If you want to go into the world of business and you intend to start your business on the right note, you are required to acquire the right knowledge and one of the ways you can acquire the right knowledge is to read the right books.
No doubt, to read is one thing, but to know the types of books to read when you are aiming at something is entirely a different kettle of fish. This is why in this article, we will highlight some books that will help you become nothing less than the very best as an entrepreneur and the owner of a business.
In no particle order, here are the 15 best books we will recommend to any aspiring entrepreneur who wants to start a business.
Top 15 Books on How to Start a Business
Table of Content
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
- Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
- Will It Fly? How to Know if Your New Business Idea Has Wings … Before You Take the Leap by Thomas K. McKnight
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
- Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits! by Greg Crabtree
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
- The Ten-Day MBA: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering the Skills Taught In America’s Top Business Schools by Steven A. Silbiger
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
- Start Run & Grow a Successful Small Business by Toolkit Media Group
- The Business Start-Up Kit by Steven D. Strauss
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
Zero to One is one of the best business books you should read if you are planning on starting a business. Peter Theil is a billionaire entrepreneur and venture capitalist, and co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies, and Founders Fund. Zero to One is based on a series of essays taken from notes of a lecture Theil gave on startups in 2012.
Zero to One is a well-written book on innovation that explores how entrepreneurs develop new ideas by learning to think outside the box, making it a great book for business people looking to carve out a profitable niche. Atlantic writer Derek Thompson cited Zero to One as maybe the best business book he’s ever read.
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Another popular book that you should consider reading if you want to start your business from the scratch is Rich Dad Poor Dad. In Rich Dad Poor Dad, entrepreneur and founder of Rich Global LLC, Robert T. Kiyosaki talks about two men who helped shape his thoughts on money and investing: his father (the titular poor dad), and his best friend’s father (the rich dad).
Robert T. Kiyosaki argues that the amount of money you make matters less than the amount of money you keep. He argues that while the poor and middle-class work to make more money, the rich have their money work for them.
Kiyosaki’s lesson on the importance of financial literacy is a great read for anyone that’s ever felt like they don’t have enough money. It’s especially important for entrepreneurs in the early stages of starting a business, who might need to make their cash extend further.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
If you intend to start a business in the tech space, then one of the books that you mustn’t fail to read is the E-Myth Revisited. This book explores how companies with an innovative product can self-sabotage by not considering how that innovation translates into business success.
Michael E. Gerber is the founder of Michael E. Gerber Companies, a business skills training company based in California. In The E-Myth Revisited, Gerber explores why 80% of small businesses fail, and offers insight into how to make sure your business isn’t among them.
Gerber’s thesis is that people mistakenly believe that technical knowledge will translate into business success, which isn’t usually the case. Gerber instructs readers on how to break out of this mindset and set up a business that relies on “systems” rather than the skills of individuals.
Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Rework is no doubt a book that can come in handy for both startup entrepreneurs and those who are just in the teething stage of their business. Rework comes from Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp, and David Heinemeier Hansson, the programmer who invented the Ruby on Rails web development framework.
Fried and Hanson are both entrepreneurs with tech backgrounds who offer great advice for any business owner who might be an expert in their field but a beginner in the world of entrepreneurship. Rework tosses aside conventional business jargon and instead offers advice that’s concrete and straightforward.
In this New York Times bestseller, Fried and Hanson present their readers with a variety of low-cost ways to grow their business, with lessons on increasing productivity, not getting bogged down by too much planning, and ways of getting exposure for your business without spending too much startup cash.
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss
As an entrepreneur, one of the skills that you must have if you want to excel in business is negotiation skills and that is what the book Never Split the Difference is all about. The author of the book is Chris Voss and he is a business professor, CEO of the Black Swan Group, and a former FBI hostage negotiator—widely considered to be an expert in the psychology of persuasion.
The book Never Split the Difference, reveals the strategies Chris Voss used in his own career for approaching high-stakes negotiations. Voss explores how to build trust, overcome emotional obstacles, use empathy as a tool rather than a hindrance, and the language to use to communicate clearly.
First-time entrepreneurs will need to enter into negotiations with their business partners, investors, employees, contractors, and all sorts of other stakeholders. Never Split the Difference offers tools and techniques for juggling all of the factors of negotiation.
Having a vision is one of the key ingredients that make businesses succeed and if you are looking for a book to guide you in that regard, then you should read the Lean Startup. Eric Reiss is an entrepreneur known for his work in the field of information architecture, usability, and service design. In The Lean Startup, Ries explores why most startups fail and give insight into how to avoid failure in the early days of your business.
Ries touches on how the most successful startups leverage human creativity while keeping costs low, with a focus on rapid experimentation, effectively measuring success by eliminating superfluous vanity metrics, and adapting to customer needs.
Reis’s book offers a way for companies to test their vision continuously and describes how to use innovative techniques to adapt to change. The Lean Startup is a must-read for anyone looking to avoid the pitfalls of startups that failed.
Another great book you should read if you want to start your business is Will It Fly? In this book, McKnight lays out ways to know if a business idea has potential before you even get started. McKnight’s data comes from more than 200 startups. He has evaluated their business plans, investment strategies, and more.
So also in the book, Thomas K. McKnight lays out 44 rules of business success to help you understand how to move forward. Thomas K. McKnight wants to through his book help business owners tweak their initial ideas into viable startups. He also provides them with knowledge of how to make wise business decisions right from the beginning.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited is no doubt a good book to read if indeed you want to start your small business on the right note. Michael Gerber is the author of the book and he has been providing business consultation services since 1977. His more than 40 years of experience have helped small businesses in dozens of industries.
Many people who establish companies might understand the concepts of business ownership. But they don’t understand the practicalities of running a successful business. Gerber lays it all out: what mistakes business owners make, preconceived assumptions they have, and what they need to succeed.
Lastly, in this book, Michael Gerber also provides advice on how to use the principles of franchising, regardless of whether you have a franchise. This helps business owners provide skillful, guided growth for their company, no matter what industry they are in.
Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits! by Greg Crabtree
Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits is yet another interesting book that an aspiring entrepreneur should consider reading before starting their business. In the simplest possible language, Greg Crabtree lays out the principles of what makes a business profitable.
You do not have to have a degree in business to understand these principles. Instead, Crabtree presents it in a simple, easy-to-follow language without jargon. The key points of the book are that any business owner should know how to make their business profitable without needing an advanced degree to get it right.
But it’s also essential for them to know how to make a profit and balance the costs of running their business for long-term profitability. Reading this book is like taking an accounting course for any business owner with simple steps that anyone can follow.
Business owners will also learn about common money mistakes that small businesses make and how to avoid them. Crabtree also explains the whys and hows of hidden costs. He shows how these aren’t always what they seem, as well as things you should know about paying business taxes.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Distraction is an issue so many people struggle with, but it is especially detrimental in the world of business, where success hinges on the ability to adapt quickly.
In Deep Work, Professor of Computer Science Cal Newport shares his insight on how to focus deeply on cognitively demanding tasks in a world filled with distractions. Newport argues that the ability to focus without distraction isn’t something people are born with—it is a skill that must be learned, practiced, and mastered.
Deep Work offers readers Newport’s personal training regimen, which consists of four rules for practicing deep focus and building good habits. By reframing distraction as an opportunity rather than a burden, Newport offers critical advice to anyone looking to be more motivated.
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
If you want to start a business as an innovator or you want to design your own product from the scratch, then you should endeavor to read The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norm. Trust me, Norman’s book is the perfect primer for anyone in the process of designing a new product.
Don Norman is a researcher, professor, and business consultant, renowned as one of the foremost experts in the field of usability engineering. In The Design of Everyday Things, he offers advice on how to design a good product, based on what he has learned in his long career.
Norman starts by exploring some of the most timeless product designs—such as doorknobs, light switches, and oven burners—asking us to consider why the most timeless designs tend to be the simplest.
The answer has to do with how human brains process information. So many designers make the mistake of ignoring human cognitive psychology to create a product that does everything, rather than a product that does one thing very well.
If you don’t have the money to enroll in an MBA course, then you should consider reading the Ten-Day MBA by Steven A. Silbiger. In The Ten-Day MBA, MBA and marketing director Steven A. Silbiger gives readers a crash course in everything he’s learned in his years teaching business, covering theoretical concepts alongside practical skills like accounting, finance, marketing strategy, and quantitative analysis, operations, economics, organizational behavior, and ethics.
Silbiger’s internationally acclaimed comprehensive guide compiles lessons from business schools across the world, based on the notes of MBA students attending programs at Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, Northwestern, and the University of Virginia.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
Being in business means that you should be able to persuade people to buy your services or products and one of the books that will help you in this regard is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini. Robert B. Cialdini is a professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University.
In Influence, he explores the psychology behind persuasion and offers a practical framework for influencing people in the world of business and marketing.
Cialdini argues that in a world filled with distractions, people rely on generalizations and assumptions to make decisions, rather than relying purely on evidence. Cialdini uses empirical studies conducted in the fields of psychology, marketing, economics, anthropology, and social science to make his arguments.
Influence identifies six principles that guide human decision-making and gives real-world examples of how these principles can guide your decision-making when trying to persuade others. The practical tools provided in Cialdini’s book make it one of the most useful marketing books, especially for aspiring entrepreneurs without a lot of business experience.
Start Run & Grow a Successful Small Business by Toolkit Media Group
Another well-written business book that we recommend for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to start a business is Start Run & Grow a Successful Small Business by Toolkit Media Group. Trust me, if you are looking for the perfect all-in-one small business reference book, this is one of the best references you will get.
The book walks you through the entire process of setting up a business from planning to accounting and staffing with handy checklists, case studies, and model business plans to help you start and grow your business. You will learn effective human resource management strategies including payroll, benefits, hiring, and firing methods.
The Business Start-Up Kit by Steven D. Strauss
Lastly, another good business book that should be on your bucket list of books to read before starting your business is The Business Start-Up Kit by Steven D. Strauss. The author of the book Steven D. Strauss is a small business columnist for USAToday.com and one of the nation’s foremost authorities on small businesses.
In this book, Strauss offers a compendium of valuable information to benefit every aspiring founder who wants to start and succeed in business. He explains what works and what doesn’t work in start-ups and offers ample tips and guidance on, among other things, picking a business and why one’s passion is important.