26 Awesome Books Entrepreneurs Think You Should Read This Month

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Every month we ask our interviewees about one book they think other entrepreneurs should read. This is not the one book they’re reading right now, but we hope it to be the one book that had the biggest input on them as entrepreneurs. Not only are we compiling an overall bestseller list of all the books ever recommended on IdeaMensch but we’re also going to publish each month’s recommendations for you. So here are all the books recommended by IdeaMensch entrepreneurs in the month of September. Some of them you’d expect to see while others are more surprising suggestions.  We hope you find one that speaks and that will make an awesome impact on you or your business.


1. The Alchemist

Like the one-time bestseller Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Alchemist presents a simple fable, based on simple truths and places it in a highly unique situation. And though we may sniff a bestselling formula, it is certainly not a new one: even the ancient tribal storytellers knew that this is the most successful method of entertaining an audience while slipping in a lesson or two.

Stephen WaldenWithout spoiling the ending, I recommend that all entrepreneurs read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It is not a typical entrepreneurial startup book, but rather a novel about a boy pursuing his dreams, which he believes are prophetic. His dreams tell him to go look for the treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. Along the way, he learns a lot about himself and what it means to define your goals and success. Without ruining the ending, I would say that this book teaches you that your dreams and treasures are not always as far away and grandiose as you might imagine.

- Stephen Walden, CEO of Bosse Tools

Jennifer MartinOne of my favorite all time books is a very simple story by Paulo Coelho called The Alchemist. The story provides a great reminder that each of us has our own special path to travel and story to tell here on earth and that following our inner driver might scare the _ _ _ _ out of us, but in the long run it’s so worthwhile.

- Jennifer Martin, Owner of Zest Business Consulting

2. Good To Great

How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great? Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness — why some companies make the leap and others don’t.

Doug Lebda - Chairman, CEO and Founder of LendingTree.comJim Collins – Good to Great. Instead of an author’s opinion on what it takes to succeed, it’s based on solid research on how to build a great company.

Doug Lebda, Founder of Lending Tree

greg - bloombergGood to Great – best practices for business leaders. Awesome. I find myself referring to and using the content of this one more than any other.

Greg Gianforte, Founder of RightNow Technologies

3. Drive

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose-and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action in a unique book that will change how we think and transform how we live.

Jack Holt - Founder and CEO of MATTRI’d recommend “Drive” by Daniel Pink. Everyone wants to motivate people, even if you want to motivate someone to leave you alone. This book tells you how.

 Jack Holt, Founder and CEO of Whit.li


Ryan WilliamsDrive by Daniel Pink. Dan will remind you that we can’t motivate people rather we need to lead and find out what motivates each person in our organization and cater to that.

Ryan Williams, Co-founder of Fidelis PPM

4. The Lean Startup

The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively.  Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want.

Tobi Walter - COO and Co-Founder of Shoeboxed.comThis might get old, but it is really the one book everybody should read: The Lean Startup.

Tobi Walter – Co-Founder of Shoeboxed.com


The Lean Startup. This is the startup bible.Todd-Vatalaro

 Todd Vatalaro, Startup Sales Executive


5. The 4 Hour Workweek

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

Lisa McTigue - Co-Founder of Social CalendarThe 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. It’s a book about optimizing your time to have a life. There are a lot of great little tips in there.

Lisa McTigue, Co-Founder of Social Calendar


Joel Bomgar - Founder and CEO of BomgarThe 4 Hour Workweek,” by Timothy Ferriss. Not because anyone should only want to work four hours a week, but because the productivity principles and philosophy of productivity and effectiveness encompassed in that book are powerful. I read it a few years back and it was one of the most life-transforming books I’ve ever read.

Joel Bomgar, Founder and CEO of Bomgar

Those are all the books recommended more than once last month. Here are a few more that are not uncommon recommendations around here.

6. Blue Ocean Strategy

Written by the business world’s new gurus, Blue Ocean Strategy continues to challenge everything you thought you knew about competing in today’s crowded market place. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a hundred years and thirty industries, authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne argue that lasting success comes from creating ‘blue oceans': untapped new market spaces ripe from growth.

Tim Talley - Creator of U-LaceBlue Ocean Strategy. It is a roadmap for how to set your brand or product part from the rest. Even a new product that never existed before needs to be positioned right. I never launch anything without re-reading this book first and reapplying its principals to that new product or service.

Tim Talley, Founder of U-Lace

7. Linchpin

There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.


Nicole LaBonde - Creatrix of CABARRETLinchpin by Seth Godin. Godin is a brilliant writer on business, leadership and marketing. And, in my opinion, Linchpin is his best book. He really looks at the inner and outer work required to have a fulfilling work life.

Nicole LaBonde, Creatrix of Cabarret

8. Never Eat Alone

The secret, master networker Keith Ferrazzi claims, is in reaching out to other people. As Ferrazzi discovered early in life, what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships—so that everyone wins.

In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps—and inner mindset—he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his Rolodex, people he has helped and who have helped him.

Per Wickstrom - CEO and Founder of Best Drug RehabilitationI’d recommend “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s the best book on networking, period.

Per Wickstrom, Founder of Best Drug Rehabilitation

9. Start With Why

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty?

In studying the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way-and it’s the complete opposite of what everyone else does. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with why.

Sean-ThorneStart With Why by Simon Sinek. If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing, why do it at all? Also, Venture Deals by Brad Feld is a must read.


Sean Thorne, Founder of Hallspot

10. The Tipping Point

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

greg - bloombergThe Tipping Point – teaches about how marketing is done today using influencers.

Greg Gianforte, Founder of RightNow Technologies

11. The World Is Flat

The World Is Flat 3.0 is an essential update on globalization, its opportunities for individual empowerment, its achievements at lifting millions out of poverty, and its drawbacks–environmental, social, and political, powerfully illuminated by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree.


Brandt Evans - Chef and Founder of BKM Hospitality LLCI think everyone should read, “The world is Flat” by Thomas Friedman. This book explains why government, communities, societies, companies and individuals need to adapt to today’s world.

Brandt Evans, Founder of BKM Hospitality

12. Switch

The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

Jessie Johnson - Founder of The Sustainable Seafood Blog ProjectMy dad gave me a copy of Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. I loved it. They investigate which types of changes are easy to make vs. those that are hard to make (and why!), and they draw on some really interesting studies. I highly recommend it.

Jessie Johnson,  Founder of The Sustainable Seafood Blog Project

13. Lean In

Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.

Kelly Mistry - Owner and Founder of MyFairyTaleBooksLean In by Sheryl Sandberg is a thought-provoking book that every woman in business should read then pass to their husband, partner, and boss.

Kelly Mistry, Founder of MyFairyTaleBooks

Ok, now here are some books that you might want to read that haven’t been recommended frequently. There are some true gems in there, as I’ve read a few myself. Here we go.

14. A Man Called Intrepid

The incredible World War II narrative of the hero whose spy network and secret diplomacy changed the course of history.



Lawrence Behr - Founder of Lawrence Behr Associates IncWell, I have to say there are two and they both provide some good business lessons. One is Titan about John D. Rockefeller. The other one is A Man Called Intrepid about the 2nd World War and the intense espionage and spy networks set up and the political machinations that went on in the very early part of the war. There are some excellent lessons in both of those for a business person. There’re just a variety of insights on negotiation, on relationships, on trade craft, if you will. Those are two excellent books that I would recommend.

Lawrence Behr,  Founder of Lawrence Behr Associates

15. Bottom Up Marketing

From the bestselling authors of Marketing Warfare comes another winner that turns conventional views of marketing upside-down, presenting a step-by-step approach to turn an effective tactic into an overall business strategy.


greg - bloombergBottom Up Marketing – Start with a tactic and build a strategy around it.

Greg Gianforte, Founder of RightNow Technologies

16. Driven

 From those troubled and humble beginnings rose a man whose influence has touched, according to reliable pollsters, more than 99 percent of the population of Utah as well as myriads of people worldwide. Seven months before Miller passed away, he began working with Doug Robinson on this biography. Written in first person, the book talks about the many facets of Larry’s life and legacy and speaks candidly about the people and experiences that influenced him.

Neena Vlamis - Co-owner of A & N Mortgage ServicesDriven: An Autobiography about Larry H. Miller by author Doug Robinson. Miller was essentially kicked out of his home at the age of 16, and overcame great struggles to become a successful Utah businessman and philanthropist who was well known as the owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz and of the of Triple-A baseball team, the Salt Lake Bees, 41 automotive dealerships throughout the Western United States and a variety of other businesses. His story is so inspirational. I find great strength in it when I read about his achievements and try to apply his principals in my own life.

Neena Vlamis, Co-owner of A & N Mortgage Services

17. In Praise of Slowness

Living on the edge of exhaustion, we are constantly reminded by our bodies and minds that the pace of life is spinning out of control. In Praise of Slowness traces the history of our increasingly breathless relationship with time and tackles the consequences of living in this accelerated culture of our own creation. Why are we always in such a rush? What is the cure for time sickness? Is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down? Realizing the price we pay for unrelenting speed, people all over the world are reclaiming their time and slowing down the pace — and living happier, healthier, and more productive lives as a result. A Slow revolution is taking place.

Joe Griffin and Jay Swansson - Founders of iAcquireIn Praise of Slowness is a book I recommend. It’s important for driven, entrepreneurial types to read because it does a really great job of reminding you of how important it is to slow down and appreciate every day. It’s hard for me to slow down and this book made an imprint on the way I think.

Joe Griffin – Co-founder of iAcquire


18. Inside Silicon Valley: How the Deals Get Done.

A must-read for aspiring entrepreneurs wishing to raise venture capital and anyone with a fascination for the unique community and culture of Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the dot-com world. The book is a road map of how to go about pursuing your dream of raising capital and tips to avoid common mistakes made by start-up founders.


Todd-VatalaroInside Silicon Valley: How the Deals Get Done. If you are looking for capital this is your book to learn and expect what you will encounter.

Todd Vatalaro, Startup Sales Executive

19. Titan

John D. Rockefeller, Sr.–history’s first billionaire and the patriarch of America’s most famous dynasty–is an icon whose true nature has eluded three generations of historians. Now Ron Chernow, the National Book Award-winning biographer of the Morgan and Warburg banking families, gives us a history of the mogul “etched with uncommon objectivity and literary grace . . . as detailed, balanced, and psychologically insightful a portrait of the tycoon as we may ever have” (Kirkus Reviews).

Lawrence Behr - Founder of Lawrence Behr Associates IncWell, I have to say there are two and they both provide some good business lessons. One is Titan about John D. Rockefeller. The other one is A Man Called Intrepid about the 2nd World War and the intense espionage and spy networks set up and the political machinations that went on in the very early part of the war. There are some excellent lessons in both of those for a business person. There’re just a variety of insights on negotiation, on relationships, on trade craft, if you will. Those are two excellent books that I would recommend.

Lawrence Behr,  Founder of Lawrence Behr Associates

20. Organizational Culture and Leadership

Regarded as one of the most influential management books of all time, this fourth edition of Leadership and Organizational Culture transforms the abstract concept of culture into a tool that can be used to better shape the dynamics of organization and change. This updated edition focuses on today’s business realities. Edgar Schein draws on a wide range of contemporary research to redefine culture and demonstrate the crucial role leaders play in successfully applying the principles of culture to achieve their organizational goals.

Chris Cancialosi - Founder of gothamCultureI’d recommend “Organizational Culture and Leadership” by Edgar Schein. If you’re an entrepreneur serious about setting a solid foundation from which to grow, understanding your role in shaping your organization’s culture is imperative. Taking the time to understand what you truly value and how that will generate certain behaviors from your people can be a double-edged sword if you’re not intentional about it.

Chris Cancialosi, Founder of gothamCulture

21. Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance

In Producing Prosperity, Harvard Business School professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih show the disastrous consequences of years of poor sourcing decisions and underinvestment in manufacturing capabilities.



Gina PanellaProducing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance”- we manufacture both domestically and overseas and we see the benefits of both it is interesting to be part of bringing manufacturing back to US soil.

Gina Panella, Founder of POP NYC

22. The Magic

For more than twenty centuries, words within a sacred text have mystified, confused, and been misunderstood by almost all who read them. Only a very few people through history have realized that the words are a riddle, and that once you solve the riddle—once you uncover the mystery—a new world will appear before your eyes.

In The Magic, Rhonda Byrne reveals this life-changing knowledge to the world. Then, on an incredible 28-day journey, she teaches you how to apply this knowledge in your everyday life.

Robin Jay - Award-winning Author and FilmmakerIf I have to recommend a book, I think “The Magic” from Rhonda Byrne is fabulous. It reminds us to be grateful for every aspect of our lives.

Robin Jay, Award-winning Author and Filmmaker

23. The Magic of Thinking Big

Millions of people throughout the world have improved their lives using The Magic of Thinking Big. Dr. David J. Schwartz, long regarded as one of the foremost experts on motivation, will help you sell better, manage better, earn more money, and — most important of all — find greater happiness and peace of mind.


September Dohrmann - COO of CEO Space InternationalI love to read, so offering one book is hard! I’ll go with “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz. If you’re going to dream about your life and what you want out of it, do it in a big way. “Big” doesn’t have a universal meaning. Big to one person is not the same for another. This book talks about how to step into the process of thinking bigger.

September Dohrmann, COO of CEO Space International

24. The Power of Full Engagement

The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. This fundamental insight has the power to revolutionize the way you live.



Esther Kuperman - Founder of SociidotThe Power of Full Engagement – this book showed me the importance of being fully focused and using your energy to be more productive. I now break my workday into 5 break out sessions with breaks in between. When I work, I am fully focused with no distractions, and I get a lot more done.

Esther Kuperman, Founder of Sociidot

25. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Way of the Peaceful Warrior is based on the story of Dan Millman, a world champion athlete, who journeys into realms of romance and magic, light and darkness, body, mind, and spirit. Guided by a powerful old warrior named Socrates and tempted by an elusive, playful woman named Joy, Dan is led toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him. Readers join Dan as he learns to live as a peaceful warrior. This international bestseller conveys piercing truths and humorous wisdom, speaking directly to the universal quest for happiness.

Karen Perry-WeinstatThe Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. It illustrates the power of your mind and what you can accomplish when you let go of self-limiting beliefs.

Karen Perry-Weinstat, Founder of Event Journal

26. Verbal Judo

Verbal Judo is the martial art of the mind and mouth that can show you how to be better prepared in every verbal encounter. Listen and speak more effectively, engage people through empathy (the most powerful word in the English language), avoid the most common conversational disasters, and use proven strategies that allow you to successfully communicate your point of view and take the upper hand in most disputes.

Benjamin CaudillVerbal Judo – while it’s not a business or entrepreneurial book, it show how to communicate more effectively and facilitate win-win situations with those who could be difficult or even hostile. I try to read it every few years, just as a reminder to be empathetic and understanding.

Benjamin Caudill, CEO of Rhino Security Labs

Published on October 15, 2013 .
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