Here is a short list of some of the books every Entrepreneur should have on their to read list. It is by no means a complete list. Here is the link for a reading list about Financial Independence and Early Retirement? If you have suggestions please leave a comment below.
We live in a world of instability and unpredictability. Some people and organisations thrive in this chaos… and some don’t. Antifragile examines the reason why, and then makes the case that it’s that very chaos, rather than order, that has facilitated the progression of human civilisation from Ancient Times to where we find ourselves today. Nassim Taleb scrutinises modern society to determine if progress is inspired by interference rather than a smooth road, and then discusses if society’s desire to reduce it’s volatility is a positive move or not. The theories from this book support the slightly anarchic nature of your average Entrepreneur and explain their desire to change the world.
This book captures what it is like to lead a startup. And it’s lonely at the top. The book takes you through many of the challenges faced by CEOs of startup companies. The success and failure of the company lies, almost entirely on the shoulders of it’s CEO and with great power comes.. yes, you got it, great responsibility. In order to keep a business healthy, the CEO will need to make decisions that affect him/her personally - firing friends, or whole factories, in order to keep the company afloat. This book gives the readers strategies to cope with those unavoidable moments when their Dreams of Success meet with Reality.
This is the rags-to-riches story of how Sam Walton created Wal-Mart and, by using a customer-first approach, became one of the richest men in the world. I have taken many ideas from this book including the concept of Servant Leadership. It's a fantastic resource for entrepreneurs wanting to invest in successful business practises and grow their own businesses. Each time you read it, you get more out of it.
Peter Bevelin is a man who understands the value of making mistakes. More than that, he's a man who can explain to you the enormous value in learning from them. This book is the story of his journey to Find Wisdom. Along the way he examines the philosophies of the great thinkers - from Mark Twain to Albert Einstein, from Confucius to Charles Munger (Vice President of Berkshire Hathaway, and one of the clearest thinkers Bevelin ever came across) - then takes a gem of knowledge from each of them. This book is perfect for those of us who have an unquenchable desire for knowledge, alongside a desire to implement that knowledge to our best advantage. To sum it up, here are the words of Super-Investor Charles Munger, who says, "All I want to know is where I'm going to die, so I'll never go there." Obvious, when you think about it.
THE guide to great customer service. This book is by Ari Weinzweig himself - the man who co-founded Zingerman's Deli and helped create the culture of fantastic customer service that has taken his business from a small Deli to an empire than now spans a restaurant, catering service, creamery, bakery, mail-order operation, and training business. Zingerman's is known for it's loyal clientele and in this book Ari shows us how we can use his step-by-step methods to create the same great customer service that helped grow his company into the huge success it is today.
There's a big difference between having a dream and making it happen. There's a big difference between the way we used to be treated and nurtured as employees and the more self-starting requirements of today's businesses. This is no bad thing. However, in order to take maximum advantage of your time and energy, there are more efficient ways of planning the business that is YOU. This is a super little book to show you how to run that business. Use it to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Discover your values and identify the kind of work you want to do and the environment in which you want to do it. Use it to take CHARGE of your career. Read, repeatedly.
The full title of this book is 'The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company and Revolutionized an Industry'. And it does what it says on the tin. Marc Benioff was already a successful businessman (Having been VP for Oracle) when he had the idea for Salesforce. His conviction that the SAAS (Software as a Service) model was the way forward for Software companies was unusual at the time. As was his marketing plan. When the dotcom bubble burst, Salesforce had to restructure the way it did business. The lessons learned are a great reminder to stay flexible and keep a weather eye on what's going on around you.
The story about the founding of outdoor equipment company Patagonia. And more importantly, the story about how to build a company with strong values. This book identifies the courage and persistence that have gone into being leader of one of the most environmentally responsible and well-respected companies around. Yvon found a way to combine his desire for great adventure with his need to Do Good Things, and Patagonia was the result. A great book to read if you know you have strong values that will guide your business process.
The term 'Positioning' was coined by Al Ries and Jack Trout, co-founders of the marketing company Trout & Partners. Together, they wrote this, one of the most influential books about marketing strategies of the last few decades. In the 1970's advertising stopped working due to an exponential increase in media and competition. So 'Positioning' was born, and has since then become the most influential way to market your products to your desired audience, in order to become an Industry Leader. It is commonly accepted that this book and "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" are the best books on Marketing. These books will explain to you why you choose to buy the things you do.
Written by Marcus Aurelius - the last of the Great Five Emperors - this book embodies the philosophical values of Greek Stoicism. It purports that Self-Control and Calmness are the way to overcome negative emotions. Each time you read the book, you'll be ready to perceive more meaning in the words written there. If you've always had a suspicion that 'everything happens for a reason', then this book will put into words the feelings you've had about life and death - and everything in between. It's obviously (being written in Roman Times) not current, but there are still valuable lessons to be learnt about where and how we spend our time and energy, and how the key to personal power lies in the ability and willingness to accept responsibility for our lives.
Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, is a professor of both psychology and marketing and can show you exactly how your decision-making is being manipulated. If you've ever wondered why you say 'Yes' when you'd rather say 'No', then this book will explain everything. Not only is it a useful tool to have in your belt when you are trying to negotiate in your own favour, but it's a great book to have read if you want to defend yourself against any manipulation attempts. Very useful psychology for marketing and sales!
When you are stuck inside the stress of running a business, it's easy to lose sight of real life, the important things, and What Makes You Feel Good. The very best way to deal with the daily anxiety of running a business is to live in the “Now.” Tolle echoes the sentiment of Marcus Aurelius when he says that escaping from 'The Enslavement of the Mind' is the way to happiness. He recommends that our aim should be to be able to enter into and sustain an awakened state of consciousness throughout everyday life. Using meditations and other simple techniques, Tolle shows us how to quiet our minds, live in the present moment, and find our path to “a life of grace, ease, and lightness.”
Dave Ramsey started with a card table in his living room. He ended up with a multimillion dollar company. He wrote this book to show how he did it. In it, he explains that the strength and success of your company relies entirely on the people leading it. And that the culture of the company depends on the values held dear by it's leaders. High-quality, motivated, valued employees lead to a great and profitable company. But your management team will never grow beyond you, so you, as their leader, are responsible for inspiring and unifying them. As such, it's your responsibility to grow in ability - to handle money at every level, to take difficult decisions, to keep both your employees and your customers happy. This book is a step-by-step practical guide to achieving exactly that.
If you're obsessed with great customer service then this is the perfect book for you. Nobody understands delivering superb service better than Danny Meyer, one of America’s leading restaurateurs. At the age of 27 he started Union Square Cafe and then, due to it's success added another 11 restaurants in the following 20 years - all of which are renowned for their fantastic dining experiences. In this book, Danny shares some of the lessons he's learned while he developed his technique for doing business. He calls it "enlightened hospitality" and it's completely the opposite of what we've been led to believe is the best way to provide optimum customer service. It's a great book if you're in the food industry, but the practical tips and advice are applicable to any business.
You've probably already read at least one Seth Godin's book. His insights into successful business innovation are world-renowned. This book is a little different in that not only do you have Seth giving you his best ideas and recommendations, but he's brought 32 of his closest friends (OK, 32 of the world's smartest thinkers) along with him. It's a small book that's jam-packed with stories, anecdotes and ideas that will help you find that next Purple Cow. These are ways to advance your business in the right direction. If you want to stay afloat in business, you have to be flexible. This book shows you the best direction to be flexible in, in order to create huge success.
There are lots of Tom Peters books, but you should start with this one. it's less your average business book, and more of a sort of literary punch in the throat. Tom's message is broken down into small portions - chunks that need to be read over a period of time rather than in one sitting. His ability to nudge you into drawing your own conclusions about where you should head next, rather than spoon-feeding you answers makes this book stand out. If you're looking to start a business the right way, or you just want to improve your existing business, the messages in this book have stood the test of time, and it's still pertinent despite being published 10 years ago.
The one crucial element to business success is the ability to manage well. This book is a blueprint for managing at every level (from a small team to an entire company). Grove came from a scientific background and was employee number three at Intel. The techniques he recommends here are seen as the industry standard in Silicon Valley and are well worth a read for any companies that want to succeed the way Intel did under his direction. If you are looking for a way to effectively measure the output of your employees, and a way to help improve that output to be optimal, then this book is a superb plac
Another book about the success of Salesforce.com - but this time from the perspective of running a world-beating sales team. This is the new sales bible for CEOs, Sales VPs and Entrepreneurs. If you want to build an effective sales machine then you need to know what it takes to consistently generate highly-qualified new leads, how to create predictable income, and how to meet financial goals. Predictable Revenue shows you how to do all of these things. From Sales and Marketing insights to how to best structure your teams, this book takes old-school decision-making and turns it on it's head.