Over the years my business book collection has taken over the shelves and they’ve really helped me out. The majority of the books are related to business, self help, and success. While I do prefer reading a physical book, audio books and ebooks have grown on me and I now have quite a few of each.
In addition to a few of my favorite books that I highly recommend, I’m also including recommendations from guests on the Think Entrepreneurship Podcast. Folks like Kevin Harrington (Shark Tank Investor), Kathy Hilton (Kathy Hilton Collection and Hilton Hotels), Fran Tarkenton (NFL Legend), and Debbie Meyer (Debbie Meyer Greenbags) have shared their favorites.
Dale Carnegie’s book is an all time best seller and great book for anyone. It can be found in either the self improvement or business section of your bookstore. How to Win Friends and Influence People was originally published in 1937 and has since had a few updates to the book. Warren Buffett as well as my Grandpa have both raved about the book, and so I picked it up as a senior in college. Many of the concepts in the book seem like common sense, but so many of us don’t actually put them into use. The book talks about becoming genuinely interested in other people, using a persons first name, listening, and making others feel important. His concepts are absolutely essential for any entrepreneur or salesperson. I’ve read this over and over, and would highly recommend this book and others by Dale Carnegie.
Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it”
The E Myth Revisited is an updated edition of the bestseller that dispels the myths about starting your own business. The main point I got out of this book was the difference between working on your business and working in your business. Much like Rich Dad Poor Dad, Michael Gerber notes how you must build your company and design it so that it works for you. Many people start businesses, work themselves to death, micromanage, and essentially create “another job” for themselves. The goal is to become an owner or investor where you aren’t involved in the day to day operations, and instead are the visionary that looks at the big picture. The E-Myth also focuses on the franchise mindset, in that you must automate and systemize processes in the business. Brian Scudamore (the founder of 800 Got Junk) highly recommends this book and is a successful entrepreneur I interviewed in Podcast Episode 17. Torger Sikveland, a fellow Norwegian and good friend gifted me with this book.
A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Tony Hsieh is the master of building a company culture that is second to none. He focuses on creating an environment that is positive and rewarding for all employees and customers. Not only is his company extremely successful (Zappos.com), but they seek to change the world and make focusing on company culture their #1 priority. Tony talks about how the business started, the failures he’s had, and the journey he’s gone through to get where he and his company are today.
Click here for the Audio Version of Delivering Happiness
How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses”
Eric has a great deal of experience working with small businesses and technology companies. His book talks about the importance of using our creativity and resources to build a lean business. In addition to bootstrapping, Eric explains the importance of being able to adapt quickly and to stay ahead of the game. His advice can be applied to a business in any industry.
Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future”
In this book Chris explains case studies he’s researched on over 50 different reputable companies who started with very little money and bootstrapped to become a success. I enjoyed the $100 Startup because Chris is very detailed and transparent when he talks about the steps and processes it takes to build a great company. He examines what entrepreneurs did in even the first weeks and months to generate significant cash. The ability to focus and be persistent are important topics covered in his book. I’d highly recommend the $100 startup to any entrepreneur.
Positive wisdom and helpful insights on how to be a successful person”
Maxwell Maltz ‘s Psycho-Cybernetics is one of the best selling self help books of all time. He teaches that we are all in charge of our destiny, and that our attitude will influence everything that goes on in life. Learn to be open to new ideas and to have a positive mindset because it will change the world and everyone around you. This piece of literature will change how you think, and teach you about the psychology behind positive thinking, self esteem, and interacting with others.
The surprising truth about what motivates us”
Daniel Pink explains what truly motivates us in business and how to take action to get where we want to be. People are more motivated by helping others, learning new things, and bettering the world. While money is rewarding, people are driven to succeed because they want to impact and make a difference in the world. Think about the legacy you want to leave someday. Then read this book for tips and advice on how to get there.
Biography of Steve Jobs”
Steve Jobs was an amazing business man and someone I’ve always looked up to. This biography goes into detail about Steve’s personal life, how the business started, his philosophies, and business strategies. At nearly 600 pages, it’s not a quick read, but certainly a book you will enjoy and get a lot out of. Steve revolutionized the world of technology with his outside the box thinking.
What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!”
The longest job I’ve worked for someone else has been for 11 months. Lets just say I was born with the entrepreneurial mindset and have to be doing my own thing. Nonetheless, I read Rich Dad Poor Dad about 4 years ago (while I was working for a bicycle manufacturer) and two weeks later I was speaking with the owner about my resignation from the company. This book is very inspirational, and just might inspire you to quit your 9-5 job. Robert has two people playing the father role in his book. One is a professor and the other is a business man. The book talks about making money work for you and the mindset you must have to be successful. I thought the content was great and ended up buying the book for many family members and good friends.
Click Here for the Audio Version of Rich Dad Poor Dad
Start and Grow A Successful Company With Almost No Money”
Greg Gianforte founded RightNow Technologies, a software company that sold to Oracle in 2011 for 1.4 billion dollars. Greg is a very down to earth person that is involved in his community and in the world of entrepreneurship. I personally had the opportunity to do an interview with Greg, and he gave me a signed copy, which makes this book extra special in my mind. Bootstrapping Your Business explains the advantages of bootstrapping vs traditional financing and how the bootstrapping mindset can be applied to your business.
Escape 9 -5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich”
The 4 Hour Work Week is an amazing book that will make you think differently. Timothy explains the benefits of focusing on only the most important things and not wasting time on checking the phone, email, and social media religiously. Timothy explains how he outsources work to employees as well as virtual assistants overseas. The outsourcing and minimizing of distractions has enabled him to become much more efficient and effective. He gives great advice that is helpful for all entrepreneurs.
How little things can make a big difference”
The tipping point will change the way you think about selling products and sharing ideas with the world. The tipping point phenomenon explains how ideas, trends, and social behavior eventually reach a certain point, when it crosses a threshold and begins to spread like a wildfire. Malcolm’s book talks about the importance of networking, sticking with an idea, and being persistent.
Recommended by Deacon Hayes (Podcast Episode #9)
Jumpstart your income, your life, your success”
All decisions we make in our lives affect our destiny. Little things add up, and every single decision you make will either take you to the next level or make things worse. You can have an extraordinary life by implementing the fundamental principles introduced in Darren’s book. You’ll notice positive changes in your business, relationships, and your outlook on life.
Recommended by John Lee Dumas (TE Podcast #5)
Get in The Game, Boost Your Numbers, and Earn the Big Bucks”
Billy Cox teaches you how to get in the game and become a winner. The All-Star Sales book is motivational and will make you want to stop being lazy and get out their to sell your products or services. The book stresses the importance of setting goals, trying new things, and putting yourself in an environment that will challenge you. This is a quick read that will get you excited about growing your business, sticking with it, and believing in yourself.
Why some companies make the leap… And others don’t”
Jim researches 1,435 companies to examine business improvements and performance over time. He narrows the list down to 11 companies ( like Wells Fargo, Walgreens, Gillette, and so on). He finds that companies became great because of the culture instilled in their environment. The book has a number of real stories about how discipline, a positive environment, creativity, and collaboration take a company from being good to great.
If you crossed Jason Bourne with Julia Child, you’d end up with Tim Ferriss.”
The Four Hour Chef is a great book for everyone. It is not just about cooking, although cooking is a big part of the book. He has tips and instructional articles about how to learn anything and live a good life. Tim thinks outside the box and has many random things in the book that are fun to learn about. For instance, he explains why building a fire exactly opposite of how he learned in Boy Scouts will create a hotter burning fire that you don’t need to tend. He also includes memory tactics, information about learning foreign languages, and so on. The cooking part of the book is amazing and I’ve learned how to create tasty meals with ease. Make sure to get the physical book rather then e-book version. All of the photos, recipes, and instructions are harder to navigate in electronic format.
How market based management built the worlds largest private company”
Charles Koch outlines how he has used the science of human behavior to create a culture that laid out the framework for one of the world’s largest private companies. Koch’s humility, values, ethics, and integrity are all major traits and ideas entrepreneurs need to study and implement.
Truly an inspirational classic”
Think and Grow Rich is an all time classic book that examines the success from many prominent people in the world. Through each case study and Napoleon’s guide to riches, the book teaches how to think positively, learn from others, and to become successful. There are many editions to this book but I find the original to be the best. The 13 steps Hill explains will help get you thinking differently and on your way to accumulating wealth.
A fable about following your dream”
The Alchemist was recommended to me by a a good friend, as a book to read when you are questioning yourself and trying to decide what path to follow. This is truly a must read book about following your gut feeling and heart. The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.
Tapping Your Entrepreneurial Power”
The Unstoppables is an inspirational book about entrepreneurship and the power we all have in us to go out and follow our passion. The book talks about the emotional mechanics that get entrepreneurs going and six rule sets startups need to follow in order to find success. Bill Schley does an excellent job explaining that we must master fear, risk, failure, and the ability to adapt.
The surprising truth about persuading, convincing, and influencing others”
Selling is one of the most important skills needed to run a business which is not something many of us learn in school. I’ve learned everything I know about selling through real life experiences and books. Dan’s book explains what we must do to move others and persuade. This practical book will improve your selling skills, brush up your elevator pitch, and make your message more clear.
The only difference between success and failure”
The 10 X Rule teaches you to take concrete steps to reach accomplish your goals and reach your dreams. You’ll learn how to take massive action, to reach the next level, and not to settle for the ordinary.
Creating stand-out brands through the power of story”
This book has revamped how I’ve gone about telling my entrepreneurial journey and pitching my story to the press. Since focusing on my story I’ve been written up in well known publications and the PR has been great. You’ll learn how to tell your story in a way that will create a stronger brand and raving fans. Jim is a creative and outside the box thinker.
The Secrets of the Ancients – The Most Inspiring Book on Wealth Ever Written”
This inspirational book talks about the importance of thrift, financial planning, and personal wealth. It explains the secrets to acquiring money, keeping money, and making money earn more money. I’d highly recommend this book for recent graduates and people looking for solid advice about life, wealth, and success. A roommate and best friend of mine gifted me with this book as a college graduation gift and wrote a little note inside which I came across and it made me smile. A handwritten note (shown below) sure goes a long ways. Thanks Matt.
Investment Strategies of the World’s Greatest Investor
Warren Buffett has always been an idol to me because of his personality, success, and modest life style. As a fellow University of Nebraska Alum to Warren, I’ve seen everything he’s done to help out the university and various organizations. In addition to being generous, he lives in a modest sized home in Omaha, Nebraska, doesn’t drive a flashy car, and is passionate about helping others. The Warren Buffett Way talks about his investment strategies, ethics, and the importance of buying companies he believes in.
The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel”
The Intelligent Investor is one of Warren Buffett’s favorite books and will teach you about investing. Graham’s book teaches important strategies and tactics to get started in stocks and other investments.
Entrepreneur to Billionaire”
Sam Wyly, a billionaire entrepreneur, has started many large companies including Michaels Stores, Sterling Software, and University Computing. The book is part autobiography and partly an inspirational business guide. Sam risked $1,000 as a youngster to start his first computer company and became a millionaire by the time he was 30. This how to guide will help guide you on your quest to be a successful entrepreneur.
The habits Stephen teaches us to live by are helpful in all aspects of life and business. Forming the habits and living with fairness, service, integrity, and human dignity will make us better people.
Lessons on Business and Golf from America’s Top Executives
My dad gifted me with Deals on the Green when I was a junior in college. Like my father, I am a big golfer and have learned from my dad (a serial entrepreneur and attorney) that a lot of business really is done on the golf course where you can joke around, build relationships, and enjoy each others company. Successful business people and CEO’s like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jack Welch, and Sandy Weill have always found ways to make time for golf in their busy schedules. You find that golf will bring out a persons character and highlight their good traits and showcase their not so good habits. This was a quick and fun read.
Cover your nut is the perfect book to teach accounting in plain english for the real world. Bud teaches entrepreneurs how to read and understand financial statements. He does an amazing job explaining accounting principals that you’ll be able to apply to your business.
Courtesy of Paul Georgeoff
Recommended by Von Bradley
The classic guide to improving your memory at work, at school, and at play”
The memory book was recommended to me by one of my favorite professors at the University of Nebraska. After just a couple classes he had all 50 students names memorized. I bought the book and learned methods on how to remember names, numbers, data, phrases, and everyday information. They even teach how to count cards, shorten study hours, and to think clearer. This is a great book.
Make money, have a life, and let technology work for you”
Keep in mind that if you are not thrilled about reading a book, you can always pick up the audio version from your local book store, Amazon, or Itunes. The audio versions can come in handy because you can listen to them while driving, exercising, or relaxing around the house.
If you decide to purchase one of these great books stop down at your local bookstore or feel free to click on the links above to purchase through Amazon. These are affiliate links and I do get a small commission if you click through and purchase a book. My intention of this article is to share great books that I’ve read. If you agree and do purchase one I’d truly appreciate you clicking through one of the links above and it will allow me to continue to focus more time on the Think Entrepreneurship blog!
The Richest Man in Babylon – A book gifted to me for college graduation by a best friend of mine. Handwritten notes go a long way… Thanks Matt for your recommendation and words of encouragement. As well as your witty comment. (you’re right, I’m not the tallest person in the room.)
Please comment on this article below! What are your favorite business books?
Please share any comments you have about the books in this list or other favorite books you’d recommend! I know I missed a lot of good ones, but had to narrow it down to ones I’ve read and enjoyed. Looking forward to hearing your favorites!