When you are an entrepreneur, finding time to read can be tricky. You may think that you cannot possibly waste a few precious hours that you could be spending serving your company’s progress, but you’d be wrong. Investing your time into relaxing and reading a book that might improve your business skills is never a waste.
Good books are those that change our view on things, those that fundamentally shift something in our perspective. Maybe there’s a quote that will stay with us, which we will remember in time of need, or perhaps, reading a great book will stir up a new way of thinking in us, one that we never considered before. The best kind of books are those that we keep going back to. And even better, those that let us discover something new, a different meaning, a new idea or a thought every time we read them. This is that kind of a list – books that are guaranteed to inspire something in you and that you will want to read over and over.
As a Man Thinketh – James Allen
Even though it’s a short one, you’ll want to go back to this book because of its deep spiritual meaning. The author deals with questions about our inner health, our minds and spirits, in other words: How do our thoughts impact our everyday lives? He believes that only a pure mind can lead a pure life, which is the only way to achieve happiness and success.
Choose Yourself – James Altucher
This book will help you do just that. The author explores the idea of how we can succeed in our changing business climate. The middle class is dead and the things that used to be safe aren’t anymore: college, retirement, secure jobs. So many professions have been replaced by technology and machines, but we can still find ways to make it without outside help.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – Ben Horowitz
People will tell you how great it is to be a business owner, but Horowitz talks very honestly and realistically about how hard it actually is. Telling his own story about starting and running a business, his advice comes from a place of experience. There are some great lessons for non-CEOs as well, but if you are, or aspire to be one, you should absolutely read it.
The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business – Clayton M. Christensen
In this best-selling book, the author explains that new businesses can do everything right and still not succeed. He not only backs up his claim, but also talks about ways that you can avoid that. He came to the conclusion that some products are ‘disruptive’ – meaning that when they were introduced, they changed the game and made other companies disappear from the market.
The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Startups That Win – Steve Blank
It’s a must-read for those who are introducing a product to market or writing a business or marketing plan. In the beginning, an entrepreneur should focus on learning and perfecting his craft instead of execution. The book is a very informative how-to that offers the readers different strategies on how to take your company to success.
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph – Ryan Holiday
The success of many great entrepreneurs, innovators and historical icons didn’t happen because they we’re exceptionally gifted or brilliant. No, they followed a philosophy of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius which has taken them to the top. The author reveals his principles that we can follow as well, in order to turn obstacles into opportunities.
Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
Kahneman explains that there are two principles that drive the way we think. The first one is fast and based more on emotion, and the second is slow, more logical and rational. All of our decisions and views can be understood better if we learn how these two sides function as a whole. The author reveals in which situations we should rely on which side of our brain for the best results possible.
The Self-made Billionaire Effect Deluxe: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value – John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen
Sviokla and Cohen provide extensive research on today’s self-made billionaires in order to find out what it is that made them successful and different. The whole purpose of this book is to teach us how to start thinking like a billionaire, how to improve your business value and what habits to adopt in order to thrive.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg
Award-winning New York Times business reporter takes us on the journey of discovering why habits exist and how to change them. At its core, it tells us that in order to quit smoking, lose weight, become more productive or build a successful company, we have to understand our habits. It also provides real-life examples of successful people and what their habits are, as well as explaining why some people struggle to change while others seemingly do it in a heartbeat.
Zero to One – Peter Thiel
One of the greatest misconceptions of our time is that there are no uncharted territories to explore, no new inventions that can be made. Thiel teaches us that progress can be made in every area if you learn a valuable skill: to think for yourself. In other words, if you learn something that someone else already knows how to do, you are just added to the pile of familiar things. But if you come up with something that’s never been seen before, you will be unique, a pioneer, an inventor.
Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
The author asks the question: What makes the brightest and the most successful of us different? Gladwell argues that success is connected to opportunity and the time we invest mastering something. Also, he claims that we cannot be separated from our culture and upbringing, and that where we come from greatly influences what we do.
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Since its release in 1936, this book has sold over 15 million copies. Basically, the book tells us that, in order to have friends and be successful, you have to be nice to people. It sounds pretty obvious, I know, but a lot us think they are being nice and polite when, in fact, we’re not. It offers great insight on how we interact with others and what we need to do to improve our relationships, both professional and personal.
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions – Dan Ariely
MIT behavioral specialist Dan Ariely conducts a various experiments to prove that human beings behave in a rational way. He explains how our emotions and environment affect our decision-making. He comes to the conclusion that there are certain types of mistakes that we continually make, thus making our behavior predictable, and explains how we can break these patterns and make smarter choices.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries
The author basically explains what we have to do in order to build a successful company, such as shortening the production time and finding out what the customers want. Nobody’s going to care how much thought and effort went into creating a product if they have no use for it, and if no one is willing to buy what you’re selling, timing and budget don’t really matter.
The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career – Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha
The two authors describe to us today’s business climate and offer advice on how to prosper in this highly competitive world. You will learn valuable strategies that you can apply to your career and the best ways that you can improve your professional skills to maximize the results.
Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End – Rosabeth Moss Kanter
The book reveals how confidence impacts our successes and failures, and answers the question why some people and companies thrive, while others that are equally as good, continually seem to miss it. The writer explains, in a subtle but accurate manner, how success can be obtained if we only gain a fresh perspective.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael E. Gerber
The E-myth is a myth that all people who found a startup are entrepreneurs and can, therefore, run a company. This bestseller follows the journey to running a business step-by-step. It explains common misconceptions, assumptions and obstacles that can get in the way of taking your company to the top, and offers great advice in an honest and compelling way.
As an entrepreneur, you need to knock on every door and explore every opportunity and possible outcome. You can never know too much or stop perfecting yourself. Therefore, reading a useful book every once in a while can be not only fun, but very insightful and productive for your future.