There are so many great business books that inspire, educate, and help create better entrepreneurs. In this article, we’ll share 14 business books that’ll change your life. The books on this list are filled with countless lessons that’ll help you achieve greatness while also providing actionable tasks to help you create a life of financial freedom.
1. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Synopsis: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie provides readers with strategies on building relationships and dealing with people. Despite being written in the 1930s, the concepts still prove to be applicable today. The 214-page book covers principles ranging from ‘Give honest and sincere appreciation’ to ‘Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.’
Why it’s great: This is one of the most influential business books on dealing with people. It was #19 on Time Magazine’s 2011 list of the best books of all time. Mega-billionaire Warren Buffett was so greatly influenced by Dale Carnegie’s book that he even signed up for one of his public speaking courses. The book contains numerous nuggets of information to help make you a better leader, listener, and relationship builder. It’s one of those books that you should re-read throughout your career and the author even recommends re-reading it. It contains many quotable moments such as “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” If you implement the concepts of this book into your business, you’ll create a more enthusiastic team, a better run customer service experience, and more.
2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Synopsis: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill has been considered one of the greatest self-development books. In the 238-page book, he tells stories from successful men such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, and other millionaires from his generation.
Why it’s great: When it comes to business books, Think and Grow Rich is a classic. The book offers great insight into what causes a person to achieve greatness. Some of the most popular quotes have come from this book such as “A quitter never wins-and-a winner never quits.” Despite being a book from the 1930s, its popularity has grown, even after Hill’s death. In 2015, the book had sold over 100 million copies since its original release, despite only selling 20 million copies at the time of Hill’s death. John C. Maxwell, a best selling author, included Think and Grow Rich in his ‘A Lifetime Must Read Books.’ The book is worth checking out as Think and Grow Rich quotes are powerful and insightful.
3. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Synopsis: Rich Dad Poor Dad is a popular personal finance book. The book often taught in colleges tells the story of Robert T Kiyosaki’s two fathers: one rich, one poor. The poor dad was his biological father while the rich dad was a friend’s father who acted as his mentor. He shares financial lessons he learned from his rich dad often dispelling common myths in the process.
Why it’s great: When it comes to books on financial literacy, Rich Dad Poor Dad is considered one of the best. With over 26 million copies sold, celebrities like Oprah, Will Smith, Donald Trump, and Daymond John have publicly praised the book. This book is great for those who are starting out who want to get into the mindset of an entrepreneur. One of the book’s memorable quotes is, “Workers work hard enough to not be fired, and owners pay just enough so that workers won’t quit.” If you read this while still holding a 9 to 5 job, you might feel slightly more motivated to venture out on your own. The book has received some criticism for its factual inaccuracies, so it’s important to take what you read with a grain of salt. When reading it, use it as inspiration to move forward in your business.
4. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Synopsis: The 4-Hour Workweek is considered a game-changing business book by many. It offers insight into how life is and how it could be. Ferris shares his story of how he was an overworked entrepreneur and how he managed to create a better work-life balance. The book offers a step-by-step guide to lower your workweek such as via outsourcing.
Why it’s great: Tim Ferriss’ book became so popular that it was translated into 35 languages and sold over 1.3 million copies around the world. The New York Times bestseller was on the list for over four years. The book popularized outsourcing and living a life of freedom. If you decide to become a dropshipper, this book should be at the top of your reading list as the business model complements many lessons from this book. The book is great for new entrepreneurs. One of the memorable quotes in Ferriss’ book is, “The question is then, how can one achieve the millionaire lifestyle of complete freedom without first having $1,000,000?” as it teaches you that you can change your lifestyle even without being a millionaire.
5. Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss
Synopsis: In Tim Ferriss’ latest release, Tools of Titans, readers will have convenient access to the most memorable tools and tactics from past world-class performers he’s interviewed on his podcast. Filled with actionable insights, the book covers everything from the morning routines to workout habits of some of the most successful people.
Why it’s great: Tools of Titans shares the commonalities between podcast guests on the Tim Ferriss Show. For example, readers will learn the importance of mindfulness as most world-class performers meditate daily. You’ll also learn the tools that top experts use. The book has many notable quotes such as “What are three tests or practices from the military that civilians could use to help develop mental toughness?”: STAN: “The first is to push yourself harder than you believe you’re capable of. You’ll find new depth inside yourself. The second is to put yourself in groups who share difficulties, discomfort. We used to call it ‘shared privation.’ You’ll find that when you have been through that kind of difficult environment, that you feel more strongly about that which you’re committed to. And finally, create some fear and make individuals overcome it.”
6. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Synopsis: In his book The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shares case studies from 50 individuals who make at least $50,000 from a low investment under $100. He shares the exact amount people spent to create their businesses. He promotes action over planning to achieve results. He also encourages choosing profitable passions.
Why it’s great: The $100 Startup is a great book for entrepreneurs on a tight budget. Starting a business doesn’t need to cost a lot of money which the book reiterates with its case studies. Guillebeau also recommends failing quickly and not investing in projects unless they’ve proven to be profitable.The book contains a one-page business plan which is meant to promote action. He reiterates the importance of action within his book with quotes such as “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” Readers will also be reminded to also focus on organic growth instead of a dependence on advertising.
7. Crush It! By Gary Vaynerchuk
Synopsis: Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk covers why now is the best time to pursue your passion. In this book, you’ll learn how to take your passions and turn it into a profitable business. Readers will learn how to maximize use of the internet to create a life of freedom. He also covers building a personal brand.
Why it’s great: Gary’s book is a great motivational book. You’ll feel inspired to pursue your passions and make a living off of them. The following quote sums up the book quite well. “Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.” If you’re tired of doing work you hate, this book is great for you.
8. #AskGaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk
Synopsis: #AskGaryVee essentially covers the most common questions Gary Vaynerchuk gets asked about business, branding and other topics. The book shares brutally honest advice to help entrepreneurs on their path to success.
Why it’s great: If you’ve ever heard Gary Vaynerchuk speak at an event, you know that he dedicates a large amount of time to audience questions. If you’ve never had the opportunity to hear him speak, this book is for you. As a successful entrepreneur who owned an ecommerce wine store who also has a strong background in branding, Gary Vaynerchuk is a great entrepreneur to learn from. His directness may shock some but everything he says is worth listening to. His book has quotable moments such as “Ideas are worthless without the execution; execution is pointless without the ideas.”
9. The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
Synopsis: In Josh Kaufman’s The Personal MBA, he teaches readers the business fundamentals you’d learn in business school so that you don’t have to enroll. Readers will learn how to master productivity, decision-making and experimentation. You’ll also learn how things actually work in the business world so that you can build a profitable empire.
Why it’s great: Many people put off starting a business until they pursue an education or take an online course. With this book, you learn the business school essentials in an easy to read book. The book teaches great business insights such as “A good salesman, as the old (and politically incorrect) saying goes, can sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo. It’s a cliché, but there’s some truth to it: Inuit who live above the Arctic Circle use insulated refrigerators to keep their food from freezing in subzero temperatures.” Readers will also learn business school concepts such as the iron law of the market.
10. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Synopsis: The Art of War by Sun Tzu is an ancient Chinese military book. However, many of the concepts shared in the book have been applied to politics and business. The book shares insights into how to outsmart the competition and how to be an effective leader.
Why it’s great: The Art of War was written in the 5th century BC yet is still being taught in many business school programs today. The concepts from the book have been applied to highly competitive business settings to help brands crush the competition. The book offers intelligent insights such as “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” In a business setting, replace enemy with competitor and it instantly becomes applicable.
11. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Synopsis: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries encourages business to be more efficient with their spending while maximizing the creativity of employees. It covers topics such as experimentation, ways to measure progress and how to understand the needs of customers. The book’s focus is on teaching businesses to be more adaptable.
Why it’s great: Eric Ries’ book offers great actionable insights for entrepreneurs. For example, in his book he writes, “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” However, he emphasizes action with “Reading is good, action is better.” The best way for an entrepreneur to learn isn’t by reading books it’s by testing and trying things on their own. Thus, making it a great read for entrepreneurs who hide behind books instead of diving into their business. The book has case studies throughout creating an easy read while teaching readers valuable lessons.
12. MONEY: Master the Game by Tony Robbins
Synopsis: In MONEY: Master the Game Tony Robbins shares financial secrets from 50 of the world’s best financial experts. In his book, he shares insights from billionaires Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn. Robbins simplifies the interviews into seven simple steps to help the average person achieve financial freedom.
Why it’s great: Tony Robbin’s book is best for entrepreneurs who are looking to invest their profits. However, learning the concepts in MONEY: Master the Game as a new entrepreneur will allow you to make strategic financial decisions early on. In this book, you’ll learn how to invest in the stock market. The New York Times bestseller offers success insights such as “Success leaves clues. People who succeed at the highest level are not lucky; they’re doing something differently than everyone else does.” Thus, reminding people to pay attention to what successful people do differently and learning from those who’ve succeeded before you.
13. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
Synopsis: The Miracle Morning covers some of the best practices for waking up in the morning. It teaches readers how to wake up with more energy and motivation. He encourages readers to start each day with good habits. The book is filled with actionable steps you can follow to ensure you start your mornings on the right foot.
Why it’s great: Most people try to change all of their bad habits at once. With The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod recommends changing a person’s morning habits as a simple but effective solution. He goes on to say, “How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days—which inevitably create a successful life—in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.” Starting your day with good habits can transform your entire day and your life.
14. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Synopsis: Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In delves into the lack of female leaders and how to succeed as a female in the business world. She offers women insight into how to grow professionally while sharing personal stories and real data. Sandberg shares her personal struggles to help prevent women from making the same mistakes.
Why it’s great: Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is one of the few business books geared for women. Women are encouraged to break the glass ceiling and accept praise when deserved. She encourages women to “…be more empowered at work.” She teaches women to focus on growing on their own rather than seeking a mentor as to avoid dependence. The best advice Sandberg gives in her book is “Taking initiative pays off. It is hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.”
Which business books have changed your life? Share your favorite books in the comments to help other entrepreneurs build their reading lists!