15 best books for entrepreneurs and business owners
Are you an entrepreneur or business owner? There is no MBA that will ever teach you all that you need to manage a successful business. The best lessons you will get to running businesses is through experiences and self-education. One most effective way to self-educate is through reading.
Here, I recommend 15 best books for entrepreneurs and business owners to help them navigate the business world and take their businesses to new heights.
I learned about Simon Sinek from his Ted Talk, and his visit to impact theory. Sinek shows us, and leaders, how you can get others to follow you, through how you communicate.
In his book, Start with Why, Sinek discusses the idea that leaders inspire others by putting the purpose before the process and the product. Good leaders put the why, before the how and the what.
To inspire others, communicate your why, your purpose first. Let them know why you do what you do. Your employees will be the best resource of the business if they have a purpose and are excited about it.
When you have a purpose, you don’t need to constantly be looking at what your competitor is doing. Instead, you focus on your purpose and have a forward vision focused on what you need to achieve.
Get the key lessons from Start with Why in this 13 minutes summary on Blinkist.
Habits not only impact our personal life but work life as well. The habits you develop at work become the norm and form the organizational culture. If you are a business owner, you wish that your employees behaved in a certain way and adopted certain habits that are good for the business.
Charles Duhigg advises that for habits to stick, we need to institutionalize them. The best at what they do don’t do so because they are so good at it. They do ordinary things, but because they have made them into habits, they do them without thinking.
When you learn habits and repeat them often, they become embedded in the system. People don’t need to think about what to do but just do it because it has become a routine.
Adopting good habits at the workplace can create systems that run faster, with low error rates, and create champions out of your workforce. I recommend this book for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to create systems that work without needing micromanagement.
No time to read? Get the key ideas from this book on Blinkist in this 16 minutes summary.
Cal Newport advises on how we can get important work done in this distracted world we currently live in. on a normal workday, you can find yourself checking emails and responding all day and getting nothing done.
According to Newport, we don’t need to work overtime if we manage our time properly, we don’t need to carry work home and exhaust ourselves. We can get important done in just 4 hours a day if we get rid of distractions.
Quitting social media, shutting off the internet, avoiding distractions from colleagues can help us get so much done in the time we waste with these activities. Newport discusses an organization that cut its workdays to 4 days a week.
Strangely enough, they got more work done in these 4 days than they did when they worked 5 days a week, sometimes with some overtime. As a business owner, you want people to focus on the important work and waste less time on shallow work and distractions.
Start by reading this book and recommending Newport’s strategies to your employees. Alternatively, get a summary of the key lessons from Deep Work on this summary on Blinkist.
Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant
Blue ocean strategy is one of the best strategic management lessons for modern business owners. In a world that feels as if it has all been done before, how can your business stand out?
How can your business do things differently and stand a chance to fight against the competition? The answer is to eliminate completion.
The Blue Ocean strategy shows how organizations can eliminate competition by creating their own market spaces. As opposed to red oceans in which businesses are sharks eating each other to access the market, creating Blue Ocean involves creating uncontested markets.
It involves creating your own markets by doing things differently from what your competitors are doing and finding a way to meet the needs of the customers in a way that they had not been met before.
I recommend this book if you want to start a business and you are still in the idea phase. It will help you hone your idea and come up with the best strategy to enter the market.
I also recommend the book for entrepreneurs and business owners trying to change strategies and are tired of fighting your competitors. Get the key lessons from this book on this 18 minutes summary on Blinkist.
Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuck
Almost every business in the 21st century is using the internet to get closer to its customers.
Social media has transformed the way businesses compete and sort of leveled the grounds for competition.
This means every business, no matter how small has a higher chance of succeeding in the industry.
In Crushing It, Gary Vaynerchuk shows us how we can use different social media platforms to reach out to our target customers. He takes real-life examples of entrepreneurs that have succeeded by the use of social media and proves that once you get the right media for your business, you can use it to propel your business to great heights.
I recommend this book for any kind of business, big or small because we all need social media to create relationships with our customers. Get the key ideas from this book summarized here.
Most work environments are not friendly for introverts. Open spaces, group discussions, presentations and having to speak above everyone else in meetings are all introverts’ everyday nightmares. This means introverts often don’t get heard and yet they have so much to say.
I recommend these books for both introverted and extroverted business owners.
For introverts, Susan Cain guides them on how they can survive workspaces made for extroverts. She proposes strategies that introverts can use to get their points across and make their mark at the workplace.
For introverted business owners, this book can help you be a good leader even though you don’t have the charisma that many extroverts possess.
For extroverts, this book can help you understand how you can give introverts a chance at the workplace.
As a business owner and leader, you need to get the best out of your employees and by understanding introverts and how they function, you can create a business environment that supports all types of personalities.
I recommend this book for entrepreneurs and business owners to help them tap the best potential out of their human resources, both introverted and extroverted. Get the key ideas from Quiet on this 16 minutes summary on Blinkist.
In the 4 hour workweek, Tim Ferris teaches business people how to be effective. We often associate being busy with being productive and this doesn’t mean we are effective at what we do.
In this book, Ferriss uses a 4 step process to show you how you can optimize your time and achieve effectiveness at work. Join the new rich who don’t have to sit in offices all day for them to be happy.
The 4 steps to effectiveness are abbreviated in DEAL standing for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation.
By Definition, you challenge the status quo and acknowledge that some of the beliefs you’ve held for a long time are wrong.
Elimination helps you manage your time by eliminating activities that don’t need your personal attention or are unnecessary.
Automation helps you automate some processes so you can focus on working on the things that make you more effective.
By Liberation, you get out of the 9-5 mentality and become productive through new thinking.
I recommend this book for every business owner in the 21st century whereby we are challenging all the traditional norms of how a workplace should be. Read or listen to the main ideas about The 4 Hour Workweek summarized here.
Getting things done focuses on helping you declutter your mind and focus on doing. More action and less thinking. We spend so much time planning and hardly ever get to the action stage.
David Allen uses this book to put us more into action mode. My favorite phrase from this book is to start shipping. We spend so much time creating our products, horning it to perfection, worrying about how to do things instead of getting down to do it.
By shipping, it means that you start producing what you need to and it’s through this action that you learn in the areas you can improve.
David Allen will teach you effective time management skills to apply in the workplace for more action for you and your team.
No time to read? Get the key lessons from this book on this 22 minutes summary on Blinkist.
Jack Welch is one of the most respected CEOs of all time. In Winning, he offers some of the best management tips for business managers. Welch advises managers on how to form a healthy working culture.
Further, he addresses some of the most ignored departments in many organizations; the human resource department. Using the 20-70-10 formula, Welch shows that the workforce is made up of 20% start performers, 10% poor performers and 70% average performers.
By differentiating the employees in your workplace by these categories, you manage them according to their needs.
You promote and reward the 20%, let go of the non-performing 10% and support the average 70% to make them the best performers for the 20% segment.
This book covers all elements of managing a functioning organization from hiring and firing, to evaluation, change management, strategy, dealing with bad bosses among others.
I recommend this book for entrepreneurs and business owners to use as a management manual to create a thriving business environment.
Get a summarized version of the book in 19 minutes here.
Thanks to humanistic schools of thought, we have come to learn that the most important resource in an organization is human resources. As a result, leadership has become one of the most relevant topics in the 21st century.
If you are a business owner, you have great ideas and infrastructure but still failing at managing people, then you are failing as a business owner. In this book, John Maxwell, a well-respected leadership author and speaker advises leaders on creating influence.
A modern-day business leader knows well enough that rewards and punishment are not effective ways of leading people; it is all about influence. Maxwell offers 21 laws that make great leaders.
This book will change the way you think as a leader in your organization and equip you with the right tools to create the right kind of relationships in your workplace.
Get the 21 laws of leadership summarized in 13 minutes here.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
Many business owners start off with a great idea. They know a lot about creating but little on managing a business. Whether you are a software creator, designer, baker, blogger, you mostly understand the technical aspect of your business but little on the managing aspect.
In this book, Michael Gerber shows us that businesses are started by technicians who quit their jobs to create businesses using the skills that they know. When the business starts to grow, it gets out of their hands and this is often the main cause of failure in small businesses.
Having great technical skills, therefore, doesn’t mean you know how to run a business. Gerber advises small business owners to build businesses based on systems and not people for them to succeed.
This is a highly recommended book for entrepreneurs and business owners as it will help you push your business past that dreaded 3-year life-span of small businesses. This 21-minute summary gives the key ideas from this book here.
As old as this book is, it is still relevant in today’s business world. Napoleon Hill was inspired by Andrew Carnegie and studies other successful people around that time to learn what they had in common. He derives some lessons that are still applicable to today’s business person.
This book will teach you lessons on desire and faith, commitment, organizing skills, self-control, time management, specialization, persuasion, among others all of which you need to succeed in business.
The book addresses some of the commonest causes of failures in business and personal life and offers practical strategies on how to manage them. Not only will this book help you improve your business and work ethic, but it will also help you improve yourself and those around you.
This is one of the most recommended books for entrepreneurs and business owners as it is a classic book on self-management and acquiring wealth. Listen to this 18 minutes summary of Think and Grow Rich for the main lessons from this book.
A lot of businesses are made around creativity. A blogger needs to be a creative content maker to form the business. A designer needs creativity to form a business around this art. Even Elon Musk needs creativity to create Tesla cars.
Just as Michael Gerber says in E myth Revisited, businesses are formed around creatives and technicians. However, most creative people are crippled with self-doubt. Only a small number of creative people have the courage to get out there and show their skill and believe it well enough to form a business around it.
Stephen Pressfield, a creative himself authoring fiction and screenplays, looks at the challenges creative people face and how they can overcome them. He addresses how creative people can overcome fear and self-doubt in the form of resistance and create more.
Further, he advises on how creatives need to stop waiting for inspiration to get creative but become professionals in their work. Is your business founded around creative work?
I recommend this book for entrepreneurs and business owners to help them take their creative work from amateur to a professional level. Blinkist summarizes this book here in this 15 minutes summary here.
Stephen covey’s advice on personal change applies to your business as well. He addresses personal management and discipline and how you can apply it at work to gain effectiveness and fulfillment.
In this book, Covey shows how we can create better relationships at work and at home, making us better persons and better leaders. Further, he shows us how to be proactive and focus on the things that matter, the things that we can control.
This latter tip is a lesson needed for personal and business effectiveness so that we can use our energy and time to focus on the things we can control and worry less about things we cannot control. As a business owner, your business cannot thrive if you are not thriving.
This personal change book will impact your life and those around you and help you create an effective business culture. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the highly recommended books for entrepreneurs and business owners and most use it as their bible. Get the key ideas from this book on this Blinkist here.
This is a leadership classic and its principles are still true. A huge part of managing a business successfully is managing the people.
Dale Carnegie offers strategies to help you work better with people, become a better manager and leader. He shows you how to manage the different kinds of relationships you need to run a business successfully. Simply put, if you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.
Like John Maxwell in the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, Carnegie teaches you how to create influence with your people and get the best out of them. Every entrepreneur and business owner needs the right kind of relationship around them and this book may be just what you need to create these.
Get a summary of the key lessons from this book here.
With an Audible Trial, most of these books are free to listen to. Take advantage of Audible Trial by signing up here.
No time to read? Blinkist offers book summaries for the best self-improvement books. Sign up for a free Blinkist Trial Here.