As entrepreneurs, we love to learn. In fact, once we’ve tasted the excitement of a new topic and have gotten addicted to it, we simply cannot stop reading, listening and learning. Real estate investors, especially, love to read, read, read. People are always asking me for book recommendations, so I wanted to put together my Top 10 Recommended Books for Entrepreneurs. These are all books that changed my life, got me going, and remain on my bookshelf today. (Please note: there are many affiliate links on this page)
#1 on my recommended books for entrepreneurs
When I first read this book (around 2006), I was struggling to build my marketing and branding agency into a company that could run without me. Reading this blew my mind, and opened me up to a whole new set of possibilities, showing me how I could create sets of systems that would run the business–and then have people run those systems. Today, it greatly influences how I create systems, procedures and structure to make my real estate business run smoothly.
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
In many ways, Rich Dad, Poor Dad was probably the most influential book I’ve ever read. I had already chosen a path of entrepreneurship in my life, but my vision for it had not solidified, and I hadn’t decided that real estate would play any role in it (beyond owning my own home, which I had just done a year before reading the book). Once I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a whole new world of possibilities and ideas flooded into my head, and I was hooked. I proceeded to read all the rest of Kiyosaki’s books, like the Cashflow Quadrant, Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing, and many many more.
As the brilliant Seth Godin explains, the key to successful marketing (and business as a whole) is to be remarkable. “Remarkable” is not a synonym for “great,” it literally means that you are worthy of being remarked about. In Purple Cow, Godin builds the case for creating truly unique products, services and companies that can’t be ignored. Nobody drives past a farm and says, “yawn, there’s another purple cow;” they say, “what?! Did you just see that cow? It was purple!” This book is filled with excellent insights that have stuck–and continue to stick–with me through many years and many forms of entrepreneurship, and easily makes my top 10 recommended books for entrepreneurs.
Simon Sinek may be most known for the excellent 18-minute TED Talk that explained the concepts of this powerful book. In Start with Why, Sinek explains a key secret of the greatest companies: they have a strong sense of their own “why.” While other companies are busy talking about WHAT they do and HOW they do it, great companies focus on WHY they do what they do. Whether you’re an individual looking for clarity and purpose in life or a business trying to get ahead and build a brand that stands out, connecting with your WHY is critical.
In the classic productivity guide that has spawned a cult-like following, Getting Things Done, author David Allen establishes himself as the modern guru of “time management” (though he will be quick to tell you that you cannot manage time; “time just is.”). I reflect on Allen’s advice on a weekly if not daily basis, and it has greatly influenced the way I process my workload, tasks and attempt to keep some sense of order and sanity in my busy entrepreneurial life! This is a must-read on my top 10 recommended books for entrepreneurs.
Read On Your iPad or Kindle
I love reading these books on my iPad using my Kindle app. It’s great for travel so that I don’t have to lug around heavy books, and I can get them on-demand whenever I want. Here’s a special offer on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program–check it out.
This book is an absolute classic! Think and Grow Rich teaches us one of the most important, simple and universal laws: that we become what we think. Mastering this skill very well may be the single most important and useful thing any entrepreneur can possibly accomplish.
Steve Cook & Shaun McCloskey
This is a far more obscure pick–Lifeonaire is a simple story of a man who questions whether his pursuit of financial wealth–at the expense of his family and quality of life–was really what he wanted. The term “Lifeonaire” means you are rich in life, not rich in money, and the book is a good perspective-giver. I’ve read it at least three times now, and every time it leaves me feeling more at peace and grounded in what matters in my life.
In the long-time classic How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie explains the many principles of excellent human relations. I first read this book in about 2005, when I took a class on sales from the Dale Carnegie Institute, and it was based on using these principles of human relations. I noticed an immediate improvement in my results as I focused on utilizing these principles in my business and life. Not only do I highly recommend this book, I recommend you re-read it again every couple years to refresh yourself (that’s what I do!). This book is a no-brainer on my list of recommended books for entrepreneurs.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
While written specifically with startup businesses in mind, The Lean Startup outlines an approach to creating, testing and improving ideas that I believe extends well beyond just tech startups. The book is based on the idea of making sure you don’t spend a ton of time, energy and money building a product or service that doesn’t perfectly match what the market wants. Instead, he explains the benefits of gradually building a “minimum viable product” to test your assumptions throughout the process of creating the business. (And if you are planning to join me at SXSW Interactive, it would be good to read this in advance!)
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
I consider Tim Ferriss’ book, Tools of Titans, to be a real masterpiece. Tim has a really unique knack for gaining access to a diverse list of very highly successful people across many different fields. In this book, he has distilled down the key points and lessons he has learned from hundreds of these top people. The result is a huge tome of incredibly potent wisdom that any entrepreneur can put to use daily.
Thank you for reading my top 10 most recommended books for entrepreneurs! Now get out there, grab some books, and start reading!