Reading books on a continuous basis has helped me to build my business and become a more knowledgeable, successful entrepreneur. Some entrepreneurs would rather use an online tool, for those passionate business owners looking to expand or those looking to start a business, here's 25 business ideas which could be for you. Self-improvement and business books are among my favorites, but I also think it is important to read fiction from time to time, too. It’s been about a year since I’ve recommended the latest “best books for entrepreneurs”, so I thought I’d share them with you in this article. Reading has become a top priority for me because it is a simple opportunity to learn and improve my life each day. I most often read before bed, early in the morning, or while traveling—on an airplane, etc. I’ve really gotten into audio books over the last couple years and often listen to ‘books on tape' while out on a run, at the gym, or driving. If you have trouble taking the time to actually sit down and read a book, I’d highly recommend downloading the Audible App on your smartphone or tablet. You can even get a free book with the Audible book trial. After the trial period, you'll get a different audio book each month for about $14. I consider this $14 an investment in my entrepreneurship education and it is considerably less expensive and more convenient than buying the books on CD or tape at a normal book store. In the list below, click on the link to find where you can buy it on Amazon. They are affiliate links, so if you buy it through the link, it helps out Think Entrepreneurship, too! I hope you enjoy what I think are some of the best entrepreneurship books around!
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich is an all-time classic book that examines the success of 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 ultimately, 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 out of the box and on your way to accumulating wealth.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People is an all-time best seller and great book for anyone. The book was originally published in 1937 and can be found in the self-improvement or business section. This was my Grandpa's favorite book—on the farm—and my parents gifted it to me when I was in college. Not to mention, it's also Warren Buffet's favorite book! Many of the items and lessons taught in the book seem like common sense, yet it's easy to overlook many of his ideas or not take action on a daily basis. Carnegie's book talks about becoming genuinely interested in others in order to build a relationship with them. Calling others by their first name, listening, and making them feel important is essential for all effective networking, especially for entrepreneurs. I've read this book several times as a refresher and would recommend it to all entrepreneurs.
The Art of Money Getting by P.T. Barnum
P.T. Barnum, famous for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus, dabbled in much more than just show business, and even authored several books. He wrote The Art of Money Getting at the age of 70—in 1880—and it's full of advice from a tried and true entrepreneur that still applies to today's world just as well. The book divulges Barnum's philosophies toward life and money, revealing a much more interesting man than you might expect.
The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles
Wattles wrote this book in 1910, and there are several edited versions now available. Wattles proposes that wealth is an infinite resource that only needs a creative—not competitive—approach to achieve. The book is among the classics such as Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, and paved the way for many later entrepreneurial books. Its ideas remain relevant, especially in today's world of inventions and technology. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
This is a book I try to reread every couple of years to refresh my memory because it has been such an inspiration in my business and lifestyle balance. Tim is a very successful and well-known entrepreneur who teaches how to eliminate the unnecessary ‘busy work' of a business and focus on what is important. The title of the book is catchy, but it does not actually mean that you or Tim will really only work for hours a week. It does, however, show you techniques to minimize distractions, outsource, and more, while inspiring you to travel and enjoy life by balancing work with play. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Kiyosaki compares the lessons from his real dad, well-educated but poorly paid, and his friend's dad, an eighth grade dropout millionaire. Instead of working for money, “the rich have money work for them,” through various investments and income-generating assets, like renting real estate. While the title is a bit blunt, Kiyosaki makes some good points for every entrepreneur to think about. After making money in a variety of investments, he now does inspirational speaking, and even has a board game to teach you about money. He claims your investment of around $200 for the board game will pay off ten fold… I haven't made the leap, but it might be worth a shot! Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is an inspirational speaker to people in government, show biz, small business, and major corporations. His book helps you to think about the underlying why principles behind what you're doing. Using examples of world-reknown innovators like Martin Luther King, the Wright Brothers, and Apple, Sinek tries to show us just how differently they thought about the world and what the world needs—and why the world needs it. This is a pretty quick and easy read that can help you and your business go really grow. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs by Bo Burlingham and Norm Brodsky
This book's subtitle sums it up pretty well. From the beginning stages of raising capital to later stages of maintaining business relationships and customers, this book has some very practical information. The two authors co-write a monthly column in Inc. magazine (also titled Street Smarts) and they draw on real world examples that they've seen over the years. They also talk about the many unforeseen challenges of entrepreneurship and how to approach such obstacles with an even keel. Even though you never know what those challenges are until they come, with the right mindset and tools you can still come out on top! Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Become a Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley
This book shares a 5 step sequence of how to become a Key Person of Influence in your industry or niche. By completing a few important items of business, you can position yourself as an expert in your field and climb from there. Priestley is a young entrepreneur from Australia who has been very successful in starting up several new businesses. With his tips and tricks, you can get to the center of your industry much quicker than you would think possible! Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J Stanley and William Danko
The Millionaire Next Door is full of interviews with low-profile millionaires—not celebrities or athletes, just hard-working millionaires that you'd never know were millionaires. With over 20 years of interviews and research, Stanley and Danko have compiled a list of seven rules that lead to wealth accumulation. It turns out that most millionaires do not act like the high-roller, sports-car-driving folks you might have in mind, but instead live very frugally. Many of their rules seem like common sense, but being aware of them and actually applying them takes some real effort—worth the read! Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban
How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It. shares the secrets of Shark Tank entrepreneur Mark Cuban. It's basically a collection of his blog posts, but in an easy to read format with good flow and better editing. He shares a ton of really helpful, down to earth information that's he's learned firsthand. If you're familiar with his celebrity personality, you know this will be a fun read, and his ideas are really smart and unconventional. You might even call this book a slam dunk!
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Sandberg is on more than one list of the most influential people in the world today; she is Chief Operation Officer of Facebook and gave a very popular TEDtalk in 2010. Her book tackles issues of gender equality both in the work place and at home, encouraging women to “sit at the table” along with the men. It's a great book with a lot of personal stories from Sandberg's experiences as well as some well-researched hard facts and numbers. She debunks “having it all” as something of a trap—instead, a well-managed balance of boundaries will lead to the most satisfaction.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Through extensive research in pyschology, Kahneman won a Noble Prize in economics. His book explores how we think, categorizing our thought processes into two main ‘systems': fast, and slow. The fast system is like your gut reactions, the slow system more thought-out and logical. By keeping these two systems in mind, you can knowingly use the fast system when you need to, and take your time to tap into the benefits of slow thought when you are able. It's a pretty cool way to think about thinking, and can be applied to all sorts situations in life, both business and personal.
Jim Collins and his team looked at over 1,400 well-to-do companies, narrowed it down to 11 with rigorous criteria, and figured out how and why they went from good to great. What they found out is some really interesting and helpful information that all entrepreneurs should keep in their back pocket, to be referred to at any point while building a business. The book covers leadership and company culture, to larger concepts of momentum and thinking beyond your current means. Full of great examples that will get your wheels turning in the right direction, I definitely recommend this book.
Getting Things Done by David Allen
There always is and always will be a million things to get done. This book provides a ton of great strategies and methods to get organized and get your mind to its clearest, most productive state. Being able to categorize all your emails and various tasks and prioritize from there will help you focus on what really needs to get done and what doesn't, and still keep your eye on big picture planning and ideas. There are many books out there like this, but I find Allen's systems to be especially do-able with all of their step-by-step breakdowns. And one of the main goals of the book is to teach us to be productive when we need to be, in order to have the time—and the peace of mind—to just relax! Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The One Thing by Jay Papasan and Gary Keller
The One Thing talks about deciding what you're not going to do, in order to FOCUS on what's actually important. It sounds a little bit crazy to drop everything and just focus on one thing, but Papasan and Keller really do a good job of debunking some myths and explaining just how to do exactly what they're talking about. The book has been on over 125 best-seller lists and all sorts of companies have been applying its teachings to help executives and employees become more productive. I've been FOCUSing a lot more lately too, and it really helps!
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Less is more… by doing fewer things, you get more done. This book is similar to The One Thing, above, but presents a slightly different approach. This book provides structured, systematic discipline and criteria to determine the most important things to your life, and helps you to pursue those few things with a similar discipline. I like the messages of both Essentialism and The One Thing, and I think they both make a lot of sense. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The Miracle Morning By Hal Elrod
Subtitled: “The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8am),” this book is about waking up with energy and creating a positive routine to start out every day on the right foot. Who knows what can happen in a day… but the morning starts fresh—without any bad news or bossy bosses—and is the best time get motivated and accomplish your goals. Elrod had an unfortunate accident at age 20, hit by a drunk driver and sent into a coma, but has since fully recovered and gone onto run ultra-marathons and do inspirational speaking and writing (his other successful book is Taking Life Head On). He's even recorded a hip-hop album! Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The Focused Business is a fun read, putting entrepreneurship and running a small business into the context of a super hero world—giving you knowledge and tools to fight ‘Chaos.' It's another book emphasizing the importance of focusing on what's important, just a little more playful. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Zen to Done by Leo Babauta
Zen to Done is a simplified adaptation of David Allen's Getting Things Done, above. While GTD offers some great strategies to prioritize and get things done, some people may find it hard to really implement these consistently. Babauta has taken some of Allen's ideas and streamlined them even more, applying these strategies in the form of habits, which you can try to take on one new habit at a time. The book lists 10 overall habits, to be incorporated into your life slowly over about a year. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Published in 1990, this book has been very popular ever since. Before going into the 7 habits, Covey first talks about the need for a “paradigm shift.” In case you need a refresher, paradigm is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a theory or a group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about.” So Covey helps you to look at the world in a new light, with new ways of thinking and doing. Add 7 new habits on top of that, and you're going to be darn productive! Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Habits add up, and that's what this book is about. A lot of the habits he talks about seem fairly obvious, but it's writing them out on a checklist that will really help you follow through with them. From drinking a glass of water to sending a friendly text message, several quick little habits can really make big changes to your quality of life. I like this book because it is basically a big checklist of down-to-earth, do-able tasks that eventually just become habit. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Darren Hardy is the publisher of SUCCESS magazine and has years of experience in the ‘success industry.' The compound effect builds success on the small choices you make everyday. Making the better choices will lead to healthy, successful habits, and help you to reach your goals. The book includes charts in the back to help keep track of your progress. The ideas Hardy talks about work for everything from high rolling business to improving personal relationships. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The Eventual Millionaire by Jaime Tardy
As I interviewed Jaime for a podcast, she interviewed over 120 millionaires for her book. Jaime hated her job and wanted something better, so she decided to learn from those who had done what she wanted to do herself. Gathering inspirational stories and advice from a variety of millionaires, Tardy compiled a wealth of information and demonstrates that there are many, many paths that can lead to financial success. Millionaires are just people, and anyone can become a millionaire with the right mindset, goals, and strategies. This book can help you overcome the big and small challenges to get started and on your way to eventually becoming a millionaire. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Charles Duhigg tries to help us recognize, analyze, and change our habits for the better. Using scientific research and case studies, he points out the cause and effect of various habits and the factors that go into making habits. Once you're able to analyze your own habits, you can find the underlying reason for it and answer the urge for that particular habit in a more productive way. Duhigg is a reporter for the New York Times and has several awards and other accomplishments. He got interested in the idea of habits while reporting in Baghdad and learning from an army officer about the powers of habit. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen
This is a great book that I refer to all the time when heading to meet someone for a Craigslist bargain or any other deal. It includes a bunch of great tips and ways in which to think about bargaining—including how to think like the person you are bargaining with. The concepts can be used in all sorts of settings, from negotiations with your family, to business or bills. Cohen is known as one of the best negotiators in the world, and is even an advisor to the president; he's helped to write official policy on hostage negotiations and terrorism. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The Complete Guide On How To Negotiate: Master the Art of Getting What You Want in Business and in Life by Tali Raphaely
The Complete Guide is another great book with advice on negotiating. Similar concepts but written by a successful real estate agent who has dealt with years of negotiations with vendors, clients, and employees. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Let Go by Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn is a longtime inspiration and more recently a pal of mine—we talk business together and hang out at blogger conventions. Let Go is another great product from him, an autobiographical telling of his story from ladder-climbing architect to successful internet entrepreneur on his own. It's a great read to hear all of his ups and downs and get inspired to keep working on your own passion. The Kindle version is extra cool because it includes a really well done video series to pack in some real-life emotions and even some of Flynn's family members. Check out this book and of course, any of his awesome websites, especially smartpassiveincome.com. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
Losing my Virginity is an autobiography of Richard Branson, one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time. The billionaire lives by the motto “Screw it, let's do it!” which I think is really cool. The book talks about values and life lessons that were taught to Branson at an early age. It goes into many of his amazing adventures that can inspire us to live life to the fullest. Somehow balancing his non-stop business life with pleasure, Branson always makes sure there is plenty of time to be with family and friends. Branson's adventures have taken him all over the world, including multiple attempts to cross the globe it in a hot air balloon. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessmanby Yvon Chouinard
As an outdoor enthusiast and fan of Patagonia gear, I have to say this book is pretty awesome. Chouinard shares his life story, from adventuring in California as the son of a blacksmith to creating his own brand of outdoor equipment. The book dives into tons of business ideas and history of the company, including how they slowly grew and expanded, with plenty of rainy days along the way. Chouinard shares his philosophies toward business and life, too, working to keep people and the environment happy, without getting too overly stressed along the way. Out of all these books here, this might be the next one I send to my little brother! Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The Aspiring Traveler's Handbook by Jackie Laulainen
Jackie is a fellow Bozemanite and blogger, and her book is super helpful. I was inspired to travel and since reading the book, I traveled around Scotland for three weeks with my family, and booked a trip to Costa Rica on my own! The book includes all the necessary details about passports and plane tickets, as well as how to be safe and keep your wits about you. Plus there's plenty of fun information about where to go and what to do, and how to pack light and keep to a budget. Her blog is really good too, with new tips and travel ideas all the time—she even has itineraries for different countries if you want to follow her exact adventures. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited was recommended to me by a guest on my podcast and it's been one of the best books I've read on growing a business. Michael Gerber explains the big differences between working on your business and working in your business. Instead of doing the grunt work, we need to be systematizing and automating our businesses so we can focus more on the overall strategy and vision for our business. Michael teaches how to grow every business as if you plan to franchise. Tips about documenting all procedures have helped me in making it easier to train employees and contractors for my own business. For instance, the process to create a blog post or edit a Youtube video I've explained in PDF versions to easily email or share with employees. By continuing to automate processes, I'm allowing the business to be run by someone else, allowing me to strategize more and free up time for travel. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business by Chris Ducker
This book explains how to get started in the world of virtual staff i.e. hiring employees through various online platforms who work entirely remotely. It is a very practical book to help entrepreneurs keep things under control and learn to let others help them—instead of falling prey to ‘Superhero Syndrome' and doing everything yourself. Ducker explains how to decide which jobs make sense to outsource, and then how to find and train the right staff to get the job done. Also known as ‘virtual assistants,' you can find staff to help with phone calls and appointments, to graphic design and social media, and beyond. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Platform by Michael Hyatt
Platform talks about creating an online platform—an online social media presence full of positive interaction, backing a quality product of some sort. Hyatt speaks from experience in how to connect with your audience and stand out, even among a sea of celebrities and a market full of high-profile users. Offering strategies and tips, and formulas that can be applied to any type of online business or creative endeavor, this book is really handy. It's based on many of Hyatt's blog posts, compiled and edited into a solid book of advice that I find myself referring back to again and again while I work toward gaining a following like Hyatt's—he has over 100,000 Twitter followers. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Crush it by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk grew his family's wine business ten-fold with his in-your-face, wacky yet educational online video series Wine Library TV. In Crush It he explains the power of social media and how to use it to grow your brand. He breaks down exactly how to use the each different social media platform to the fullest and build a community around your brand and your passion. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com! Inspiration
The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
As the title suggests, this book talks about the soul and finding inner peace. It is not much of an entrepreneurial book, but still helpful in thinking positively about life. Singer studied economics, but then got really into yoga and the spiritual side of life. It can get pretty deep. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Unlike the other books on this list, this a novel—fiction. The book takes us on a journey with a young Spanish sheep herding boy who literally follows his dream to go to Egypt and find a treasure there. Among his many adventures and people he meets, he learns about life and the importance of following his heart. It's a light read that still manages to uncover some profound points. Use this link to download a free audio book today on Audible.com!
Phew, that was a lot of great books to talk about! Most of them are also available in audiobook form too, which I really like as a convenient way to absorb their information and inspiration while on the go. Along those lines of listenable input, I wanted to include Podcasts. You probably already know that I have my own podcast and am a big fan of the media, but I just wanted to share one more with you and highlight how great podcasts can be. So if you're constantly craving new—sometimes daily—information in a form smaller and less formal than a book, be sure to check out podcasts.
Entrepreneur on Fire by John Lee Dumas
John Dumas pumps out fresh interviews SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. As an active podcaster myself, I'd have say that's pretty impressive. Like our website, his is full of resources and helpful content for entrepreneurs, plus a few extras that we don't have yet, like webinars and an income tracker, so you can see just how well he's doing as an entrepreneur. There are many many Podcasts out there, but our two shows are a great place to start for entrepreneurial inspiration! If you are wanting to start out a Podcast I'd highly recommend joining his training course and membership site named Podcasters Paradise.
Well, now you have a list with a few new ideas of great books to read! So… pick one book and prepare to be inspired, get motivated, and take action! Please share and like this post if you enjoyed it. Cheers from Bozeman, Montana! – Pete