To be honest, start-ups are not always easy and simple. There are tonnes of hurdles at each step you take, especially when you are starting a new business or your dream enterprise. Therefore, to cope with many unseen challenges, it is always a good idea to get some guidance before taking a plunge into starting a business of your own.

No doubt, there are successful businesspersons around the world, and each one of them has surely experienced a lot of hurdles in order to reach the sky, thus making them become prominent pioneers in the industry of their time.

There are, in fact, several ways to get inspired and take your business much farther – one of them is through reading business books and learning from it. As you may already know that books are our best friends – it guides us through the vast degree of insight they contain that can be very useful to us at some point in time. So, reading books is never a bad idea. It will help you achieve what you need.

Hand-picked 30 Best Business Books For Start-ups, Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses To Read

Every nine out of 10 start-ups fail in their first year. Avoiding this fate may be hard, but not impossible. Certainly not when you are armed with the knowledge from these 30 best business books for entrepreneurs.

As you might know from the countless lists of tips and tricks about start-up survivability, reading is one of the easiest and fastest ways of learning from the experiences of others. The only problem is that too many books come out and you as a start-up owner have limited time to decide which are the best business books to read. So, to make things easy for you, we, at PlanGrip, decided to find the best books about start-ups and entrepreneurship.

Below, we are going to share with you a list of 30 best business books for start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses who want to achieve their goals and grow their business. Our list of the 30 best business books for entrepreneurs is categorized in order to fulfill your purpose and help you find exactly what you need.

The categories of best business books for entrepreneurs include:

  • Business Books on Innovation
  • Fund Management
  • Team Management
  • Product Management
  • Growth and Productivity

A. Business Books On Innovation

1. The Innovator’s Dilemma

Author: Clayton M Christensen

Synopsis

The Innovator’s Dilemma is one of the best books for entrepreneurs as it changed the state of corporate America. Surprising, isn’t that? It simply asked:

“Why do businesses fail even after doing everything right?”

And explains the answer…

It has remained a best seller for over a decade and is written especially for entrepreneurs, managers, and CEOs, sharing wisdom and warnings for businesses.

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2. Screw It! Let’s Do It

Author: Sir Richard Branson

Synopsis

Sir Richard Branson is the CEO of the Virgin group of companies. He heads more than 400 companies and in this book, he reveals his secrets, of life and business. If there is one lesson that he wants you to learn by reading Screw it Let’s do it, it is: If you believe it can be done, try and try again until you can do it. It is undoubtedly, one of the best books about start-ups and entrepreneurship.

3. Never Too Late To Startup

ever Too Late To Startup

Author: Rob Kornblum

Synopsis

Is it even possible to break free from the corporate race? Most employees in the middle of the career often think this $100 million question.

‘Never Too Late To Startup’ by venture capitalist Rob Kornblum is one of the best books for entrepreneurs as it answers the above question by interviewing a dozen mid-life founders. It is a great business book for an entrepreneur that tells how you can find a great idea, how to lower the risk of starting a business and how to get ideal co-founders for your business.

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4. Crossing The Chasm

Author: Geoffrey A. Moore

Synopsis

Want to read the bible for bringing tech products to progressively larger markets? Then, Crossing the Chasm is the book for you. It provides new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing with special emphasis on the internet. The book is a must-read for anyone with a stake in the world’s most exciting marketplaces.

5. Founders At Work

Author: Jessica Livingston

Synopsis

The game runners at Apple, Microsoft, Google, and even WhatsApp were just a bunch of folks like you. Today, they are founders of multi-billion dollar companies.

What led to this change? How did they manage to convince investors to back their ideas? Did they make any mistakes? If so, how did they recover? Founders At Work is a collection of interviews with the founders of top tech companies that answer these questions.

6. Start Something That Matters

Start Something That Matters

Author: Joan Salge Blake

Synopsis

Learn from a man who never worn shoes but started the fastest-growing footwear company. Blake Mycoskie shares his story of how he built a multi-billion company in less than ten years and brought a new business model of success in his book ‘Start Something That Matters’.

7. Zero To One

Authors: Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

Synopsis

Peter Thiel takes an unconventional approach to building start-ups. The common approach is to iterate the same idea and launch it to a different market segment. The usual ideas tend to be about the next WhatsApp, Facebook, or a “new and better” Microsoft.

In his book Zero to One, Peter says these clones already exist in the market and making a new clone will not take you further up the innovation ladder. When people repeat the ideas, they take the innovation level from one to ‘N’. But doing something that is not done before takes the world from zero to one.

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B. Business Books On Fund Management

1. Venture Deals

Author: Brad Feld

Synopsis

Each new generation of entrepreneurs is keenly interested in knowing how venture deals work so that they can gather more investments for their start-ups by pitching it the right way. But no one can understand it better than the people who are already involved in it.

In all the versions of Venture Deals, Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson share essential elements of venture capitalism. Both have more than 20 years of experience in the field and have been involved in hundreds of venture capital financing.

2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Hard Thing About Hard Things

Author: Ben Horowitz

Synopsis

Ben Horowitz, the co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz shares the insights gained from developing, managing and selling tech companies. The book ‘The Hard Things About Hard Things’ is based on his blog where he advises leaders through the insights he gained during his career. In the book, Horowitz discusses the right time to take decisions like job slashing, selling a company, making big changes in the structure and provides answers to other managerial problems.

3. Mastering The VC Game

Author: Jeffrey Bussgang

Synopsis

Pitching your start-up to the investors for the first time? Learn how to prepare the perfect pitch and stay confident during your pitching session. The book ‘Mastering The VC Game’ written by Jeffrey Bussgang provides practical advice gathered from interviews with a dozen successful entrepreneurs and VCs.

4. Will It Fly?

Author: Thomas K. McKnight

Synopsis

Before investing a single dime, first, ask yourself the question “Will it fly?”

Find out the 44 key elements required for a business to become successful. These 44 key elements were studied from 200 businesses at the time of their launch and provided to you in the shape of a well-written book called ‘Will It Fly’. This is a must-read book for investors, VC firms and stakeholders who invest in new start-ups.

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5. The Power Of Habit

Author: Charles Duhigg

Synopsis

One amongst the many best entrepreneurship books, the Power of Habit’ reveals how we can transform our businesses and our lives by changing a few behavior patterns in our lives. Business experts call it the ‘essential manual for business and success’. It takes the reader from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble (P&G) to the middle of the Civil Rights movement to the sidelines of the NFL.

C. Business Books On Team Management

1. Good To Great

Author: James C. Collins

Synopsis

The book ‘Good to Great’ reveals why are some companies achieve greatness in the long-term while others don’t. Are there any special characteristics that lead to this kind of growth? Jim Collins answers these questions in a compelling way by connecting the successes of previous companies and analyzing their traits.

2. Start With Why

Author: Simon Sinek

Synopsis

Why some organizations are more innovative than others? What is common among their managers? The book ‘Start with Why’ answers these and other questions through examples from the past. It analyses the personality of Steve Jobs, Martin Luther, and the Wright Brothers, highlighting the similarities in the personalities that eventually lead to success.

3. Creativity Inc.: Overcoming The Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way Of True Inspiration

Author: Ed Catmull

Synopsis

The author Ed Catmull has been associated with Pixar throughout his career. He knows first-hand how to grow a newly launched animation studio into an instantly-recognized global brand by embedding creativity within the company’s culture. During his tenure, Pixar launched some of the most popular movies including Toy Story, Incredibles, Monsters Inc., and many others.

In the book Creativity Inc, Catmull writes about creative strategies that you can add to your organizational structure through simple changes and create goals that bring all the employees on a unified path to success.

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4. Superbosses

Author: Sydney Finkelstein

Synopsis

What do football coach Bill Walsh, restaurateur Alice Walter and tech CEO Larry Ellison have in common? How were they consistently successful in their respective industries?

The answer is… by finding, nurturing and leading great people.

Superbosses explores the personalities of the world’s most effective bosses and how they motivate and inspire others. Their talent does not just make them successful, or robust organization builders, but what Finkelstein calls ‘Super bosses’.

D. Business Books On Product Management

1. The $100 Startup

Author: Chris Guillebeau

Synopsis

Want to lead a life full of adventure, meaning and purpose while earning a good living? The book ‘The $100 Startup’ is for you. It shows how to travel around the world while earning a consistent living and supporting your life and journey.

There are many people like Chris Guillebeau who have found ways to opt-out of the traditional web of employment that surrounds us. They pursue a meaningful life after finding a perfect blend of passion and consistent income. And, it is not dependent on the work you do on a regular basis. He describes how to start small with your venture and take the real plunge when you are sure it will be successful.

2. The Startup Owner’s Manual

Author: Steve Blank

Synopsis

If you ever wanted a toolkit for launching a start-up, The Startup Owner’s Manual is the go-to book for you. The book features proven processes of business modeling and customer development to build scalable companies.

It further sheds light on creative strategies that can help find the product-market fit and grow customer-base using any possible means.

3. Hooked

Author: Nir Eyal

Synopsis

Why some products skyrocket while others fail? What habits make people successful and what drowns them? Nir Eyal answers these and many other questions in Hooked. The book is an explanation of the Hook Model, a four-step process that simplifies the recipes of retaining customers.

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4. The E-Myth Revisited

Author: Michael E. Gerber

Synopsis

Michael Gerber is considered the number one guru for small businesses. In this book, he teaches how to dispel the myths that surround a small business and ways to make them profitable. The book ‘The E-Myth Revisited’ further sheds light on why franchising will be a better option and why you need to avail it.

Finally, it explains one overlooked difference between working in the business and working on the business.

5. How To Transform Your Ideas Into Software Products

Author: Poornima Vijayashankar

Synopsis

How to make people pay for the products even before they are built? This book tells people how to build sell-able products by turning their passion into a living. The author Poornima Vijayashanker shows the right roadmap for launching a winning software product.

6. The Lean Startup

Author: Eric Ries

Synopsis

Most start-ups fail when they focus more on the ‘other stuff’ rather than the company profits. The other stuff includes flash marketing strategies like too much customer care, team fortification and market-competitive employee compensation (even with little money in the bank).

Eric Ries gives examples of how to avoid all the common mistakes that wipe the start-up’s budget and start the downward spiral of the business in his book ‘The Lean Startup’.

7. Running Lean

Author: Ash Maurya

Synopsis

We are building more products than ever and most of them fail. This does not happen because we cannot compete but because we waste money on the wrong products. Running Lean tells us about a systematic process for quickly vetting the product ideas and working on those that truly matter.

8. The Power of Broke

Authors: Daymon John and Daniel Paisner

Synopsis

Daymon John started from a $40 budget selling home-sewn shirts on the streets. Today he is one of the most prominent investors and the founder of Shark Tank, a real-life American investment show. John shares his own story of how he had to think of an out-of-the-box idea to create a campaign that will eventually lead to the sale of his shirts and how that same thinking made him a successful entrepreneur of the 21st century. His inspiring story is in this book called ‘The Power of Broke’.

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E. Business Books On Growth and Productivity

1. The Art Of The Start

Author: Guy Kawasaki

Synopsis

Starting a business, or starting a new branch of the same business? The book ‘The Art Of The Start’ is your guide to starting things right. Guy Kawasaki documents the whole journey in a simple way while highlighting the important aspects of business.

2. Traction

Authors: Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Synopsis

It is, indeed, one of the best books for entrepreneurs. Most start-ups do not fail because they cannot build a successful product. They fail because they cannot get traction. Traction is not about how well-marketed a start-up is, but how many customers it is acquiring on a regular basis, or if free, how many users.

The authors Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares share their experiences of building a successful company. They say it is not about how cleverly you market or how much money you raise, but how much you can grow. Traction ensures that you are on the right path.

3. The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right

Author: Atul Gawande

Synopsis

We always strive for betterment. Better education, better skill-set, better job, better income, etc., and we still fail. Atul Gawande makes a compelling argument stating that we can do better using the simplest methods and simplest skill sets. He calls it the ‘checklist’.

Through analogies, inspirational stories and thought-provoking incidences in his book he narrates how checklists can help us improve, bring about a striking change in our mindset, life and the field of work. And that going for ‘better’ is not always necessary.

4. The Third Wave

Author: Steve Case

Synopsis

The book ‘The Third Wave’ is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller that provides a compelling roadmap for understanding the technological changes in our economy. It also provides ways in which businesses can successfully tap into these strategies to become more profitable.

Steve Case is the co-founder of AOL, the first internet company to go public in the early 1990s. He provides insights on the importance of entrepreneurship and charts a path for future innovators. It is considered as one of the best books on entrepreneurship.

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5. The Four Steps To The Epiphany

Author: Steve Blank

Synopsis

The book ‘The Four Steps to the Epiphany’ offers a practical four-step solution for streamlining the customer development process for start-ups. It is the first book that launched the Lean Startup approach for new ventures. Start-ups CEOs should realize that they are not smaller versions of large companies. Rather, they operate under a very different business model. The book presents concrete examples of how to take your start-up to the next level and what approaches should be taken for that purpose.

6. The 7 Day Startup

Author: Dan Norris

Synopsis

Ever heard of sustainable cash flowing business that was just made in seven days? Dan Norris did and he reveals his secrets in ‘The 7 Day Startup’ book.

Dan’s business is now worth $400,000 and bringing recurring revenue.

Learn and Grow With These 30 Best Business Books For Entrepreneurs

It would be difficult to choose one single book to read from this list of the best books for entrepreneurs because every next book is full of information. Therefore, we have categorized each one. Ask yourself what is the major problem your start-up is facing? And then, choose books related to that area for reading.

We hope you liked this list of best business books for entrepreneurs. If you did, then share it with your friends, family, and colleagues who are struggling with their start-ups.

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