The most successful entrepreneurs thirst for knowledge. They’re constantly reading and studying because they know that business growth starts with personal growth. Bill Gates reads at least one book per week, Mark Zuckerberg reads one book every other week, Mark Cuban reads for more than 3 hours a day, and Warren Buffet spends 80% of his day reading.
No matter how successful you are—or how successful you want to be—there is always something new you can learn in your field and beyond. Reading is the ultimate source of knowledge, inspiration, and ideas.
So what should you be reading if you’re an entrepreneur?
Whether you’re a solo-preneur on Amazon or you’re in the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world, you should invest the time in the following 9 books this year. These will help you grow both personally and professionally, so you can start to see greater balance and productivity in your life.
1. The Lean Startup, Eric Ries
The Lean Startup is a classic for entrepreneurs to dive into. This timeless book discusses the importance of “lean thinking” and business agility. Too often, businesses are looking to grow—but they end up flying a little too close to the sun. The Lean Startup discusses the specifics of avoiding this business Icarus downfall through more effective and efficient processes.
The Lean Startup is a must for any entrepreneur who is looking to grow consistently regardless of external conditions.
“The big question of our time is not, ‘Can it be built?’ but, ‘Should it be built?’ This places us in an unusual historical moment: our future prosperity depends on the quality of our collective imaginations.”
2. 10X Rule, Grant Cardone
The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success And Failure teaches you to set higher goals for yourself. The rule is simply to take your goal and multiply it by 10. Then, multiply your effort to achieve that goal by 10. Cardone turns this idea into practicality with an actionable plan that any entrepreneur can implement quickly.
He also talks about how massive action brings about massive results. This is usually just what you need to hear to overcome the fear that could be holding you back in your business.
“I suggest that you become obsessed about the things you want. Otherwise, you are going to spend a lifetime being obsessed with making up excuses as to why you didn’t get the life you wanted.”
3. $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau
This is a great read for Amazon entrepreneurs and small business owners. Guillebeau talks about how you can start a multimillion-dollar business with nothing more than $100. In a world where VCs are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, this books gives hope to those of us who want to lead a life of adventure and purpose—while earning a good living. He also shares the secret sauce of those businesses that thrived during the recession while others perished.
If you want to bust the myth that you need money to make money, $100 Startup will inspire you to grow your business—and support your ideal lifestyle.
“As you begin to think like an entrepreneur, you’ll notice that business ideas can come from anywhere.”
4. The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferris
The 4-Hour Workweek helps you escape the 9-5 hustle and gain financial and location freedom. In essence, he wants to make your productivity 10x more efficient— so you can spend 4 hours working as opposed to 40. Who doesn’t want that?
Ferris saw such success with his book that he’s been able to create an entire business around it. From morning rituals and Friday goal setting to a podcast and TV show, Tim Ferris has turned the art of efficiency into a science. This is a must-read for entrepreneurs who feel tied to their desks, despite being business owners.
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
5. The Achievement Habit, Bernard Roth
Bernard Roth, co-founder of Design Thinking, writes The Achievement Habit to help you take command of your life. It moves you from wishful thinking to productive actions. The book talks about how our language and self-image can actually transform our behaviors, so we can better overcome dilemmas and barriers in our personal and professional lives.
He addresses the central question: Are you solving the right problem? It will make you think creatively about what your business is really doing for your customer. It forces you to look at whether your habits are helping you achieve great heights… or leading you towards disaster.
“The question of intention lies behind all communication. What is it that you intend to communicate?”
6. Awaken The Giant Within, Anthony Robbins
Awaken The Giant Within is one of Tony Robbins’ first books (back when he still went by Anthony Robbins), but it’s persisted as a classic in the entrepreneur must-reads. Robbins helps you unlock whatever it is that makes you great, so you can channel those strengths into your business and life. You’ll take an honest look at your mental, emotional, and physical health—and how all of those relate to your financial health.
This book is not just reflective, though. You’ll get effective strategies that help you control your emotional state, so you can constantly hit the peak performance that you didn’t even realize you were capable of.
“Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is raise your standards.”
7. Think And Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
This is one of the oldest books on the entrepreneur book list, written back in 1937 by Napoleon Hill. Hill gives us 16 “laws” that help you achieve success, based on his philosophy of achievement. One of the reasons this book has persisted for so long is its innate universality. This book is about more than just “growing rich.” It tells you what you need to do to reach your goals based on inarguable psychology.
This book can actually be hard to find because it has gone in and out of print for seven decades. If you can get your hands on a copy, hold on and don’t let go!
“The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire brings a small amount of heat.”
8. The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz
There’s a reason The Hard Thing About Hard Things is endorsed by Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Peter Thiel, and others. This book looks at the hard truth of business: business is not easy. According to Horowitz, there is no formula for success. All we can do is learn from failure and hardship (or own and those of others), so we can grow at a faster pace.
This is one of our favorite recent books for entrepreneurs. It looks at the modern lifestyle of the entrepreneur. Everything from an unsupportive partner to startup techniques, this book gives advice on tackling the toughest problems you’ll face as a business owner. We all go through those days, and this book helps you get through them with grace.
“The most important lesson in entrepreneurship: embrace the struggle.”
9. Deep Work, Cal Newport
Looking for a more intensely practical book to get your business’s productivity up? Deep Work by Cal Newport discusses how dedication is the mother of skill. He gives you rules to help you turn off the distractions and dedicate yourself to a single task. This improves your output while helping you gain clarity in a highly distracted world.
This book is a must-read for entrepreneurs who find that they’re busy, but not productive.
“If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.”