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Best Entrepreneur Books That Every Startuper Must Read

8 min read

The best entrepreneurs are lifetime learners. They consume information and soak up relevant lessons to apply to growing their business. Though there are countless ways to get this information today, there are few resources as enduring as a good old-fashioned book.

The best books for entrepreneurs come in two main categories: inspirational and instructional. A new business owner can’t maintain motivation without human stories of success, and they can’t succeed without learning lessons shared by business owners like them. The best entrepreneur books often do both, bringing the reader along on a journey they can relate to and identify with while leaving them with practical, easy-to-follow lessons along the way.

But where does an entrepreneur begin? What are the best books for entrepreneurs who need both, but especially need information that’s relevant today in this rapidly changing, technology-driven landscape? If you’ve read business books before, then you are probably familiar with the classics from Napoleon Hill, David Ogilvy, and Dale Carnegie. But the age of ecommerce and online commerce has produced new classics from well-known figures like Peter Thiel, Malcolm Gladwell, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

With so many perspectives and personal stories of success, the average ecommerce entrepreneur can be easily overwhelmed when trying to pick the best entrepreneur book out of a stack. So we’ve done the work for you. Here are some top-tier, contemporary books with different angles on succeeding in the ever-changing world of entrepreneurship.

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Just Go With It: How to Navigate the Ups and Downs of Entrepreneurship

By Mandy Gilbert

The newest entry on our list of the best entrepreneur books, having been published in January of 2021, this entry has all five-star ratings on Amazon. We started with this book because it represents the first step every entrepreneur must tackle — understanding and committing yourself to the hard work for the big rewards you are hoping for.

In the book Gilbert shares, in the most open and honest terms, her journey to build a business while maintaining a happy personal life. Instead of ignoring fears, she provides inspiration for overcoming them. Instead of encouraging you to follow advice, she walks the walk of leadership to inspire you to uncover the leader in you.

You feel like she is there with you, chatting about the struggles you find yourself in, and supporting you with how she overcame the same issues herself. You will find wisdom achieved by overcoming obstacles — not just cheerleading. But you are not left with a list of things to be afraid of. Instead, she provides practical advice for how to recognize the problem, accept it, and overcome it, regardless of your background or support system.

In a world where entrepreneurs can find it hard to find someone to identify with who has been where they are heading, Mandy Gilbert presents a calming and purely inspiring take, choc full of fresh ideas for succeeding.

12 Months to $1 Million: How to Pick a Winning Product, Build a Real Business, and Become a Seven-Figure Entrepreneur

By Ryan Daniel Moran

Sometimes entrepreneurs just want a plan to follow. And this book provides one. We call this one of the best entrepreneur books because it lays out three stages within one year to get you to your first $1 million, just like it has for over 100 other entrepreneurs. In summary, these stages are:

The Grind: How to find a winning product idea and target customers with the best chance of buying. The plan strives to make your first sale in this stage within four months.

The Growth: With a sale behind you, learn inexpensive but effective advertising strategies. At this stage in the plan, your goal is to grow to twenty-five sales per day.

The Gold: Once you have traction with your first product, this stage teaches you how to create a series of products that can be projected to get you to your first million dollars.

Readers find the approach in this book for entrepreneurs to be easy-to-read, efficient, and practical. And like many of the books in this field today, you will find opportunities to become part of an online community of other entrepreneurs sharing stories and advice on strategies to scale their online and ecommerce businesses.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

By Eric Ries

No list of the best entrepreneur books would be complete without mentioning this hugely influential book by Eric Ries. In addition to being an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School, his lean startup methodology has been published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and The Huffington Post.

Gems from the book include new paradigms of thinking about entrepreneurial success, plotted in easy-to-understand diagrams.

Build-measure-learn Feedback Loop

The Build-Measure-Learn Feedback loop is at the core of the Lean Startup model.

Build-measure-learn Feedback Loop

Classic Product Chart

Startups have a destination in mind: creating a thriving and world-changing business. I call that the startup’s vision. To achieve that vision, startups employ a strategy, which includes a business model, a product road map, a point of view about partners and competitors, and ideas about who the customer will be. The product is the end result of this strategy.

Classic Product Chart

The Revised Chart

Products change constantly through the process of optimization. Less frequently, the strategy may have to change (called a pivot). However, the overarching vision rarely changes. Entrepreneurs are committed to seeing the startup through to that destination. Every setback is an opportunity for learning how to get where they want to go.

The Revised Chart

This entry makes our list of best entrepreneur books for their sheer influence on the entire system of business production and innovation. In the 1990s, Toyota adopted the Lean system to add value and reduce waste everywhere they could find, which helped propel them to automotive dominance. And though that example can seem too big for some entrepreneurs, the principles taught throughout the book about creating a minimum viable product and using customer feedback to quickly iterate and optimize are exactly what the best startups do today.

Get Reading!

Successful entrepreneurs don’t just launch an idea and hope it works. They are constantly curious. They understand that as their customers get happier, they get more successful. And the pathway to true customer happiness is full of dead-ends, wrong-turns, and seemingly endless paths. But that’s what we signed up for. That’s what inspires us. We seek to be better in everything we do and to earn the appreciation that creates long-term customers.

Whether the language that inspires you is inspirational, practical, or methodological, understand there is no right choice. The best entrepreneur book for you is the one that motivates you to get better each day and carry a new lesson into tomorrow.

Do you want to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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