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 toward 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- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
This book has been instrumental in helping me navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business. It emphasizes the importance of constantly experimenting, iterating, and learning from customer feedback in order to create a successful business. It also advocates for a lean approach to building a company, which means being resourceful and maximizing efficiency in order to minimize waste. The book's principles have guided me in making strategic decisions for my company and have helped me create a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.
Thanks to Marcus Phillips, Mortgages!
#2- First, Break All the Rules
When I read First, Break All the Rules in the 2000s, it spoke directly to my many concerns as CEO. I realized that I had little idea of how most employees at our fast-growing company were being managed. I didn’t want us to be one of those organizations that constantly loses talent because of clueless bosses. Gallup’s research and recommendations were both incisive and straightforward to apply. The 12 engagement survey questions are an excellent mini-primer on what the best people managers out there do.
Thanks to Joel Trammell
#3- The Fashion Designer Survival Guide
This comprehensive guide to starting and running a successful fashion business is my go-to book for everything related to the industry. It covers all the basic aspects of budgeting, marketing, production, sales, and operations. It offers detailed advice on topics such as how to attract customers; create an effective pricing strategy; work with manufacturers, agents, and retail buyers; protect copyrights; and develop tradeshows. Mary Gehlhar’s insight into the fashion profession is invaluable for anyone looking to start or expand their fashion brand.
Thanks to Effie Asafu-Adjaye, Beautiful Sparks!
#4- Click Millionaires
Click Millionaires is a great resource as it provides an extensive overview of how to build and monetize websites, launch online stores, optimize search engine rankings, develop digital products, and more. Written in a conversational style with numerous real-life examples, Scott Fox’s book helps readers make smart decisions about their online businesses. This book also guides through the legal aspects of starting an online business, such as copyrighting content and protecting intellectual property.
Thanks to Gary Gray, CouponChief!
#5- Bold Leadership for Organizational Acceleration
This slim yet impactful book is nothing short of a game-changing read. It tackles human and humane leadership in-depth, covering all aspects of self-care and solidarity with your team. It focuses on how you can focus your resources on tasks and projects that are effective over more that may not be aligned with the company’s long-term goals. It elucidates how choosing quality over quantity helps you maintain your energy, enthusiasm, and your relationships as you take the company forward.
Thanks to Adam Wright, Human Tonik!
#6- Measure What Matters
A book that has drastically improved my business is Measure What Matters, by venture capitalist John Doerr. Any business owner looking to grow their business to new levels of success should be providing a proven framework for setting and achieving Objectives and Key Results (OKR), a tool I’ve implemented into my marketing and innovation company – Fifth and Cor. Doerr uses Objectives as ends achieved through the means of Key Results, specific and measurable actions that are clear to everyone on my team and it allows for them to work as one cohesive and productive unit.
Thanks to Robin Dimond, Fifth & Cor!
#7- We Should All Be Millionaires
One of my favorite business books is We Should All Be Millionaires: A Woman's Guide To Earning More, Building Wealth and Gaining Economic Power by Rachel Rodgers. The premise of the book is based on the idea that when women have more money, they have more options. Rodgers talks a lot about the time buyback principle and how that can apply in multiple areas of your life. For example, I decided to hire a local woman to prepare healthy lunches for me instead of stressing about spending time preparing nourishing lunches.
Thanks to Meredith Noble, Learn Grant Writing!
#8- Choose Your Story, Change Your Life
I started a global branding and digital marketing firm 20 years ago. My latest favorite business book is by WSJ bestselling author Kindra Hall, Choose Your Story, Change Your Life. As an entrepreneur it’s a great reminder that you don't get a choice in whether or not stories are being told about you and your business –like it or not, the story is happening–the good news is that the choice of which stories you tell is entirely yours. We each control our own narrative so if you can change your story, you can change your life and your company too.
Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!
#9- The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is one of my favorite business books as a business owner. This book focuses on lean methodology, rapid experimentation, and continuous iteration to provide practical advice and strategies for creating a successful startup. It encourages entrepreneurs to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to test their hypotheses and gather customer feedback. The book also emphasizes the importance of measuring progress with actionable metrics and quickly adapting to changes.
Thanks to Ray Pierce, Zippy Cash for Cars!
#10- The 7 Levels of Communication
The 7 Levels of Communication by Michael J. Maher is one of my favorite business texts and a critical factor in my professional development. The book stresses the value of networking and forming relationships. It provides useful guidance on developing a referral-based business strategy and using social media and technology to improve marketing efforts. It shows the significance of remaining focused on delivering value and offering top-notch customer service. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Thanks to Nick Jordan, Workello!
#11- The Intelligent Investor
Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor is one of my all-time favorite business books. This old book gives timeless advice on value investing and making smart investment decisions based on careful analysis and study. Graham's ideas have stood the test of time, and buyers still find them useful today. I also like how you stress thinking about the long term and the importance of staying focused and patient when the market changes. The Intelligent Investor is a must-read for anyone who wants to build money over time by investing wisely.
Thanks to Branson Knowles, Top Mobile Banks!
#12- The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
This book has completely transformed how I think about work, productivity, and lifestyle design. It provides practical advice on achieving financial freedom, creating a location-independent business, and living a fulfilling life with more time for personal pursuits. I particularly appreciate this book's emphasis on lifestyle design. Ferris encourages readers to focus on the key activities that generate the most results rather than trying to do everything simultaneously. This approach has helped me to prioritize my work and achieve more significant results in less time.
Thanks to Andre Oentoro, Breadnbeyond!
#13- Start with Why
Start with Why by Simon Sinek is one of my favorite business books. It illustrates how crucial it is to comprehend your company's goals and how effective it is to go further into their significance. I find the motivation to advance and to think more strategically about my company as a result. It additionally inspires me to concentrate on the fundamental principles that distinguish my company.
Thanks to Shiv Gupta, Incrementors Web Solution!
#14- Atomic Habits
Atomic Habits, by James Clear, is one of my favorite business books I have read because it talks about the fundamentals of forming habits. Although this isn’t a book directly related to business affairs, forming habits is something every business owner should be able to do well. This book helps with time management, staying motivated, how to get back on track when you fall out of the habits. It is a must-read for any entrepreneur looking to get a little more control over their busy and hectic days!
Thanks to Don Rees, RealCraft!
#15- Thick Face, Black Heart
This book has taught me more than business school ever could in its entirety. Thick Face, Black Heart is the perfect blend of Eastern philosophy into modern business practices. The book allowed me to question my business strategies and see the bigger picture. Through this book, I transformed my negative qualities, such as ego, to my advantage by conquering the storm of challenges. The confidence this book helped me channel has also seeped into my personal life, as I now have cordial relationships with my family and friends. Reading this book, I felt like a warrior with the armor to conquer the world.
Thanks to Davin Eberhardt, Nature of Home!
Grit, by the influential psychologist Angela Duckworth, answers why some people succeed, and others fail. Throughout the book, she shows that inherent talent, luck, or the school you went to don't determine your success. What is most important is what she calls a unique blend of passion and persistence, which she calls grit. She shows through exciting anecdotes that the most successful people in the world got to where they are because of their ability to push themselves and hone their ability to withstand adversity.
Thanks to Ann McFerran, Glamnetic!
#17- All In
Books have always been my most significant source of inspiration and guidance. At every stage of life, there has always been a particular book that guided me through challenges and perils. For the stage that I’m in right now as an entrepreneur, All In by Bill Green has been that book. It’s a book with 101 business and life lessons for new and emerging entrepreneurs. Bill Green has successfully started multiple businesses, and he spreads the knowledge he’s amassed over time through his book.
Thanks to Eric Bramlett, Bramlett Residential!
#18- The Miracle Morning
Being an entrepreneur, you always need motivation. It drives you to work harder and achieve your goals. So, I loved the business book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It's my favorite book, for sure. It is full of positivity that encourages you to start your day with positive energy. It covers the best morning habits. Following the practices, one can start their morning with motivation and energy. It accentuates that when you start your morning well, you can make the rest of the day focused, effective, and successful.
Thanks to Dayna Cooley, Loaids!
#19- The Millionaire Real Estate Agent
Gary Keller's The Millionaire Real Estate Agent has provided me with numerous tips and strategies on lead generation, customer service, and marketing are all covered. It also provides advice on developing partnerships with clients and a successful long-term business plan. It helped with so many other areas that needed improvement like how to build a successful long-term business plan, how to build strong relationships with clients, and how to increase profits.
Thanks to Scott Rubzin, Tiffany Property Invest!
My favorite book on business by far is E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber. It forces you to analyze how you can set up processes in place to make your business run even if you are not around. Instead, it should be like a workplace where the business owner comes to work and can take time off without worrying about it. It should be an asset that the business owner can sell down the road if one wishes to retire. I have learned a lot from the book and now I try to model it into my small business as much as possible.
Thanks to Javeria Zaman, Teek Financial Services!
#21- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
My favorite business book is Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. The author offers very valuable insights on how to manage your money and how to grow it exponentially. An ideal must-read for business owners like me. The book taught me how to be financially literate and that financial literacy is the only way to achieve financial freedom – essential lessons for every business owner and entrepreneur who would like to be successful not only in their professional life but in their personal life, too.
Thanks to Sebastian Montoya, M&A Community!
#22- Zero to One
In this book, Peter Thiel shares his life lesson to improving business potential. He says that businesses must have a monopoly or competitive advantage to rule. Besides this, you need a strong team, marketing and sales are essential for a business, and the value of creative thinking is my favorite point. This book is still inspiring for me and helps to improve my leadership. You can use his Seven Questions Every Business Must Answer to test and perfect your ideas and processes. It is the best book for every entrepreneur.
Thanks to Siddharth Solanki, On Demand Ninja!
#23- The $100 Startup
“The $100 Startup” is a motivation booster for entrepreneurs with tight budgets. This book tells the story of 50 successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses with only $100. All you need is a positive mindset and passion to pursue your goals. He promotes action over planning, and his book contains a one-page business plan. Also, he stresses focusing on organic growth rather than spending on advertising. Whatever business you want to start, he tells you the exact budget you need to get started.
Thanks to Matt Bigach, We Buy Houses 4 Cash!
#27- Good Strategy, Bad Strategy
The book Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rummell, is my favorite business book. It's a fantastic book that condenses the most important strategic lessons taught at the best business schools for the everyday business person. Every successful business leader will benefit from his analysis of poor strategy. To put it more simply, it is when we confuse our aims and our culture with a strategy that determines the concentrated activity that will ultimately lead to success. I make it a practice to read it once every two years, and each time I do, I glean something new from it.
Thanks to Shanal Aggarwal, TechAhead!
#28- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
According to Cal Newport, mastering this talent helps you digest complex information and offer better results faster. I read this business book to renew my commitment to avoid letting myself become distracted by chasing the wrong possibilities and wasting time on other things that don't help me reach my most meaningful goals. This book helped me improve my opportunity management approach to be more effective as a content marketer, blogger, and course producer.
Thanks to Ahad Ali, Ahad&Co!
#29- The Intelligent Investor
The father of value investing Benjamin Graham's 1949 book The Intelligent Investor offers practical financial guidance for both people and companies wishing to increase their wealth. This book encourages readers to set realistic goals and see accomplishment as a victory, regardless of its magnitude, and is far from teaching methods that will make you are a millionaire.
Thanks to Alice Hall, Rowen Homes!
#30- Friendship and Influence
Offer real and genuine praise to ‘Ask questions instead of issuing direct directives' are a few of the themes covered in this book. This is one of the most influential business books on interpersonal relations. that provides several morsels of advice which will help you become a more effective leader, listener, and connection builder. You can make more friends in two months by getting interested in other people than in two years by attempting to get them interested in you. If you implement the concepts from this book, you will develop a more enthusiastic staff, enhance customer service, and more.
Thanks to Gene Fitzgerald, BOS Water!