It’s overwhelming how many books exist on the topic of entrepreneurship, so it helps to first ask yourself what level of information you are searching for: big picture inspiration or actionable tips? With that in mind, you can filter through recommended best books for entrepreneurs faster and get the advice you really need. Here’s a solid list of books that come from both perspectives, whether you’re looking for some serious motivation and long-term strategy or clever business tricks to implement today. And if you think you don’t have time or energy to read a book right now, just grab the audio version instead, and let it play during your commute or while doing the dishes.
1) Rework, by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
This book is a quite a breath of fresh air, turning everything you know about office culture and startup strategy on its head. At the heart of its conversationally written vignettes of advice is the theme of work-life balance: if you’re feeling good about life, then this will be reflected in the success of your business.
2) Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport
If you feel that there has been a slow and steady decrease in your level of attention, your state of concentration, and therefore the quality and quantity of your work—due to shiny internet distractions, a busier schedule or other life reasons–this is the book for you. Newport takes you through the reasons why “deep work” is essential in an era that is rife with shallowness, and then offers solid approaches and training exercises to help rewire your brain, strengthen your ability to focus and boost your productivity.
3) Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers; by Tim Ferriss
In his latest book, Ferriss, of 4-Hour Workweek fame, brings us a whopping 700-page toolkit filled with actionable advice and clever strategies, for both business and life, hand-picked from hundreds of hours of interviews with super successful and fascinating individuals.
4) The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
The core message of this highly practical and also super inspiring book is about paring down to focus on your unique path to success. As the book states, “success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.” The book guides you to find your unique, focusing question, which will eventually lead you to the right answer.
5) Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham
Although we tend to think that bigger is better in terms of business, Burlingham uses strong examples to show why this isn’t really the case. The book offers plenty of insight and practical takeaways for those seeking to build a small, and therefore more nimble, business with a strong sense of purpose—and to share that passion for your purpose with the right customers.
6) Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, by Seth Godin
For many creative entrepreneurs, marketing feels like the least fun part of running a business. But Godin’s book tells us that marketing is really about sharing stories that resonate with your “tribe,” meaning those people who will become your customers. Humans are wired to cluster together into tribes, so finding and leading your tribe is key to achieving success in your business. Don’t worry—Godin shows you that there are different ways to be a leader, even if you never thought of yourself as one.
7) The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triump, by Ryan Holiday
Holiday dives way back into the past, ancient Greece to be exact, to offer solutions for the obstacles that every entrepreneur encounters along his or her path to success. Using the basic principles of Stoicism, Holiday discusses how we must “decide what story to tell ourselves,” instead of letting others’ opinions or even our own emotions take away our control when faced with a dilemma.
What are the best books for entrepreneurs that you have read? Share with us in the comments!