5 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

8 min read
Vlad Kovalskiy
October 12, 2016
Last updated: September 5, 2019
5 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur in need of inspiration or just starting out and looking for a roadmap—there are 5 books which every entrepreneur should read. From examining success from a social-psychology perspective, to learning from the mistakes of a multi-corporation billionaire, to fostering personal growth, the following 5 books are must-reads for any entrepreneur and dreamer. They will entertain, cause you to think, offer new perspectives, and above all else inspire the passionate spirit within.

"Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell

It wouldn’t be surprising if you were already familiar with Malcolm Gladwell, the highly successful author of 4 other New York Times Best Sellers, including The Tipping Point and Blink.

Outliers is a provocative and interesting book that centers around the controversial idea that the “self-made man” is a myth. Through an examination of successful people, Gladwell proposes that we have been focusing too intently on traits like intelligence, ambition, and personality in our attributions of success. Instead, he suggests that we should be examining the world surrounding these Outliers—people whose achievements push them far beyond normal experience—by looking at things like their culture, their family, etc. Gladwell believes that these Outliers are “invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot,” which is a drastic shift in the way our culture views success and how to achieve it.

Outliers offers an unexpected perspective that may very well be the key to understanding success and in doing so exposes the endless possibilities for creating a successful life. Part self-help, part social science—Outliers is one hundred percent entertaining and a sure-fire way to thrill and ignite passion in any entrepreneur.

"Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School" by Richard Branson

In Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School, Richard Branson offers up invaluable advice on how to succeed without having to go to business school (because he never did!). Determined not to be held back by rules and guidelines, so much of Branson’s success can be attributed to not attending business school and instead looking within himself to find the creativity and innovation (and business know-how) to create a brand all his own.

Whether you want to learn how to become a better leader, how to start off on your own successful venture, or are simply looking to be inspired by one of the greatest business heavy-weights of our time, Richard Branson has everything you’re looking for.

Like a Virgin reads like a conversation with a wise uncle—someone willing to impart all their practical knowledge with the comfort and congeniality of a close bond. Encouraging and practical, Branson offers the reader advice on innovation, leadership, finding happiness in what you do, among so much more. His insights are a distillation of his personal experiences and an offering-up of some of his best advice, the kind of advice that he himself took to become of the most respected and well-known business leaders in our contemporary world.

"Hell Week: Seven Days to Be Your Best Self" by Erik Bertrand Larssen

Give him a week, and he’ll change your life! That’s the message in this fantastic book from world-renowned self-help guru Erik Bertrand Larssen.

Utilizing Larssen’s training as a veteran paratrooper, Hell Week uses military techniques in an accessible way to help readers remove self-imposed roadblocks and propel clients forward to success —allowing them to reap rewards in both professional and personal aspects.

The central technique of the book, and Larssen’s overall message, is that if you can commit to living one week as your best self, the rest of your life will follow suit. He offers easily accessible tools, and constructive and enriching advice on everything from how to squeeze exercise into your daily routine to how to gain and maintain professional success.

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey

Wildly popular since its original publication twenty-six years ago, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been changing perspectives and lives for just shy of three decades. From CEOs and stay-at-home moms to Presidents and struggling students, people of all ages and occupations have used this book (and the tenants expressed within) as a guide to understanding the world and finding the most successful way forward.

In this book, Covey compares two different ways of understanding ethics. One, “the personality ethic,” is about what’s best for you short-term (the quick-fix mentality of so many modern self-help books). The other, called “the character ethic,” is about aligning your values with timeless principles (for example, the golden rule, which is valuable and applauded outside of any culture context or time period).

The book will help any reader work through a maturation process that begins with dependence, leads to independence, and culminates in interdependence. Highly effective and highly valuable—this book simultaneously inspires and facilitates personal and professional growth.

"Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future" by Peter Thiel

Zero to One is a must-have for every entrepreneur and start-up member. A New York Times bestseller, this book by venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, urges the reader-entrepreneur to look further than simply improving upon an old idea but instead coming up with something entirely new.

Thiel’s book, and its title, is based upon the premise that “doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1.” This exciting book challenges us to move away from our perceived competition and instead strike out to develop something unique and original. There’s no need to improve upon Facebook—the future will be in filling the spaces we didn’t yet know were there.

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