If you always wanted to start a business but never had the time for getting proper education or even enrolling into a course that this article is for you.
After all, starting your own business can be overwhelming. There is so much to learn. Marketing, Financials, branding, Strategy and it goes on and on and on.
In many cases, when starting a business, a business owner needs the right tips and be shown the right way to reached success. And how to avoid tough mistakes.
Today it is easier than ever to get great business advice by reading books. Yes, books.
Did you know that an average CEO reads about 60 books a year?
So, it this post I will bring you the best books for starting a business.
In recent years, I have read many of them and I have to say I have learned more than I have expected initially. Many of the strategies I have adopted comes from books that I have read in the past.
So if this is your time to create a plan to escape the rat race, take a look at this list of the best startup books, pick one or more books to start and let’s get rolling.
1. The Lean Startup
By Eric Ries, the Lean Startup is probably one of the best books on business startups. The book is presenting a new and innovative approach for starting a business taking its inspiration from the term lean manufacturing. Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs—in businesses of all sizes—a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late.
You’ll be surprised, but the lean start-up method is being taught at more than 25 universities. In addition, in almost every city around the world, you’ll find organizations like Startup Weekend introducing the lean method to hundreds of prospective entrepreneurs at a time.
When you use lean methods it will result in fewer failures than using traditional methods
2. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
Written by Chris Guillebeau. Great book. Chris identified 1,500 people that have business a business using very low upfront cost of less than $100. Those businesses are earning $50,000 or more.
He narrowed his list to 50 case studies, selecting people with no special skills, that were able to turn their personal passions to a money generating machine. Chris then summarizes his findings into easy to implement and use guide.
3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
This book provides a unique view on the business world. It is different from other books in the sense that it is provides advice on what happens when everything goes wrong, and you have set it all up right.
The writer, Ben Horowitz, share his story, describing the real problems and challenges he, as an entrepreneur faced.
For example, he spends an entire chapter on how to lay employees off. Another chapter addresses when it’s okay to poach from a friend’s business. Horowitz also devotes time to advising on how to minimize office politics, how to establish titles and measure performance, and how to train employees and tell a good product manager from a bad product manager.
But where Horowitz separates himself is in his advice around how to control your own psychology and demons as a CEO and founder. These are real problems that every CEO and leader faces, as sometimes they are their own worst enemy.
4. The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field
Here is a quote from his book:
We can only find the best answers when we ask great questions. Rather than ask, “Why do I struggle?” ask, “How can I take home $2,000 a day, every day?” Either way, your brain will find the answer. Don’t waste your time planting seeds that may or may not work out. Plant the seed that you know has the very best chance of making it, and then focus your attention, money, time and other resources on that tight niche until all of your entrepreneurial dreams come true”
Mike Michalowicz, the author, came out with The Pumpkin Plan, while he was reading an article about a local farmer who had dedicated his life to growing giant pumpkins.
This book includes actionable tasks that are easy to understand and implement.
This book is made up of 7 steps that are based on that farmer’s system to grow large pumpkins:
- Plant the right seeds.
- Water, water, water.
- Remove all the diseased or damaged pumpkins from the vine.
- Weed like crazy!
- Remove all the less promising pumpkins that are still on the vine. Focus all your attention on the best ones.
- Nurture your one special pumpkin. Put all your attention on this pumpkin; stand guard over your “baby.”
- Watch it grow.
5. Sprint : How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
Even though it is not the traditional book on how to start a business. This book described or focus on an important aspect of any business which is a validation of its idea.
The authors, by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz have synthesized the most important design-thinking concepts of today into a book that is worth its weight in gold.
The ideas and checklists in this book are very practical and anyone wanting to start a business and to validate his idea will work should follow their system. The book helps to understand and practice design thinking in a whole new way. Now you can be mentored by some of the best designers in the Silicon Valley. 90% of what you need to know about designing great products is in these 257 glorious pages. The other 10% is just blood, sweat and tears.
6. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Zero to one was created by Peter Thiel who offers a new way to think of innovation. He promotes his readers to ask questions and to think how can their business find ways of becoming a monopoly.
In simple terms, aim for monopoly, competition is for losers. Monopolies have far greater profits, pricing power, and ability to think long-term. For a small business, like micro caps to be a monopoly they need to focus on dominating a small market that is expanding, and then further grow into other complimentary markets.
Instead of starting a business that copies what other successful businesses are doing in the same niche, he recommends that businesses should innovate the market they operate it so other businesses will follow or stay behind.
7. Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days
Another one of the best startup business books in this list from Chris Guillebeau (the first book was “The $100 startup”) that teaches his readers how to start a successful business and make it generate money within 27 days. His book is divided into the following categories:
- Brainstorm and list great side hustle ideas (day 3)
- Learn how to apply logic to pick the best idea at any time (day 6)
- Prepare everything you need to launch; then set up a real world way to make money (days 13-14)
- Start raking in the money by channeling your inner Girl Scout (day 18)
- Master the art of deals, discounts, and special offers (day 21)
- Improve, expand, or make more money off your hustle (days 24-26)
The idea here is that you don’t need entrepreneurial skills and experience to launch a profitable and successful business or side hustle.
8. The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company
The book was created by renowned Silicon Valley startup expert Steve Blank, co-creator with Eric Ries of the “Lean Startup”. This book provides tips, techniques and best practices that entrepreneurs need in their quest to build successful companies.
It is really a step by step manual of all that step and entrepreneur or business owners needs to take before launch a product. The book is divided to web/mobile products and to brick or mortar type of business, which I believe is very valuable. However, the authors say it’s helpful to read both sections, regardless of what channel your product happens to be.
It is a big book with lots of details, but if you are looking for a good manual for business owners with new a new business idea, then I would recommend this book
9. Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur
Here is what Forbes has to say about this book “One of the best hours you’ll ever spend will be reading Derek Sivers’s new book… Anything You Want.”
In this actionable book, Derek Sivers shares everything that he has learned from starting up his business Baby CD with no investment, but he has kind of crazy principles. He shares all his secrets, the biggest mistakes and most successful wins. If it worked for him it may as well work for your new business.
10. The Start-Up J Curve: The Six Steps to Entrepreneurial Success
Howard Love, the author of this book, basicaly states that any start-up unfolds in a predictable pattern; the more aware entrepreneurs are of this pattern, the better able they will be to capitalize on it.
He has divides the typical startup’s path into six phases, each with its own growth pattern. Here’s a quick look:
- Creation – coming up with a great idea
- Releasing a product
- Optimize, see what works and what doesn’t
- Set up the business model
- Scaling the business
- Harvesting the rewards
11. Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money
Why starting a business if you are not sure if it will work? Pat Flynn, the author, provides practical advice, and real world case studies on how to validate your business idea before going through a massive business launch.
He basically divide his book to 5 parts:
- Find an idea that matches your mission and supports your goals
- Developing your idea and uncovering important details about it
- How to assess the current market condition
- Testing your business idea on small segment of your target market
- Final analysis to help you validate that your idea in the right one and you can go ahead and create a radically successful business out of it.
12. The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
A best-selling guide for starting a business from Guy Kawasaki, one of most hardworking strategist in the business world. This is an iconic and one of the best books on starting business out there.
The 2nd version of this book is 64% longer this its first edition and it is updated to the way business thrive these days. It shows you how to effectively deploy the latest technological advances, like crowd finding, social media, cloud infrastructure to create an awesome business that will make money.
13. The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup
Noam Wasserman, he is author of this book interviewed 212 American start-ups. He basically explores the thought on whether a business owner should go along, involve more people as cofounders, hire employees or investors to help build the business?
Wasserman explains how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team, strip founders of control, and leave founders without a financial payoff for their hard work and innovative ideas.
14. How to win friends and Influence People
I think this is by far one of the best books ever written on business and also personal success.
I have read this book many years ago and also used to listen to the audiobook when I was on the road.
His advice is priceless and sticks with me till today.
I have changed the way I speak to people, and the way I nurture relationship and it has really benefited me.
So what do you get in this book, if you are not familiar with it already:
It was written by Dale Carnegie and it really is the bible for building relationships. And in business as we know, it is a critical factor. If people don’t enjoy speaking to you, if they do not feel important, they will lose interest.
Dale Carnegie has the perfect recipe to help you mater relationships.