This article originally appeared on LifeHack regarding the 20 must-read books on entrepreneurship for those first-timers who are starting up their own projects/business and find themselves having to navigate the murky waters of entrepreneurship. We hope you do find the article interesting enough to help you on your quest. Personally the Lean Startup is my favorite!
Being a young entrepreneur is all fun and games until you realize that you’re actually younger than everybody. Your knowledge might not be at the same level as those who’ve been in the business for twenty years and that scares you. No need to worry though, if you have a high teachability index, you will be fine! The list below of books for young entrepreneurs is designed to help you grow both in life and in business in order to become a successful entrepreneur. The list provides books that will give you basic knowledge about being an entrepreneur but also share advice on what happens while on the journey to entrepreneurial success.
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This book is guaranteed to change your life forever. Not only will it teach you all the do’s and don’ts of the social life, but it will also teach you how to be a better entrepreneur. We all know that the digital age has made it harder to be influential outside of the Internet, which is just as important as web influence, but Dale Carnegie breaks down all the steps you need to take in order to make friends with everyone you meet. It teaches you the etiquette of how to overcome competition or how to win over people who are close-minded or simply not interested in your pitch. Every young entrepreneur needs to read this book at least once a year, it’s a business classic!
2. The Psychology of Sellingby Brian Tracy
Every entrepreneur knows that the key to a good business is good sales technique. Not only do you have to sell your product, but you also have to sell yourself and your idea. Having a great product doesn’t do anything if you don’t know how to approach the person and make them fall in love with you and the product. This book by Brian Tracy gives you valuable information and strategies about how to make more selling by focusing on one thing – the person. Young entrepreneurs tend to forget the basics of selling and jump right over to getting results, but in order to get results, you need to know the basics. Brian Tracy goes over those major points thoroughly.
3. Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson
With only 96 pages of wisdom, this book is an easy weekend read. Featuring four mice – Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw – the story goes over the four different personalities and how they can affect one’s business. This book will enlighten all young businesspeople on themselves and the choices they make in life. It will teach you how to become flexible with your decisions in order to move forward confidently towards your dreams and goals. At the end of the book, it’s recommended to draw a map and position yourself between the four mice, at the personality type that best fits your own. If you are within a type that will most likely keep you from succeeding in business, do something.
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
Another great read for every young entrepreneur. When you are younger in age, financial education might not be as high as the older competition, which puts you in a place of vulnerability. Robert Kiyosaki’s book breaks down everything you need to know about financial education without giving you a headache. The book will shine a light on the 9-5 job and the rat race that keeps you in that job you hate in order to pay the debts. He teaches you how to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true by giving you the cold, hard truth about wealth – it’s not found by going to school, getting good grades, graduating with a diploma, and working for a secure company.
5. Rich Woman by Kim Kiyosaki
All women unite! Again, young entrepreneurs don’t have the financial education that most older entrepreneurs tend to have, which is why reading books on financials education is key to succeeding! Kim Kiyosaki takes on the challenge to inform women everywhere about the power of money and how they can get a piece of that too. She empowers women to learn about their finances to make sure that they don’t depend on men for the rest of their lives. She teaches women from all ages on how to create a budget, invest in real estate, stocks or businesses, and how to use the financial knowledge you have – the one they don’t teach you in school – to become wealthy and independent.
6. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Daniel Kahneman goes over the two systems found in our mind, that can make or break our ability to move forward and succeed in life, in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. He talks about the fast and emotional system, and the slow, more logical system that makes up our whole mind. He breaks down the various effects of each system on our success, mentality, confidence, and teachability index. Young entrepreneurs where raised in a fast environment, this book is a must-read for everyone who wants to get to the top of the tower without actually killing the dragon.
7. The Startup of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman
It’s time to get inside the mind of LinkedIn’s co-founder and chairman, Reid Hoffman, and learn more about the keys to managing your career as if you were already an entrepreneur. It’s possible that you are still working a part-time job while you’re growing your business and it might be hard to stay focused on your entrepreneurial life while you still have to answer to a boss, but Reid Hoffman is here to help. In his book, he teaches you how to put yourself in the entrepreneurial mindset even if you’re still working for someone else. This will help you think like an entrepreneur at all times, which will motivate you to continue on your venture no matter what. At the same time, you will know what to look for in employees when your business becomes big enough to employ people. Win-Win.
8. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Who hasn’t heard of Timothy Ferriss? His name has been everywhere since he launched in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek. Nowadays, everyone is looking for that easy fix, and becoming an entrepreneur is all about enjoying the wonders of life without having to work 40 hours a week. Timothy knows that and therefore puts you in the right mindset to start building a business that will allow you to work not 20, not 10, but 4 hours a week and still build a fortune.
9. The $100 Startup by Chris Gillebeau
This is a very interesting book for anyone who feels unmotivated because they lack funds. You might be just out of College, or still in school and feeling unmotivated because of your lack of funds, but Chris turns the tables around and gives you the upper hand. In his book, he talks about 50 of the most amazing success stories of entrepreneurs who are making more than $50,000 and who started with only a few bucks in their bank accounts. This is the perfect book to motivate you to move forward without focusing on the money or the HOW. Get the idea, have the passion, and the rest will follow.
10. Click Millionaires by Scott Fox
The Internet is taking over the world with more e-commerce businesses opening than ever before. Scott Fox focuses his words on how to combine outsourcing and automated online marketing to build monthly cash-flow online. He thoroughly teaches you how to build an online business by going over all the tools that are available to you. It’s the perfect book to learn more about online business and how to utilize the software that’s been available to you since you were a baby.
11. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
There are many misconceptions out there about starting your business and being a successful entrepreneur, and it’s only natural to become a little confused as the contradicting information is thrown at you from all directions. Michael E. Gerber breaks down each myth and walks you through the real life steps of having a business and becoming successful as an entrepreneur in today’s era. He wants to make sure that you know the difference between working on your business and working in your business.
12. Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary takes a very motivating and persuasive voice in his book Crush It!by motivating you to move on your passions. In his book, he goes other the many reasons why you should stop sitting on your couch dreaming about the day you will get paid to do what you love. He wants you to get out of your comfort zone and create a happy and passionate life for yourself. If you need that little extra nudge to move on your passion and create a business, this is your go-to book!
13. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
We all hear the success stories after they happened: how millionaire XYZ started their business with only $1,000 in their bank accounts. But how did they grow their business from that starting point? How did they become millionaires? What was their journey? How did they feel while they were battling through the obstacles? Jessica Livingston goes over all those questions in her book Founders at Work by interviewing some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world and asking all the right questions. How did Steve Wozniak from Apple grow his business? Where did Sabeer Bhatia get the strength to move past obstacles? All these questions will be answered only if you read the book!
14. The Art of Non-Conformityby Chris Gillebeau
Ah, conformity. Most people tend to fail because of conformity; they want to follow what everyone else is doing just to not feel rejected. This book is perfect for all young entrepreneurs looking to break away from the crowd and face entrepreneurship head first. It’s time to stop believing the assumptions we were told about life and start living life differently. In his book, Chris Gillebeau talks about how to live the life you want, following the rules you create, and the goals you set for yourself. This is a great and inspiring book for the young entrepreneur struggling with their ability to break away from their toxic entourage and making a run for it towards what they want most in life – entrepreneurship.
15. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The games have changed; building a business is no longer about updating the business plan every other week according to Eric Ries. In his book, he goes over the various techniques an entrepreneur can use in order to create a business that will go against the odds and succeed. He takes on a more scientific and intuitive approach as to how to be a successful entrepreneur with a lasting business under your arm.
16. The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin D. Johnson
Everything starts in the mind. If you have negative thoughts all day, it’s pretty certain that your day will not end on a good note. Kevin D. Johnson knows that and wants to help entrepreneurs around the world to change their mindset in order to be successful. In his book, The Entrepreneur Mind, Kevin D. Johnson talks about the different ways to change your way of thinking in order to start a business, make it grow, and make it last. By the end of the book, he makes sure you know when to keep going and when it’s time to let go and start again. Being an entrepreneur means being able to get back up, and this book will teach you how to get back up without too many scars.
17. Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
Great for the visual entrepreneur. We’re all used to looking at pictures more than we are reading books, which is why Alexander Osterwalder wants to teach you the right way, according to him, to create a business plan and act on it. With pictures, graphs and timelines, this book is a must-have for every visionary young entrepreneur. If you need calendars, post-its and picture reminders in order to do something, this is for you. Build a successful business plan, and you’ll build a successful business. Back to the basics.
18. Rework by Jason Fried, David Hansson
Compared to Alexander Osterwalder, David Hanson and Jason Fried want to approach the other type of entrepreneurs – the ones who want fast results and don’t really care or have the time to go through all the basic steps. The two authors team up together to crunch down the basics and create a whole new system that will make you act upon your dreams and goals faster. The book will motivate you to get up on your feet and move forward without planning the steps on a piece of paper before. This is for the go-getters who prefer to learn by doing!
19. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
There are many things that school doesn’t teach us, and Ben Horowitz wants those things to be out in the open for entrepreneurs. His book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, gives advice on how to build and run a startup in the real world. He will give you advice on things that school just doesn’t seem to go over, like how to analyze problems and find solutions, or how difficult running a business actually is. He puts you in the CEO mentality by sharing his entrepreneurial story of how he overcame the competition and cultivated success. It’s a great read for young entrepreneurs looking for a mentor to guide them through their journey. This book isn’t censored – it’s the real truth about being an entrepreneur!
20. My Philosophy for Successful Living by Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn has inspired many with his words over the years, and his book My Philosophy for Successful Living, is no exception. This book will teach you the principles and values behind being successful in life. According to Jim Rohn, living a successful life isn’t about being selfish, it’s about bringing value to people. It’s about being kind to others and letting the good karma come back to you. Of course, he pushes you to work hard towards your goals as well, but he also goes over what a successful attitude should look like. No one wants to associate with someone who brings them down. With only 64 pages, it’s a great read to remind yourself to be good to the people around you and be thankful for everything in your life.
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