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19 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read in 2023

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19 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read in 2023
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19 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read in 2023

Entrepreneurs need a whole range of skills to be successful. Project management. Leadership. Confidence. Flexibility. Decision-making skills. Creativity. We could go on. But that’s not to say that every entrepreneur steps into the job with all the skills they need. There’s a time for learning on the fly and a time when having some trusted guidance can help – and that’s where the best books for entrepreneurs can come in handy.

We’ve written several articles on business books! Whether you’re looking to improve your project management skills or seeking guidance when starting your business, books may offer much-needed structure in an otherwise overwhelming phase.

But this list focuses on books for entrepreneurs! From the classics to actually-interesting autobiographies to super practical guides, we’ve selected the books for entrepreneurs that will give you all the knowledge and technique you need to guide your entrepreneurial journey.

Best Books for Entrepreneurs in 2023

1. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Zero to OneAuthor: Peter Thiel
Year of Publication: 2014

“Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” – written by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel – offers a unique perspective on entrepreneurship and innovation. The key takeaway? The importance of creating something truly new rather than simply copying existing ideas. He challenges conventional wisdom and encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to aim for monopoly-like success, where they can dominate and create value in their market. The book is both practical and inspiring, making this a must-read for anyone looking to make their mark in the business world.

2. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with WhyAuthor: 2009
Year of Publication: Simon Sinek

“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” is everything the title suggests. It pushes you to consider questions like: why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

The book then goes on to explain how the most influential leaders think, act, and communicate as a framework for building strong organizations.

3. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business

Smarter Faster BetterAuthor: Charles Duhigg
Year of Publication: 2016

You can think of “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” as a playbook for productivity. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Charles Duhigg, shares stories and insights backed by the research about how to unlock productivity. From staying motivated and choosing ambitious goals to building effective teams and making better decisions, this book offers practical advice to help you step up in both life and business.

4. Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive

Entrepreneurial YouAuthor: Dorie Clark
Year of Publication: 2017

“Monetize your expertise, create multiple income streams and thrive.” Who wouldn’t want that?

“Entrepreneurial You” Dorie Clark has created a guide to creating a sustainable business in the changing digital landscape. It teaches about building a personal brand and turning your passion into profit. It also explores strategies like online courses, consulting, speaking engagements, and podcasting to help diversify revenue streams and expand your audience.

5. Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

Steve JobsAuthor: Walter Isaacson
Year of Publication: 2015

While we only included a few biographies on the list, “Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography” is definitely worth a read. It gives an in-depth look at the life and many accomplishments of Steve Jobs. While he’s best known as the co-founder Apple, it also offers insight into his leadership roles at Pixar and NeXT.

In some ways, it’s a book of lessons. He shares insights on taking risks, bouncing back, and the complexities of entrepreneurship. Plus, it’s Steve Jobs – expect an innovative perspective that will push you to think beyond conventional boundaries.

6. Starting a Business QuickStart Guide

Starting a Business QuickStart GuideAuthor: Ken Colwell
Year of Publication: 2019

When you’re just starting out on your business ventures, “Starting a Business QuickStart Guide” can help you navigate the complexities. It covers everything from market research to funding options to marketing strategies.

Whether you’re a first-time entrepreneur or just looking to improve your skills, the QuikStart guide can help you make more informed decisions and take a structured approach to starting up in a competitive business world.

7. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

TractionAuthor: Gino Wickman
Year of Publication: 2012

Entrepreneurs – read “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” for the practical and systematic approach it offers to scaling and management. The book is written by Gino Wickman and introduces the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) – a comprehensive framework meant to give businesses clarity, alignment, and consistent growth. With EOS, you’ll be able to gain better control of your organizations, pick the right priorities, and build your team culture.

It’s a must-read for any entrepreneur seeking to create a solid foundation, establish efficient processes, and navigate their company towards more sustainable growth and profitability.

8. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

The Lean StartupAuthor: Eric Ries
Year of Publication: 2017

“The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” explores the Lean Startup methodology – one approach to building and growing businesses. It emphasizes the importance of continuous innovation, rapid experimentation, and customer feedback as part of the entrepreneur’s process.

The Lean Startup methodology takes a scientific approach to entrepreneurship, encouraging you to test your assumptions, learn from failures, and adapt accordingly. This book will be handy for startups running in uncertain or dynamic markets where quick pivots are necessary.

9. How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleAuthor: Dale Carnegie
Year of Publication: 1998

You’re unlikely to find a list of best books to read for entrepreneurs without seeing “How to Win Friends and Influence People” on the list. The core message is about communication, building meaningful relationships, winning them over, and influencing them for the better. While not explicitly business focused, you’ll find techniques in active listening, expressing genuine interest, and offering sincere appreciation. For entrepreneurs, these skills can be used to connect with whoever you work with – be it customers, partners, investors, or team members.

10. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Atomic HabitsAuthor: James Clear
Year of Publication: 2019

While it’s only been around since 2019, “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has been read, reviewed, and recommended a lot. Clear explores the science behind making new habits and gives you a framework for making good habits and eliminating the more negative ones.

The book explores how small changes in behavior, made incrementally, can lead to massive transformations with time. Whether you use this book to improve your routine or chart a path forward, any entrepreneur can benefit from this one. We’d especially recommend this book to young entrepreneurs looking to make incremental improvements over their career.

11. Rework

 ReworkAuthor: Jason Fried
Year of Publication: 2010

Rework challenges conventional business wisdom with a new perspective on entrepreneurship and work culture. His approach to building a successful business is no-nonsense and encourages entrepreneurs to question tradition, embrace simplicity, and instead focus on the important stuff.

The book advocates for a lean and agile approach to business where efficiency takes the lead. With the help of this book, you might find yourself challenging norms and prioritizing your tasks entirely differently than you did before.

12. The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour WorkweekAuthor: Timothy Ferriss
Year of Publication: 2011

A 4-Hour Workweek almost sounds too good to be true. But when Tim Ferriss’ popular book was published in 2011, it delivered on its promise, teaching entrepreneurs how to change their mindset about 9-to-5 work and instead shift their focus towards financial freedom and time flexibility.

The key concept in the book is “lifestyle design”. With the help of technology, automation, and outsourcing, Ferriss shows you how to shift your focus to high-value tasks so you can ultimately spendless time on work. While the book is focused on online business, it’s a useful read for any entrepreneur looking to eliminate busywork and change their perspective on what work can be.

13. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

Good to GreatAuthor: Jim Collins
Year of Publication: 2001

What makes the difference between a good and a great company? Jim Collins explores this in “Good to Great.”

The book outlines some fundamental principles of successful companies – disciplined leadership, a culture of excellence, and the relentless pursuit of a clear and meaningful vision – and studies companies that have made the shift. Expect some big lessons in what it will take to create a truly great organization in the long run.

14. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

The $100 StartupAuthor: Chris Guillebeau
Year of Publication: 2012

How do you start a company with virtually no money? That’s what Guillebeau promises in his book “The $100 Startup”.

The book covers stories of entrepreneurs who have launched their ventures with $100 or less, emphasizing the strategies, challenges, and successes along the way. Read this one if you want encouragement to pursue your passions and create your business, even if you don’t feel you have the financial means to do it.

15. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

The Hard Thing About Hard ThingsAuthor: Ben Horowitz
Year of Publication: 2014

“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” delivers on its promise of sharing the hard thing about hard things. Building a business and leading a startup is a hard thing – and the book doesn’t hold back in sharing that perspective.

Horowitz writes about his experiences making tough decisions, managing teams, and dealing with crises before offering practical advice on the realities of entrepreneurialism. No promise of overnight success here. This book talks about perseverance and resilience as you work towards your goals. Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or a more experienced one pushing through, you can think of this as a motivational guide for tackling the many difficulties and uncertainties of starting a business.

16. Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

Rich Dad, Poor DadAuthor: Robert Kiyosaki
Year of Publication: 1997

“Rich Dad Poor Dad” is a personal finance classic, and the point still stands nearly three decades after its publication. It makes its point by contrasting the financial philosophies and beliefs of two fathers – the rich dad and the poor dad – making the point that the lessons passed on between generations about money can have a lasting impact.

The book challenges the belief that becoming rich requires a high income, challenges assumptions around investing, and highlights the importance of financial education. At the end of it, you might even be inspired to take control of your financial destiny, make better investment decisions, and embrace a mindset of entrepreneurship to build wealth and get financial freedom.

17. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Shoe DogAuthor: Phil Knight
Year of Publication: 2016

The second memoir on our list is “Shoe Dog”, authored by Nike co-founder Phil Knight. The book chronicles how Nike became one of the world’s most iconic brands with insights into Knight’s entrepreneurial journey.

What makes it so interesting is how a person from humble beginnings – selling shoes out of the trunk of his car – could go on to build a global empire. And Knight candidly reveals the challenges, risks, and sacrifices he encountered along the way. Think of it as a bit of advice and a lot of inspiration for you as you’re making your way as an entrepreneur.

18. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleAuthor: Stephen R. Covey
Year of Publication: 1989

“7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” first published in 1989, has stayed a classic for good reason. The book takes a holistic approach to effectiveness, focusing on seven habits. The book explores principles like taking the initiative, beginning with the end in mind, prioritizing important tasks, seeking win-win solutions in relationships, and continuously striving for self-improvement.

The book will push you to nurture a proactive mindset, better manage your time, and create more meaningful connections with others for more balance, productivity, and overall success.

19. Thinking Fast and Slow

Thinking Fast and SlowAuthor: Daniel Kahneman
Year of Publication: 2011

Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” gives insight into the human mind and how we make decisions. The book explores the concept of two cognitive systems: System 1, which operates automatically and quickly, and System 2, which involves more deliberate and analytical thinking.

With real-world examples and lots of research, the book explores how these systems shape our judgment and can lead to imperfect decisions. Ever wonder how emotions come into decision-making? What about the impact of heuristics and cognitive biases? Think of this book as an enlightening chance to reflect on how you make decisions so you can make more informed choices in your own business.

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