22 Books Entrepreneurs Recommend To Other Entrepreneurs

Some of us do it while riding the bus or train to work. Others do it in the early morning, after meditating, or late at night, next to a bedside lamp while eating copious amounts of chocolate. A few of us are really hardcore and cram it in between meetings. You know what I’m talking about: reading.

Not matter where we choose to spend spare moments with a hardback or ebook, reading is a critical part of growing and finding new inspiration as an entrepreneur. As Seth Price, security expert and founder of TurlyTag, says, “I suggest listening to books on tape. I listen to two a month while running, biking or driving. It’s a great way to get extra value out of a monotonous task.”

Since we can only rave about Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson for so long, we decided it was time to recommend a few other titles mentioned in our interviews. Whether you dive into these books a page at a time, a chapter at a time or cover-to-cover in one sitting, these works are not to be missed.

And of course, if you ask Mario right now,  he’ll tell you to read Turning Pro by Steve Pressfield.

So here are 22 books entrepreneurs on IdeaMensch have recommended to other entrepreneurs.



The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek “shows that you can live a different life, even if you are in a boring job. To entrepreneurs it shows, among other things, that you can outsource a lot more than you think. It can be a life-changing book!” says Esther Jacobs of Coins for Care.[divider]

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The Artist’s Way is all about freeing your creativity using Cameron’s renowned 12-week course.[divider]

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Steal Like An Artist is “filled with well-formed advice that applies to nearly any kind of work,” according to Lifehacker.com. Seth Godin says it’s, “Breezy and fun and yes, scary… because it calls your bluff.” Watch Kleon’s lecture about his work and inspiration.[divider]

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living. Still in his early thirties, Guillebeau is on the verge of completing a tour of every country on earth–he’s already visited more than 175 nations–and yet he’s never held a “real job” or earned a regular paycheck. Rather, he has a special genius for turning ideas into income, and he uses what he earns both to support his life of adventure and to give back.[divider]

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! isn’t just for kids. As described by Booklist, “All journeys face perils, whether from indecision, from loneliness, or worst of all, from too much waiting. Seuss’ familiar pajama-clad hero is up to the challenge, and his odyssey is captured vividly in busy two-page spreads evoking both the good times (grinning purple elephants, floating golden castles) and the bad (deep blue wells of confusion). Seuss’ message is simple but never sappy: life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all ‘There’s fun to be done.”[divider]

Steve Jobs: A Biography by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs: A Biography is based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues. Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.[divider]

Designing for Emotion by Aaron Walter

Designing for Emotion is a brief, charming book by MailChimp user experience design lead Aarron Walter. As Jake Przespo and Andrew Mercando of Skillshare explain, “We really enjoyed [this book]. Walter goes over how the design of products should have more human aspects in them. It is important that users feel like there are real people behind the things we build.”[divider]

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

In Vagabonding, Potts “demystifies the idea of long-term travel as being a pastime of Lottery winners and hippy dropouts. He provides the advice, tools and insight you need to make the most of your journey,” says Anne and Mike Howard of HoneyTrek.com.[divider]

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow is about the “importance of creating good mental habits,” explains Fred Southwick of Critically Ill. “By making the right decisions over and over in the same situations, decisions become automatic and fade into the background. This allows the brain to focus its slow, deliberate, creative thinking on more sophisticated problems.”[divider]

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston

Founders at Work is, “inspiring and humbling all at once,” says Aaron Harris of Tutorspree.[divider]

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

“When you’re starting your own business from scratch, frugality is an important asset. The Millionaire Next Door is a great reminder to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. Live below your means and save up, especially early on when cash flow is less predictable. Drive a used car or no car at all and only buy what you can pay cash for. You’ll absolutely thank yourself later. –Allie Siarto, Co-founder of Loudpixel[divider]

Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky

“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. Making Ideas Happen helps you with the hard part.” -Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment[divider]

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Written by business 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 Kim and Mauborgne argue that lasting success comes from creating blue oceans: untapped new market spaces ripe from growth.[divider]

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

“One of the best lessons on entrepreneurship I’ve learned was from Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. My big take-away from this book was that a lot of success is contingent upon being in the right place at the right time. Find opportunities in trends, advantages or resources around you that you may be taking for granted. Find a wave to ride and ride it. –Zach Haller, founder and CEO of Found In Town[divider]

Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert

“Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert teaches a great life lesson that, as humans, we are incredibly bad at predicting the future or knowing what will make us happy in the future. Once you learn this, it becomes pretty difficult to take yourself seriously.” –Brian McGowan.[divider]

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson

“I recommend The Long Tail by Chris Anderson because it inspired me to start my first company.” -Suki Shah, Co-founder and CEO of GetHired.com[divider]

Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman

Technopoly will “wake you up from the dangerous cult of technological euphoria and the cult of data, which is like the new pornography,” says Jonathan Harris, founder of Cowbird.[divider]

Fail Better by Herter Studio

As Faraz Mirza of Mirza Minds says, “I carry Fail Better in my laptop bag daily. It teaches you that a learned defeat is more valuable than an earned victory.”[divider]

From Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

One of the most highly recommended books on IdeaMensch, From Good to Great shows that at the heart of… rare and truly great companies [is] a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner.[divider]

How to Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets by Felix Dennis

“The main lessons of How to Get Rich are that startups take determination and starting a company is an emotional roller coaster.” –Arram Sabeti, Founder of ZeroCater[divider]

Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values by Fred Kofman

“Fred Kofman is a genius with a heart as big as his brain, if that’s possible. In this remarkable book, Conscious Business, Fred takes us on a thrilling tour through what business would be like if it had both a heart and a mind–a conscience and a consciousness. The result is a practice of business that transforms you and your world.”-Ken Wilber, philosopher and author of A Theory of Everything[divider]

Never Get A “Real” Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke by Scott Gerber

“Scott Gerber of Never Get A Real Job has such a great story that any business owner can relate to. So many of us are in the position he was in, growing up and yearning to live the life of an entrepreneur. He’s all about the niche, and that’s exactly what it’s all about in business.” –Ashley Bodi, Co-founder of Business Beware[divider]

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