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The Top 20 Books for Budding Entrepreneurs

Global Entrepreneur Week is here, and what better way to channel your inner entrepreneurial spirit than by reading good books? In no particular order, here are the best books on entrepreneurship that money can buy, and that can make you money.



1. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Tired of working long hours without seeing your business grow? Timothy Ferriss, the bestselling author and entrepreneur, has perfected a system where he eliminates wasted time from his schedule to work four hours a week –– literally. In this groundbreaking book, entrepreneurs will learn the best ways to streamline their working schedules for success.


2. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

In this innovative book, read how Chris Guillebeau turns his ideas into a steady source of income without ever having a “real” job. In addition, Guillebeau locates a group of entrepreneurs who made their fortune with an initial investment of $100 or less, and explains how they managed to be so successful.


3. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Unlike many books on this list, “Think and Grow Rich” is relatively old, but that doesn’t make it any less important for budding entrepreneurs. First published in 1937, this book uses a model for positive thinking that can help any business grow. Inspired by Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill’s philosophy can be used by anyone to improve his or her life, in business or otherwise.


4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

First published in 1988, this famous self-help book aids readers in their quest to become more goal-oriented in their personal lives. One of the more famous sections of “7 Habits” deals with personal character and ethics, which are useful for anyone trying to create or sustain a business and maintain integrity while doing it.


5. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The period when your business is just starting out can be full of uncertainty. In “The Lean Startup,” Eric Ries approaches startup companies with gusto, using his experience with entrepreneurship to give ways in which new entrepreneurs can adapt to changing business conditions without fear.


6. Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

If you have a hobby that you really enjoy and are willing to create a business model around it, this may be the perfect guide. Gary Vaynerchuk knows how to turn a passion into a business, and will show new entrepreneurs how to use common online resources to help them succeed.


7. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Struggling with unleashing your inner creativity, or just don’t know how to begin the creative process needed for establishing a successful business? “The War of Art” may be just the book you need. In it, Steven Pressfield pushes readers to express their creative spirit, and gives ways to overcome resistance to creative thought.


8. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

In this famous business manual, Michael Gerber displays a step-by-step approach to making your business work, from its conception to (hopefully) a successful business for others to admire. Gerber highlights the myths surrounding business and dispels them, making this a must-read for any serious entrepreneur.


9. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Surely enough, Simon Sinek uses this influential work to outline how asking the question “why” is one of the most important items on the business checklist. Sinek explores how successful people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Steve Jobs all started their careers by asking the question “why” ––  and argues that this simple question can turn a faltering business into a lucrative venture in no time.


10. Originals by Adam Grant

A relatively recent publication, “Originals” by Adam Grant explores how people can both create new ideas and advocate for them in the business world. Grant looks at the process of “being original” and gives ways in which entrepreneurs can recognize good ideas and invest in them to create a successful business.


11. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Winner of multiple awards, including the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” describes how we think in terms two systems: a logical, slower mode of thinking and a faster, more intuitive approach. Kahneman, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, taps into our decision-making instincts and guides us on how these instincts can improve both our business and our personal lives.


12. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

A cult classic, Dale Carnegie’s early 20th century masterpiece offers ways to increase your influence and network, essential attributes for any budding entrepreneur. Carnegie demonstrates his own shift to popularity and gives expert tips on how to persuade people to adopt your way of thinking. As many of these books do, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” can assist people with their personal lives as well –– all the more reason to open it up!


13. The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

The subscript of Brian Tracy’s “The Psychology of Selling” reads “Increase your sales faster and easier than you ever thought possible,” and that’s exactly what this book does. Inside, readers will acquire tips and strategies to increase sales and turn their business into a successful model that others will envy.


14. Click Millionaires by Scott Fox

In “Click Millionaires,” entrepreneurs will find a ton of information about how to create a successful business in the internet age. This book describes how to utilize online marketing to increase revenue and work fewer hours during the week, all while sitting behind a computer and avoiding much of the hassle that comes with the “traditional” corporate mentality.


15. The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

Hailed as “revolutionary,” this business book tells it like it is –– that even businesses that do everything right can still end up failing. Christensen explains how business can avoid this and advocates for an approach that is willing to reject traditional business practices in favor of ones that will help the company succeed in the long run.


16. Grit by Angela Duckworth

Written by psychologist Angela Duckworth, this book argues that success comes not from inborn talent, but rather passion and persistence, which anyone can channel. Through anecdotes and a blend of other stories, Duckworth spins a tale that highlights effort as a vital component of a successful career, be it in business or otherwise.


17. Rich20Something by Daniel DiPiazza

Daniel DiPiazza shows aspiring entrepreneurs how to move up the career ladder in record time, using powerful anecdotes and his own experience as a young 20-year-old struggling with his business ideas. DiPiazza’s book provides strategies on making money and increasing online exposure, an essential piece of any successful business these days.


18. How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis

Written by a very successful entrepreneur, “How to Get Rich” offers readers exactly what it says in its title –– namely, the best strategies to make money in any business venture. Polished with humorous anecdotes from Dennis’ own experience in business, this book will teach any aspiring entrepreneur the bitter truths about making money and maintaining a profitable business.


19. The Star Principle by Richard Koch

This book deals mainly with so-called “star” ventures, or businesses in a competitive, high-growth sector. Richard Koch outlines the best ways to improve businesses in this environment and create them, all while describing how he himself made millions even in such notoriously difficult business circumstances.


20. 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall

Perry Marshall demonstrates how he uses the so-called “80/20 rule” to find the ultimate success with his business ventures. Marshall explains how budding entrepreneurs can cut time-wasting and streamline their business model by focusing on 20 percent of the market, instead of the all-encompassing approach often found in other business strategies.



Nick Irvin is a 3rd year undergraduate studying at UC Davis. He enjoys reading, writing, and golfing.

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