The world of entrepreneurship is no playground. In fact, new ventures are more likely to fail than succeed, according to the Kauffman Foundation. Still, there are plenty of successful entrepreneurial ventures that might have inspired you to build your own business from the ground up.
Written by experts in their fields, the following books can help you learn valuable leadership, time management and productivity skills needed to launch the Next Big Thing. Brush up on the business basics or discover some new perspectives with these 20 best books for aspiring entrepreneurs for under $20.
Related: 5 Things Every Millennial Entrepreneur Should Know About Startups
1. ‘How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It’
Billionaire Mark Cuban has compiled the best tips from his blog Maverick in order to share insights about business and life as an entrepreneur. In “How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It,” you’ll learn about his rags-to-riches journey and discover the unconventional ideas that helped him build a successful enterprise.
2. ‘#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media and Self-Awareness’
Known as the unconventional entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk shares his insights, as well as honest truths about navigating the world of business and working in digital media in “#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media and Self-Awareness.” This book includes personal anecdotes and timely advice on marketing, social media and entrepreneurship.
Price: $16.99 on Kindle
3. ‘Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High’
If communication isn’t your strong point, read “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” to brush up on the keys to dealing successfully with people in your organization and beyond. Written by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler, the book offers practical advice on how to be persuasive and prepare for high-stakes conversations, so you can succeed in both business and life.
4. ‘The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love and Create a New Future’
If you need some inspiration to get that startup off the ground, then you should check out “The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love and Create a New Future,” which focuses on the art of reinventing your life and the value of living with purpose. Along with sharing his story about ditching traditional employment, author Chris Guillebeau presents case studies of entrepreneurs who have successfully built businesses based on personal passions — for $100 or less, in most cases.
5. ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change’
If you’re feeling uninspired, it might be time to examine everyday habits in both your professional and personal life. According to Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change,” successful people have adopted seven key habits that set them apart from the rest. This book can help you make powerful personal changes to improve productivity, time management and positive thinking skills.
6. ‘Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future’
If you want to build a groundbreaking business, you need to have the mindset of an inventor and entrepreneur, said author Peter Thiel. In “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future,” he encourages aspiring business owners to build something unique, instead of adding more to something that has already been created, if they hope to win big in the business world.
7. ‘The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich’
If your dreams of leaving the rat race are steering you toward entrepreneurship, read “The 4-Hour Workweek” to discover how to reinvent your lifestyle and be successful for the long term. Author Timothy Ferris shares practical tips for eliminating excess work, improving productivity and navigating uncertain economic times.
8. ‘How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life’
If you’ve ever wondered what makes someone successful, consider not just what they do but also the ways in which they think. Author and pastor John C. Maxwell outlines 11 key strategies for effective thinking that keep successful people on the path to riches — and can help new entrepreneurs achieve their goals. Be sure to pick up a copy of “How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life.”
9. ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’
Released in 1936, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie has sold more than 15 million copies and remains a popular choice among business professionals looking to expand their networks and develop leadership skills. Aspiring entrepreneurs can learn some valuable communication and networking skills to build careers and lives.
10. ‘The Lean Startup’
The world of entrepreneurship is riddled with fears of failure — but it doesn’t have to be, said author Eric Ries. “The Lean Startup,” which offers a radically different approach to business development, encourages entrepreneurs to look at the ways in which they build their companies in order to reduce the risk of startup failure.
11. ‘Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose’
The CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh shares his insights on how corporate culture is the foundation for success in his book, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose.” Hsieh made sure that company culture was a top priority from day one and offers tips for applying research from the science of happiness to the business world.
12. ‘The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Why Now Is the Time to #JointheRide’
If you feel unprepared for the wild roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship, “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster” will give you the insights and practical tips needed to navigate the path to success. Author Darren Hardy also shares warnings and red flags to avoid and covers the essential sales, recruiting, leadership and productivity skills for success.
13. ‘The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job‘
If you’re still on the fence about whether you should give up your 9 to 5 and jump right into entrepreneurship, “The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job” might be the book for you. Being a full-time entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, and this book by Patrick J. McGinnis offers tips for how to make your entrepreneurial venture a successful side hustle, so you can pursue your dream while working for someone else.
14. ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’
If you’re in the process of developing a product for your entrepreneurial dream, you will likely want to take steps to enusre your item doesn’t flop. “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” written by Nir Eyal, provides examples of products that tend to “stick” in the marketplace — and details about what it took to create them.
15. ‘The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership’
If Richard Branson is one of your business role models, pick up his book, “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership,” to learn about his 40-year journey to create the Virgin Group. Branson, who dropped out of school at 16 and has never worked for anybody else, shares personal anecdotes and an inspiring story of success. It also offers fresh perspectives and invaluable business insight.
Related: How to Invest Like Richard Branson
16. ‘EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches’
If you’re a fan of Dave Ramsey’s books about personal finance, enjoy more nuggets of wisdom about entrepreneurship and the business world in “EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches.” Ramsey shares how he turned a one-man business into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Additionally, you’ll learn the secrets to prosperity and the business-building skills needed to develop your own successful company.
17. ‘The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure’
If fear of failure, or even fear of success, is standing in the way of you achieving your business goals, now is the time to take “massive action,” said author Grant Cardone. “The 10X Rule” explains what it really takes to defy mediocrity and succeed against any odds.
18. ‘Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading and Winning the Deal’
You’ll likely need to prepare a pitch at some point in your entrepreneurial journey. Make sure you do it right by following the tips and strategies presented in “Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading and Winning the Deal.” Author Oren Klaff has spent the last 13 years raising more than $400 million, and he shares his formula for presenting, persuading and winning a deal.
19. ‘The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)’
It takes passion and persistence to succeed in business, but sometimes the hardest part is knowing when to quit and move on. In “The Dip,” business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin explains that winning is often about successful quitting.
20. ‘The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything’
Getting a new business venture off the ground can be difficult, as any aspiring entrepreneur knows. If you’re on the fence about a startup, “The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything,” can help you map out an effective course. Written by Guy Kawasaki, the book also includes tips on pitching ideas to investors and creating a buzz to stand out from the competition. You’ll also learn what it really takes to get started in the competitive business world.
Price: $19.99 on MP3 CD
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