Top 8 books for entrepreneurs
However far into the process of building a company you are, it is always appropriate to pick up a book and increase your knowledge and understanding to be more successful. You might be able to Google a fair amount of resources when you get stuck, but there is still no match for a cleverly crafted and researched piece of literature that delves into a subject at length. A good book will hopefully be a gripping read, as well as an informative one, so that you can sit up late at night or lie on a sun lounger clutching a paperback without feeling like you are working at all.
At this time of year, it’s prudent to note that these books also make great Christmas presents if you are stuck for what to get your co-founder.
1. The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate your Success (by Emma Seppala)
2016 has been a particularly tough year for many people. Fortunately, it is nearly over and we can begin to wipe the slate clean. Entrepreneurs must juggle family life, work life, relationships and a multitude of other delicate situations that can take their toll on you if you never stop to put your own happiness first. Emma Seppala’s book examines a few common myths such as the idea that stress breeds success and debunks them. This book is great for anyone wanting to slow down in 2017 and streamline their happiness to reach greater professional success.
2. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (by Peter Theil)
From one entrepreneur to another, Peter Theil has written a whole book about our current approach to innovation and the future of creating unique businesses. If you want to know how to build a business that will actually become something worthwhile to the world, rather than get brushed under the carpet, then read this book and take some notes. Real world examples are scattered throughout, so you can position yourself in line with others.
3. The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses (by Eric Ries)
The cover of this book holds a quote from Dan Heath, author of another great book about business, saying that it is ‘mandatory reading for entrepreneurs’. Eric Ries details how you should go about reviewing your successes and implementing changes to constantly improve. Just because you’ve launched, doesn’t mean you must rigidly stick to your business plan – this book gives you ideas on how to test customer behaviour to improve your product development so that you can ideally create something that benefits your target market efficiently and cheaply without wasting too much time.
4. The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage (by Ryan Holiday)
The overarching theme of this book is the philosophy of stoicism. Stoicism is the ability to face life and all its problems free of denial and illusion. If you face difficult times as an entrepreneur, then this book will guide you through it with practical techniques and examples from human history. This book is a manual in how to create opportunity out of what seems like immovable obstacles and sets it out in three steps. Essentially anyone who is sick of feeling like barriers are coming up against themselves and their business will benefit from flicking through Ryan Holiday’s book.
5. Lucky or Smart? Fifty Pages for the First-Time Entrepreneur (by Bo Peabody)
If you enjoy reading anecdotes from startup owners about their trials and pitfalls coupled with resounding success, then you might well find this book interesting. Bo Peabody has had a lucrative career as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, with experience in startups stretching way back to the nineties. His book is an honest reflection on how much of success is determined by luck and how much by smarts – and whether you can use intelligence to place yourself into a position to get lucky. Great read for those wanting something a bit easier to digest, written from a personal perspective.
6. Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson)
For a fantastic and detailed resource about everything in the world of venture capitalists, pick up this book. Its two authors have been involved in countless deals and have insider knowledge on everything in the process from start to finish. If you are looking for strategies for securing a great deal or just want to know more about how venture capitalism works, then this book will be a helpful guide. If you are serious about raising venture capital for your startup, then don’t begin the process without reading this book first!
7. The 100$ Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More (by Chris Guillebeau)
Quit the corporate nine to five and build your own business. The main message of this book is that anyone can create their own startup – you don’t need a huge investment to get going. You can just go. There are real-life case-studies of people who have had successes on 100$ or less without killing themselves through stress. Great advice and inspiration are useful for any entrepreneur, whether they are embarking on their fourth venture or their first. If you need any motivation for following a dream, then this is it.
8. Founders at Work: Stories of Startups Early Days (by Jessica Livingston)
Founders at Work is a collection of interviews with founders of famous tech companies from the 80s and 90s eras. If you’ve ever been interested in the inner workings of startups you will find this book the ideal read. For entrepreneurs, this is a chance to see what went wrong and how things got fixed at startups before now, to learn from others’ mistakes. Most of the names will be familiar to those that know their tech startups and the rawness of each interview will leave you with lots to think about. Achievements and failures come to everyone, and this book is a gentle reminder that no one is handed success without a struggle.
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