Why are books such a great asset for aspiring entrepreneurs? For one thing, they are extremely affordable when compared to things like webinars or training classes. For another, you can absorb them on your schedule, quickly or at length. Books also give you a chance to learn from the experience of other entrepreneurs and read about their journeys and mistakes.
Effective Ways to Read a Book
Reading a non-fiction or entrepreneurial book is different from reading a novel. These types of books offer a lot of good information that you’ll want to absorb and understand. To do this, read slowly and take notes (either in the margins on in a journal). Keep your mind open to new ideas and points of view as you read.
Look up any words you encounter that are unfamiliar to you. (e-readers like Kindles make this process easy; all you have to do is click on a word to get the definition.) It’s also a good idea to set aside time each day or week for reading. Keep in mind that “Leaders are readers.”
Top Entrepreneurship Books for Beginners
1. The Bible
Arguably the greatest book ever written, “The Bible” is a collection of inspiring stories written over centuries. From the story of young David overcoming the giant Goliath to eventually become king to the travels, teachings, and travails of Jesus, “The Bible” offers a series of timeless lessons.
You don’t have to be religious to get inspiration and learn from “The Bible.” This book is filled with stories of entrepreneurship. Look up the stories of Solomon, Abraham, and Nehemiah, among others. They may have lived in ancient times, but their stories still apply today.
2. “12 Week Work Year” by Brian Moran
This book’s subtitle, “get more down in 12 weeks than most people do in 12 months,” defines the book’s purpose. It explains how re-evaluating your goals into multiple 12-week periods throughout the year will lead to less procrastination and accomplishing more goals.
Brian Moran makes a good case for the 12-week work year, citing increased productivity and heightened focus. New entrepreneurs wear many hats, and time is a very limited resource. This book shows you how to concentrate on your top three goals within 12 weeks by writing detailed tasks to understand what you are doing and when. What good entrepreneur doesn’t need that?
3. “Resilient” by Sevetri Wilson
Resilient walks you through how a black woman overcame many oppositions to build her successful business Resilia. This book not only offers strategies on how to build from the ground up but also serves as a great representation for other black women looking to start their own businesses.
Wilson’s book, which came out in 2021, offers easy-to-digest chapters on topics that include “How to go from idea to product,” “The correct way to dive into the hiring process,” and “Preparing to raise money.” The book is written as if you are having a conversation with the author, and once you start, it will be very hard to put down.
4. “How to Be a Power Connector” by Judy Robinett
This book, written in 2014, is based on the premise that you need other people’s help to succeed in business. Robinett talks about how to create a personal “power grid” of influence to spark professional and personal success.
No one has all of the skills necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur. The best business leaders know how to attract and work with people who have skills they lack. Robinett’s book advises on how to find and attract such partners.
5. “Upstream” by Dan Heath
Dan Heath’s book, published in 2010, offers advice on how to keep problems from happening in your business and personal life. He maintains that instead of rushing to put out fires, an entrepreneur’s time could be better utilized, concentrating on his or her business and avoiding crisis situations.
Entrepreneurs have limited time. If you can avoid rushing from crisis to crisis, you’ll have more time to devote to creating products, long-range planning, fundraising, and recruiting top people.
6. “The Storyteller’s Secret” by Carmine Gallo
This book explores why some business ideas become popular and others don’t. Gallo maintains that the difference is in the inventor’s ability to tell a good story.
Whether it’s an elevator speech, a pitch to a key recruit, or a primary marketing plan, being able to tell a good, engaging story is an essential skill for an entrepreneur.
7. “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason
This book was first published in 1926, but its stories are still relevant today. In “Richest Man,” Clason tells engaging and entertaining tales of merchants, tradesmen, and herdsmen throughout history.
While these tales are more than a century old, and in some cases several centuries, there is still a lot to be learned about finances, networking, and work ethic.
8. “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom
This very readable book from “Detroit Free Press” sportswriter and novelist Mitch Albom is based on the premise that when you die, your life is explained to you in heaven by five people, some of whom you met during your life and some who are strangers.
This is an inspiring and thought-provoking book that will lead you to ponder your personal and business ethics and how your actions, both in business and your personal life, affect others. I believe this is essential for entrepreneurs because you want to build a business that will have a positive impact on your customers, partners, team members, and family.
9. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear
“Atomic Habits” focuses on how to break bad habits and acquire good ones. James Clear has spent his career researching why we form our habits and how we can break or avoid bad habits. He shares how tiny actions can yield big changes in your habits.
We all have habits we’d like to lose or acquire. Developing new habits is one of the top 5 steps we recommend in our Entrepreneurship for Beginners Quick Start Guide. This book gives you the tools you need to make that happen.
10. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
Author Napoleon Hill spent 25 years studying why the rich get rich. To this end, he interviewed more than 500 of the wealthiest people in the world.
There are lessons to be learned from other people’s wealth journeys and experiences.
11. “The Hard Things About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
The subtitle of this book, “Building a business when there are no easy answers,” explains what “Hard Things” is about. Horowitz talks about common problems and challenges that face business owners and offers insights on how to deal with them.
This is a good book to pick up when things aren’t going particularly well in your business, and you need a little determination to keep pushing.
12. “Tireless: Key Principles that Drive Success Beyond Business School” by Kim Lorenz
Lorenz, a successful entrepreneur, explores what drives a person to success. The book focuses on two partners with diverse and completely different backgrounds who start a company from scratch in the tire and automotive repair service industry. They identify a niche area nobody is servicing and begin telling the story of how they came about. You will appreciate the book’s true life stories and lessons on the success and struggles the partners endure while building a successful business.
“Tireless” is a provocative book that will help open your eyes to the possibilities around you.
13. “Big Idea Food” by Marlena Banks
This business staple belongs on every Christian entrepreneur’s bookshelf. The book includes weekly devotionals that help you work through the good and bad days. Banks gives personal testimonies of her business journey and advice on how you can avoid common business pitfalls.
This book is great for your business and daily walk with God to ensure you stay in His will and seek Him for guidance.
14. “Lean Startup” by Eric Ries
Published in 2011, “Lean Startup” explores how today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Put more simply, the book talks about why most businesses fail and how those failures can be prevented.
This book offers good advice for anyone starting their own business and wanting to be a good steward of their resources. It might keep you from falling into one of the common new business traps.
15. “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield
“The War of Art” talks about how to be more creative by overcoming common stumbling blocks to creativity. Pressfield advises on how to get rid of that naysayer within and be your most creative self.
Creativity is essential for all entrepreneurs, as it is what gives each of you your unique fingerprints for your products, services, and marketing efforts. Learning how to avoid suppressing your creativity in the beginning, will be a huge benefit in the long run.
16. “Why Do White Guys Have All of the Fun?” By Reginald Lewis
Don’t be put off by the title. This book is the autobiography of one of the most successful and wealthiest black entrepreneurs in American history. When Lewis passed away in 1993, his estate was estimated to be in excess of $400 million.
Lewis’s story is inspiring. He didn’t come from money and he certainly faced more than a bit of discrimination coming of age in the 1950s. Still, he overcame all of that to become extremely successful.
17. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
Carnegie talks about how good communication skills are essential to your interpersonal and business relationships and offers advice on how to improve your skills.
Communication is the heart of any good business venture. It’s important to continually evaluate how we communicate with our peers, customers, and other businesses in our industry. Effective communication could be the key to acquiring a new vendor, business partner, or funding.
18. “Launch” by Jeff Walker
This book is a step-by-step guide to launching an online business and making a success of it. Walker’s book has helped countless entrepreneurs make millions.
If you’ve ever dreamed of being an online entrepreneur or taking your online business to the next level, you can learn a lot from this book.
19. “Marketing Made Simple” by Donald Miller
According to published Harper Collins, “this checklist is a strategic and actionable guide to applying the StoryBrand framework to any brand and an essential part of any marketing professional’s tool kit.”
Good marketing and branding is essential to creating a business that people will remember and buy from. Among a sea of online companies, good marketing has never been more important.
20. “Contagious” by Jonah Berger
This 2016 book by Wharton School of Business professor Jonah Berger explores why some products and ideas become popular, and others do not. Berger has spent decades researching what makes things go viral, and he shares his insights.
Berger’s book can help you learn how to position your product so that it’s seen by the greatest number of potential customers.
Business Coaching and Resources
Are you looking for one-on-one support to help you develop and implement a business strategy for your new ideas? We offer online business coaching through our on-demand strategy calls and product development intensives to aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs in their first three years of business. Learn more about how we can help you start your business, develop your ideas, and build a solid customer experience.