As an entrepreneur with big goals, you dream of success and one day becoming a millionaire. You want financial independence. You want the means to enjoy a nice lifestyle. So how do you achieve your dreams?
One of the best ways to get started and stay on track is to read books about millionaires. We’re talking about books with rags-to-riches stories to inspire you and grow your confidence. We’re also talking about books that offer practical advice for investing and making smart financial decisions.
This is our recommended reading list of the 10 best books for any ambitious entrepreneur to build the confidence to slay dragons and become a millionaire.
1. Total Money Makeover
by Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey is the reigning king of financial management for everyday Americans. Ramsey has built a personal finance empire — with millions of daily radio show listeners, personal finance courses, books, and even a budgeting app called Every Dollar. Ramsey himself went from bankruptcy to multi-millionaire status. No one wants to be broke, and Ramsey’s system has helped people control their spending habits, become debt-free, and build wealth.
Your net worth is less about how much you earn, and more about how much you spend. If you want to achieve your business goals the first step is to get out of the pressure of being in debt and worrying about money all the time. That’s the reason for including Total Money Makeover at the top of this list. You must get your spending habits under control — personally and also in your business. Until you control the outflow of money, it’s going to be hard to accrue real wealth.
2. The Millionaire Next Door
by Thomas J. Stanley, PhD
A millionaire is less like a billionaire or celebrity — and more like your next-door neighbor. In fact, you could have millionaires in your neighborhood and not even realize it. They often don’t live in the biggest houses or drive the flashiest cars. They know the difference between having a million dollars and spending a million dollars. Based on voluminous research, that’s what this groundbreaking book demonstrates.
The Millionaire Next Door was one of the earlier books to advance the notion that the way to gain wealth and happiness is to first be smart about spending. People have to first grow their assets, instead of living like high rollers before they actually have the money. The people of means outlined in the book are not denying themselves nice lives. But they have deferred gratification until getting their finances in order.
3. Everyday Millionaires
by Chris Hogan
Chris Hogan is an expert in wealth building, and it is this expertise which he brings to this book along with his extensive research. This research reveals you don’t have to come from money or have a high income to be a millionaire. The secret, which is no longer a secret, is working hard and staying focused.
The Chris Hogan Everyday Millionaires book is based on the research of 10,000 millionaires. This book debunks myths about millionaires, including their attitudes and behaviors. If you want an inside look into how an everyday millionaire thinks and acts, this is an excellent book. You might just be surprised because you’ve been making assumptions. While there are many books on the market about millionaires, if you want to get inside the heads of thousands of millionaires to follow their examples, this is the book.
4. Rich Dad Poor Dad
by Robert Kiyosaki
More than 23 years after it was first published, Robert Kiyosaki’s book still resonates with readers. The unconventional approach and advice he provides is the key to success. Challenging established norms and focusing on the mindset of being rich are some of his methodologies people use to this day.
One of the best things about Rich Dad Poor Dad is that it teaches about the concept of assets. In the U.S. we hear about credit cards and how big a loan we can take out to buy a house. We’re taught conspicuous spending as if spending is a good goal. What we’re not taught is to think of spending money to build up our assets — things with lasting value. A startup or small business is an asset, and until we think of it that way we won’t appreciate how operating a business can transform our personal wealth.
5. The Latte Factor
by David Bach
David Bach has written nine best sellers about personal finance. The Latte Factor shows people may have more financial resources than they think. This book outlines simple steps for people who want financial freedom and to achieve the American Dream. It’s about paying yourself first — by saving and investing to see your money grow.
This book demonstrates the value of not wasting small amounts of money. Invested over time, money adds up. The book is structured as a parable or story about one young millennial woman named Zoey. Each day she buys a double-shot latte while staring at a painting she thinks she can’t afford. She feels like she doesn’t have the money for the things she really wants (like an expensive painting) but it’s actually because she lacks a plan and spends too much money on discretionary items (like daily lattes).
Entrepreneurs, think about it. Are you doing the same thing in your business? Are you frittering away your resources on small ideas without investing in goals that will build lasting value?
6. Think and Grow Rich
by Napoleon Hill
First published in 1937, this book has sold more than 15 million copies. The philosophies it espouses including the “Law of Success” have been followed by many successful entrepreneurs in the decades since its publication. The 13 steps to riches are the result of interviewing 500 of the most successful people at the time, according to the author. This includes everyone from Thomas Edison to Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, John D Rockefeller, and many others.
Many people have called Think and Grow Rich a life-changing book. Perhaps the best thing it does is inspire. You can gain a mentality and thought process for lifelong changes in how you deal with money. The principles in it are fundamentals like setting goals and the importance of a positive thought process. Napoleon Hill was a character who may have fabricated some claims about his biography and anecdotes in the book. But remember, there’s a reason this book is a classic. Everyone should read it for the transformative attitude it brings.
7. Built to Sell
by John Warrillow
Built to Sell is about how to create a business that can thrive without you — the owner — doing everything. This book follows a fictional business owner, Alex, who runs a struggling marketing firm. Alex starts getting advice from a mentor and friend. Alex eventually turns the business around by changing his business model to one of recurring revenue streams. As a result, he spends less time personally working in the business, and his company builds enough value that he is able to sell it.
You might be tempted to think this book is similar to the 4 Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss, because the subtitle mentions the business thriving without the owner — but it’s not. Built to Sell focuses much more on creating enough lasting value to be able to sell the business. Let’s face it, as business owners, most of our wealth is tied up in our companies. If you want an exit strategy where you can cash out, you need a plan. This book explains how to get to that 7 or 8 figure payout.
8. The Highest Calling
by Larry Janesky
The Highest Calling‘s description says it is “an inspirational novel about business and life, struggle and success.” This book is really a business advice book wrapped in a story about Troy Becker, the fictional owner of a remodeling business. Troy works 70 hours a week, his family life is suffering, and he can’t seem to get ahead. Then one day a mysterious mentor enters Troy’s life and starts advising him how to create a business with more value along with more personal satisfaction.
In real life, The Highest Calling‘s author became wildly successful in a mundane industry, basement waterproofing. He founded a nationwide business with annual revenues in the 9 figures. He knows what he is talking about. If you think the one and only way to gain money is through a high tech business and not a regular small business, think again. Once you put in place systems and processes and get your priorities straight, success will ensue. Follow the book’s advice and work toward a profitable business that puts you on the path to millionaire status.
9. Built Not Born
by Tom Golisano
Built not Born is an entrepreneur advice book by billionaire Tom Golisano, the founder of Paychex. Golisano started his company with $3,000 in 1971, showing he is a self-made man. The book is a 50-year account of his experiences as a businessman who started as a small business and turned it into a multi-billion dollar company.
Tom Golisano is a billionaire, but this book is not a billionaire’s vanity project. Built Not Born offers lessons in achieving greatness that can translate into your personal net worth. If you are looking for practical advice on building a talented team, implementing a strong business model and improving business performance in your organization, this is a great place to start. By building your business, you also build your personal wealth as the owner.
10. Jim Cramer's Get Rich Carefully
by Jim Cramer
Get Rich Carefully is about investing in the stock market. It’s an entertaining and practical book for people who fit into the definition of “average retail investor” (which describes most of us). If you are a person who wants to understand more about investing without getting buried in boring balance sheets, Cramer’s book is a good place to start. And like Cramer, the man who we see on television, the book is entertaining. This is a common-sense approach to investments and how to understand fundamentals.
On many lists, you will see investment books such as The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. That book is a classic and revered by self-made billionaires like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. However, that book seems written for a different time. Cramer’s book is a more relevant, easier-to-read substitute today in a world of automated trading and politics-driven market swings. Even if you are one of those investors who prefer to choose index funds or buy real estate, Cramer puts the markets in perspective.
For entrepreneurs, business books can teach you the right moves to build value that can be transformed into personal wealth. Lifelong learning is essential in the business world. There’s a reason millionaires read books. The best books:
- Inspire you to a positive mindset. Great books fire you up to achieve great things.
- Teach the right money moves. Positive inspiration is one thing, but knowing what to do and how to do it is essential.
- Focus your attention. When you “lean in” on goals and dreams, you are more likely to achieve them and gain power.
In America anyone can become a millionaire with the right mindset and a will to succeed. Don’t you deserve to live the American Dream (no matter where you are located)? Read these 10 best books for money-focused entrepreneurs. When you’re done with these, check out other books from authors such as Mark Cuban and Vicki Robin.
Great advice. Thanks for sharing this!
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Nice list Anita, I’ve read about half of them.
I think you missed one though, “The Richest Man in Babylon” should, in my opinion, be the first book anyone who wants to understand money has to read.
The principle that made Babylon the richest city / country in the world have not changed in 6,000 years.
Agree 100% great book and very easy to relate to
Joel @ Growth Rapidly
Great selections! I have read 4 out of the ones listed. I’d add one more to the list: The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.
ONE BOOK THAT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED IS WAIT TILL I GET MY MONEY RIGHT. IT’S DEFINITELY FOR A BEGINNER IN INVESTING IN THE STOCK MARKET OR GETTING THEIR FINANCES IN ORDER.