By learning from those that have gone before you and reading value-packed entrepreneurship books from people you admire, you can bypass many pitfalls and costly mistakes.
Ignoring the lessons of successful founders and opting to learn everything as you go is like leaving the map at home and opting to skip the shortcuts to go the long way round.
All of the top 10 entrepreneur books in this list have been written by people I admire. From founders of global brand names to experts in prioritization and self-help books that have stood the test of time.
Making your way through this list is guaranteed to grow you as an entrepreneur and as a person.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”Isaac Newton
The 10 best entrepreneurship books
1. The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan
The One Thing is one of those books you read, fall in love with, and then re-read when you find yourself losing focus of what's important to you.
Written in 2013, The One Thing took the world by storm and quickly became a number one bestseller and one of the best business books of all time.
I've decided to feature it first on my list of the best books for entrepreneurs because it'll quite simply revolutionize your attitude to work and success. If you find yourself trying and failing to multitask, you're not alone. You just really need to read this book.
“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls– family, health, friends, integrity– are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”Gary Keller, The One Thing
- You cannot effectively focus on many different things at once. Trying to do that will burn you out and mean none of those things are done well. By narrowing down your focus to the one most important thing for you to do right now, you can tackle what really matters.
- Don't rely on willpower alone for great results. Automate your habits until they become second nature and willpower becomes redundant.
- There is no such thing as a truly balanced life. There is always an imbalance, and that is usually where the magic happens – when you're fully focused and consumed by your biggest priority at that time. Embrace this, get the result, and then make time for your other priorities later.
2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich was originally published in 1937, and later updated for the 21st century. There's no surprise that this classic self-improvement book has stood the test of time and continued to be a favorite for many generations of entrepreneurs.
Napoleon Hill shared his secrets to success after 20 years of studying some of the wealthiest, most successful, and least successful people in his life, and it's considered by many to be one of the best books to read for entrepreneurs.
You can use the concepts in this book to grow your wealth, and many do, but there is no limit. Whatever you're lacking in life, be it relationships, purpose, fame, experiences, or indeed, money, this book can help you attract it.
“If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance.“Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
- Everything you want to achieve in life is in your power to do so. But you must believe 100% that it is possible and rid yourself of all the excuses holding you back.
- To achieve anything in life you need to think it into existence. Great things don't happen accidentally, you must put in the will and work to make them a reality.
- Embrace the one and only thing you can really control in life, your thoughts.
3. The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
This book is just as necessary for the exhausted entrepreneur who has created a prison-like work schedule for themselves, as it is for the tired employee trapped in a 9-5 they hate.
In The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss teaches us to question the lifestyle that is taught to us from a young age and demand more from our lives.
Tim Ferriss also made it to my list of The Best Entrepreneur Blogs, so if you love The 4-Hour Work Week as much as I do then you can also check out his blog.
“It’s too big a world to spend most of life in a cubicle.”Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Work Week
- Work smarter not harder. In other words, get the maximum result for minimum effort, by putting the right systems in place.
- Don't wait until you're 70+ to retire and enjoy the profits of your life. Embrace ‘mini retirements' to focus on things that excite you throughout your life.
- Strive to own a business, not run one, or worse, let it run you. Utilize outsourcing, automation, and our global world so that your business steals as little of your time as possible.
4. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Shoe Dog is the motivating memoir of sneaker giant Nike's founder, Phil Knight. If you're going to learn about the many pitfalls and crossroads of business, learn it from a self-made CEO of a 30+ billion-dollar company.
This is one of the most inspiring biographies and best books to read for entrepreneurs. It takes you right from the beginning of the founding of Nike to the household name it has become today.
“Beating the competition is relatively easy, beating yourself is a never-ending commitment.”Phil Knight, Shoe Dog
- Never settle. There is a whole world out there to explore, and it's yours for the taking. Don't settle for less than you deserve.
- As an entrepreneur, you will only get so far. The team you build and the trust you have in them is what will take you to the next level.
- “How can I leave my mark on the world, I thought, unless I get out there first and see it?” Phill preaches the importance of seeing the world for yourself, what he has learned through his many travels, and shares his adventures from Greece to Japan and many more.
5. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited is full of hard truths that will make you rethink what it means to own a successful business. It's packed with value and relevant to people at all stages of business, so I had to include this in my top 10 entrepreneur books.
Michael Gerber explains that if you have a business that relies on you, you don't really have a business at all. You have a job.
If you're a small business owner who has created themselves a 9-5, then you need this book. Take his advice, follow the steps and create the business you truly want.
“We must ask: How must the business work for it to be a great business, to match our vision, to give us the lifestyle we dream?”Michael E. Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited
- Running a business is a way of life. It requires so much more than understanding the technicalities of your product or service.
- Make time to work on your business, not just in it. You can do this by efficient delegation, outsourcing, optimizing, and systemization.
- Understand the 3-core business personalities your business needs. Namely, “The Entrepreneur”, “The Manager” and, “The Technician”.
6. Scaling Up by Verne Harnish
Winner of countless awards, Scaling up is truly one of the best books for entrepreneurs.
It teaches us to focus on improving four major principles; people, strategy, execution, and cash. Talking us through the integral scaling stage that so often makes or breaks the success of a business.
Full of real-world examples and practical advice, you'll be implementing the tips in this book before reaching the final page.
There are a lot of diagrams in this book so if you're usually an e-reader, I would urge you to go for the physical copy this time.
“Scaling up is every entrepreneur’s dream — and nightmare. Hypergrowth is terrifying, and it’s most often success that kills great companies.”Verne Harnish, Scaling Up
- Take hiring decisions very seriously. Don't underestimate the impact great managers will have on your organization.
- Goals don't happen without the people behind them. All the goals in your company need to be assigned to a person with sole responsibility for achieving them.
- Growth is expensive. Never neglect cash flow while focusing on loss and profits, or your business could go under before the growth pays off.
7. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
Rich Dad Poor Dad bridges the gap between the people who grew up around money, understanding what it can do, and those that didn't. Through teaching the importance of financial literacy, it levels the playing field for all those who read it and empowers them to take control of their futures.
Despite the title, this is not one of those entrepreneur books that's just about money. It's about reprogramming how we're taught to think about concepts such as success, wealth, and opportunity from a young age.
It will give you the permission you might be looking for to break free from some of the social norms that are holding you back and create more for yourself.
“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad
- There is a big difference between working for money and making your money work for you. The former will never bring you serious wealth.
- Learn the difference between assets and liability. Assets put money in your pock, liabilities take it back out.
- You can be the fastest rat in the race, but you're still in a rat race. Basically, succeeding in something you don't want to do, such as a depressing 9-5 that doesn't fulfill you, isn't really a success at all.
8. Man Up by Bedros Keuilian
In Man Up, Bedros Keuilian shares his experience from years of coaching and consulting to help you achieve your goals and greatest dreams, whatever they may be. For me, it's one of the best business books of all time because he speaks the truth that everybody needs to hear.
With a firm belief that everybody has a purpose and the potential to do something amazing, Keuilian takes a no-nonsense approach to urge you to go out there and reach for the stars.
If you're easily offended or afraid, this might not make it to your top 10 entrepreneur books. If you're serious about reaching your goals and you're not going to take no for an answer, then what are you waiting for?
“Money moves to people who take action. Too many of you are the kings and queens of ideas, but you don’t get paid for ideas, you get paid for done.”Bedros Keuilian, Man Up
- Your goals will only happen if you prioritize them. You've had enough wishing and waiting, it's time to take action.
- Don't accept mediocrity. You're capable of more than you think, but you have to believe it by overcoming your limiting beliefs.
- You must take responsibility for your life. For your success, for your failures, and for your happiness. Only then can you grow.
9. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
World-renowned investor and entrepreneur Ray Dalio believes his strong principles have guided him through his unique career and contributed to his overall success in life and business.
In Principles, you can learn how to recreate some of this success by getting clear on your own principles and developing a firm code of conduct for yourself.
This is not one of those entrepreneur books that's only relevant to investors. It's full of useful nuggets and practical advice as well as thought-provoking pieces for anybody striving for success in their chosen career path.
“Remember that most people are happiest when they are improving and doing the things that suit them naturally and help them advance. So learning about your people’s weaknesses is just as valuable (for them and for you) as is learning their strengths.”Ray Dalio, Principles
- If you work hard enough, you can pretty much achieve anything you want to – but not everything. You must make choices, prioritize, and sometimes reject a good option for a great one.
- Your organization should be built around goals, not tasks. Tasks will change over time, tasks can be picked up and put down again. Goals are the driving force that will motivate you at all times.
- Consideration and generosity matter more than money in great partnerships. Money should be one factor, but not the only one.
10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
I had to include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in my list of the best books for entrepreneurs. At over 40 million copies sold in 50+ languages, there is a reason this Stephen Covey masterpiece is considered one of the best business books of all time.
If you take on board the advice from this book, you have the chance to make a real difference in your life. Full of practical and life-changing advice, it's one you'll want to take breaks with and give a lot of thought to rather than read in one sitting.
“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- It's not what life throws at you that matters, it's how you respond to it. You cannot control everything that happens, but you can choose to grow from it.
- Habits are the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do). Master your habits, and the rest will fall into place.
- Having courage doesn't mean you're not afraid. It just means you want something too much to let fear get in the way.
Level up your business by learning from the greats
I hope you enjoyed reading about my top 10 entrepreneur books. These are the entrepreneur books that have helped me to grow my business and I've implemented many of the strategies and concepts covered in my day-to-day life with great success.
If you're still looking for more inspiration, check out my list of the top ten movies for entrepreneurs. I like to mix up where I get my inspiration from to minimize fatigue and keep things interesting.
I would love to hear about your favorite business books for entrepreneurs.
Let me know in the comments or tag me on social media with a quote from your best business book.