11 Best Business Books to Read for Entrepreneurs

Books are one of the best ways to learn about business.

Singapore Business Owners

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Itching to climb to success in your business venture with the help of books?

Even with online business news and articles galore, books are still one of the most effective forms of learning and applying concepts, especially in the world of business.

Whether you seek to launch a start-up, cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset, or simply read about the lives of those who have trodden the path to success, here’s a curated list of recommended business books for you.

Books on starting a business

When it comes to building your business or startup from scratch, things can get really complicated and confusing. These books help you to break down the actual steps you can take before plunging headfirst into entrepreneurship.

1. The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup is a relatively new methodology that encourages experimentation rather than minute planning in building a company. In brief, the lean startup mentality requires entrepreneurs to think on their feet, respond to customer feedback and take measured risks instead of over-planning or overthinking.

In this book, Eric Ries describes how the lean startup mindset served him well as he built his software company IMVU. If you find yourself more risk-averse than your peers, Ries’s book is perfect for you to pick yourself up, build your confidence and make your mark in the world.

Best Business Books: The Lean Startup
Best forAspiring entrepreneurs who aren’t ready to take big risks
Where to buyBook Depository

2. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

At times, it can seem as if Silicon Valley has a monopoly on startups. All of the most successful entrepreneurs seem to emerge from that close concentration of tech firms while the rest of us have a markedly lower shot at success. Is that always the case?

In Zero to One, Peter Thiel argues that it is all in the mind. If you are daunted by the success stories of other entrepreneurs, this book will lead you to see the brighter side of things, ask the right questions and forge your way to the top.

Best Business Books: Zero to One
Best forAspiring entrepreneurs on a budget
Where to buyBook Depository

3. The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better To Live More by Chris Guillebeau

Tired of reading about entrepreneurship from the perspective of one person? Chris Guillebeau travelled the world to research and compile the stories of 1,500 entrepreneurs of every stripe.

One of the most representative guides to entrepreneurship that you will ever find, The $100 Startup does not glorify it all. Instead, Guillebeau reveals the challenges that these entrepreneurs overcame, the mistakes they made and the strategies they adopted to build their businesses.

Best Business Books: The $100 Startup
Best forLearning from others’ past entrepreneurial mistakes and the harsh realities of the business world
Where to buyBook Depository

4. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

Are you allowing your prejudices and your fears to cloud your judgement? Is your idealised version of an entrepreneur holding you back?

Michael Gerber revisits and dispels entrepreneurial myths that may be inhibiting your innovative self in this volume.

Best business books: The E-Myth Revisited
Best forAspiring entrepreneurs looking to overcome their fears
Where to buyBook Depository

Books on self-improvement and cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset

In this section, we deviate a little from start-ups and entrepreneurship to recommend some of our favourite self-help books. These books inspired us, and we hope that they do the same for you!

Books of this nature are evergreen, and they are excellent motivational pieces to pull yourself out of a funk.

1. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Author Malcolm Gladwell needs no introduction. In his New York Times Bestseller, Gladwell probes and distils the secrets that make some of the most brilliant people in the world successful. Are they simply outliers, or is there an ‘x-factor’ that is reproducible in every one of us?

Not only is Outliers instructive, but Gladwell’s writing style will also grip you from cover to cover, or at least it did for us!

Best Business Books: Outliers
Best forAspiring entrepreneurs looking for inspiration
Where to buyBook Depository

2. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

According to Kahneman, two systems drive the way we think. One of it is slow and deliberative, while the other is fast and intuitive. Kahneman contends that both are important, and he counsels readers to reap the benefits of both depending on the situation.

Intrigued about how the mind works? Wondering if you’re holding some biases about the corporate world? Allow Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize Winner for Economics, to walk you through the art of thinking.

Best Business Books: Thinking, Fast and Slow
Best forAspiring entrepreneurs driven by self-improvement
Where to buyBook Depository

3. The One Thing by Gary Keller

If you are feeling overwhelmed and your productivity is slipping because of all that you need to attend to, this book is for you. Gary Keller teaches readers how to focus on what’s truly important and maximise the amount you can do within your time constraints.

Best Business Books: The One Thing
Best forEntrepreneurs who struggle with productivity and time management
Where to buyBook Depository

Biographies and autobiographies of inspirational entrepreneurs

Besides reading about how you can cultivate the mindset of an entrepreneur, why not learn through the words of self-made billionaire entrepreneurs?

1. Bloomberg by Michael Bloomberg

If you follow market trends or dabble in some investments, the name Michael Bloomberg might sound familiar to you. Bloomberg was fired from his job in 1966 before he went on to start financial and media company Bloomberg in 1981.

Bloomberg’s ambitions and philanthropy knows no bounds as he ran and served as the Mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013. Bloomberg’s story will teach you that, despite major setbacks, it is possible to emerge stronger and better.

Best Business Books: Bloomberg
Best forGo-getter entrepreneurs who need some inspiration
Where to buyBook Depository

2. What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence by Stephen A. Schwarzman

Stephen Schwarzman climbed his way up the corporate ladder in the financial world before he co-founded Blackstone with $400,000 of their personal investment. Today, The Blackstone Group manages over $564 billion in assets (as of June 2020).

If you’re feeling hesitant about making that jump from the corporate world to a startup, Schwarzman’s story may just be the push you need.

Best Business Books: What It Takes
Best forAspiring entrepreneurs who are hesitant about leaving their current jobs
Where to buyBook Depository

3. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger

All of us would probably have watched a Disney movie at some point in our lives. Under Iger, the Walt Disney Company reached several milestones, including the acquisition of 21st Century Fox and the launch of its in-house streaming service.

As you work towards your entrepreneurial dreams, reading about the experience of the man who helmed Disney for fifteen years could reignite your imagination and even spark your next big idea. Iger’s story is highly recommended for entrepreneurs who dare to dream big.

Best Business Books: The Ride of a Lifetime
Best forGo-getter entrepreneurs who need some inspiration
Where to buyBook Depository

4. Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark

Looking at how Alibaba smashes its Singles Day sales record each year ($38 billion in 2019), it’s easy to forget that Jack Ma was once an English teacher in the early years of his career. How did Ma go from being a humble, down-to-earth teacher to a tech and e-commerce mogul?

Duncan Clark taps on his close relations with Ma to analyse the rapid rise of Alibaba into one of the most recognisable and iconic brands in the world today.

Best Business Books: Alibaba
Best forAspiring entrepreneurs looking for inspiration
Where to buyBook Depository

Spoilt for choice?

Have you read any of these books? Are there any other titles that you would add to this list? Write to us to share your thoughts on your favourite business books for entrepreneurs.

Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

Photo Credits: Amazon

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