One of the major trait every entrepreneurs have in common is reading. As an entrepreneur, you need to feed your mind daily. Books lead us into new ways of thinking, help us push through the tough times, and teach us how to become successful business men and women. Here are 7 books every entrepreneur should read.
1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) by Stephen Covey
A best-selling self-help and business book that has been translated into 34 languages, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People details the, you guessed it, seven elements that make a successful individual.
The steps are broken into three sections: dependence, independence, and interdependence, and the lessons range from how to be proactive and take steps one at a time to how to engage other people by finding win/win situations and understanding others first.
Seven Habits is a classic book about leadership and success. There’s a reason it has sold millions of copies: the lessons are timeless and they work. My personal favorite is the “Win-Win” habit, which says that one of your first priorities should be to create a product or service that benefits your customer, and then worry about the rest.
2. Zero to One: Notes Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
The following excerpt sums up the concept of Theil’s book: “Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1.”
This bestseller is geared specifically towards the startup community as it offers invaluable advice on what to consider and what to avoid before moving forward. Additionally, the author offers his philosophy on business, which helps the reader generate new ideas he or she may not have considered previously.
3. Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you’re looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf.
Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses.
What you really need to do is stop talking and start working. This book shows you the way. You’ll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.
With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of “downsizing,” and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages.
4. The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups From Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David Kidder
The title says it all. If you’re looking for a wide array of lessons learned and entrepreneurial experiences, this book is for you. Sharing insights from 41 different founders, The Startup Playbook covers everything from leadership lessons to finding one’s niche.
5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t (2001) by Jim Collins
In Good to Great, Jim Collins discusses the results of a huge management study that he did in the 90’s with a team of researchers. In the study, Collins picked a set of companies that, on average, had stock returns seven times larger than the general stock market for 15 years.
He then compared those businesses to companies poised on the brink of success that never bridged the gap. In the book, Collins discusses why some companies make it when others don’t, mentioning factors like “Level 5 Leaders, ” the now classic “Hedgehog Concept,” and the “Flywheel” and “Doom Loop.”
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, 1936
This book has been called the “grandfather of all people-skills books” because it has been assisting everyone from the rich and famous to successful business leaders for more than 80 years. The reason that this title remains useful and popular is because it describes techniques for handling other people, like six ways to get people to like you, 12 ways to encourage others to buy into your thinking or nine ways to change people’s minds without any resentment.
7. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries, 2011
Whether an entrepreneur is a business veteran who has experienced the highs and lows of the great dotcom bubble or a young, inexperienced newcomer, a long-standing set of rules and suggestions are typically offered for certain scenarios, such aswhen it’s wise to turn to a focus group or just remain optimistic.
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