13 Must-Read Business Books for Entrepreneurs

Knowledge is the key to success. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, as the wisdom shared in books can prove to be invaluable for both the budding startup founder and the seasoned business owner. From time-tested strategies for growth to profound insights on leadership and innovation, these literary gems have the power to shape the way entrepreneurs approach challenges and opportunities.

Whether you’re seeking inspiration, seeking to hone your leadership skills or simply looking to expand your entrepreneurial mindset, books are a must-have resource to empower and guide you on your entrepreneurial journey. To recommend a few of their favorites, Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) business leaders answer the following question:

books for entrepreneurs

“What’s one business book that every entrepreneur should have on their reading list, and why? What lessons will they learn?”

Here are their top recommendations.

1. ‘The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work’

“Vishen Lakhiani’s book ‘The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work’ should be read not just once, but annually. The book helps you discover and, more importantly, attract success by aligning work with your purpose. When this happens, you can tap into a deep well of motivation, resilience and creativity. This opens the path for less stress and long-term growth.” ~ Ron Lieback, ContentMender

2. ‘The Art of Less Doing: One Entrepreneur’s Formula for a Beautiful Life’

“Ari Meisel’s ‘The Art of Less Doing’ is a phenomenal business book about how to properly delegate tasks and avoid burnout. He writes about how to optimize, automate and delegate so that you can outsource the majority of daily tasks, leaving you time to work on your business rather than in it.” ~ Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage

3. ‘All-in On AI: How Smart Companies Win Big With Artificial Intelligence’

“If you’re into AI — and who isn’t these days? — I suggest reading ‘All-in On AI: How Smart Companies Win Big With Artificial Intelligence’ by Nitin Mittal and Thomas H. Davenport. This book shows how companies are going ‘all-in’ on AI and finding success. I believe this book is an excellent resource for newbies and tech veterans who want a real-world perspective on AI as it relates to business.” ~ Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

4. ‘Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story’

“I suggest ‘Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story’ by John Bloom. It is the story of the Iridium satellite network, a failing megaproject that was saved from oblivion through entrepreneurial brilliance. The book explores the complexities of launching a global telecommunications company, navigating regulatory hurdles and dealing with financial challenges to achieve success against all odds.” ~ Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

5. ‘Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action’

“One book that every entrepreneur should read is ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek. It’s a great book with many key takeaways. However, what makes it an interesting read for entrepreneurs is that the book discusses the importance of knowing the purpose behind the existence of a business, and it helps cultivate a strong culture with leadership and competency to set and achieve goals.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. ’10x Is Easier Than 2x: How World-Class Entrepreneurs Achieve More by Doing Less’

“There’s a brilliant new book called ‘10x Is Easier Than 2x’ by Dan Sullivan, which is meant for entrepreneurs. It makes the case that thinking big and reaching for 10x goals is far easier than making small steps forward. This is because you end up focusing on the most crucial steps that deliver the most results. It has a psychological basis and is a great read.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

7. ‘The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea’

“‘The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea’ is a business book written by Bob Burg and John David Mann. It is a story about the power of giving. The power of giving and the importance of networks are critical concepts that all people need to understand if they plan on being successful as an entrepreneur. I read or listen to it twice a year!” ~ Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

8. ‘Million Dollar Habits: Proven Power Practices to Double and Triple Your Income’

“‘Million Dollar Habits’ by Brian Tracy is an excellent choice for entrepreneurs who are looking to build positive habits and find success by seeing how other people have done it in recent history. The author does an excellent job of offering practical advice for leaders across all industries and then tying it back to real-world examples.” ~ Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

9. ‘Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist’

“One book I recommend to entrepreneurs is ‘Venture Deals’ by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson. The entire venture capital process is outlined concisely, from term sheets and deal structures to negotiating subsequent rounds. This book will help you minimize dilution and maximize ROI when raising capital.” ~ Jack Perkins, CFO Hub

10. ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail’

“One book that every entrepreneur should have on their reading list is ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ by Clayton M. Christensen. This book explains the challenges faced by businesses when disruptive technologies come up in the market. It helped me learn that customer needs evolve and that the disruption of existing technology is inevitable, but that you still need to balance innovation and existing operations.” ~ Andrew Munro, AffiliateWP

11. ‘Think and Grow Rich’

“A book that is a classic but still offers so much insight is ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill. It was written in 1937 but still tackles the one thing that can ruin a business, which is your mindset. It has practical advice and addresses some basic concepts that worked then and now.” ~ Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

12. ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!’

“I learned so much from ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert T. Kiyosaki. I believe this book is filled with valuable information, and it has an interesting way of kick-starting a passion for self-development, hard work and entrepreneurial thinking. Its value lies in revealing the gaps in some of the advice that we hear so often that it gets accepted as common knowledge.” ~ Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

13. ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’

“‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie is the kind of foundational book that every businessperson should read. This is because, no matter whether you’re in tech or restaurants, everything revolves around serving people. People are the customers; thus, having a more empathetic approach to people will always make you more successful, as these new friends or influenced people will become customers.” ~ Andy Karuza, NachoNacho

Image: Envato Elements

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.