What are the Best Business Books to Read?

What are the best business books you should read if you’re starting or growing a business? What books should entrepreneurs read? If you’re looking for the answers to these questions, then read on!  Well, business/entrepreneurship is really broad–it includes everything from product development to finance, sales and marketing, human resources, leadership and management. In this article, we’ll share the top business books that we recommend, organized by categories.  You can subscribe to get access to text, infographic and audio summaries for ALL of these books!

Which are the Best Business Books?


Strategic planning for big, established businesses can be quite different from building a startup from scratch. Here are the best books for startups:

1. The E-Myth Revisited: Great for thinking about your business goals and what it takes to build a scale-able business.

2. The Lean Startup: A powerful model for lean innovation (which every startup will need).

3. Running Lean: A practical application blueprint that combines Lean Startup, Customer Development and Bootstrapping.

4. Traction: Practical points about building traction in the early days of business. Can be applied concurrently with (3) above.

5. Zero to One: A book that gives you big-picture thinking of what it means to create real value that could make your startup a huge success.

6. The $100 Startup: A book about micro-businesses, but the ideas are applicable if you’re bootstrapping or starting really lean.

7. Profit First: No business can survive without money. A great resource to instill financial discipline in your business from the start (and stay in shape for long-term growth).

8. The Business Coach: Useful concepts on the levels of progress a startup will need to go through. ReadinGraphics uses the business chassis as a key part of our business growth tracking/improvement!

9. The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Prepares you mentally for the challenges to expect and get your headspace right before you start.

10. Shoe Dog: This isn’t a book on startups per se, but it shows how tough building a business can be, and acts as a great reminder to keep going when sh*t hits the fan (which it definitely will at some points in your business!)

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If you already have a proven business model and are ready to scale up quickly, then you need to build a very different set of foundations. These books focus specifically on business growth:

1. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business: A comprehensive 6-part model to help you build a lasting business foundation.

2. Scaling Up: Well, the title says it all. A book on scaling up your business.

[You can also check out these books from the previous list:  The E-Myth Revisited, Zero to One, Profit First, The Business Coach, and Shoe Dog]

STRATEGY (for various stages of business growth)

Great strategy is never easy to develop. If you can, go through the exercises from a wide range of books below to deepen your strategic insights.

1. Blue Ocean Strategy: A great tool for brainstorming about new approaches to your business and finding a unique, viable market niche.

2. Good to Great: Powerful, timeless concepts on the fundamentals of great companies that stand out in the market place.

3. The Advantage: A great resource for consolidating and aligning various aspects of your business and crystallizing your short-term focus.

4. Playing to Win: A great book on answering difficult questions on strategy, especially as your business becomes more complex (with various sub-brands and business units).

5. The Innovator’s Dilemma: Great for larger companies wanting to stay ahead of disruptive technologies, and also for startups wanting to penetrate an established market.

6. Outthink the Competition: Nice perspectives on strategy and maneuvering (playing on war-related strategems)

7. The Great Game of Business: If you’re tired of being the only person driving the business and want to build a company of business-minded co-owners, then check out this book for a fresh approach to business.

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Sales and marketing is the lifeblood of any organization or business, so it definitely warrants a list of its own. Here are several great sales and marketing books:

1. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Good fundamentals to think about branding and marketing.

2. The Ultimate Sales Machine: Again, the title says it all…build your sales and marketing engine!

3. Selling the Invisible: Focuses on selling intangible services, with some good tips on sales and marketing.

4. Building a StoryBrand: Crystallize a compelling message that appeals to your customers. Which business doesn’t need that?


Since your business will only grow as large as you do, you’ll obviously also need to work on your thinking skills, leadership/management skills, financial intelligence etc.  Find the best books to read for other goals and challenges, or subscribe to get full access to ALL of these great books!

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