Starting a business is not for the faint of heart.  It requires hard work, discipline, time management skills, project management skills, and above all else the determination to succeed; even when you think you’ve been beaten.

The good news is that you don’t have to start your business blind.  When it comes to entrepreneurship, there are thousands of other people just like you who have started, failed, succeeded, and everything else in between!  

books on starting a business

Best Books On Starting A Business

If you’re looking to start a business, reading about how to do so can be key. Here are the nine best books on starting a business that are full of knowledge that you’re going to want to absorb.

1- "The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future" by Chris Guillebeau

business books - The 100 Dollar Startup

Think you need an MBA, fleet of employees, or an iron-clad business plan for your venture to take off? Let author Chris Guillebeau dispel all of these myths. 

Guillebeau, who has never held a traditional job, relies instead on turning his ideas into various passive income streams.  And he's not alone.  In The $100 Startup, you're going to also meet 50 unique case studies of individuals who have taken $100 or less and turned their passion into a growing micro-business.  

This book is a perfect motivation for anyone who thinks they don't have what it takes or would just like to escape the 9-to-5 "cube-atory" and give their life some direction.

2- "The 4-Hour Workweek" by Timothy Ferriss

business books - The 4 Hour Workweek

While most people were shying away from online businesses after the dot-com crash in the early 2000s, author Timothy Ferriss was working on something different: Developing a fully automated supplements business that literally only required roughly 4 hours of his attention each week.  And in The 4 Hour Workweek, Ferriss shows you exactly how he did it and how you can too.

Beyond just his successful business strategy, Ferriss delivers a bigger message in this book: It's much more important to do what is meaningful to you than to fill a seat from nine to five.  In each section, you'll find it chucked full of great case studies, useful content, and advice for getting the most output for your input.

This book could not come more recommended to anyone with aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur.  If you'd like to learn how to stop working harder and start working smarter, then this the book you need to read.

3- "Principles: Life and Work" by Ray Dalio

business books - Principles

How does someone go from being broke to building a 150 billion dollar hedge fund firm?

Principles is the summary of over 40 years of entrepreneurship from Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio.  In this book, Dalio shares what he’s learned throughout his remarkable career and then teaches you his five-step process to achieve what you want out of life.

Dalio has appeared on the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world as well as the Bloomberg Markets list of the 50 most influential people.

This book is essential to anyone who is trying to understand the fundamental building blocks of their life and what they should do with them.

4- “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek

business books - Start With Why

From one of the most top-viewed TED Talks of all time, author Simon Sinek expands upon his message to businesses that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it."

If you've ever wondered why some people and organizations are more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others, than this is your book.  In Start With Why, Sinek helps you understand his "Golden Circle" concept where you first define your "why" followed by the "how" and "what" on the outer rings.

Through numerous examples, Sinek demonstrates that the most successful businesses were built around great people who inspired others.  This book is a captivating read for anyone seeking a role in leadership.

5- “Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence - and How You Can, Too” by Gary Vaynerchuk

business books - Crushing It

Before he was a New York Times bestselling author,  Gary Vaynerchuk took his family wine business and grew it from $3 million to a $60 million business in just five years.  Since then, he has become one of the most talked-about and successful motivators in digital media.

In Crushing It, Vaynerchuk emphasizes that if you choose to work around your passion, life will be more fulfilling.  You'll learn about the experiences of dozens of influencers and entrepreneurs who are utilizing social media platforms to promote their personal brands to the utmost potential.

If you're someone who rejects the predictability of a corporate path in favor of pursuing your dream instead, then this is your guide to building your own path to professional and financial success

6- "The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd" by Allan Dib

business books - The 1 Page Marketing Plan

Don't trick yourself into thinking that “if you build it, they will come”.  In his book The 1-Page Marketing Plan, serial entrepreneur Allan Dib will teach you how the biggest leverage point in any business is marketing. If you get just 10 percent better at marketing, this can have an exponential or multiplying effect on the bottom line.

Rather than mimic what the big-name companies do, Dib focuses on the strategies and mindsets that create successful marketing.  Believe it or not, this will be accomplished by drawing just nine squares on a single piece of paper and answering the following questions:

  • Who is your target market, what will you say to them, and how will you reach them?
  • How will you capture, nurture, convert leads into customers?
  • How will you deliver a great experience, increase customer lifetime value, and get referrals to continually come your way?

This book is a must for anyone trying to devise a marketing plan.  Its simple, fast, and proven to be effective.

7- “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Hansson

business books - Rework

Get ready for one of the most blunt, atypical business books you’ll find in the market today.  From the founders of the scrappy software company 37signals, Rework is a different kind of approach that explores the new reality of workplace culture and doing business.

Entrepreneurs will take solace in Fried and Heinemeier Hansson's "easy is better" tactic.  With its brutally honest tone, voice, and style, the authors will question everything you know about business today.  

  • Don't have a business plan?  Don’t worry; you don’t need one.
  • Do you get any values out of meetings? Forget about them!  
  • Is your company not growing?  Who cares - why not just keep it small and focused.

Over and over again, the message will be clear: The times have changed and the old ways don’t work.  To thrive today, both personally and professionally, we need to rethink the way we do things.

8- "The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It" by Michael Gerber 

business books - The E-Myth Revisited

One of the worst things you can do to yourself when you start a business is to become a slave to it.  If you want to save yourself from working night and day, then you'll want to check out The E-Myth Revisited.

Author Michael Gerber reviews all of the aspects of preparing your business to succeed beyond just your initial idea.  You'll learn about the struggle between the inner technician, manager, and entrepreneur.  In many cases, it's not what you don't know that can harm your business but rather the amount of time and energy you waste defending what you think you know.

With over 5 million copies sold, whether you're thinking about starting a small business or already been running one for years, this book is a must-read for you.

9- "Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You" by John Warrillow

business books - Built to Sell

Drawing from his personal experience in starting and selling four companies, author John Warrillow demonstrates how the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to build a business that relies solely on them.  

Built to Sell is a fictional but all too relatable story of Alex Stapleton and his marketing company.  Alex would like to sell his business, but can't and so he enlists the guidance of his friend Ted to help him understand what he's been doing wrong.

More entrepreneurs would benefit from thinking about their exit strategy from day one.  Whether you want to sell or not, it will force you to put the right people and mechanisms in place for an overall more valuable and productive business.  This book is highly recommended for anyone who would like to do the same.

Final Thoughts: Best Books On Starting A Business

No matter what type of business you're looking to start, reading about and learning from business owners that came before you can be a great tool. Our guide to the best books on starting a business should help you discover the knowledge you require. Make your business a success from the very beginning!

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