decades, while others fail over time? Jim Collins and his team made answering this question their mission. For over five years, they studied 28 companies to figure out what it takes to go from good to great. After all, only truly great companies endure.
Building companies that stand the test of time and even succeed long after you is something every entrepreneur should desire. Good to Great lays out a repeatable framework that is applicable to any business and will change the way you think about your business.
The Effective Executive by Peter F Drucker
Jeff Bezos and several other high profile entrepreneurs have this book on their shortlist of favorites. The Effective Executive takes a deep dive into the habits of successful entrepreneurs, more specifically executives in large organizations. This book will help entrepreneurs learn how to be productive and valuable within an organization.
Business Adventures by John Brook
This is the best business book of all-time -- according to Bill Gates. He actually first read this book after Warren Buffett recommended it to him. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Need I say more?
A collection of twelve stories by John Brooks, Business Adventures gives readers a front-row seat to the defining moments some of the most iconic companies in the world faced and how their actions lead to success or failure. This book is not new. The topics it covers, however, are remarkably relevant still, all these years later.
Misbehaving by Richard H Thaler
Behavioral economics the crossroad between psychology and economics. Richard Thaler helped pioneer the industry and in the process revolutionized the way we think about how people spend and save their money. While behavioral economics might not be the first topic most entrepreneurs are drawn to, it is an extremely important one.
Learn how to price to sell, why people spend money on certain products but not others, and much more. This book is dense. It is not an easy read, but even reading 20 pages of this book will leave you rethinking the way you do business.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This book will change your life. The biggest takeaway most entrepreneurs get from this book is the importance of goal-setting and envisioning the end goal. Written in 1937, Think and Grow Rich still has a cult-like following nearly 100 years later. This book will challenge you to envision what you truly desire, both in business and your personal life and then align your mindset and actions to ensure your dreams become a reality. Sound cheesy? See if you still feel that way after reading a couple chapters.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel cofounded PayPal, which in hindsight employed some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the history of business. His life was anything but normal. He was a chess master by age 21, received his doctorate in law by 25 and sold a company for $1.5 billion by age 35.
Zero to One is his attempt to teach others how to think like he does and build successful businesses in the process. This isn’t a book that talks about trending marketing or pricing strategies. In fact, this book encourages the reader to toss out common wisdom. Zero to One is all about starting with nothing and creating something. Realistically, this simple step is something most people on earth can’t do. Peter shares his mindset on how to best launch an idea into reality. His advice has helped dozens of companies he has invested in see radical success.
Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
Influence teach you how to deal with customers in a human way. Psychology plays a major role in sales strategies, customer relations, and marketing. If you hope to launch a successful business, you need to understand how other people tick. Understanding how to persuade people to your way of thinking is difficult, but all successful entrepreneurs have mastered this important skill.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Overwhelmed? Overworked? The 4-Hour Workweek is for you. This may be one of the more controversial books on this list because many people think it sells an impossible dream: getting rich with very little work.
While it may be impossible to achieve massive success in just four hours a week, what Timothy Ferriss forces readers to do is audit what they currently spend time on and identify tasks that can be outsourced or eliminated entirely. This book also coined the term “lifestyle design” that has gained extreme traction recently.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup has evolved into a rallying call for entrepreneurs in many different industries. It teaches entrepreneurs a very important skill: resource allocation. Using the model laid out in this book, you can avoid burning resources unnecessarily. Continuous innovation, testing, and learning are at the heart of what this book teaches and can be applied immediately to your business. Most businesses fail because of lack of resources. The Lean Startup teaches you how to lower the chances this happens to your business as well.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
As entrepreneurs, we have a deep admiration for the outliers, the best and brightest, the most famous and most successful. We identify with these people and hope to one day rise to their level of success. Malcolm Gladwell highlights a big flaw in the way we look at these people. He shows that where these people come from is much more important than their personality.
What if I told you a large percentage of professional hockey players were born in January and February? Like 75%. Seems like a weird statistic that can’t be true. But it is. In fact, Malcolm Gladwell easily explains why this happens. Being the oldest growing up has its advantages, especially in a physical sport. This makes you reevaluate the true causes behind success and realize simply studying a person’s personality isn’t an effective way to understand what truly leads to success.
The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
The old tale of Icarus has lasted the test of time. Icarus’s father made him wings but warned him not to fly too close to the sun. He doesn’t listen and plunges to his death. Over time this story has been altered to sell a simple message: play it safe.
Seth Godin reminds us all of a part of the story that has been forgotten over time. Icarus is also told not to fly too low or he too will face danger. Many people today are stuck living the safest life possible, which in the modern economy sets you up for failure. What we love most about this book is how it challenges the reader to be creative, make mistakes, and avoid flying too low. After all, flying too low is just as dangerous.
Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss
There is so much to like about this book! After interviewing hundreds of the world’s top performers, Timothy Ferriss had a holy grail of information in the form of his personal notes. One day he decided once-and-for-all to organize these notes for personal use. When he finished, however, he realized he had an extremely valuable resource for people from all walks of life.
Tools of Titans is a collection of interview notes from hundreds of the world’s top performers. Each section is independent, meaning you can jump around and find topics that are interesting based on your mood. Whether you are interested in the best diets for weight loss, the morning routine of Tony Robbins or how Jamie Foxx decided on the name Jamie (this isn’t his given name and he chose it for a reason that will surprise you), Tools of Titans has something for every person and every mood.