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Best Books on Entrepreneurship to Succeed in Business

Interested in becoming a successful entrepreneur? Starting and running a business isn’t easy, but books are a great way to learn about business challenges and how to overcome them. We’ve put together a list of the best books on entrepreneurship with practical strategies to help you improve your skills and grow your business. Having summarized so many business and entrepreneurship books as a book summary service, we’ve included only the books that will make the biggest and most lasting impact.

But first, let’s take a quick look at the key mindsets, skills, and experience you’ll need to become a successful entrepreneur. The recommended books will provide detailed insights on how to acquire these skills.

8 Ingredients to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

What you need for Business and Entrepreneurial Success

1. Solve Real Problems

According to CB Insights 35% of start-ups fail because they create a product or service that no one is really interested in. So, before you launch a new business idea, find out there’s a real market demand for that solution. Even if you already have an established business, you’ll need to constantly adjust your approach to ensure it continues serving your target group’s needs.

2. Ongoing Innovation

To succeed in a fast-changing world, your business must embrace constant innovation, including renewing their products, services, processes, strategies, and plans. Innovation can improve efficiency, effectiveness, and long-term growth, all of which are essential for expanding your business venture.

3. Continuous Learning

LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman often says that it’s important to embrace failure as a chance to learn. Learning from mistakes allows you to make changes and ultimately reach your goals. In a fast-changing and complex environment, your ability to keep learning and growing will determine whether you can adapt and succeed.

4. Managing through Crises

All entrepreneurs will face ups and downs, from spending more than they earn to operating in the wrong location and hiring the wrong people. Knowing how to navigate such issues and push forward will determine whether your business can stay afloat.

5. Managing Resources

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand how to manage your finances, human talents, and physical resources such as retail space, marketing assets, or professional networks.

6. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is essential for developing entrepreneurial or business ideas, as well as diagnose or analyze problems to address core business issues.

7. Communication & Persuasion

Entrepreneurs often operate in fast-changing environments where flexible and effective communication is key. If entrepreneurs can clearly express their vision, motivate their teams, connect with stakeholders, and persuade others to support their mission, their more likely to attract investors and build successful teams, states numerous research.

8. Customer and Products

Succeeding as an entrepreneur significantly depends on understanding your customers. Ensure you know their needs and desires even before developing a product or service. This way, when you introduce it, customers will find it valuable.

9. Marketing and Delivering Value

A business’s branding is like its personality, and it must reflect the values of its founder and people. It’s not just about looking good on social media platforms like Instagram; your company’s values should define your business choices, policies, and daily interactions with stakeholders.

If there’s a mismatch between the brand image and the actual customer experience, it’s the entrepreneur’s role to pinpoint the specific behaviors and elements that are out of sync, and to align people, products and services behind the designed behaviors and values.

So, which are the best books on entrepreneurship that will equip you with the essential skills and knowledge above? Here are our top picks of entrepreneurship books that can boost your ability to start, grow, and manage a business.

Best Books on Entrepreneurship

Top Entrepreneurship Books to read to succeed in business

The Lean Startup by Eric Reis

1-sentence summary

The Lean Startup discusses how to successfully develop new products or services in uncertain conditions, minimize waste, and build an organization that can adapt to a rapidly changing world.

What it teaches you

Author Eric Ries presents 5 lean principles that underscore entrepreneurial management. Firstly, anyone in any role developing a new solution can consider themselves an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is management. Entrepreneurs can’t always know which approaches work best until they test them. Learning is essential for startups. Finally, innovation accounting quantifies whether our efforts are generating results.

Key takeaways

You should constantly evolve as an entrepreneur, and building the right product comes from trial and error.

Best For 
Anyone who wants to develop new products or services successfully.

Favorite Quote

“Startups…have a true north, a destination in mind: creating a thriving and world-changing business. I call that a startup’s vision.”

Book Review

The Lean Startup offers valuable insights into continuous innovation to improve a product or service in a way that is valuable to customers. The author supports these ideas with detailed case studies demonstrating the Lean Startup methodology in action, showcasing its application in young startups, established corporations, government bodies, and not-for-profit organizations.

You can get more details here in The Lean Startup summary.

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

1-Sentence Summary

The Hard Thing About Hard Things gives practical advice on managing and overcoming the toughest challenges in business. It draws from Ben Horowitz’s experiences as an entrepreneur and CEO.

What It Teaches You

This book emphasizes the reality of the entrepreneurial journey, highlighting the importance of resilience, practical decision-making, and leadership when facing inevitable business challenges. It provides actionable insights for building a company, managing people, and surviving crises.

Key Takeaways

The book encourages us to focus on people, products, and profits. We should prioritize creating a great workplace, hiring the right people, and providing proper training. The book proposes accepting that all entrepreneurs face tough times, known as “The Struggle,” and develop strategies to persevere. It teaches us how to handle layoffs, maintain morale, and navigate wartime vs. peacetime leadership styles.

Best For
CEOs, entrepreneurs, and anyone managing or leading a business, particularly those facing or preparing for significant challenges.

Favorite Quote
“There’s no recipe for really complicated, dynamic situations.”

Book Review
The Hard Thing About Hard Things is a refreshingly honest take on the struggles of running a business. Ben Horowitz’s real-world examples and no-nonsense advice make it a must-read for current and aspiring business leaders. The book’s practical approach and candid insights into the hardships of leadership set it apart from more theoretical management books.

You can read The Hard Thing About Hard Things summary here.

Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk

1-Sentence Summary

“Crushing It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk is a helpful guide about using social media to build a personal brand and achieve entrepreneurial success.

What It Teaches You

This book shows how to use social media effectively to improve your personal brand. It gives both ideas and practical strategies for different platforms. It also includes inspiring stories from successful entrepreneurs who have used these principles to achieve their dreams.

Key Takeaways

Vaynerchuk suggests that building a strong personal brand is more crucial than ever for entrepreneurs’ success. He highlights social media as an ideal platform to market a brand and provides the reader with platform-specific tactics to influence people. Finally, he emphasizes that building a personal brand and a business should be more than just financial success; it’s about achieving personal fulfillment and living on your own terms.

Best For

Aspiring entrepreneurs, influencers, and anyone looking to build a personal brand through social media.

Favorite Quote

“Love your family, work super hard, live your passion.”

Book Review

“Crushing It!” is an inspirational and practical guide for anyone leveraging social media to build a personal brand and achieve entrepreneurial success. Gary Vaynerchuk’s passion and expertise shine through, making the book engaging and informative. The real-life success stories add a relatable and motivational touch, while the detailed platform-specific advice ensures that readers can take actionable steps toward their goals.

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

1-Sentence Summary

The E-Myth Revisited explains why most small businesses fail and offers a comprehensive guide to building a successful business by focusing on systems, processes, and personal transformation.

What It Teaches You

Michael Gerber reveals that many small businesses fail due to the misconception that technical skills alone are sufficient for business success. He introduces three key roles every business owner must balance: the Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician. Gerber also emphasizes the importance of working on your business, not just in it, by creating a franchise-like model that can operate independently of the owner.

Key Takeaways

Small businesses often fail because their owners mistakenly believe that technical expertise alone can run a business. A business owner must simultaneously embody the roles of the Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician.

Best For

Anyone who owns a small business or is an aspiring entrepreneur looking to create a scalable business.

Favorite Quote

“Your business is nothing more than a distinct reflection of who you are…So if your business is to change…you must change first.”

Book Review

The E-Myth Revisited provides invaluable insights into why small businesses fail and how to avoid common pitfalls. Michael Gerber uses real-life examples and case studies, such as McDonald’s, to illustrate the importance of developing a business model that can operate without constant intervention from the owner. The book’s practical advice on creating systems and processes is essential for anyone looking to build a sustainable and rewarding business.

You can get more details here in The E-Myth Revisited summary.

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

1-Sentence Summary

The $100 Startup provides a practical guide to starting a micro-business quickly and cheaply.

What It Teaches You

Chris Guillebeau outlines how to create a successful micro-business with minimal startup costs, leveraging your skills and passions to add value to others. He emphasizes taking action, testing ideas quickly, and building a business that aligns with your life goals.

Key Takeaways

Guillebeau proposes several methods for starting a business with low capital, including creating a simple one-page business plan, testing ideas quickly, and prioritizing marketing over manufacturing. He suggests success comes from combining passion, usefulness, and leveraging existing skills. Furthermore, he encourages entrepreneurs to focus on emotional benefits to add value, fulfill customers’ needs, and create value.

Best For

Aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to start a low-cost, high-value business.

Favorite Quote

“The business is structured around my life, not the other way around.”

Book Review

The $100 Startup is an inspiring and practical resource for anyone looking to break free from traditional employment and start a small business. Guillebeau provides actionable advice backed by real-life case studies, demonstrating that building a profitable business with minimal investment is possible. His emphasis on adding value and focusing on customers’ needs makes this book a must-read for new entrepreneurs.

You can read The $100 Startup summary here.

Pre-suasion by Robert B. Cialdini

1-Sentence Summary

Pre-Suasion explains how to prepare for greater influence and persuasion before presenting your main arguments.

What It Teaches You

Robert Cialdini’s Pre-Suasion stresses the importance of laying the groundwork for persuasion. By capturing and directing attention and using associations and psychological principles, you can significantly improve your ability to influence others.

Key Takeaways

Pre-Suasion shows readers how to influence people before presenting your main message.
It lays the importance of controlling what people focus on to shape their perceptions and decisions.
Cialdini emphasizes the impact of using metaphors, language, and environment to create favorable mental associations. Finally, Pre-suasion discusses the 7 Principles of Influence that strengthen the willingness to cooperate and help.

Best For

Anyone in marketing, sales, management, entrepreneurship, or any role where influencing others is crucial.

Favorite Quote

“To persuade optimally…it’s necessary to pre-suade optimally.”

Book Review

Pre-Suasion is a compelling guide on the science of influence. Cialdini provides actionable insights backed by research, making it a helpful resource for understanding and applying pre-suasive techniques to achieve desired outcomes. The book is practical, well-structured, and has examples that make complex concepts accessible.

You can read our detailed Pre-Suasion summary here.

Profit First By Mike Michalowicz

1-Sentence Summary

Profit First teaches entrepreneurs how to transform their businesses into profitable enterprises by prioritizing profit and adopting simple financial management habits.

What It Teaches You

Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First helps entrepreneurs ensure profitability by taking a percentage of income as profit first and then managing expenses with the remaining funds. This approach encourages disciplined financial management and sustainable business growth.

Key Takeaways

Michalowicz encourages prioritizing profit by taking it out before paying expenses, thus forcing your business to operate within its means. He suggests removing any temptations and building a rhythm to manage finances effectively. Profit First advocates setting up multiple bank accounts, performing an instant assessment, and gradually shifting toward optimal allocation percentages.

Best For

Entrepreneurs and small business owners who struggle with profitability want a straightforward, practical system to manage their finances better.

Favorite Quote

“Profit is not an event. Profit is a habit.”

Book Review

Profit First provides a refreshing approach to business finance, making it accessible and actionable for entrepreneurs. Michalowicz’s practical advice and real-life examples help demystify financial management, making profitability a consistent practice rather than a distant goal.

You can read our detailed Profit First summary here.

Bonus Books

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Running a business means having people on your side. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” offers practical advice for building positive relationships, effectively handling people, and persuading others. It emphasizes empathy, appreciation, and understanding as essential tools for winning friends and influencing people. Carnegie’s principles are simple yet impactful and can be applied in many situations, such as networking or finding the right talent to help you grow. Furthermore, the book’s focus on genuine interest and empathy makes it a timeless personal and professional development guide.

Read our detailed How to Win Friends and Influence People summary here.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

You often need to make bold decisions when running a business. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” thoroughly examines how our minds work. It focuses on the mental shortcuts (heuristics) and biases that can lead us astray and provides insights on how to make better decisions. Kahneman’s detailed analysis of the two thinking systems, one fast and the other slow, along with real-world examples and research, makes this book a valuable resource for anyone looking to understand human thought and decision-making.

You can read our detailed Thinking, Fast and Slow summary here.

Conclusion

Many books are published yearly to help entrepreneurs start and run successful businesses. The best books present simple ideas in memorable ways and offer practical advice, step-by-step guides, and personal stories about the skills needed to succeed as an entrepreneur. The books mentioned in this article discuss skills like resilience, effective communication, persuasion, and critical thinking, among others, in ways that will leave a lasting imprint. If you can develop these qualities, you could become a successful entrepreneur with a business recognized by many.

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