Best Books for Starting a Business

When I entered my first business venture, I acted very confidently. Well, I was 16 at the time. Each sentence that I spoke assured everyone around me, but I wasn’t able to assure myself because I had absolutely little to no idea of what I was doing. I still believed I will get it once I start, but I genuinely felt I had no idea what I was talking about.

Starting a business is a huge step, and I remember finding it overwhelming.

In retrospect, it would have been helpful for me to read some of the best books for starting a business. Guidance from those who had been there before me would have saved me from the common mistakes I was bound to repeat. However, I didn’t realize how much critical assistance that would have been.

The books on the list below have been recommended through interviews and surveys with successful entrepreneurs. They have been through the early stages of a business, and their stories share insightful lessons.

There are five primary things that I could have learned from these books:

  • How to handle behind-the-scenes financials
  • How to manage my time and investment more effectively
  • Where to go for legal advice and information
  • What to do when I hit a roadblock
  • How to balance early profits with growth

Of course, those aren’t the only lessons that I needed to learn. If I had taken the time to learn just those five simple lessons from the best books for starting a business, though, I would have handled my early failures with more grace and less loss.

I’m speaking from experience when I say that starting a business is a complicated matter, but it doesn’t have to be a beast that you tackle alone. Take with you the knowledge that entrepreneurs have been willing to share and then blaze your own path. With that kind of support, through the following books, you are sure to succeed!

Before going down to see the list of books, you can see the most interesting things I’ve learned in the first year of growing MavenHut, the business we sold for an amount with lots of zeros: Story of MavenHut: 11 Things I learned Starting a Gaming Company and Raising $700,000 in the First Year

Best Books for Starting a Business

The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business

The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business

The Purpose Is Profit provides the roadmap and motivation needed to win the startup game. It is required reading for every entrepreneur committed to building a profitable business.
Barbara Corcoran
Founder/The Corcoran Group
For Entrepreneurs Only: Success Strategies for Anyone Starting or Growing a Business

For Entrepreneurs Only: Success Strategies for Anyone Starting or Growing a Business

There have been several books throughout my life that changed my mind and put me on the path I am today. The first one is called For Entrepreneurs Only. The founder of Formula 409 cleaning products wrote it, and it opened my mind to the endless possibilities that entrepreneurship represents.
Alden Mills
CEO/Perfect Fitness, Navy SEAL, Author
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

I read this book at a time when Udemy was rapidly growing—over the 18 months where we went from 30 to 200 people. It was helpful to read about Horowitz's challenges, worries, and triumphs when addressing the same types of issues at a similar stage of growth. There are so many big decisions you need to make where there's just no clear-cut, right or wrong answer. There are a lot of gray areas. You gather information from your team, but the hard decisions rest with you. This book helped me realize that while I needed to carefully and objectively consider feedback, I was responsible for making a decision in the end—even when it was an unpopular one.

Dennis Yang
CEO/Udemy
Is Your Business Worth Saving?: A Step-by-Step Guide to Rescuing Your Business and Your Sanity

Is Your Business Worth Saving?: A Step-by-Step Guide to Rescuing Your Business and Your Sanity

This book is an exceptional step-by-step guide any entrepreneur can learn from because Stacy does an awesome job covering the right lessons with the right detail. The end of each chapter includes "Sign Posts" to help you take action on critical points along your path. And Chapter Two, in my opinion, is where the rubber meets the road for any business owner--learning how to deal with self-doubt, negativity, self-sabotage, and then the lessons of how to define your priorities and giving yourself permission to fail. Outstanding!
Stephen Woessner
CEO/Predictive ROI
The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career

The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career

Everyone, women and men alike, needs to think big to succeed. This is a practical book that shows you how to take control and build a career that will enable you to have real impact.
Sheryl Sandberg
COO/Facebook
Badass Your Brand: The Impatient Entrepreneur's Guide to Turning Expertise into Profit

Badass Your Brand: The Impatient Entrepreneur’s Guide to Turning Expertise into Profit

Finally, a book that tells you how to put up a velvet rope in front of your business and get more of the clients you want and deserve! Whether you're building a services business or a personal brand, this book provides a roadmap to making bank, in a smart and authentic way. Pia is a total pro (and a laugh riot). I can't wait to recommend this book to every entrepreneur who feels stuck. Pia got unstuck, and so can you.
Julia Pimsleur
Founder/Little Pim
The Lean Startup

The Lean Startup

There are quite a few good business books on technology, and I'll list below some I find to be a good starting point. Personally, I like biographies a lot and I mostly read biographies of dead people, because those are the most honest ones. So because the computer age is still very young, there won't be a lot of biographies in my list.
Bogdan Iordache
Co-Founder/How to Web
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.
Elon Musk
Founder/SpaceX
Online Business from Scratch: Launch Your Own Seven-Figure Internet Business by Creating and Selling Information Online

Online Business from Scratch: Launch Your Own Seven-Figure Internet Business by Creating and Selling Information Online

Matthew Paulson is the real deal. I've made millions using the same strategies that he outlines in Internet Business From Scratch, and this guide will give new and experienced internet entrepreneurs alike a roadmap for success and profit. The best part is that this model is incredibly sustainable - this will work today, tomorrow, and for years to come - unlike most strategies that most people teach. Had I been given this roadmap when I started my career, I would have avoided years of struggle and lost revenue. This is a must read for anyone who has something to share and wants to get paid for it.
Ryan Daniel Moran
Founder/Freedom Fastlane
The Profitable Consultant: Starting, Growing, and Selling Your Expertise

The Profitable Consultant: Starting, Growing, and Selling Your Expertise

If you’re looking for ways to grow your practice, stop searching – this book is the answer!
Greg Habstritt
Founder/SimpleWealth Inc.
Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School

Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School

I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business

Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business

This book shall become the bible on how to build your dream business, without working yourself into an early grave!
John Lee Dumas
Host & Founder/Entrepreneur On Fire
Rich20Something: Ditch Your Average Job, Start an Epic Business, and Score the Life You Want

Rich20Something: Ditch Your Average Job, Start an Epic Business, and Score the Life You Want

Rich20Something reminded me that my goals aren't too far off, and that, regardless of my age, I can create a business that gives me freedom and great income!
Arne Giske
Founder/The Millennial Entrepreneur podcast
The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki was my bible when I started up. If you plan to become an entrepreneur – this is an absolute must-read.
Deepak Hariharan
Founder & CEO/MentorYes
Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two

Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two

Quench Your Own Thirst is a frosty mug full of sound advice for turning passion into a great business.
Tony Hsieh
CEO/Zappos
The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better To Live More

The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better To Live More

In this valuable guide Chris Guillebeau shows that transforming an idea into a successful business can be easier than you think…You are in charge of which ideas deserve your time, and this book can help you wake up every morning eager to progress to the next step.
Tony Hsieh
CEO/Zappos
She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur

She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur

I would say for sure, She Means Business. I found it very empowering and encouraging and it had a ton of fantastic ideas.
Stacey Minton
Owner/DestinationDreamz
Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

This book lays out a framework to help any startup brainstorm ways to gain more customer traction.

Gunhee Park
Co-Founder/Populum
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

After reading The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch, I decided that extreme questions were the forcing function I needed.
Tim Ferriss
Author & Entrepreneur
The Four Steps to the Epiphany

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

If you are reading to learn skills that can be implemented in your startup, I’d recommend The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful by Eric Reis and actually avoid its predecessor The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win by Steve Blank until later in your career.
Craig Pearce
Co-Founder/Kid Genius
How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery

How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery

Ed runs one of the most straightforward sites dedicated to demystifying and discussing various aspects of the art world. Now, in How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery, he's packed–in understandable terms–information I wish I had known before starting my gallery.
Zach Feuer
Owner/Zach Feuer Gallery
What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture

What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture

Ben Horowitz recently published another book called "What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture".

When we were starting MavenHut, company culture was one of the things I struggled with.

I mean, I worked 70 hours/week, should my employees do the same (no, of course not!). My business parteners were working weekends as well during the early days of the company, I didn't want to. But people say that the leaders of the company should be part of the culture. So?

I just found out about the book so I only read the first few chapters, but it goes some ways I didn't think about.

The first part of the book is about the slave rebellion that created, in the end, Haiti. What is so interesting about this? Well, it's apparently the only slave rebellion in the world that was successful in creating a new country. How is it connected to company culture? I have no idea yet.

There's, apparently, another chapter on a prison gang. And another on Genghis Khan.

If you are confused, you're not the only one. But since I trust the author, I'm sure it will make sense at some point.

Bobby Voicu
Founder/The CEO Library
Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams

Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams

This book is a must read for everyone trying to influence and change people’s lives in a positive way. It’s a GREAT business book, but it’s also much more than a business book. I plan to get a copy for every Hay House author.
Reid Tracy
CEO/Hay House, Inc.
The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More

In a 2009 interview with [email protected], he explained how Anderson's ideas were helping Haier transition from traditional manufacturer to information-based service provider.

Zhang Ruimin
CEO/Haier Group
Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur

Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur

I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding.
Mădălina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

I could probably name a dozen books here, but I’ll point out The Business Model Generation and Value Prop Design from Strategyzer. I steal from these constantly and are engrained in my work process. These books put into practice really taught me how to think. As soon as I saw that everything should have a foundation of empathy, what good user-testing looks like, how to test and iterate it changed everything. After that any problem could be solved. It wasn’t solving one big monolithic problem. It was going through a process.
Ashley Hathaway
Enterprise Product Manager
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Over the years he’s [Tony Hsieh] recommended well over 20 business books — including his own, the 2010 bestseller Delivering Happiness and you can always find what he’s currently reading atop his cluttered desk. Start with Why is amogst those titles.

Tony Hsieh
CEO/Zappos
Branding Basics for Small Business

Branding Basics for Small Business

Marketing no longer means advertising, and brand no longer means logo. Your brand is the promise, the experience, the interactions, and the expectation people have for you. Maria Ross understands this, and teaches you how to think about this essential element of your business.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage

The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage

The Power of Broke is for anyone looking to crush those excuses for whatever is holding him or her back from success. Bootstrapping your way to success can be a viable and sustainable way to grow your empire. Author (and Shark Tank entreprepreneur) Daymond John built his own fashion label starting with home-sewn clothes and almost no money; he turned around his "broke" status with pure innovation. The book also explores how other everyday people took a similar approach. One entrepreneur, for instance, started a million-dollar cupcake business with the $33 balance in her checking account.
Sujan Patel
Co-Founder/Web Profits
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

As a general rule, most new memoirs are mediocre and most business memoirs are even worse. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is an exception to that rule in every way and as a result, was one of my favorite books of the year and favorite business books ever. I started reading it while on the runway of a flight and figured I’d read a few pages before opening my laptop and working. Instead, my laptop stayed in my bag during the flight and I read almost the entire book in one extended sitting. Ostensibly the memoir of the founder of Nike, it’s really the story of a lost kid trying to find meaning in his life and it ends with him creating a multi-billion dollar company that changes sports forever. I’m not sure if Knight used a ghostwriter (the acknowledgements are unclear) but his personal touches are all over the book—and the book itself is deeply personal and authentic. The afterward is an incredibly moving reflection of a man looking back on his life. I loved this book. It ends just as Nike is starting to turn into the behemoth it would become, so I hold out hope that there may be more books to follow.

Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business

Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business

Growth has been hacked to simply mean “more”. More revenue, more customers, more employees, more products, more, more, more. That’s a tragically myopic view of growth. Paul Jarvis will help you open your eyes to a broader, wiser definition of growth. One of learning, one of betterment, one of contentment. There’s never been a more opportune time to launch or run companies that embrace having and being “enough”. The most important ingredient is a new worldview. Company of One can give you just that.
David Heinemeier Hansson
Co-Founder/Basecamp
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

If you want to do social media start with “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook” and move forward to “Ask Gary Vee” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Even if Gary has admitted that he has a ghostwriter writing his book, you can see Gary’s personality and also his experience in the social media field in this book. These are some great books to start with in social media.
Robert Katai
Founder/Instagramology
Start with No: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don't Want You to Know

Start with No: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know

Jim Camp offers easy-to-apply strategies to help make you a more effective negotiator. You’ll learn techniques that you can use immediately to improve your negotiating skills by reading this book.
Joe Mansueto
Founder, CEO/Morningstar, Inc
Never Work Again: Work Less, Earn More, and Live Your Freedom

Never Work Again: Work Less, Earn More, and Live Your Freedom

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
It's Your Business: 183 Essential Tips that Will Transform Your Small Business

It’s Your Business: 183 Essential Tips that Will Transform Your Small Business

If you know an entrepreneur, give them a copy of @jjramberg new book to help them on their journey.
Simon Sinek
Best-selling Author
The Republic of Tea: The Story of the Creation of a Business, as Told Through the Personal Letters of Its Founders

The Republic of Tea: The Story of the Creation of a Business, as Told Through the Personal Letters of Its Founders

Out of print, but findable at abebooks and other spots, this is a book about an entrepreneur getting his head around the otaku of his audience.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Recommended by Marc Goodman in "Tools of Titans".
Marc Goodman
Founder/Future Crimes Institute
Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works

Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works

For business, I've read Influence by Robert Cialdini 3 times, and Traction by Gabriel Weinberg twice, so if number of times read indicates favor, then those are it. There are a whole bunch of others, like The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman, Confession of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, and Running Lean by Ash Maurya, that I've also enjoyed and recommend to people.
Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

I'll give you two books that changed my life. I've probably only read four but, first one "The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth" by Chris Brogan, my good friend Chris. That book changed my life. That book was the beginning of me falling in love with who I truly was versus what I tried to be.
Scott Oldford
Founder/LeadCraft
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

I really enjoyed Brad Stone's The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. Anyone who wants to better understand the dynamics of disruption or just gain a better understanding of the website we've come to love, must read this book.

Shane Parrish
Founder/Syrus Partners
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

This book is built around the brilliant insight that your prospect doesn't care nearly as much about what you do as you do, and thus you must boil down your offering into a unique slot that repositions the competition.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections

Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections

I hate business books. They are full of wishy-washy inspirational stuff and rarely of anything actionable. And even when actionable, it's from the context of that founder and the story they've spun, not the reality that most people face. So if anything, I'd have people read books such as Jayson Gaignard's Mastermind Dinners; Derek Coburn's Networking is Not Working; Shane Snow's Storytelling edge; Keith Ferrazzi's Never Eat Alone.
Sol Orwell
Co-Founder/Examine.com
Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography

Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography

I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results

Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results

Robert Hajnal recommended this book for growing a business.
Robert Hajnal
Founder/Trail Running Academy
The Business of Consulting

The Business of Consulting

This book is filled with real-world, practical and proven tactics that, when used, do build successful consulting practices. It is a must-have resource for people who are thinking of becoming a consultant and for anyone who already is one!
Dana Gaines Robinson
President/Partners in Change
Start Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at Any Age

Start Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at Any Age

I read a David Bach book that was given to me by my mother when I was a teenager. It was about personal finance and I remember reading it and promising myself I would be responsible with money moving forwards. That promise has been extremely valuable to me on my path in business.
John Hall
CEO & Co-Founder/Influence & Co
High Tech Startup: The Complete Handbook for Creating Successful New High Tech Companies

High Tech Startup: The Complete Handbook for Creating Successful New High Tech Companies

High Tech Startup: The Complete Handbook for Creating Successful New High Tech Companies by John L. Nesheim is a bit dated, but because of that, its very revealing as to how investment has changed over the years. I have always felt unease about the trend of “unicorns”, and subscribe more to the approach of being a “cockroach”. This book helped me better understand how to strategize for being a cockroach.
Lucas Morales
Founder & CEO/Zeall.us
The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you

The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you

I would definitely start my list with The Mom Test because there is no resource on how to ask questions without being too eager or too revealing. I think this skill should be trained, be it an entrepreneur or not.
Roxana Bitoleanu
Founder/Taraba Virtuala
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Here are some of the guests and some of their books, in no particular order. I recommend all of the below books. If I didn't like a book, I wouldn't have them on the show.

James Altucher
Founder/StockPickr
Strategize to Win: The New Way to Start Out, Step Up, or Start Over in Your Career

Strategize to Win: The New Way to Start Out, Step Up, or Start Over in Your Career

Carla is a notable business leader and she openly shares her experiences of her career journey and outlines tactical strategies for thriving in your career regardless of challenges and hurdles. It’s an incredible book that also speaks to the importance of developing the hard/technical skills you need in your career but also on enhancing your soft skills and building relationships!
Miracle Olatunji
Founder & CEO/OpportuniMe
Mastery

Mastery

There is no living writer (or person) who has been more influential to me than Robert Greene. I met him when I was 19 years old and he’s shaped me as a person, as a writer, as a thinker. You MUST read his books. His work on power and strategy are critical for anyone trying to accomplish anything. In life, power is force we are constantly bumping up against. People have power of over us, we seek power ourselves that we might be free enough and influential enough to accomplish our goals—so we must understand where power comes from, how it works and how to get it. But pure power is meaningless. It must be joined to mastery and purpose. So read his book Mastery so that you can figure your life’s task and how to dedicate yourself to it.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

Will assume career path is running a startup, getting clients and managing a team of employees or collaborating with founders. These are some of the best books to cover these areas. It’s hard running a startup, let alone being the person who has to make the highest decisions in the organization. These books help provide the framework in how to run a successful organization but also share some of the stories and pitfalls from other founders so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
Cody McLain
CEO/SupportNinja
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

I chose this book because it taught me how important it is that your business represents you and that you passionately believe in it. I also learned from it the importance of organizational culture, and that the endpoint of a sale should always be customer's happiness, not the money-product/service exchange.
Robert Hajnal
Founder/Trail Running Academy
Sell More Faster: The Ultimate Sales Playbook for Start-Ups (Techstars)

Sell More Faster: The Ultimate Sales Playbook for Start-Ups (Techstars)

Sell More Faster is the sales playbook every startup founder needs to read. Whether you're searching for product-market fit or have found it and are starting to scale, this book will give you the play by play approach of what you need to do to build an awesome sales organization.
Brad Feld
Co-Founder/Foundry Group
Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

"Built to Sell" is great for entrepreneurs to start thinking about how to have a business that can run without them from the get go, which should be the aim!
Turgay Birand
Founder/Edition Guard
Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup

Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer’s Guide to Launching a Startup

Start Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling is good for getting some actionable tactics towards building and selling software products
Turgay Birand
Founder/Edition Guard
Rework

Rework

If given a choice between investing in someone who has read Rework or has an MBA, I'm investing in Rework every time. This is a must read for every entrepreneur.
Mark Cuban
Co-founder/HDNet & Broadcast.com
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

"Collins briefed Amazon executives on his seminal management book before its publication. Companies must confront the brutal facts of their business, find out what they are uniquely good at, and master their fly wheel, in which each part of the business reinforces and accelerates the other parts," Stone writes.
Jeff Bezos
CEO/Amazon
Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement

Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement

First, a word on career paths. In time, I realised that career paths are like one-way streets. Magic happens in unexplored territories. Plus life is how you choose to live every moment, every day. So today, rather than building a career, I prefer to make lateral moves in life, working with great people and being part of ambitious projects impacting the world. There are a few books that got me here: [...] Tony Robbins "Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement".
Cristina Riesen
Founder/We Are Play Lab
Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle

Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle

I thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written.
Bogdana Butnar
Head of Strategy/Poke
Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas

Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas

I thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written.
Bogdana Butnar
Head of Strategy/Poke
Restaurant Success by the Numbers: A Money-Guy's Guide to Opening the Next New Hot Spot

Restaurant Success by the Numbers: A Money-Guy’s Guide to Opening the Next New Hot Spot

After being in the business for many years, I thought I knew everything, but working with Roger showed me how much more there is to know. Restaurant Success by the Numbers contains the know-how you’ll need to open and run a thriving restaurant. If you want to succeed in the restaurant business, read it!
Gregoire Jacquet
Owner/Grégoire restaurant
The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

Like Charlie Munger once said: “I’ve long believed that a certain system - which almost any intelligent person can learn - works way better than the systems most people use [to understand the world]. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And, with that system, things gradually fit together in a way that enhances cognition. Just as multiple factors shape every system, multiple mental models from a variety of disciplines are necessary to understand that system". You can read this book to start building a "latticework of mental models in your head".

Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, And Build a Successful Business

Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, And Build a Successful Business

After you read it, you'll go away feeling motivated and ready to work.
Chris Guillebeau
Author, Creator/Side Hustle School
Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time and Money

Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money

Question: What books would you recommend to young people to be prepared for the future workplaces?

Answer: So many! So many by Seth Godin (Linchpin, The Icarus Deception, Purple Cow) Essentialism by Greg McKeown, Deep Work by Cal Newport, The Choice by Og Mandino, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, No More Dreaded Mondays and 48 Days To The Work You Love by Dan Miller, The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran, Will It Fly by Pat Flynn, The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews, QBQ by John Miller, The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Wow, there are so many more, but that’s a start.

Vincent Pugliese
Author & Professional Photographer
The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

The 10% Entrepreneur and Girlboss. Both empower people to create a strategic plan and risk-taking that are needed for considering entrepreneurship. A lot of it is experimenting, learning and just doing.
Andrea Loubier
CEO/MailBird
Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business

Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business

I thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written.
Bogdana Butnar
Head of Strategy/Poke
Internet Riches: The Simple Money-Making Secrets of Online Millionaires

Internet Riches: The Simple Money-Making Secrets of Online Millionaires

I have always wanted to be a banker or a businessman but my poor grades didn't allow me to pursue a degree in business or banking. I ended up taking mechanical engineering which I found out wasn't my calling when I was just in my first semester in the National University of Singapore (NUS). Facing financial difficulties at home, coupled with poor grades and fueled by my passion to be an entrepreneur, I decided to look for resources and books to read up to help me in my endeavour. And I found the perfect book: "Internet Riches by Scott Fox" that inspired me to venture into entrepreneurship.
Benjamin Kwan
Co-Founder/TravelClef
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Also hard to find on audio. I find Steve's voice to be fascinating, and even before I knew him, I was fascinated by listening to him speak his own work. The War of Art is one of those books, at least for me when I finally was exposed to it, I said, 'Why wasn't I informed? Why did it take this long for this book to land on my desk?'... You need to be clear with yourself about what you are afraid of, why you are afraid, and whether you care enough to dance with that fear because it will never go away.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur

Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur

A true manifesto, a guidebook with clear signposts, and a fun ride you'll return to again and again.
Tim Ferriss
Author & Entrepreneur
Islamic Branding and Marketing: Creating A Global Islamic Business

Islamic Branding and Marketing: Creating A Global Islamic Business

The Islamic population of the world has been neglected by marketers in a totally unwarranted way for far too long. Paul Temporal knows the subject and knows the consumers. This masterful book fills a huge gap in the understanding of this 'last frontier' of marketing.
Miles Young
CEO/Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

How do you explain Warren Buffett? Everyone knows that in a deep and liquid capital market like that of the US, it is just about impossible to beat the stock market averages over anything more than the short term. But Buffett has been ahead of the curve for most of the past 50 years, making him one of the world’s richest people. Alice Schroeder’s massive authorised biography, The Snowball, provides some clues about how he’s done it.
Richard Lambert
Director-General/Confederation of British Industry
Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business

Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business

I thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written.
Bogdana Butnar
Head of Strategy/Poke
Robert Kuok A Memoir

Robert Kuok A Memoir

Robert Kuok's Memoir - biography of a Malaysian born business magnate and investor who made his fortunes building commodity empires and international hotel brands. It’s interesting to read up on the way he approached business in this part of the world (Asia) and how they had the general economic foresight to spot opportunities (and disasters).
Jack Wong
Co-Founder/Shoe Mo
The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5

Entrepreneurs largely celebrate the end of the dreaded 9-to-5 and are ready to dive headfirst into a world where they call the shots. The End of Jobs argues that rapid advancements in technology and globalization are leveraging points in the accumulation of wealth, meaning and freedom. This eye-opening book will give reluctant entrepreneurs the nudge they need, with sobering statistics on why the century-long growth in wages stopped in 2000, and why MBAs and JDs can't land jobs, let alone pay off their significant debt.
Sujan Patel
Co-Founder/Web Profits
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Pinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context. I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares—especially about health and energy—but he understands each subject so deeply that he’s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and new.

I love how he’s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected signs of progress. I tend to point to things like dramatic reductions in poverty and childhood deaths, because I think they’re such a good measure of how we’re doing as a society. Pinker covers those areas, but he also looks at more obscure topics.

Here are five of my favorite facts from the book that show how the world is improving:

    1. You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century—and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.
    2. Time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to an hour and a half in 2014. This might sound trivial in the grand scheme of progress. But the rise of the washing machine has improved quality of life by freeing up time for people—mostly women—to enjoy other pursuits. That time represents nearly half a day every week that could be used for everything from binge-watching Ozark or reading a book to starting a new business.
    3. You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929—when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today—20,000 people died on the job. People back then viewed deadly workplace accidents as part of the cost of doing business. Today, we know better, and we’ve engineered ways to build things without putting nearly as many lives at risk.
    4. The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment. Pinker also credits more analytical thinking in and out of the classroom. Think about how many symbols you interpret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a subway map. Our world today encourages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s making us smarter.
    5. War is illegal. This idea seems obvious. But before the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no institution had the power to stop countries from going to war with each other. Although there have been some exceptions, the threat of international sanctions and intervention has proven to be an effective deterrent to wars between nations.
Bill Gates
Founder/Microsoft
Perennial Seller

Perennial Seller

Autodidact extraordinaire Ryan Holiday strips away the ridiculous obsession with contemporary bestsellerdom and gets to the heart and soul of individual genius, creating timeless classics that change people's lives year after year after year. For those of us who wish to summon the courage and forgo instant validation in favor of deep and original creation, this book offers not just the Why, but the Who. A must-read for creators of all persuasions.
Shawn Coyne
Co-founder/Black Irish Books
Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out

Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out

I've always believed that students should learn their trade from the masters--but there are times when you can't just follow what's come before. Marc Ecko designed his future while putting his own spin on history. He's fearless, and he built his brand out of his love of art and pop culture, without being seduced by nostalgia. Marc may have been inspired by Star Wars, but he made it his own – and no one has made Star Wars cooler than Ecko. His unique vision became a global force in fashion. For art and execution, this is the text book I wish I could have bought in college.
George Lucas
Founder/Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic
The Messy Middle

The Messy Middle

This new one by Scott Belsky is one of my favorite business books of the past 10 years. Honest, humble, vulnerable, and precise. If you do complex work (don’t we all?) pre-order it. Now. Getting ready to interview him for the show.
Todd Henry
Founder of Accidental Creative
Selling the Dream

Selling the Dream

Guy has written several irrestible books, but this is a great place to start. It's all about starting the virus.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
Founders At Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days

Founders At Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days

Now this one is certainly a little less historical than the others, if only because most of the profiles are about companies founded in the last ten years. Written by Jessica Livingston, a founder of YCombinator, the book profiles some of the hottest and most successful startups in Silicon Valley history. It shows how the founders manage to create massive growth, usually with very few resources. Now I’m not saying that companies like Hot or Not compare with the accomplishments of Pericles or Da Vinci, but you can certainly see how this book captures a moment in time—and its leading men and women—and what that means. This is the most current book on the list (besides mine) but I think many of you will like it. Plus you can learn a lot about the tech scene in one swoop.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than 60 Countries

Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than 60 Countries

I can say that my area, or my background involves a lot of practical work, traveling, learning and performing a big variety of sports, meeting new people and making contacts. But taking into account that being a young entrepreneur I wish I had known a lot of things before starting everything. Therefore, what I would suggest people to do is invest a lot in themselves professionally and personally, where I put a lot of emphasis on developing an equilibrium between mind, body and spirit. This equilibrium will help a lot in everything you do in your daily life. So these are the books I would recommend.
Tudor Teodorescu
Founder/Transylvania Uncharted
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Q: What is one must-read book for business leaders?

A: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Business and Life by Charles Duhigg.

Cynthia Cleveland
CEO/Broadthink
Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad

The funny thing is that the books that had the biggest impact (like my Verne’s favourite) are not necessarily the best books, objectively speaking. They were good enough to present a new worldview that I was not aware of. Timing probably was more important than their intrinsic literary qualities. They “managed” to fall into my lap at the right time. Such a book was Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, a mediocre book by my standards of today, but deeply inspirational by the ones from yesterday.

Vladimir Oane
Founder/UberVU
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

The book starts like a punch in the gut, but the story and the reality dose of this book are something that we all need from time to time in the Tech Startup Age. It helped me look beyond the excitement of working on new projects as a goal in itself and keep at least one foot on the ground. Plus the writing is extraordinary!
Irina Marinescu
Product Manager & Co-Founder/Save Potatoes