Must Read Startup Books for Entrepreneurs

Books are distinct from visceral forms of entertainment for various reasons. They can be a game-changer, often for the greater good. Entrepreneurs must read books which are enriched with words of wisdom put forth by experienced entrepreneurs and market leaders who have years of experience good and bad in the industry.

We have compiled a list of 10 best books for entrepreneur, that you should read, no matter you’re an established entrepreneur or just starting out in that direction.

Best Books for Entrepreneurs (Must Read)

Zero to one

Author : Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

Publication Year : 2014

One of thee best books on startups is penned by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters, a self-made billionaire, Zero to One gives an insight into his journey from co-founding PayPal to selling it to eBay for a cool $1.5 billion along with investing in Facebook. Peter highlights important lessons and valuable techniques that entrepreneurs can incorporate in their ventures.

Think and Grow Rich

Author : ‎Napoleon Hill

Publication Year : 1937

Arguably one of the most motivational pieces of writing that the world has come across, and therefore a must read for every entrepreneur. This self-help book published by Napoleon Hill in 1939 is the amalgamation of powerful thoughts that were the driving factor behind prominent personalities of the 18th and 19th century. Andrew Carnegie was the wealthy philanthropist whose proposal compelled Napoleon to bring this 250-page book to fruition. It took him nearly 20 years before the perfected version to come up with the perfected version of ‘Think and Grow Rich’.

The Warren Buffett Way

Author : Robert G. Hagstrom
Publication Year : 1994

Not a fairy-tale by any means, the book talks of Buffett’s initial years, such as his first stock and important lessons he learned from legends such as Philip Fresher. The core of the writing is his four principles of investment methodology- Business, management, finance, and markets; there are nine case studies elucidating how he used these tenets to invest in some of his holdings. It has been written by Robert G. Hagstrom.

How We Make Stuff Now: Turn Ideas Into Products That Build Successful Businesses

Author : Jules Pieri
Publication Year : 2019

This book is a must read book for entrepreneurs who are working on a physical product. There are 16 chapters like Design and Documentation, Prototyping, Funding, Manufacturing, Packaging, Direct to Consumer, Logistics, and Inventory Management for hardware and product business. These chapters are filled with case study examples from companies that have had products in The Grommet.

When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want

Author : Mike Lewis
Publication Year : 2018

Mike Lewis gives the much-needed guidance for those planning to step into the entrepreneurial waters. With a foreword from Sheryl Sandberg, the book is a collection of short stories by numerous successful founders describing their journey in the first place. A must read, especially for those who are hesitant to ditch their 9 to 5 job for entrepreneurship.

Also read - Top Business Ideas with Low Investment

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Author : Stephen Covey
Publication Year : 1989

“Habits make a man”, and taking a cue from individuals known for being effective and efficient won’t do any harm. After all, almost everyone tries to emulate the most intelligent kid in the class. Summarizing the seven points into one-liners would do injustice the book, for the explanation behind each habit is worth reading!

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Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do

Author : Jennifer Eberhardt
Publication Year : 2019

Jennifer Eberhardt writes about her decades of experience studying race and everyday interactions. She suggests that in order to overcome our own racial biases, we must acknowledge them. This book helps us to view how racial bias works in our own minds and throughout society. Her research shows critical information which can help leaders better understand how biases can impact our judgment and how we are perceived by the communities we are sworn to serve.

Start With Why

Author : Simon Sinek
Publication Year : 2009

Simon Sinek’s Ted talk is amazing and I’d personally recommend you to watch it before reading ‘Start With Why’. In this book, Simon puts forward the idea that throughout history, renowned leaders have valued the why over how and what. His philosophy and real-life examples ought to inspire the reader to inspire those around him or her. Such is the ripple effect produced by this wonderful writing!

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Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts Into Connections

Author : Ivan Misner, Brian Hilliard
Publication Year : 2009

The cumulative work of three writers-- Ivan R. Misner, David Alexander and Brian Hilliard, this guide teaches the art of networking and how businesses can leverage the power of connecting to turn successful. A useful technique known as ‘four streams of networking rivers’, outlining how to have a well-developed referral network, is just one among the various reasons as to why every entrepreneur must read this masterpiece.

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Also Read- Top 50 Richest person in India List 2018

Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?

Author : Aaron Dignan
Publication Year : 2019

Aaron Dignan helps teams around the world completely reinvent their operating systems which is fundamental principles and practices that shape their culture—with extraordinary success. He helps them see that organizations aren't machines to be predicted and controlled. Instead, Organization is a complex human system full of potential waiting to be released. In Brave New Work, you'll learn exactly how to reinvent the way you work, not through top-down mandates, but through a groundswell of autonomy, trust, and transparency.

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The 4-Hour Work Week

Author : Tim Ferriss
Publication Year : 2007

Tim Ferris introduces the concept of the ‘New Rich’, one that encourages the lifestyle of doing, having and being whatever the person wants. The technique known as DEAL: Definition, Elimination, Automation and finally Liberation, is what the author feels every man should follow in order to gain financial freedom and thus live life better.

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

Author : Noam T. Wasserman
Publication Year : 2012

Noam Wasserman’s efforts bring to notice a topic that is often downplayed in the process of launching a startup: Difficulties and adversities. Through research, Wasserman talks of the most common pitfalls that founders have to endure. To better prepare such future leaders, this book serves as an essential toolbox; this gem of a book transcends a self-improvement guide!

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Also Read - Rushi Adhia - Make Most of your Time Productive

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Author : Peter Drucker
Publication Year : 1966

Peter F. Ducker is considered to be the most influential management thinker ever. In this book, Ducker highlights the constraints that executives and those in similar positions are subjected to. He then provides excellent suggestions for maintaining the business effectiveness that is imperative for being productive. A classic must read for entrepreneurs that was first published in 1966!

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Creativity, Inc.

Author : Edwin Catmull, Amy Wallace
Publication Year : 2014

In Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, shares what happens behind-the-scenes in these two great companies. Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights. You can enter into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture.

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The Lean Startup

Author : Eric Ries
Publication Year : 2011

The book is centered around the concepts of validated learning and build-measure-learn feedback loop which means build a product, measure your customers’ reactions, and learn if your idea has been validated or if you need to adapt. Repeat this cycle until your customers send you a clear signal that your product fits a market need. It tries to bring in a systematic approach to measuring the progress at a startup. According to the author of book, one must begin with the customers in the form of interviews and research discovery. Ries also recommends using a process called the Five Whys which is a technique designed to reach the core of an issue.

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The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Author : Ben Horowitz
Publication Year : 2014

The Hard Thing About Hard Things is written by Ben Horowitz who is a cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and he is one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs. He writes his own story of founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies to offer essential advice and practical wisdom for navigating the toughest problems business schools don't cover.

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Hooked

Author : Nir Eyal, Ryan Hoover
Publication Year : 2014

Why do we use certain products regularly though many such products are available in the market? - like Google- What makes us habituated with certain products? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us?

Hooked is based on Eyal’s years of research, consulting, and practical experience. Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.

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Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

Author : Safi Bahcall
Publication Year : 2019

Safi Bahcall is a cofounder of the biotech company Synta Pharmaceuticals. This book explains about lessons learned in wartime as well as from Polaroid and space exploration, among other periods and events. Using examples that range from the spread of fires in forests to the hunt for terrorists online, and stories of thieves and geniuses and kings, Bahcall shows how this new kind of science helps us understand the behavior of companies and the fate of empires.

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The $100 StartUp

Author : Chris Guillebeau
Publication Year : 2012

The $100 StartUp put out the possibility of starting and running a successful business with a ridiculously small team (1 to 5 members) with many real-life case studies. Chris Guillebeau writes a step-by-step framework you can use to find where your passion meets your skills and turn those into an income from your couch, based on his own case studies. Using nothing but a laptop and some wifi in most cases, you can build a thriving software, freelance or education business and scale it as far as you want.

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Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World

Author : Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall
Publication Year : 2019

The new book 'Nine Lies About Work' explains the inherent flaws of traditional attempts to define effective leadership. Authors Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall explains the disconnect between the ways you know you work best and the ways you are told to work. They examine the practices that organisations do to exert control and impose uniformity: practices that have become common wisdom but that have failed to result in improved productivity and employee motivation.

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The E-Myth Revisited

Author : Michael E. Gerber
Publication Year : 1995

Michael E. Gerber originally published as “The E Myth” in 1986. Michael Gerber revised and updated the book in 1995. Michael E. Gerber explains how you can set up a company that depends much more on systems, than on people, and anyone can look after it with set of right instructions. He explains running a business and getting technical work done are two different things and shows you how you can set up a system dependent company rather than people dependent.

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The Four Steps to the Epiphany

Author : Steve Blank
Publication Year : 2005

Steve Blank explains hands-on instructions on how to handle customers, sales, marketing and building your company at different stages of your business. He explains how Customer Development Model is more useful than Product Development Model for new startups. There are four steps to the Customer Development Model: Customer Discovery, Customer Validation, Customer Creation and Company Building.

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Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Author : David Epstein
Publication Year : 2019

The book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World explains diverse experiences are helpful in business, science, music, parenting and even sports. This book says that you can be more successful in life if you learn different things and don't try to be an expert. The book also says generalization is the key to parenting, especially when it comes to guiding your children towards areas where they can excel: "The best thing [parents] can do is to expose [children] to a lot of things, help them to reflect on those things, that's called self-regulatory learning."

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Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry Can Teach Us About Economics and Life

Author : Alan B. Krueger
Publication Year : 2019

Alan B. Krueger uses the music industry, from superstar artists to music executives, from managers to promoters, as a way in to explain key principles of economics, and the forces shaping our economic lives. Mr. Krueger surveys studies on the healing qualities of music — both its ability to “stir memories and emotions in people afflicted by neurological disorders,” and to make us happier.

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Unlocking the Customer Value Chain: How Decoupling Drives Consumer Disruption

Author : Thales S. Teixeira
Publication Year : 2019

The book, "Unlocking the Customer Value Chain: How Decoupling Drives Consumer Disruption" says how and why consumer industries are disrupted, and what established companies can do about it—while highlighting the specific strategies potential startups use to gain a competitive edge. Thales Teixeira is a Harvard Business School professor. Thales Teixeira explains the nature of competition has fundamentally changed. Using innovative new business models, startups are stealing customers by breaking the links in how consumers discover, buy and use products and services.

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The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison's Ten-Year Road Trip

Author : Jeff Guinn
Publication Year : 2019

The Vagabonds is the fascinating story of two American giants, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. They were accompanied by Harvey Firestone, and naturalist John Burroughs too. The Vagabonds is an evenhanded look at four men who helped define their time. Author Jeff Guinn wrote the exciting parts of the vagabonds’ road trips and the impact they had on the populace without shying away from the profound character flaws of Ford and Edison. While not a detailed biography of these men, you get a good sense of who they were and what motivated them.

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Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We're Thriving in a New World of Possibility

Author : David Weinberger
Publication Year : 2019

Everyday Chaos says how we've been busily, silently overturning our most basic ideas about change. That affects how we plan, measure success, make predictions, model and explain our world, and design strategies — and ultimately how we think the future emerges from the present. Through stories from history, business, and technology, philosopher and technologist David Weinberger finds the unifying truths lying below the surface of the tools we take for granted--and a future in which our best strategy often requires holding back from anticipating and instead creating as many possibilities as we can. The book’s imperative for business and beyond is simple: Make. More. Future.

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

Author : Ben Horowitz
Publication Year : 2019

"What You Do Is Who You Are: How To Create Your Business Culture" takes readers through the process of designing a company culture and imbuing it with the values one wants to espouse as well as the level of performance one expects. The author combines lessons both from history and modern organisational practice with practical and often surprising advice to help us build cultures that can weather both good and bad times. This book is a journey through cultures ancient to modern, spotlighting models of leadership and culture-building from the samurai to prison gangs.

Some more books Entrepreneurs will love to read

Business Adventures

Author: John Brooks

Publication Year: 1969

The book includes stories about Wall Street with drama and adventure.

Conscious Capitalism

Author: John Mackey and Raj Sisodia

Publication Year: 2013

The book illustrates how business and capitalism can work most powerfully to create value for all stakeholders.

As a Man Thinketh

Author: James Allen

Publishing Year: 1903

As a Man Thinketh explores the central idea of self-empowerment writing.

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World

Author: Rene Girard

Publishing Year: 1987

The book is an analysis of three core mechanisms that leads the widespread social interactions.

Do let us know if you have read any other book which should have been in the list. We would love to read it and feature it in this list of the books for entrepreneurs.

Also read: Best movies for Entrepreneurs

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