As an entrepreneur, you may be very busy doing business, but you should never be too busy to learn and grow. Investing in your personal and professional development is incredibly valuable in helping you and your business to progress; so here is some reading material to equip you with the mindset, tools, perspective and motivation to achieve your business goals.
In my opinion, the key to successful entrepreneurship is to keep your fire burning – and reading the following books will fuel that fire. I know from experience that whenever I read an informative book, just by downloading these newfound ideas and information, I feel a sense of renewed inspiration and a new drive to succeed.
The following books are best-sellers and classics that are highly recommended for any entrepreneur or business leader.
✔ Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill.
Considered to be the entrepreneur’s bible; even though this books was written in the 1930s, the principles still apply today. Hill takes inspiration from successful people like Dale Carnegie and Henry Ford, and breaks down their key denominators. If you’re a true entrepreneur, you’ll read it a number of times in your career, and still get something new out of it, because some things only resonate years down the line. Essential reading for all true entrepreneurs.
✔ The Lean Startup – Eric Ries.
Describes today’s way of structuring a successful business. It’s based on establishing a successful business by finding out what your customer wants, experimenting with your product or services, testing the market and adjusting your offer according to feedback. It’s efficient and effective. This book is key – especially for any business that’s tech-related and innovative.
✔ Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh
The story of Tony Hsieh and his entrepreneurial journey from childhood to becoming CEO of Zappos.com, one of the biggest clothing and shoe retailers globally, which was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion. What he shares in this book is the power of values and building a successful company culture – what culture is and how to build it. This is a profound book that made me build my business in a totally different way, and its influence can still be seen in my own companies.
✔ How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie.
Another book published in the 1930s that has stood the test of time. Powerful. Your network affects your net worth – so it’s important to create relationships with people who will help you to achieve your goals – whether it’s individuals, your team, managers, your supply chains or clients. This shows how to naturally build rapport and get people to connect with you, using a number of simple strategies which, when implemented, are so, so powerful. Another must-read.
✔ Good to Great – James C. Collins.
I always think there’s a thin line between good and great but few are prepared to go the extra mile. This book shows you the methods to create a great company. They break down takes the key components from some of the world’s greatest companies to identify what makes them great, while others fail. He looks at their organisational culture, discipline, technology and finds common keys to success. This shows you how to structure and strategise your business to follow their footsteps to greatness.
✔ The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy.
This breaks down how to create compound interest in all that you do – not just in finance. E.g. if £100 gains 1% each day, by the end of a year, you will have a much larger total. Similarly, tiny steps amount to huge results over time. This book teaches how small incremental changes made on a regular daily basis over weeks and months compounds into massive results.
✔ Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson.
This is really relevant to what we’re going through at the moment, with unavoidable changes in business and the economy. It’s written as a fable about mice in a maze looking for cheese – but it acts as a model for leaders to learn to adapt to changes in the economic landscape – and survive. The book shows why those people who don’t like change behave as they do, the importance of having the right sort of people in your business – who are open to change.
✔ Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki.
Powerful! This book has changed the life of so many people – certainly in terms of their perception of investment. This shows how to do this wisely. For example, knowing the difference between an asset and a liability – since the mistake most people make is to spend on liabilities. As an entrepreneur having achieved some success, you may wish to invest, and since many people become entrepreneurs to achieve financial freedom, this book advocates learning about finance, building wealth, and growth through investing. It reframes and simplifies investment.
✔ The 4-hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss.
Powerful! This is about breaking from convention, challenging the status quo, being creative and disrupting ‘normal’ expectations – all to create a dream lifestyle. It shows how working smarter, not harder and using the resources around you helps you to become more effective and efficient and create the life you dream of. Very powerful – a highly-recommended read.
✔ Turn This Ship Around – L. David Marquet.
Marquet was a captain of a submarine, who turned its crew from “worst to best” by disrupting standard practices. This is about leadership – and his style of empowering his team to take the helm, to be accountable and use initiative instead of being reliant on him. They had the freedom and ability to make decisions – even in extreme situations. His aim was to make himself redundant in his role – which is what we need to do with our teams – to help them to evolve, and have the business run itself.
These books will undoubtedly give you a totally different perspective on entrepreneurism, and immediately after reading, you will want to action some of the principles you’ve learned.
There is a difference between owning a business and being an entrepreneur – entrepreneurism is about development and growth; whereas business owners can find themselves imprisoned by their business. Real entrepreneurs achieve freedom and have money work for them instead of them working for money. And these are the books that will help you to achieve that.