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Well-Read: Top Books for Entrepreneurs

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By Jessica Valdez   |    November 30, 2017   |    9:02 AM


Titles to Help You Forge Path to Business Success and Happiness

Entrepreneurship by its nature is about forging your own path, doing things your way, building success on your terms. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from others who were once in your shoes and plotted a successful course.

You can’t grab a coffee with all those great minds, but you can read their words of wisdom. And while there is no shortage of “must-read” lists for the entrepreneur, there are titles that consistently appear on most of them. Here are 12 to get your library started.

“All In” by Bill Green

Green lays out 101 of his keenest insights on what it takes to go from start-up founder (who got his start at a flea market, no less) to chief executive officer at a publicly traded company.

“Tools of Titans”  and “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss

“Tools of Titans” dives into the details of a successful life -- from morning routines to proper self care to sound financial advice -- from Ferris, who parlayed his nutritional supplement business (since sold to a private equity firm) into a successful writing and speaking career.

“The 4-Hour Workweek,” Ferriss’ first book based on his founding of the successful nutritional supplements company mentioned above, also consistently makes numerous “best reads” list. As the title implies, it focuses on getting off the 40 (or more)-hour work week hamster wheel and on how to build a business that will allow you to work less and still make money.

“Grit” by Angela Duckworth

In this book, Duckworth makes the case that the talented and successful are only separated by one quality -- grit. She advocates for passion and persistence as being the key to success in any endeavor whether it be study, parenting, sports or business. 

“Pivot” by Jenny Blake

Blake digs into running a lean, agile startup and provides a guide to making it work. From covering your weaknesses to magnifying your strengths and experimenting to find out which ideas work and which you should abandon, Blake says success is as close as your next move. 

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins

Great is better than good, but how do you get there? Collins had a research team dig into Fortune 500 companies that saw at least a decade of stalled profits, followed by 15 years of bouncing back to growing profits and success. Those companies’ examples are explored in the book and serve as a teaching tool on how you can surpass your competition. 

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey

If this book isn’t on your shelf already, click over to Amazon or head to the bookstore right now. A best-selling book for years, it provides actionable guidance to leaders who want to lead in action and thought. It’s a guide book to lead by example that helps you look inward to improve.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Another “oldie but goodie,” this, too, is one you should rush out to buy. Carnegie lines out the case that doing business “the right way” is the best path to success. Respect and dignity in all transactions and relationships are at the core of his philosophy that boils down to being a person with whom people want to do business.

“Zero to One” by Peter Thiel

Doing something different is what entrepreneurs want to do, but Thiel argues you can’t do that if you’re doing something that’s already been done. Rather, you need to do something unique and new, and this book can help you realize just what that is.

“Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcom Gladwell

In this best-seller, Gladwell explores how every day we think without thinking and make choices in an instant, but those choices aren’t always as simple as they appear. He explores why some people are great decision-makers, while others stumble often; why instinctual choices always go so well for some, but fall miserably flat for others. Take a look at how our brains work in all of our day-to-day settings and learn why sometimes good decisions are impossible to explain.

“The $100 Startup” by Chris Gillebeau

Gillebeau looks at 50 entrepreneurial success stories, introducing you to entrepreneurs making more than $50,000 after starting with only a few bucks in the bank.

“Rework” by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

This book discards the idea that you need to approach business the same way it’s been done for years. Rather, it tries to hone in on easier, faster, better ways to succeed, starting with ‘stop talking and start doing’.

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