We asked our extensive network to recommend one book that should be on every entrepreneur’s must-read list. Whether you need advice, a dose of inspiration, or a gift for your co-founder, we’ve got you covered.
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney
Recommended by Alex Bryce, co-founder at WeInvoice
Why: This book “helps you get clarity on the concept and practice of execution,” Bryce says. “Since execution is one of the critical components of brand building, this book has to be on every business leader’s list.”
The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
Recommended by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation
Why: “This book is about how to avoid unintentionally holding yourself back in life and in business. Reading it helped me focus on taking action,” says Sweeney.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Recommended by Yoel Gabay, CEO of FreedomCare
Why: “A lot of hard work and commitment goes into bringing an idea to fruition,” says Gabay. “Success is not handed to you on a silver platter. This book gives you the tools.”
The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Gillebeau
Recommended by Stephen Curry, CEO of CocoSign
Why: “Most entrepreneurs try to follow what everyone else is doing. This book…helps them break away from the toxic entourage,” says Curry.
Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
Recommended by Adam Rossi, CEO of TotalShield
Why: “A must-read for every entrepreneur, [this book] will shed light on how small changes to your daily routine will have a huge impact on your life,” says Rossi.
Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant: Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Recommended by Wes Niemiec, CEO of Landmark Home Solution
Why: This book “will give you a new outlook on wealth and risk management,” says Niemiec.
Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott
Recommended by Laura Weisberger, CEO and chief alchemist, Fervor Candle Company
Why: “This book is an essential tool for developing and refining communication skills. It has been immensely helpful in my own interactions with customers, suppliers and employees,” says Weisberger.
First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, from Gallup
Recommended by Ari Shpanya, CEO and co-founder of LoanBase
Why: “It’s a great compilation of secrets and out-of-the-box knowledge for almost every entrepreneurial situation you could imagine,” says Shpanya. “Learning how successful managers treat people and what they do differently gives you a new perspective on how to tackle your own issues. I don’t like inspirational books or fairytale-like messages, but this book truly leaves you inspired to see challenges from a new perspective.”
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
Recommended by Ouriel Lemmel, CEO of WinIt
Why: “This is an insightful book about time management that’s also reassuring,” says Lemmel. “It’s a pleasure to read, and so practical, I keep it within easy reach so I can refer to it for advice. It’s a great addition to the bookshelf of anyone in a position of authority, because it demonstrates [how] to lead with grace and empathy.”
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
Recommended by Stefan Chekanov, co-founder and CEO of Brosix
Why: “This is one of the rare, brutally honest books about running a business in Silicon Valley,” says Chekanov.
Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas
Recommended by Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls
Why: “The authors…make a compelling argument for how and why incorporating humor in your business and as a leader can be very powerful,” says Arnof-Fenn. “Humor helps achieve business objectives, build more effective and innovative organizations, cultivate stronger bonds and capture more lasting memories. We’ve all been through a lot the past few years; it’s nice to balance the intensity of the pandemic with a light and fun read.”
Hyper Sales Growth: Street-Proven Systems and Processes. How to Grow Quickly and Profitably by Jack Daly
Recommended by Christopher Sioco, COO of Tax Robot
Why: “This book is for entrepreneurs who are looking for more insights on selling their products and promoting their business,” says Sioco.
Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity, by Garrett B. Gunderson
Recommended by Jeroen van Gils, founder and CEO of LiFi
Why: “I’m not a fan of financial books, but this one piqued my interest,” says van Gils. “What I love the most is its focus on creating value instead of reducing costs. It resonates with me as someone who runs several businesses.”
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
Recommended by Haris Bacic, co-founder and CEO of PriceListo
Why: “As with many outstanding leadership books, Leaders Eat Last is inspired by military ideas,” says Bacic. “The notion is: Senior commanders eat after their troops, placing their subordinates’ demands ahead of their own. Sinek argues that putting people first enables crews to feel supported and valued. These feelings, in turn, motivate employees to go above and beyond expectations.”
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Reis
Recommended by Ryan Fyfe, COO of Workpuls.com
Why: “The Lean Startup teaches entrepreneurs how to test their business ideas cheaply and quickly, measure customer feedback, create prototypes, and make decisions based on data rather than intuition,” says Fyfe. “Implementing the principles from this book can help entrepreneurs avoid wasting time and money on doomed projects and increase their chances of success.”
Mastering Inbound Marketing: Your Complete Guide to Building a Results-Driven Inbound Strategy by Elyse Flynn Meyer
Recommended by Amy Aust, senior account manager, Adler Public Relations
Why: “This book is focused on helping business owners and leaders better understand every aspect of the inbound marketing methodology, including the revenue-generation trifecta of marketing, sales and the customer experience,” says Aust.
Mentor to Millions: Secrets of Success in Business, Relationships, and Beyond by Kevin Harrington and Mark Timm
Recommended by Daria Maltseva, head of Product at KeyUA
Why: “This is a perfect addition if you need mentoring support to achieve your goals,” says Maltseva.
Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days by Joey Coleman
Recommended by Laura Rike, Pinterest expert, laurarike.com
Why: “This book shares how to use social media and other outlets to truly wow your customers and clients to ensure they become raving fans,” says Rike.
On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis
Recommended by Angela Blakenship, CEO of Best Neighborhood
Why: “Dubbed the ‘Dean of Leadership Gurus’ by Forbes, Bennis has argued persuasively that leaders are not born but created,” says Blakenship. “His landmark work, On Becoming a Leader, which delves into the attributes that define leadership, the people who exemplify it, and the tactics that anybody can use to achieve it, has provided a source of critical knowledge for countless readers. [The] masterfully produced stories of remarkable leaders and their unique pathways to power are guaranteed to inspire future leaders to go on an exciting journey of self-discovery.”
The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
Recommended by Sam Sweeney, founder of Trivvy
Why: “I love this book because it tells you to think positively because positive thinking will make positive things happen,” says Sweeney.
Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy by Micah Zenko
Recommended by Sharon Winton, co-founder and director of marketing at Gomontana
Why: “This book will change the way you think. You’ll find out that thinking like the enemy will make you succeed,” says Winton.
Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Recommended by Adam Hempenstall, CEO and founder of Better Proposals
Why: “Before remote work became cool, these two set the foundation for remote companies. [The book] not only talks about the benefits of the remote business framework, but also stresses the importance of structure, setting goals, hiring the right people and much more,” says Hempenstall.
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Recommended by Vaibhav Kakkar, CEO of Digital Web Solutions
Why: “Rich Dad Poor Dad is my all-time favorite business book,” says Kakkar. “It looks at the author’s two ‘dads’ in terms of wealth management; his best friend’s father is the rich dad, while his father is the poor dad. The book covers themes from making your money work for you to the necessity of financial literacy. It’s a must-read for executives, but I’d recommend it to everyone interested in improving financial literacy.”
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
Recommended by Christian Velitchkov, co-founder of Twiz
Why: “This book inculcates readers about the importance of feedback and opinions on a business,” says Velitchkov. “The more you consider the feedback of your peers and customers, the better you can optimize your business.”
Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking by Christopher Hadnagy
Recommended by Kristen Bolig, CEO of SecurityNerd
Why: “This book addresses topics like cybersecurity and the importance of managing a business’s online presence,” says Bolig. “Being a security-conscious business leader is critical because nothing sets back a company’s revenue, productivity and reputation like a cyberattack.”
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
Recommended by Kyle MacDonald, director of operations, Force by Mojio
Why: “This book is about the importance of learning, understanding and highlighting your own personal leadership style,” says MacDonald. “When you purchase it, you receive an access code to an online assessment that tells you your top leadership strengths. The book then becomes like a manual into your own leadership style because it goes into each strength and talks about what kinds of leaders you work well with, how you can lead well with that strength, and more. I became a much more confident leader after learning how to take advantage of my personal strengths instead of trying to adopt other strengths that just weren’t my style.”
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Recommended by Dean Kaplan, CEO of Kaplan Collection Agency
Why: “I’m a keen reader of business books and set aside time every day to read. Entrepreneurs need to assess situations and make decisions, to evaluate outcomes and make necessary adjustments. Kahneman’s book made me appreciate that not all thinking is the same,” says Kaplan. “The difference between rigorous and sloppy thinking is often the difference between success and failure. Unfortunately, fast and sloppy thinking is all too common in business.”
Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle
Recommended by Tim White, CEO and founder of MilePro
Why: “I love this book because it shows how a lot of concepts from the world of sports are perfectly applicable to the business world,” says White. “For example, should managers and business leaders hire employees that are the best in their respective fields regardless of how well they fit in the team, or should they prioritize cultural fit over competency? Trillion Dollar Coach discusses these extremely relevant [issues] and important questions for me as a CEO. A quote from the book resonated so powerfully with me that I wrote it down. It goes as follows: ‘Todd Bradley, a former HP executive who worked extensively with Bill [Campbell], says that the biggest lesson he learned from him was about “the humanity of winning,” by which he means winning as a team (not as individuals) and winning ethically. Whether in business or in sports, it’s amazing what can be accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit.’”
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
Recommended by Katie Lyon, co-founder of Allegiance Flag Supply
Why: “This unique book uses a parable to explain the truth about dealing with change,” says Lyon. “As an entrepreneur, you deal with change constantly. Instead of letting it stress you out, you can alter your attitude and allow changes to impact you in a positive way. It’s brief but powerful, making it perfect for business leaders who are short on time.”