Being a successful entrepreneur certainly isn’t about following the ‘rules’ of life. Innovation, creativity, the ability to think outside the box… These are all vital if you’re going to rise above the norm and become extraordinary. To truly succeed, the best entrepreneurs never stop learning and absorbing.
With that in mind, the following list includes some of the most influential books around today that any aspiring entrepreneur would do well to take some time out to read.
1. A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success by Deep Patel
A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success is an amazing read that any budding or would-be entrepreneur can take a huge amount from. Follow Deep Patel’s fable of the journey taken by an enthusiastic 17-year-old high school boy as he makes his way towards becoming a savvy business owner. The story is skillfully interwoven with the 11 principles of success as mentioned in the title – what many consider to be the seeds that have launched many a great business.
The book also includes some great interviews with other successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, professors and U.S. Army General David Petraus, ex-director of the CIA.
2. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Management of Innovation and Change) by Clayton M Christensen
Covering such issues as “why do large companies seem and act like dinosaurs?” this book delves into the reasons why would-be outstanding companies fail in their potential, simply due to following what’s universally accepted as traditional business practices. For any entrepreneur wanting to get to the true reason behind why innovation is so important, this book really is one not to miss out on.
3. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
The 4-Hour Workweek debunks the myth that in today’s climate we need to work every hour under the sun until we’ve saved enough for our retirement. This book offers the blueprint to working less, traveling more, making more money, and simply enjoying the journey of life whilst you’re traveling, rather than putting everything on hold until you’re too old to take advantage of if.
We live in unpredictable economic times, so the trick to winning in such a climate is to become unpredictable yourself. At the very least, this book will get you totally fired-up as to how you can combine working with living the kind of life many can only dream of.
4. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
The classic business book, Think and Grow Rich, was first published in 1937. Since then over 80 million copies have been sold, and the principles explored within the book remain as valid today as they were when the book first aired. The book uses such innovators as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison to illustrate success principles within business, showing how to take these and apply them to any field in simple, basic, and easy to follow techniques.
5. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking dives deep into the science behind decision-making and intuition. It’s all about how we think without thinking – and how the most successful people aren’t those who can process the most information or deliberate for the longest. Instead, Gladwell reveals that those people are the one’s who’ve perfected the art of deciphering the very few factors that actually matter from the mass of variables out there.
6. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
The New York Times bestseller, Thinking Fast and Slow, is the work of renowned psychologist and Nobel Prize winner, Daniel Kahneman. The book takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the human mind, with research based on the two separate systems that drive the way we think.
System One is all about intuition, emotion, and fast thinking. System Two is much slower, with deliberation and logic taking the lead. Understanding how these two systems intertwine to effect and shape our judgment and decisions provides fascinating insights into how we make choices each and every day.
7. The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie
The Gospel of Wealth might, at first glance, not look like a book that should make it into an entrepreneurial ‘must-read’ list. However, Carnegie was one of the most influential philanthropists of his era – one who gave away more than 90% of his fortune to charities and foundations by the time of his death.
The book gives a fascinating insight into the way in which he made his fortune, as well as the reasoning behind his philanthropic projects. For any entrepreneur today, understanding the motivation, drive, and thinking behind one of the most successful guy’s in the history of business is well worth taking some time to read.
8. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It is deserving of its bestseller status. Author, Michael Gerber, provides a real insight into the reality of starting your own business. He then takes this further, discussing how to nurture a small business through its growing stages, and looks into the reasons why so many fail to go any further.
The greatest thing about this book is the insight into true understanding about why failure occurs in so many instances. Managing to avoid these is a key skill any entrepreneur needs to grasp in order to be successful.
9. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion discusses the ‘six universal principles’ behind the art of persuasion. An expert in his field, Dr. Robert Cialdini digs deep into the psychology behind what makes people say ‘yes’, and the ways in which your behavior can persuade them to do so. The book is based on his three-year study into what moves people to change their behavior and his 35+ years of evidence based research.
10. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Seth Godin’s, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable, is a marketing classic that teaches readers about the uber-successful marketing methods that have been utilized by some of the best-known names in the global business world. Godin stresses that in today’s ever-noisier world (by that, take the amount of information, advertising, marketing, and other clutter that we’re bombarded with every minute), when it comes to marketing strategies, you’re either remarkable, or invisible.
This book is all about learning how to be the former, something that every entrepreneur needs to understand and impart, however large or small your business.