30 Entrepreneurs List Their Favorite Business Books

As musician Frank Zappa once said, “So many books, so little time.” For a business owner or budding entrepreneur, books can be a life preserver. Of course, valuable lessons often come from doing. Business lessons can be learned by trial and error and by putting yourself out on the line. But the same lessons can also be had from a book. Reading about the errors and triumphs of other business leaders can prevent you from making mistakes and push you in the direction of success. Beyond lessons, a good business book can inspire you to lift your business to an even higher level. Below is a selection of business books chosen as favorites by entrepreneurs and business owners.

#1- Personal Finance for Dummies, 9th Edition by Eric Tyson

Photo Credit: Dan Gray

This all-encompassing book covers financial insight on everything from budgeting and mutual fund investing to understanding different types of insurance—with updated topics including cryptocurrencies, technology, and even the changing lifestyles of millennials. Personal Finance for Dummies provided critical information for making smart business investments and was an excellent resource for helping me build my financial literacy.

Thanks to Dan Gray, Kotn Supply!

#2- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Photo Credit: Marilyn Zubak

It is often cited, but one of the best business books is Stephen Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Especially in the current business world, where so many people are working remotely or in hybrid work settings, Covey’s strategic principles for being effective are so relevant for how prioritizing work, being proactive and being productive. The daily habits that we practice and the balance between them are essential for achieving high-quality results while being efficient with time.

Thanks to Marilyn Zubak, Snif!

#3- The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Photo Credit: Mark Blakey

The reason I enjoy reading it is that it's a great reminder that we are all creatures of habit. And, our habits determine our success or failure in business. The book provides a framework for understanding how habits are formed and how they can be changed. It also offers concrete strategies for making small tweaks to our daily routines that can have a big impact on our businesses. Overall, The Power Of Habit is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand the role that habits play in business success.

Thanks to Mark Blakey, Autism Parenting Magazine!

#4- SEO for Growth by John Jantsch and Phil Singleton

Photo Credit: Datha Santomieri

Knowing the ins and outs of SEO is must-have knowledge for all business owners. SEO for Growth is an excellent source of valuable insights to help you boost your search engine results. Effective search engine optimization is a pivotal marketing strategy that businesses can’t ignore as a channel on par with PR and advertising. This invaluable guide contains everything a business owner needs and more to create the perfect SEO strategy for their business and is my favorite business book.

Thanks to Datha Santomieri, Steadily!

#5- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Photo Credit: Dave Sayce

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is my all-time favorite business book. As someone that set up my own business, Compare My Move, I found the advice within the book helpful. Not only did it provide me with some great ideas of how I could make my business a success, but it also provided me with some useful tools to achieve this. There was a lot of food for thought in the book, and it helped me to track the success of my business easily.

Thanks to Dave Sayce, Compare My Move!

#6- Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Photo Credit: Dr. Michael May

It is a book you’d want to read and reread when you wish to maintain positivity in your entrepreneurial journey. Being a leader in our own organizations, we can encounter numerous things. Sometimes the road gets bumpy, and we feel everything is complicated. Sometimes we meet other people moving fast ahead of us, and we feel left out. Yet, other times we deem the sun is smiling for us. This book is an excellent reminder of how facing every single day with resilience and persistence impacts business and personal success.

Thanks to Dr. Michael May, Wimpole Clinic!

#7- Secrets of Success by Eric Thomas

Photo Credit: Rick Nehora

For business success, the three aces are hard work, dedication, and motivation. The book Secrets of Success by Eric Thomas oozes out his experiences of working with full potential and concentration. He even guides us to stay motivated and positive during failures and work harder to attain success in the next go. The book aimed to give major principles necessary to lead and grow a business. The book motivated me to have a positive outlook on life and not be afraid of what people say/ think about me.

Thanks to Rick Nehora, California law firm!

#8- The One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Photo Credit: Simon Bacher

The most important takeaways from this book that have influenced how I run my business are the ‘philosophy of no surprises’ and that success is all about managing behaviors. Managers and employees need to be on the same page about the employee's job descriptions to prevent any confusion about expectations and perceptions about ‘quiet quitting’. The lesson about giving praise and feedback based on behaviors, not outcomes, has been a game changer for us here at Ling where we’ve become more like a family.

Thanks to Simon Bacher, Ling App!

#9- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Photo Credit: Jason Vishnefske

You must be a people person to succeed in business. Not everyone is naturally good at interacting with others. Dale Carnegie’s classic book explains the importance of positively interacting with the people around you. As a businessperson, learning and adapting to the people you work with is critical. The book covers essential lessons on self-growth, accepting others, and learning how to deal with people around you and make them like you helps you become a good leader. Carnegie gives practical examples of how influential and fruitful genuine interest can be.

Thanks to Jason Vishnefske, Santa Barbara Chocolate!

#10- The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

Photo Credit: Kate Zhang

It's not your typical business book, but it's incredibly insightful. It talks about how even the best companies can fail if they don't pay attention to disruptive innovation. I think it's a great book for entrepreneurs because it shows that even the most established businesses must constantly innovate to stay relevant. Also, the blending of business and psychology in the book is fascinating.

Thanks to Kate Zhang, Kate Backdrop!

#11- The Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson

Photo Credit: Derrick Kuhn

Reading this book has helped me understand why people do the things they do and why situations go a certain way. Now when I am engaging with or preparing for any important meeting I have an entirely new toolset that allows me to achieve my goals. I have an increased understanding of myself and the people around me, which makes interactions make more sense and allows me to navigate this complex world much more effectively.

Thanks to Derrick Kuhn, Brillity Digital!

#12- The Heart of Business by Hubert Joly

Photo Credit: Manick Bhan

What is the secret of a top manager who carried out one of the most successful corporate restructurings of the last decade? You just need to release the human charm, says Joly, now a professor at Harvard Business School. The Heart of Business is perhaps the most thorough apology for stakeholder capitalism, which stems from the spiritual and practical experience of a person whose deeds are more expressive than a thousand words.

Thanks to Manick Bhan, LinkGraph!

#13- Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Photo Credit: Jayme Muller

She encourages us to break free from the mental constraints we put on our creative processes by embracing curiosity and letting go of any fear of not being good enough. As a marketer, I find this especially helpful when coming up with fresh ideas for campaigns that will help our brand stand out from our competitors. While Gilbert states that *there's nothing truly original out there,* trusting in your own creativity can help you make something that is genuinely authentic.

Thanks to Jayme Muller, RTA Outdoor Living!

#14- Rishad Tobaccowala's book, Restoring the Soul of Business

Photo Credit: Nicole Yelsey

He tells stories and gives practical advice about the importance of leading with meaning, humanity, and community and the impact and benefits that this leadership style has on a business. He summarizes the five emotional qualities that help bosses communicate and motivate more effectively: Honesty, Empathy, Humility, Inspiration, and Vulnerability. Rishad's guidance and experience are increasingly important and relevant in the landscape of today's workplace.

Thanks to Nicole Yelsey, KindWorks.AI!

#15- How to Lead by David M. Rubenstein

Photo Credit: Nate Martin

These stories are included in the book as motivational stories and advice from successful people. The book contains valuable experiences of extraordinary entrepreneurs and politicians: Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and other outstanding personalities from finance, technology, entertainment, and government participated in its creation. This book broadened my horizons of thinking and approaching business decisions.

Thanks to Nate Martin, Puzzle Break!

#16- Girl On Fire by Cara Alwill Leyba

Photo Credit: Stephanie Venn-Watson

“Girl On Fire: How to Choose Yourself, Burn the Rule Book, and Blaze Your Own Trail in Life and Business” is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s written by best-selling author Cara Alwill Leyba and gives no-nonsense advice for maintaining a positive mentality while slaying your goals (whether they be personal or work-related). Reading Cara’s book not only made me feel empowered, but it gave me a much-needed mindset makeover. I can’t wait to read more from her collection.

Thanks to Stephanie Venn-Watson, fatty15!

#17- The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

Photo Credit: Kristine Dizon

Vaynerchuk provides thoughtful insight into a social business design and how leaders should approach their businesses if they want to see growth. While this book was written over 11 years ago, it is extremely relevant today in understanding the impact social media has had on how business leaders approach their customers, requiring them often to engage more in active listening and in creating genuine relationships. I hope you find my statement above interesting.

Thanks to Kristine Dizon, Music and Language Center, LLC!

#18- Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Photo Credit: Nathan Hughes

This book is all about the founders who built their company to last and be recognized by the world. Companies like Disney, American Express, Ford, and many other renowned businesses are *growing stronger* from generation to generation. This book tells us how these founders had a vision and how they turned their vision into reality. We get to learn the tactics and strategies that these renowned founders used to build their businesses to last.

Thanks to Nathan Hughes, ArtIgnition!

#19- How to F*ck Up Your Startup by Kim Hvidkjaer

Photo Credit: Claudine Raschi

This has a bit of a different take on business books for a few reasons. One, it takes a modern approach to today’s business and the many ways they are often led to success and failure. Two, this book uses science to take a methodical look at startups and how 90% of them fail. The use of science and real-life data that can’t lie is how I like to make decisions in my life and this book supports that. Listening to entrepreneurs who created a business 25 years ago and getting outdated advice from others who only have their personal experience to base their answer on is only so helpful.

Thanks to Claudine Raschi, Seltzer Nation!

#20- Influence – The Psychology Of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Photo Credit: Rahul Vij

It teaches the fundamentals of persuasion—a crucial ability for recruiting, pitching, and developing enterprises. This famous New York Times bestseller is based on Dr. Robert B. Cialdini's almost four-decade-long research on the psychology of persuasion. ‘Influence' discusses six universal principles of persuasion by Cialdini and explains how to ethically apply them to business (and daily) circumstances to influence others around you.

Thanks to Rahul Vij, Webspero Solutions!

#21- Your Plan is Your Parachute by Jacques R Island

Photo Credit: Deian Isac

The book deals with how to mitigate damage and financial loss from a business crisis. It’s beneficial to any business owner or manager to learn how to risk assess, manage, and create business continuity plans and strategies. Nobody wants to come across as pessimistic but well-thought-out business continuity strategies can go a long way to minimizing the negative impact on your business in the face of a crisis.

Thanks to Deian Isac, Service Provider Pro!

#22- Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

Photo Credit: Tim Absalikov

Jay Conrad Levinson Guerilla Marketing The book will be of great interest to small business owners. They will be able to take their business to a higher level using the tips presented by the author. The book makes you realize that you don't need huge sums of money for your marketing to be effective. You are sure to succeed if you implement various marketing techniques. Just read the book and learn how to make your business more profitable.

Thanks to Tim Absalikov, Lasting Trend!

#23- The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz

Photo Credit: Richard O'Connor

It teaches the reader about how you can overcome huge obstacles and set yourself up for success simply by applying a positive mindset. What I love about The Magic of Thinking Big is how it uses real-life examples to compare how both negative and positive mindsets can have drastically different outcomes across all aspects of life. It's an easy read, but one you won't forget, and highly recommended if you find yourself saying things like I can't, or, it won't work, often.

Thanks to Richard O'Connor, PaperCrate!

#24- Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Photo Credit: Dr. Staci Holweger

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It is written by Chris Voss, a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI, this business book transforms the psychology of interrogation into civilian-applicable negotiation tactics, such as skills you might need while discussing a raise or navigating interpersonal conflict. Using emotional and behavioral sciences, this book is about gaining trust, discovering motives, and understanding those around us. Voss also teaches a MasterClass on the same subject.

Thanks to Dr. Staci Holweger, Life Patches!

#25- Good to Great, a book by Jim Collins

Photo Credit: Ryan Knoll

The book sets out several studies and gives a good amount of learning to the readers. One time reading or more only increases your worth every time you come across the pages of this book. One of the advantages of this book is its perspective to examine the companies that are ordinary and portray studies to show how to uplift them to be in a great position in a simplified use of language and examples.

Thanks to Ryan Knoll, Tidycasa!

#26- Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg

Photo Credit: Guney Ozberk

This book is all about helping people reach their full potential in life and work. It's packed with tons of information and practical advice on how to live a more fulfilling life, and it's written in a really relatable way. I love how this book approaches the topic of peak performance from an emotional standpoint. It's not just about the nuts and bolts of getting things done—it's about making sure that you're doing things for the right reasons, and that you're taking care of yourself along the way.

Thanks to Guney Ozberk, Enklare!

#27- Nine Lies About Work by Ashley Goodall and Marcus Buckingham

Photo Credit: Justin Soleimani

CEOs can’t thrive when they hold onto misconceptions about the workplace and leadership. Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinker’s Guide to the Real World offers unique perspectives on productivity and purpose. Authors Goodall and Buckingham are experts on leveraging strengths and building team intelligence. They break down the nine lies that keep businesses in a pattern of dysfunction. CEOs who read Nine Lies become more adaptable, able to heed the existing and ever-changing evidence rather than relying on outdated dogmas.

Thanks to Justin Soleimani, Tumble!

#28- Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Photo Credit: Charlie Southall

Written by the co-founder of PayPal, he communicates his thoughts and knowledge on how to act for the future you want to see. The book is a short one that you can go through in a day or two. But it's filled with impactful lessons and enlightening stories from the experience of Thiel and additional pioneers such as Bill Gates. His idea of “Seven Questions Every Business Must Answer” could be utilized to experiment and refine your business idea and technique.

Thanks to Charlie Southall, Dragonfly!

#29- Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations

Photo Credit: Max Whiteside

Adam Smith was the first to write about a complex topic with far-reaching consequences; his work laid the foundation for capitalism. The Wealth of Nations explores the origins of prosperity in England and the Netherlands and provides economic ideas on, among other concepts, work, the market, the source of wealth, wages, and capital accumulation. According to Smith, the market was guided by an invisible hand or the pursuit of individual interests that served the common good by resolving issues.

Thanks to Max Whiteside, Breaking Muscle!

#30- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Photo Credit: Tim Davidson

Biographer Walter Isaacson succeeds in capturing Steve Jobs as he was: a young, nave, and brave entrepreneur; a hardcore, ruthless leader; an artist; a somewhat sketchy hippy family guy; and a disciplined, focused industrial designer whose life mission was to make products that improved people's lives and made the world a better place. This Steve Jobs biography is fascinating because it tells the narrative of a real person who did
extraordinary things, from humble beginnings in a garage.

Thanks to Tim Davidson, Car Title Loan Lenders!

What's your favorite business book? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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