17 Must Read Books For Entrepreneurs

I’m an avid reader. Blame my dad. He’s an Eglish professor. I’ve read everything I could get my hands on for the last 20 years.

A book a week? I live that life.

I want to share some of the books that’ve had a profound effect on me.

This is a curated collection of the best books for entrepreneurs to read before, during, and after you start a company. It’s not all about business, some of the books in this collection will make you think about life, meaning, and your values. Schedule a few weekends and dig in to all of them one by one.

Zero to One by Peter Thiel.

This book is amazing in more ways than one. When I read it, it completely changed the way I look at starting a business and pushing the bounds of what’s possible. He spends a lot of time talking about the PayPal story and how you can niche down an expand later. Something like the Halo Effect.

Think and Grow Rich By Napolean Hill

This one is an old staple. You should be ashamed of yourself if you haven’t read it by now. It’s full of timeless wisdom and even though I don’t agree that you only need to think about something to make it a reality, I do agree that it’s an important first step.

Originals by Adam Grant

I like this book because it throws a little shade on the halo effect. The assumption that If you’re an expert in one area then naturally, you’ll be an expert in many areas. He even goes as far as to say your choice of browser can show whether you’re naturally predisposed to innovation. When reading this book, be prepared to have your assumptions about what makes a great innovator and ultimately a great business turned on it’s head.

Platform Revolution By Geoffrey G. Parker.

Great book that dives into the wave of the future, the loss of the middleman and the creation of value. It’s what modern entrepreneurship is built on and the concepts contained in this book are something everyone needs to know if they want to thrive in the information age.

The Power of Broke by Daymond John

If you’re a bootstrapping entrepreneur then this book is for you. Daymond John, the founder of FUBU uses a ton of examples from his life and the lives of other entrepreneurs who made it against all odds. It’s well written and at its heart is a book that’s meant to encourage you to chase that idea no matter what obstacles you see ahead.

The Third Wave By Steve Case

The title is a hat tip to Alvin Toffler’s Third Wave in which there are three waves of human civilization (also a must read). Here, there are three waves of the internet and we’re in the most important one, the third wave. He extols the need for businesses to adapt to and embrace the internet as the major driver of their businesses or die a slow death as their competitors embrace what’s right in front of them.

Sprint By Jake Knapp

The approach to this book is the power of deadlines. Nothing focuses you more than having a hard deadline. They use a five day deadline Day one you map out your process, on day two you look at competing solutions, on day three you pick the winner, on fay four your create the best prototype possible, and on day five you launch with your target audience. Amazing and effective. Great read for you if you have an idea but are procrastinating too damn much.

Wired to Create by Scott Barry Kaufman

Kaufman is a psychologist that loves to analyze the inner workings of the mind, especially the minds of people considered creative. He argues that inside the creative person there is always a type of tension of conflicting ideas and experiences that spews forth as their greatest works of art.

Whether that’s a business, artwork, or music doesn’t matter. Each chapter is a different aspect of the creative mind. It’ll give anyone who reads it deep insights into how the creative process works and how they can capitalize on their own special blend of creativity to make something amazing.

The Fountainhead By Ayn Rand

This book is an older one, but still relevant today. Reading this book is like climbing Mt Everest at some points, but I feel it’s necessary to read more than just business books. The Fountainhead will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that’ll activate you in more ways than one. At its heart, it’s a novel about sticking to your guns and doing what you believe in. Uncompromising with quality and ethics. It may be too big for most people, but if you can make it through the first few hundred pages you’ll be trapped with no hope of letting the book go.

The Innovators Dilemma Clayton M Christensen

There’s a focus on two schools of thought, sustained innovation from companies like Apple and Microsoft and disruptive innovation that can appear out of nowhere and turn industries on their head. A good read if you’ve entered an industry with entrenched competition and are looking for a way to make your mark.

The Obstacle Is The Way By Ryan Holiday

This book is short and full of stories that’ll inspire you. I especially like the chapter “finishing is the focus” If you start something then finish it. Period. Great read of you’re looking for practical advice hidden behind an engaging story.

Blink by Malcom Gladwell.

Gladwell opens the book with a bang, taking you through the story of how a $10,000,000 scam was avoided by relying on the intuition of art historians. The book goes on to use stories to illustrate the power of our ability to make snap judgments that are incredibly accurate. The problem is, we like to disregard those judgments and force the decision making process to take more time than necessary. This book is great if you want to be introduced to the concept of snap judgments, not so great if you want the actual theory behind it.

Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Many people feel change is hard because people are lazy. That’s not quite right, change is hard because it’s exhausting. In this book, The authors lay out a systematic approach to achieving huge change without burning yourself or your organization out in the process. They look at it using the two halves of our psyche. The rational side and the emotional side. In order to make change effective, you have to motivate the emotional side, direct the rational side, and shape your environment. A great read.

The $100 Startup By Chris Guillebeau

Chris took this book seriously when it comes to the research aspect. Over 1500 entrepreneurs were considered to share their story to create a book full of actionable advice. The book is divided into three large sections. Unexpected entrepreneurs: The way to merge your skills and passions into something people want. Taking it to the Streets: Shows you how to create a business plan, offers, get funding, and your first customers. Leverage and the next steps: This part goes into the most important aspects, positioning and growth.

Who Moved My Cheese By Spencer Johnson

This book is short and to the point. It has a central theme which is not to wait until your resources are exhausted before you go looking for how to replenish them. We often cling to what works until it just doesn’t. Instead, we should be proactive about the next steps we could be taking to create a never ending stream of abundance for ourselves. It’s worth the 60 minutes it’ll take you to read.

Crush It! By Gary Vanerchuck

This book by Gary V is simple and short. Some of the concepts may be a little too simplified for some readers, especially for seasoned entrepreneurs. Putting that aside, he makes some serious points about the real effort it takes to build an amazing brand. It’s not something you can do half-heartedly or in your spare time, it’s something you have to do day in and day out. If you’re looking for some inspiration then this book is for you.

The Lean Startup By Eric Ries

If you’ve not read this book then shame on you. It’s one of those business books I personally consider a must read. The premise is simple, build something that works without all the bells and whistles you’d like to add and test it in the real world. If it lives you’re good if it dies then on to the next one.

Originally published at www.iaexperiment.com.