Over the past eight years, we have asked thousands of entrepreneurs what the one book is they believed made the biggest impact on them as entrepreneurs. I usually end up buying one or two books every week, just based on whatever our entrepreneurs recommend in their interviews. One thing I have appreciated about their recommendations is that they’re timeless. It’s not just whatever recent book they just liked, but usually, it’s the one book that truly helped them succeed as entrepreneurs.
So, over a long Montana winter and many microbrews, we analyzed over 2,500 interviews and compiled what we believe is truly the most important list of book recommendations ever created for entrepreneurs.
But of course, I might be biased.
Over the coming weeks, we will add reviews (focused on your needs as entrepreneurs) for each book.
Without further adieu, here are the 20 most recommended books voted on by over 2,500 top notch entrepreneurs.
- The Lean Startup The startup bible on how to quickly bring an idea to life.
- Good to Great Awesome read for more mature organizations, especially important as you try to scale. But it doesn’t hurt to know this early either.
- Rework One of our favorites, written by the guys from Basecamp. They do great work while finding balance. This book teaches us how.
- The 4 Hour Work Week Tim Ferriss’ first book. Another read about taking a very unconventional path to success. Highly recommended.
- The Hard Thing about Hard Things Serial entrepreneur and VC Ben Horowitz talking about what it takes to run a company. Most applicable to funded startups.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People The classic self-help book. Great lessons to get you out of a rut, give you new thoughts, new visions, and new ambitions.
- Steve Jobs Steve Jobs might have been the most inspiring entrepreneur of our lifetime. This biography lived up to the hype, showing both sides of Apple’s co-founder.
- Think and Grow Rich Another self-help classic. Every morning I try to read a chapter out of this book to get my mind off to the right start.
- The E-Myth Revisited Work on your business, not in your business. If you already have a business, this might be the first book you should read.
- 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. Thinking big. Read this.
- The Alchemist Listen to your heart, recognize opportunity and follow your dreams. Then read this mystical story of the Andalusian shepherd boy Santiago.
- Delivering Happiness Tony Hsieh brings us inside Zappos and provides a manifesto on how to build organizations with happy employees offering incredible customer service.
- Start with Why Good Companies know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Great companies, organizations, and leaders have an unyielding reason why they’re doing it.
- Atlas Shrugged A story of fiction advocating the virtues of advocacy of individualism and capitalism.
- Outliers: The Story of Success The second Malcome Gladwell book on this list, in which he explores the factors that contribute to exceptional levels of success.
- The Innovator’s Dilemma Great companies can fail precisely because they do everything right, so this book provides a set of rules for capitalizing on disruptive innovation.
- Blue Ocean Strategy A compelling argument that lasting success comes, not from battling competitors, but from creating blue oceans of untapped new market spaces.
- Getting Things Done Struggling to be or stay productive? This book gives you a detailed roadmap on how to structure your workflow and life for maximum productivity.
- The Art of The Start Guy Kawasaki’s guide to launching and making your new product, service, or idea a success. A good starting point for first-time entrepreneurs.
- Zero to One Peter Thiel offers a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.