Top 50 Books for Entrepreneurs

By Dane Carlson, Business Opportunities WeblogAugust 23, 2012 at 01:54PM

All entrepreneurs need advice. What better way to get helped through your next crisis than by picking the minds of some of today and yesterday’s greatest entrepreneurs. The following 50 books should keep you busy for awhile and teach you more than any college education.

The New Classics

Think of these soon to be classic business books as the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Think and Grow Rich for the 21st century.

Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
Drive by Daniel H. Pink
Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson
Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah and David Meerman Scott
Linchpin? Are You Indispensable by Seth Godin
Made to Stick by Chip Heath
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson
Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
Tribes by Seth Godin

Business Strategy

These books will give you step-by-step, practical, guidelines to follow to improve your business.

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim
Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
Driven: Business Strategy, Human Actions, and the Creation of Wealth by Joel Litman and Mark Frigo
From Resource Allocation to Strategy by Joseph Bower
Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims
My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire by Michelle Goodman
Predictable Success by Les McKeown
Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie
Start with Why by Simone Sinek
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business That Works for You by Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams
The Four Steps To The Epiphany by Steve Blank
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, Jay Conrad Levinson and Michael Gerber


A “startup” is the modern term for a business that hasn’t quite found it’s business model yet. If this is you, you can learn a lot from these books that detail both the mistakes and success of various startup companies.

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by Brad Feld and David Cohen
Potemkin, Inc. by Philippe Joly
Startup Weekend: How to Take a Company From Concept to Creation in 54 Hours by Marc Nager, Clint Nelsen and Franck Nouyrigat
Street Smarts by Norm Brodsky
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
The Startup Game by William H. Draper
The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank


Without a good strategy to make your business known, you’re destined for failure. The following marketing books will help you to think outside the box.

All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Smarter, Faster, Cheaper by David Siteman Garland
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Jack Trout
The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself by John Jantsch
UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging by Scott Stratton


You might wonder what biographies are doing on a list of books for entrepreneurs. Yes, I know you have very little time, but reading about what other entrepreneurs have done in their businesses can give you great ideas about how to improve your own business.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson
Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace by Ricardo Semler
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
The Smartest Guys In The Room: The Amazing Rise And Scandalous Fall Of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker
What I Really Think: The Business Chapters by Jeff Rusinow