These books are for you if you want to establish a business, if you want to expand one that you currently have, or if you want to be the next worldwide entrepreneur. These 10 best startup books will teach and inspire readers with their insights into the challenges of building a company from scratch. So, if you’re preparing to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure, these are some of the most outstanding books to get your feet wet.
1. Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure by Keith Rabois
This is a book about the early days of Facebook, how it got to where it is today, and how Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Sean Parker, and other investors shaped the early history of one of the most successful companies in the world. The book follows the journey through three years of 100% success and failure, focusing on what was learned from each experience. It’s a quick read with actionable advice that will appeal to entrepreneurs at all stages of their business lives.
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2. Zero to One by Peter Thiel
The new generation of entrepreneurs should read this as soon as possible if they want a natural look into building and scaling new companies. The book is broken down into three sections, which is about creating new companies from scratch. In chapter two, Thiel explains the most important question facing any entrepreneur: “To what extent can you control what you build?” This is a critical question that startups routinely ignore, but Thiel says it’s essential to success.
3. The Future of Management by Gary Hamel
Hamel gives an exciting exploration of the future of management, which will be increasingly necessary as businesses grow more prominent. He especially looks at how the perks provided to employees will change in the future, which is particularly important because employees are often their company’s greatest assets.
4. The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
This is a sequel to the beginning-of-the-end book on this list. It’s even more actionable and even more essential for entrepreneurial success. It also comes with another great quote: “If you’re playing tennis, you have to know how to hit a ball.” This book is about starting startups and growing them successfully into successful companies. It’s about building something from nothing and surviving the journey.
5. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Entrepreneurs looking to make their business learner would do well to check out this book by Ries, who was an engineer in the software industry. He’s seen a lot and has advice to help entrepreneurs navigate their way through the startup world. It’s not only applicable to founding a company, but it’s also applicable to running any organization.
6. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
All entrepreneurs should have a copy of this important book in their library, especially since it’s been around for almost 2,500 years and is still 100% relevant today. The book is about leadership, conflict, and strategy and is a great read. Practically every entrepreneur should have a copy in their library because it’s a great way to learn from the best in business.
7. Barry by Brad Stone
The book is an account of the rise and fall of Barry Diller, one of the most powerful and influential media executives in the world. It’s not a business book per se, but it does provide a lot of valuable insight into what it takes to start and run a business. The story begins with his humble beginnings selling himself out of his car and ends with his meteoric rise to become one of the highest-ranking executives in companies like Fox and USA Networks. The journey is not easy, though; readers will find themselves identifying with his ups and downs along the way.
8. Worth: The Legends of Philanthropy from ancient times to the present by Peter C. Unger
This book is not about philanthropy per se, but it does provide a look at the world of charity and charitable giving over thousands of years. It breaks down how people used to help those in need, what’s changed through the centuries, and why some do it while others don’t. The book isn’t entirely comprehensive, but it should give readers an idea of what different cultures and nations think has made their country better than others. It profiles well-known figures like JFK, Richard Branson, and Bill Gates.
9. The Value of Debt in Financing Growth by Robert Litzenberger
Litzenberger’s book illustrates the power of capital and its use to build companies. He also shows a simple way to determine whether or not debt should be used: interest expense divided by earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). Simply put, if the number is more significant than one, it’s probably okay to take on the loan.
10. You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader by Tobias Meyer
This book is written by the man who curates the Metropolitan Museum of Art, arguably one of the most successful museums in the world. He provides practical advice on how people can take charge of their own lives and live every day with purpose. It’s not just applicable to entrepreneurs but also to anyone who wants more out of life.
Conclusion: No matter if you are a senior executive in your company or an entrepreneur just starting, these business books will help shape your philosophy and leadership. If you want to dominate the world of business, this list is for you.