The internet is full of motivation, be it for entrepreneurship or anything else. Today’s digital era is primarily dominated by social media, entertainment and video-based content resulting in an even lower attention span of the users – making books NOT everybody’s part of lifestyle. While video-based content has its own pros but there are certain things that only books can warrant to the reader.
Why read books?
If you are an entrepreneur or aspiring to be, whether it is for getting out of 9-6 rat race or for accumulating wealth, books are your best bet to be organised, be more focused and attentive, be able to think practically for the attainment of your goals. Remember, reading books is the most common trait among the world’s most successful people. Here are my top 3 reasons for reading books:
Offer distraction-free experience
Books offer distraction-free experience, imagine yourself scrolling through hundreds of YouTube videos and unable to give focus to even a single out of those because of your low attention span, the moment you hit the play button, the very next moment the Acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain starts to drain off and you hit the back button to explore through the list for the next best video that you could find.
A book is a wholesome meal
I saw somebody saying it on Quora, ‘If a blog post is a snack, a book is a wholesome meal’ and it’s true, it damn true! While reading a book one thing that every reader can assimilate is that a book provides detailed and organised learning.
Elevate your attention span
Keeping audiobooks aside, ebooks and paperbacks require your complete focus as you go through as you read, you can listen with your ears closed, but you can read with your eyes closed. Reading helps you build focus, elevates your attention span. Ultimately, you become a good listener.
List of business books for entrepreneurs & startup founders
The following list is a joint effort made by team LAFFAZ including the content writers, editors and founders. While most of the articles on the internet that you find around books for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs inculcate only the most commonly read and acclaimed books. But our methodology behind creating this list was entirely different.
Each of these books for entrepreneurs has been read by at least one of the team members of LAFFAZ. Out of which I have read: Business Sutra by Devdutt Pattanaik, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki, Screw It Let’s do it by Richard Branson, The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
▸ The following list is in alphabetical order and NOT the order of ratings.
▸ The list doesn’t endorse any author or book, and this is NOT a sponsored article.
▸ The list includes links (Non-affiliate) to make it convenient for the readers to explore buying options.
Business Sutra – Devdutt Pattanaik
Why we do business impacts how we do it and what ultimately gets done. As is belief, so is behavior, so is business. This is Business Sutra, a very Indian way of doing business. It is very different from Management Science, taught in business schools around the world, which does not factor in belief, because belief is subjective truth, hence cannot be measured.
Before You Start Up – Pankaj Goyal
This preparation is about understanding your “why”; about generating and testing business ideas; about building your founding team; about talking to your family; about taking care of your career and your finances. It is about getting mentally prepared to get started. This book will help you ask the right questions. It will guide you, steer you towards finding your answers.
Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur – Richard Branson
In Business Stripped Bare, billionaire Sir Richard Branson shares the inside track on his life in business and reveals the incredible truth about his most risky, brilliant and audacious deals. Discover why Virgin tried to take on one of the world’s biggest super brands, how Virgin Mobile USA holds the record as the fastest company in history to generate revenues of over one billion dollars (faster than Microsoft, Google and Amazon) and how Richard is the only person in the world to have built eight billion-dollar companies from scratch in eight different sectors.
Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age – Jonah Berger
Contagious is filled with fascinating information drawn from Berger’s research. You will be surprised to learn, for example, just how little word of mouth is generated online versus elsewhere. Already praised by Dan Ariely and Dan Gilbert, and sold in nine countries, this book is a must-read for people who want their projects and ideas to succeed.
Everything Is Figureoutable – Marie Forleo
The renowned women entrepreneur and influencer, Marie Forleo, in her title ‘Everything is Figuroutable’ asserts that there is a solution to every problem. Whether you want to leave a dead-end job, heal a relationship, grow a business, master your money, or just find two free hours in your day, Everything is Figureoutable will train your brain to think more positively and help you break down any dream into manageable steps.
Founders at Work – Jessica Livingston
The book encompasses a collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies about what happened in the very earliest days. These people are celebrities now. What was it like when they were just a couple friends with an idea? Founders like Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail) tell you in their own words about their surprising and often very funny discoveries as they learned how to build a company.
Fast, Cheap and Viral – Aashish Chopra
Written by the ace marketer, Aashish Chopra, the book teaches some of the best tactics on how to drive engagement, storytelling, building a personal brand. For every student, entrepreneur, blogger, marketing manager or leader who dreams of reaching millions on a shoestring budget, this book is the definitive manual on sustainable viral success.
From Ideas to Iconic Brand – Giles Lury
The book encompasses some of the most inspiring stories to help you build a bigger, better, and stronger brand. The book takes you through the stories behind some of the world’s greatest brands, including Mercedes, Apple, Disney, KFC, WWF, Guinness World Records and Coca-Cola – packed with compelling anecdotes illustrating how to gain increased visibility, cultivate a loyal following and establish a reputation of being the best in the market – helping you build an attractive brand.
How I Quit Google To Sell Samosas
In August 2015, Munaf Kapadia quit his four-year-long career as a consultant at Google to pursue another venture with his mother, called ‘The Bohri Kitchen‘. Within two years, he made it to the Forbes India 30 Under 30 list.
Kapadia’s book represents his entrepreneurial story of how he grew a weekend Bohri food pop-up from his Cuffe Parade home into an F&B start-up with an INR 40 million. A man of many ideas, Munaf regales readers with tales of his big hits-citywide delivery kitchens, catering for Bollywood’s biggest celebrities and winning a reality show.
How the Mighty Fall – Jim Collins
In this book, Jim Collins answers critical questions like how to avoid decline of a company in initial stages?, how can companies reverse the course of falling?, to help lear the
How do the mighty fall? Can decline be detected early and avoided? How far can a company fall before the path toward doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can companies reverse course? Collins confronts these questions, offering leaders the well-founded hope that they can learn how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course.
Lost and Founder – Rand Fishkin
Rand Fishkin is the CEO & Co-Founder of MOZ (formerly, SEOmoz), a leader in the field of search engine optimization tools, resources & community. In 2009, he was named among the 30 Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs Under 30 by BusinessWeek. His company is now a $45 million/year business, and he is one of the world’s leading experts on SEO.
In his book ‘Lost and Founder’, Fishkin unveils his learnings, startup methodology, and all ups & downs of his life as a startup founder. The emphasizes on ‘strategically launching a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)’ on the right time, Growthhacking, layoffs, Venture Capital and everything in between.
For anybody having a startup idea or in the early stages of the venture, this book can solve many common problems.
Let’s Not Screw It, Let’s Just Do It – Richard Branson
Richard Branson has undeniably achieved remarkable things in life. The aerospace, telecom, and airlines behemoth doesn’t require any introduction. In this book ‘Let’s Not Screw It, let’s Just Do It’, Branson shares his ideas and secrets of success, why it is up to big companies like Virgin to lead the way in a more holistic approach to business, the changes that he had witnessed in the business environment ever since he started virgin back in 1968, all important lessons, and great advice – everything so inspiringly.
New to Big – David Kidder & Christina Wallace
Popular entrepreneur David Kidder, CEO of Bionic, lifelong entrepreneur and angel investor with a portfolio of over 30 startups, and Christina Wallace, VP at Bionic; in this book ‘New To Big’ highlights share, how legacy companies leverage their skills to grow their business even bigger, and how newly-launched businesses can adapt to the changes, discover opportunities and ultimately turn into success stories. The entrepreneurs cum authors reveal their proprietary blueprint for installing a permanent growth capability inside any company – calling it as ‘the Growth Operating System (OS)’.
Own It: Oprah Winfrey In Her Own Words
Own It: Oprah Winfrey In Her Own Words provides a unique look into the wisdom and thought processes of one of the most adored, respected, and powerful women in the world. This book collects her most insightful quotations, centered around her media career, life lessons, entrepreneurship, and remarkable personal stories.
Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad is one of those books which undeniably doesn’t require an introduction as it is already their in the market for over 20 years – laying inspiration for everybody seeking better advice and lessons about money.
The book takes the readers through Robert’s own story of growing up with two dads – one his real father and the father of his best friend, who he denotes as his ‘rich dad’. Robert highlights how both fathers shaped his thoughts about money and investing throughout his life. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.
Rich Woman – Kim Kiyosaki
Renowned businesswoman, Kim Kiyosaki and the wife of Robert Kiyosaki, in her book ‘Rich Woman’, addresses the self-sabotaging habit of women around the world that states ‘men as the better investors than women’. She teaches women the essentials of finance via key sections including, The First Four Keys to Being a Successful Investor; How to Get Smarter Quickly; Why Women Make Great Investors.
Rework – Jason Fried and David Hansson
Rework is a unique business book that teaches the reader a better, faster, and easier way to achieve business success; why plans are truly harmful, why people don’t need outside investors, and why an entrepreneur should ignore the competition. Other key aspects include: how to be more creative, how to get exposure without wasting money and tons of other senseless thoughts that keep the reader motivated.
Screw Business As Usual – Richard Branson
Another great title by Richard Branson ‘Screw Business As Usual’, shows how easy it is for both businesses and individuals to embark on a whole new way of doing things, solving major problems and turning their work into something which they can love and be proud of.
The book emphasizes on bringing more meaning to life rather than just business. It exhibits some fascinating and inspiring stories about the people who are already leading the way in transforming business into a force for good, for people and for the planet.
Screw It, Let’s Do It – Richard Branson
One of the most read titles of Sir Richard Branson, ‘Screw It, Let’s Do It’ unveils Richard’s approach in life of challenge and success against the odds; lessons from life that have helped him through his business and personal life – such as, believe it can be done and that, if others disagree with you, try and try again until you achieve your goal, or that you must love what you do; how he learned the lessons and how he used them. The book truly inspires readers to bring changes in their lives.
Success In The City – Kelly Lundberg
SUCCESS IN THE CITY is a collection of 20 testimonials recounting the highs and lows of setting up and running a business in the most talked about city in the Middle East – Dubai. The book lays the inspiration for the readers to turn dreams into reality, with inspirational quotes, hints and tips from some of the cities’ thriving business owners.
ⓘ We at LAFFAZ, took the exclusive opportunity to interview Kelly Lundberg that turned into a great inspiration for women.
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – T Harv Eker
The book encompasses two parts. Part 1 explains how your money blueprint works. Through Eker’s rare combination of street smarts, humour, and heart, you will learn how your childhood influences have shaped your financial destiny. It will help you identify your own money blueprint.
Part 2 introduces seventeen ‘Wealth Files’ which describe how rich people think and act differently than most other people. Each Wealth File includes action steps for you to practice in the real world in order to dramatically increase your income and accumulate wealth.
Startup Arabia – Amir Hegazi
Startup Arabia captures the untold stories of the high-tech entrepreneurs in the Middle East who are creating one of the most vibrant and fertile tech hubs in the world today. Through their bold vision, creativity, and tenacity, they are transforming business in this region at record speed, ultimately giving rise to an endless stream of new opportunities for wealth creation and social impact.
This is Marketing – Seth Godin
The renowned entrepreneur and author, Seth Godin in this book teaches how to identify your smallest viable audience, draw on the right signals and signs to position your offering, build trust and permission with your target market, spot opportunities to create and release tension, and give people the tools to achieve their goals. Seth also shares his ingenious marketing methodologies which will still apply for decades to come.
The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, the content of the book relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
The book incorporates some of the most valuable lessons from people who have learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfilment. The book emphasizes finding the intersection between ‘expertise’ – even if one doesn’t consider it such – and what other people will pay for. One crucial lesson that the book teaches is ‘you don’t need an MBA, a business plan or even employees’, instead, all you need is a product or service that springs from what you love to do anyway, people willing to pay, and a way to get paid.
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
The title is known for its actionable techniques that can help one get better at doing anything. By the time of the author’s death, about 20 million copies had already been sold. Many revisions of this book have been made over time. The book highlights some of the most fundamental questions that once bothered the author, Napoleon Hill. So he set out on a personal quest – interviewing some of the wealthiest and most successful people in the world. The author formulated hundreds and thousands of answers, into concise principles which when acted upon – helping readers achieve unprecedented success.
The McKinsey Way – Ethan Rasiel
In this book, former McKinsey associate Ethan Rasiel unveils secretive methodologies that McKinsey-ites follow, how they think about business problems and how they work at solving those. He explains various approaches like “how to sell without selling”, “How to use facts, not fear them”, techniques to jump-start and make brainstorming more productive, powerful presentation methods, survival tips for working in high-pressure organisations, and much more from the McKinsey.
The McKinsey Mind – Ethan Rasiel & Paul N. Friga
One of the most acclaimed international bestsellers, much like its predecessor, the McKinsey Way, the authors bring various case studies and anecdotes from former and current McKinseyites to describe how “the firm” solves the thorniest business problems of their A-list clients. The McKinsey Mind goes a giant step further – teaching lessons from ‘The McKinsey Way’ in light of the real-world problems and practical exercise – making it a must-read for anybody aiming to build a big business.
The Founder’s Dilemmas – Noam Wasserman
The Founder’s Dilemmas is the outcome a decade of research by Noam Wasserman. In this book, the author reveals common pitfalls that founders witness and how founders can avoid them. Noam also throws light on various aspects of entrepreneurship like ‘whether or not to cofound a startup with family and friends’, ‘how and when to split the equity within the founding team’, ‘how to recognize when a successful founder-CEO should exit or be fired’, ‘how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team’, and many more.
The Startup of You – Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
Authored by LinkedIn’s co-founder & chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha, the book presents ways to accelerate your career in today’s competitive world, how to manage your career as if it is a startup business. The book factualizes why entrepreneurs are nimble, how they invest in themselves, how they build their professional networks, take intelligent risks, how they make uncertainty and volatility work to their advantage. And everything in between to help professionals get ahead in their journey.
The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss
The New York Times bestseller by Timothy Ferriss aims to help readers reconstruct their life by focussing on life and not just work. Ferriss has spent over five years learning the secrets of the ‘New Rich’, a fast-growing subculture that has abandoned the ‘deferred-life plan’ and instead mastered the new currencies – time and mobility – to create a new way of living. Ferriss teaches how to create work-life balance by outsourcing work, how blue chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs, how to eliminate 50 percent of your work, how to train your boss to value performance over presence, cultivate selective ignorance and much more.
The Entrepreneur Mind – Kevin D. Johnson
Through compelling stories of modern-day business tycoons, Kevin Johnson, president of the multi-million dollar company Johnson Media Inc., the book shares the essential beliefs, characteristics and habits of elite entrepreneurs. The author identifies 100 lessons in seven key areas: Strategy, Education, People, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Leadership, and Motivation. Major lessons include: how to think big, who makes the best business partners, what captivates investors, when to abandon a business idea, where to avoid opening a business bank account, and why too much formal education can hinder your entrepreneurial growth.
Talent is Overrated – Geoff Colvin
Geoff Colvin wrote one of the greatest articles in many years called ‘What It Takes to Be Great‘ for Fortune magazine – offering evidence that top performers like Tiger Woods, Warren Buffett, Winston Churchill and Jack Welch are not determined by their inborn talents unlike many others who claim that greatness comes from the DNA.
As an expansion of the article, Colvin scientifically emphasized on all aspects of achieving success, like how to build a business skillset: negotiating deals, evaluating financial statements, abiding with principles, improving decision-making and everything n between that leads to success.
The Advantage – Patrick Lencioni
New York Times best-selling author, Lencioni, in this book, brings together his vast experience and comprehensive exploration of the unique advantage that organizational health provides. The Advantage offers ways to reconstruct a business, create competitive advantage, maximize human potential through a set of principles.
The Daily Entrepreneur – S.J. Scott and Rebecca Livermore
The Daily Entrepreneur encompasses a series of 33 success habits for small business owners, freelancers, and aspiring 9 to 5 escape artists organised according to various obstacles that entrepreneurs face in their journey on a daily basis. Also, how to manage time, work-life balance, stand out, maximise productivity, overcome burnout and stress, building an actiona plan for networking and much more.
The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster – Darren Hardy
If you are an aspiring or early-stage entrepreneur, The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster book is a gem for you. The book’s content aims to helps aspiring entrepreneurs their emotional journey towards entrepreneurship, surpass naysayers, build the the required skillset. The book also very softly warn its readers for the upcoming fears and doubts due to which 66 percent businesses fail.
Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
The author Daniel Kahneman is a world-famous psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.
Thinking, Fast and Slow enables the reader to learn and implement ways to make better decisions. Our behavior is determined by two systems in our mind, one, ‘fast, intuitive, and emotional’ and ‘slower, more deliberative, and more logical’. The book reveals how these two systems constantly fight over control of our behavior and actions whilst teaching practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking.
The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason
The Richest Man in Babylon is a perfect guide to understanding finances and a powerhouse of time-tested principles to gain and retain personal wealth. The title has been inspiring readers for generations. It continues to remain a classic bestseller. The book capitalises on the importance of savings to the essentials on how to become wealthy and exhibits a collection of famous Babylonian parables that imparts timeless financial wisdom. It also offers insights on how to become wealthy and how to attract good luck and discusses the five laws of gold.
The Big Zero – Chris Roark & Rodrigo Abdalla
Every business in the world strives for speed and growth, but as you grow, you realise that things don’t go easy or without struggle, if you are new to business. While there are n number of reasons for both the success and failure of startups, the book capitalises on Zero-based mindset (zbx), and teaches how Zero-based budgeting (zbb) falls short when it comes to spurring growth. The big zero shows how a zbx approach focuses on agility over austerity, visibility over guesswork and the future over the past to fuel growth and competitiveness.
Virtual Freedom – Chris Ducker
The book focuses on the “superhero syndrome” that startup founders especially of today’s era suffer from. It completely bashes the concept that says ‘founders need to do everything themselves in order to be successful’. In today’s era of digital disruption, startup founders become everything to cater to their businesses – from being the boss to sales person, to HR manager, to content writer, to marketer, to developer, and so on.
Virtual Freedom helps readers focus on business growth by working with virtual staff in order to buy more time, be more productive, and build a dream business.
Within You Is the Power – Joseph Murphy
In this deeply practical and engaging guidebook, Joseph Murphy takes you into different cultures and ancient teachings from around the world to expose you to the unadorned truth of who you really are: a physical temple of cosmic power that is waiting to be unleashed by exercises, prayers, and techniques which have brought abundance and power to men and women across the ages. Whether you are seeking business success or personal, the book is a gamut of inspiration and practicality to help you achieve it all and become self-reliant.
Zero to One – Peter Thiel
Some of the common statements that we hear coming from the business world include ‘The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system’, ‘The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine’. These statements teach us a top lesson i.e. if you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. And that’s what ‘Zero to One’ teaches the readers – building something unique and impactful.
While these books are not directly related to business or entrepreneurship, I still wanted to attach this short list of books which definitely have the potential to motivate you for any goal in your life that you are trying to achieve.
Leadership and Self-Deception – Arbinger Institute
Since its original publication in 2000, Leadership and Self-Deception has become an international word-of-mouth phenomenon. Rather than tapering off, it sells more copies every year. The book’s central insight – that the key to leadership lies not in what we do but in who we are – has proven to have powerful implications not only for organizational leadership but in readers’ personal lives as well.
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression – Andrew Solomon
The Noonday Demon digs deep into personal history, as Andrew Solomon narrates, brilliantly and terrifyingly, his own agonising experience of depression. Solomon also portrays the pain of others, in different cultures and societies whose lives have been shattered by depression and uncovers the historical, social, biological, chemical and medical implications of this crippling disease. He takes us through the halls of mental hospitals where some of his subjects have been imprisoned for decades; into the research labs; to the burdened and afflicted poor, rural and urban. He talks to faith healers and voyages around the world in a quest for folk wisdom. He analyses the medications of today as well as reviewing the politics of diagnosis and treatment and, perhaps most significantly, he looks at the vital role of will and love in the process of recovery.
The Power of your Subconscious Mind – Dr Joseph Murphy
This remarkable book by Dr. Joseph Murphy, one of the pioneering voices of affirmative-thinking, will unlock for you The truly staggering powers of your Subconscious mind. Combining time-honoured spiritual wisdom with cutting edge scientific research, Dr. Murphy explains how the subconscious mind influences every single thing that you do and how, by understanding It and learning to control its incredible force, you can improve the quality of your daily life. Everything, from the promotion that you wanted and the raise you think you deserve, to overcoming phobias and bad habits and strengthening interpersonal relationships, The power of your Subconscious mind will open a world of happiness, success, prosperity and peace for you. It will change your life and your world by changing your beliefs.
How to Stop Worrying & Start Living – Dale Carnegie
Carnegie offers a set of practical formulas that you can put to work today. It is a book packed with lessons that will last a lifetime and make that lifetime happier. The book explores explore the nature of stress and how it infiltrates every level of your life, including the physical, emotional, cognitive, relational and even spiritual. Through techniques that get to the heart of your unique stress response and an exploration of how stress can affect your relationships, you’ll discover how to control stress instead of letting it control you.
The Monk who sold his Ferrari – Robin Sharma
A renowned inspirational fiction, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is a revealing story that offers the readers a simple yet profound way to live life. The plot of this story revolves around Julian Mantle, a lawyer who has made his fortune and name in the profession. A sudden heart-attack creates havoc in the successful lawyer’s life. Jolted by the sudden onset of the illness, his practice comes to a standstill. He ponders over material success being worth it all, renounces all of it and leaves for India.
Over to you
I again would like to thank my team for having a portfolio in book reading, otherwise, this article would have been just like a usual piece curated out of the research on the web. If you’d like to suggest any other books that you’ve read around entrepreneurship or business, please feel free to drop it in the comments below.