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April 12, 2012

Top 10 Business Books for Entrepreneurs

I put together a list of my favorite books for entrepreneurs. I have read many of them multiple times because they inspire, teach, and help me in my quest to grow a business and become a better person.

While there are hundreds of great books out there, I had to narrow my list down to ten. So here are my top 10 favorite books for entrepreneurs.

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1. How to Win Friends and Influence People – By Dale Carnegie

 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 bought and read it a few years back. 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.

2. Rich Dad Poor Dad – By Robert Kiyosaki

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 a few 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. 

3. Bootstrapping Your Business – By Greg Gianforte

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.

4. The 4 Hour Work Week – By Timothy Ferriss

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.

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5. The All-Star Sales Book – By Billy Cox

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.

6. Delivering Happiness – By Tony HSIEH, CEO – Zappos.com

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. 

7. The Warren Buffett Way – By Robert G Hagstrom

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.

8. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

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.

9. The Richest Man in Babylon – By George Clason

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.

10. 1,000 Dollars and an Idea – By Sam Wyly

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.

Other Favorites

11. Deals on the Green – By David Rynecki

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.

12. The E Myth Revisited – By Michael Gerber

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. Torger Sikveland, a fellow Norwegian and good friend gifted me with this book.


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.

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!

Please share any comments you have about the books in this list or other favorite books you'd recommend!

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  1. Hey Guys,
    Thanks for your recommendations. I’ve read Rich Dad Poor Dad and learned a lot from it. I run a construction business in California and own a few apartments. Rich Dad Poor Dad was inspiring for me. I am really interested in the 4 Hour Work Week you mention. I’ve heard about it but never read it. Think I might pick up a copy. I’ve been following your posts. They are inspiring.

    1. Justin,

      Thanks for your input on Rich Dad Poor Dad. I think you’ll enjoy 4 Hour Work Week as well. A few other suggestions I’ve had from readers of this post are:

      See You at the Top – Zig Ziglar

      The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuk

      Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell

  2. Awesome list Pete! I’m always looking for new books about career or entrepreneurship. I’ve read a few of these and really enjoyed them. I will have to put the others on my reading list as well. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!

  3. Awesome list and great website!! Some of those books you’ve mentioned are worth reading multiple times, but I think I need to read the 4 Hour Work Week pronto! You’re missing Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell – that’s a great book that continues to inspire our team. A new book I loved this year from an ethical entrepreneur who’s a living legend, is ‘The Evolution of an Entrepreneur’ by Jack Nadel. Check it out, it’s got a simple method, tons of tips and memoirs from someone who has been there done that.

    1. Hey Amber! Thanks for the comment! I’ll have to put Outliers on my “TO READ” list:) I’ve read a few of his other books and they are great. Jack’s book sounds great too. Thank you! – Cheers – Pete

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